Drug – It is any substance that when taken affects the mental or physical state of a person, either by affecting the way a person’s brain work, how they feel and behave as well as their understanding and senses.
Drug abuse – It’s the excessive, maladaptive, or addictive use of drugs for nonmedical purposes despite social, psychological, and physical problems that may arise from such use.
It is also the unnecessary use of too many drugs, the unwarranted use or non-use of any drug, the inappropriate use of drugs and coercive use of drugs.

There are two categories of drugs
1. Legal
2. Illegal

Illegal(illicit) and most abused drugs in Kenya includes: –
 Bhang
 Heroine
 Cocaine
 Local brew(changaa)
 Kuber
 Mandrax

Licit(legal) and most abused drugs include
 Alcohol – Beer, Wine and Spirits
 Tobacco
 Khat(Miraa)
Young people indulge in drug and substance abuse for different reasons. The reasons ranges from but not limited to: –
 Peer Influence
 Unemployment
 Stress
 Dysfunctional families
 Availability of alcohol and drugs – easy ease
 Social Media influence
 Curiosity and the desire to prove a point

1. Positive Perception – viewing it as a good thing
2. Experiment – In a party or from friends
3. Purposeful – Made me to relax, sleep and made me feel confident
4. Intensive use – Every time I want to feel this or that
5. Addiction stage – Apex of the pyramid. You are not in control but the drug is in control of you.

Effects of drug abuse on your brain
Continued use of drugs for a long time can cause changes in your other brain chemical systems and circuit, and this can hurt your: –
Decision Making
Ability to learn
Drinking problem is not worse than stopping problem, it is not easy but worth it.
You reach a point where you stop wanting to needing a drink

Signs of Addiction
You may have one or more of these warning signs: –
 An urge to use the drug every day, or many times a day
 Taking more drugs than you want to, and for longer than you thought you would
 Always having the drug with you, and buying it even if you can’t afford it
 Using drugs even if they cause you trouble at work or make you lash out at family and friends
 Spending more time alone
 Not taking care of yourself or caring how you look
 Stealing, lying or doing dangerous things like driving while high or having unsafe sex
 Spending most of your time getting, using, or recovering from the effects of the drug
 Feeling sick when you try to quit
 It requires willingness and action
 Stop escalating drug abuse before you lose all control
 Formulate a plan to help yourself.
 Get a support system more so from family, spiritual authority and experts
 Be aware and avoid relapse at all means
 Work on habits breaking
 Get medical assistance – treatment
1. Deal with isolation – Don’t fight the battle alone
2. Emotional growth strategies – Overcome stagnation in your emotional status
3. Repair damaged relationships – Be deliberate and intentional
4. Financial discipline to overcome financial distress
5. Be mindful of your health
6. Seek help to overcome depression and anxiety
7. Remember the consequences of a criminal record
8. Pursue your dreams with agility
At first, you may choose to take a drug because you like the way it makes you feel. You may think you can control how much and how often you use it. But over time, drugs change how your brain works. These physical changes can last a long time. They make you lose control and can lead to damaging behaviors.
Drugs are not an escape; they are a trap.
Addiction is the only prison where the locks are on the inside
Drugs take you to hell disguised as heaven
Doing drugs is literally relaxing to death
Drugs are like a knife that kills your entire life
Drug is a poison that kills your ambition
When you take drugs your loved ones pay for it
DEAD – Drugs End All Dreams
Drugs gave me wings to fly but they took away my blue sky
Choices have consequences but consequences don’t have choices
When you are born you look like your parents, when you die you will look like your decisions.
Caring for yourself is an act of survival
You’ve got power within, don’t give it away
Say no while you can
Right Knowledge + Right Action = Favorable Action
Chukua Hatua, Badirisha Hali

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About the Author


Amb. Steve Mbugua is an enthusiastic Ambassador of Safety and wellness with in-depth training, safety advisory and Workplace Safety Behavior Change Coaching experience. He is the Founder and Executive Director of Makinika Afrika Int’l , a Health and Safety Training Firm in Kenya  and Group CEO  Nairobi Safety Shop Limited, the largest Security, Safety and Health Store in the East and Central Africa and Managing Director, Stewa Safaris Kenya Limited a Premier  Tours and  Travels Company in Kenya.

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