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major problem that exists within Canadian society is the abuse of mind-altering
substances. Such narcotics cause not only health problems, but also violent and
potentially criminal acts. A mind-altering narcotic can be defined as both the legal and
illegal type. The four main categories of drugs are: narcotics, CNS depressants, CNS
stimulants, and hallucinogens. Most of these drugs are highly addictive and are usually
obtained by prescription or are considered a banned substance and must be purchased
Users of many of the “harder” drugs being abused today also face the possibility of an
eventual overdose. An overdose is the ingestion of a lethal or mind-damaging amount
of drugs. Once an full addiction of these drugs occur, the user faces withdrawal
symptoms when a discontinuation of a drug transpires. This is due to a reduction of the
natural pain-killers that exist in the body of non-drug users. These symptoms include
chills, sweating, cramps, headaches, diarrhea and excessive vomiting. The treatment of
drug addicts includes an extensive program of detoxification. Medical drugs, such as
Naloxone, are sometimes given to patients to aid in overcoming these addictions. These
drugs occupy opiate receptors in the brain to block all effects of the damaging drugs,
however the Naloxone is not an addictive drug, as the others are. The downfall to the
medical drugs being used to help addiction are that there effects are very short-term
and cannot cure the patient, but does assist in attaining the goal of substituting a more
controllable, less lethal drug as opposed to the original narcotic .
The key to preventing substance abuse in Canada is to educate the public, preferably at
a young age, never to experiment with potentially life-threating drugs. This education
can be attained within the pre-secondary schools. In 1988 prime minister Brian
Mulroney announced proposed Canada’s Drug Strategy. Laws were enacted, which
prohibited the sale of drug paraphernalia and increased the power of police to seize the
assets of arrested drug offenders. The Strategy allocated the sum of $210 million in its
first five years (and an additional $270 million in 1992) mainly to the prevention,
education and treatment of drug use, while 30 per cent of this money was intended for
the traditional area of law enforcement.
The goal of education within the school system should be to support those students
who are non-users with recognition and social activities that will encourage them to
remain non-users and to facilitate a belief and value system that incorporates concern
for fellow students and residents of the community. Drug education should emphasise
the negative aspects of drugs to give the student a fair understanding of the long-term
effects of drug use.
Building a program for long-term survival, which describes features of prevention
programs that can increase a program’s survival chances after the initial grant period
should be considered a priority. Educators cannot be at the student?s side at all times,
especially when the student is faced with pressuring situation affecting the
experimentation of drugs. Programs must focus one long-term education that will
remain in the students mind long after the program has terminated. One option for
educators is to use the tool of fear. If enough fear is put into the students mind in may
deter them from ever wanting to experiment with the drugs; or even from becoming
curious of their effects.
The clear solution to winning to “war on drugs” is to establish a clear long term
program. Such a program should include government grants, a description of the
health risks associated with the use of alcohol and illicit drugs, standards of conduct
that clearly prohibit the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of alcohol and illicit,
and a description of the applicable legal sanctions under school, local, state, or federal
law for the unlawful possession, use, or distribution of alcohol and illicit drugs. These
examples, along with the use of fear, should provide a very effective method of
deterring students from ever wanting to, or becoming curious with experimentation of
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