Substance Abuse:The new “COOL”

Substance abuse refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs. Psychoactive substance use can lead to dependence syndrome – a cluster of behavioral, cognitive, and physiological phenomena that develop after repeated substance use and that typically include a strong desire to take the drug, difficulties in controlling its use, persisting in its use despite harmful consequences, a higher priority given to drug use than to other activities and obligations, increased tolerance, and sometimes a physical withdrawal state.

Difference between substance abuse and addiction

Substance abuse differs from addiction. Many people with substance abuse problems are able to quit or can change their unhealthy behavior. Addiction, on the other hand, is a disease. It means you can’t stop using even when your condition causes you harm.

Addiction doesn’t start overnight. It takes time to build up a tolerance to the drug of choice, to develop cravings for the drug, and to experience problems due to use of illicit substances. Drug abuse often starts first. Though at its worst it can look like addiction, there is one key characteristic that makes drug dependence different.

The first sign is the inability to stop using drugs and alcohol. Someone who struggles with drug abuse may experience a number of problems that plague those with addiction but he may be able to stop using all drugs of abuse without a problem for long periods of time. An addict is unable to stay away from his drug of choice and/or other substances despite a keen desire to quit using.



Alcohol affects everyone differently. But if you drink too often, your chances of an injury or accident goes up. Heavy drinking also can cause liver and other health problems or lead to a more serious alcohol disorder.


This illegal drug is the natural version of manmade prescription opioid narcotics. Heroin gives you a rush of good feelings at first. But when it wears off, everything slows down. 


This drug speeds up your whole body. When you use cocaine, you may talk, move, or think very fast. You may feel happy and full of energy. But your mood may then shift to anger.


A growing number of states have legalized medical uses of marijuana. A handful of states also allow recreational pot. But in most states, it’s still illegal. Marijuana can make you feel silly and laugh for no reason. Or you may feel sleepy and forget things that just happened.

Signals that you may have a problem with substance abuse include if you:

  • Lack interest in things you used to love
  • Change your friends a lot
  • Stop taking care of yourself
  • Spend more time alone than you used to
  • Eat more or less than normal
  • Sleep at odd hours
  • Have problems at work or with family
  • Switch quickly from feeling good and bad

In conversation with a marijuana consumer:

1. When did u smoke marijuana for the first time? Or how long have u been smoking?

A-The first time I smoked it was nearing the end of 11th grade. I’ve been smoking since 3 years now (only marijuana) I’ve never touched cigarettes. 

2 .Do u think the usage of marijuana is risky?

A- The only “risk” is that you go home and your parents find out*laughs*. Smoking anything is not healthy of course. People with asthma usually try a different method of consuming marijuana preferably edibles.  Although I have known people who have asthma but still smoke.

3. When you  use the term high, what do u mean, what effects do u feel in your body? 

A-In the earlier days when the substance is new to the body, the high is typically stronger You feel the urge  to smile and laugh and you feel relaxed. Paranoia is common when you’re not in a safe place or a place you are new to. When the body gets used to it, the high mellows down to just feeling relaxed and happy.

4. Did you experience any health risks, allergies, etc after its consumption?

A- People usually cough a lot when they’re new to it that’s because they’re not used to the taste and the smoke. But other than that I’ve never noticed anything. Paranoia and anxiety on the other hand increases if you’re in this state of mind.

5. What made u want to use the drug in the first place?

A-Ever since my 9th grade I made a pact with myself that I’ll try it after 10th. I always wanted to feel what it’s like and now it’s like a super power I possess that helps me solve everyday problems easily. It’s that “paranoia” which helps in problem solving while you’re high.

6 . Do u regret using it or not?

A- I would regret not doing it. Everyone should try it atleast twice or thrice because most people don’t do it right or don’t feel the “high” in the first time and they give up thinking it’s not what they thought it would be.

7.  Marijuana is not yet legalized in most parts of the country, what are your views on the use of this drug?

A-In a country where marijuana grows naturally, it is impossible to stop the consumption and legal or not most of the teenagers are doing it. It’s become a “trend” now. I know people who used to smoke in cigarettes because rolling papers weren’t available in India. All this is very new and still has to grow. I believe the cannabis market in India has a bright future because the number of users are increasing and the market is huge, if legalized the government can make a huge profit while also increasing the quality of the stash.

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