Road to 5**:Drug abuse

[2020.05.04] 發表
This picture shows an outreach program launched by North District Hospital to help drug abusers, including the man second from left, a drug-addict for twenty years who has successfully kicked the habit.

【明報專訊】As pointed out by the Narcotics Division of the Security Bureau, drug abuse has a detrimental effect on health. It leads to problems such as derangement or hallucinations that could last for days, while some drug abusers could even suffer from unconsciousness, loss of memory or even death. Figures from the Action Committee Against Narcotics show that the overall number of drug users as reported in December 2019 fell by nearly 20 percent from the same period in the previous year, but there was a constant increase in the number of marijuana users.

Marijuana as ''culture''

Marijuana leaf patterns have had a profound influence on Western culture. They have also found their way into fashion and are often featured in the clothes of some brands. There are also songs produced by indie musicians that contain references to marijuana use. The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups said in December 2018 that marijuana had become a symbol of trendiness without many noticing. The group said that it was very popular in 1990s Hong Kong before it was replaced by other drugs like cocaine and ketamine. Around four to five years earlier, however, marijuana made a ''revival'' and became particularly popular among young people. Easy access to the drug online and in recreational facilities and its relative cheap price were reasons for their renewed popularity.

E-cigarettes lead to higher incidences of marijuana use

Having analyzed more than 20 studies of people between 10 and 24 years of age, researchers in the US and Canada pointed out in August 2019 that people who smoked e-cigarettes were 3.5 times more likely to use marijuana than those who did not smoke e-cigarettes. Furthermore, teenagers under the age of 17 were more likely to use marijuana than those between 18 and 24. Researchers said that the outcomes illustrated that e-cigarettes should be regarded as harmful substances that can cause addictions rather than less harmful substitutes for cigarettes.

Getting high together

According research commissioned by the Narcotics Division of the Security Bureau and published in March 2019, 41.8 percent of students who took drugs did so in the homes of their friends, classmates or neighbours. Over 70 percent of secondary or tertiary students who took drugs did so with their friends. ''Curiosity'' was the most common reason why senior primary school students did drugs. It was also the most common reason why secondary and tertiary students did drugs for the first time behind ''seeking excitement'' and ''peer influence''.

Translated by Terence Yip

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