Drug counsellingis important, as people have used recreational drugs as long as history goes back, but many users today don’t have all the facts. From ancient wine and ale makers, to those who would use and abuse the plants around them, getting high has always been a part of all human cultures, but no recreational drug is without harm, even if it’s not always obvious. Today we’re looking at three recreational drugs that are used every day in New Zealand, with life-threatening results.
1. Beer, wine and spirits
The most commonly abused drug in New Zealand is also the easiest to get, and alcohol is more damaging than many illegal drugs. According to the Ministry of Health’s most recent Health Survey, 20% of Kiwis use alcohol in a hazardous way. Additionally, 23% of high school students reported having abused alcohol in the last four weeks.
Being drunk increases erratic behaviour and lowers inhibitions, which can cause users to exhibit violent or disruptive behaviour that they wouldn’t normally. It also damages tissues, vital organs, and is a known carcinogen.
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire
Another legal drug that causes harm is tobacco. The good news is that New Zealand’s smoking rate is the lowest it’s ever been, with only 16.3% of people reporting they smoke at least a cigarette a month. The bad part is that the societal harm from tobacco use is still significant, being responsible for 9% of New Zealanders’ total health problems.
Smoking increases your risk of lung cancer, respiratory illness, and countless other problems. It harms almost every organ and system in the body. It is also responsible for societal harm, and this is concentrated in lower socio-economic brackets. Highly addictive drugs like tobacco distort users’ brain chemistry and make them lose sight of what really matters to them, for example, buying cigarettes before food for their children.
The risks of opioid addiction
Opioid-based medication is very common pathway into addiction, and anyone prescribed opioids should be aware of this. Taking opioids for long periods of time greatly increases the risks, but knowing the facts is important for everyone, especially because many may not even realise how prevalent opioids really are.
While they are more of an issue overseas (opioids are the leading cause of overdoes in the modern U.S.), well-known brands of high-grade pain medication – such as OxyContin or Vicodin – are in fact opioids. A big part of the danger these drugs pose is around the perception of them; just because they could be prescribed to you by a doctor doesn’t mean they can’t be abused.
The addiction to these drugs stems from the fact that they work by activating significant portions of the reward centres of the human brain. Opioids are designed to release endorphins in order to drown out pain. This is great for short-term pain relief, but requires steady oversight, as it can be a powerfully addictive feeling.
Are recreational drugs causing harm in your circle?
It’s never a fun topic of conversation, but if you or someone you know might have a drug problem, seeking help could be the best thing you can do for them. Unfortunately, the public system often lets people fall through the cracks. For a New Zealand leader in holistic drug rehab, contact Zen Detox today.