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How can we prevent addiction to harmful substances?

Launcher karenb
Status Closed Mediated Closed 3 years, 5 months ago
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Medical anthropology


Addiction to harmful substances such as alcohol and drugs is truly one of our society's social ills. Should our society be doing more to help curb addiction to these harmful substances? What do you think is the best course to take to prevent addiction?

What do you think about Ibogaine, which is being labeled as a miracle herb that can cure addiction?

Answers (2)

  • Icarus
    Aug 21, 2011

    The prevention of addiction to harmful substances is more often a social issue than anything else, there are of course cases of addiction that results from the abuse of drugs that are legally prescribed to cure legitimate afflictions (addiction to pain killers for example) but a majority of substance abuse stems from both environmental and societal factors. Finding ways to prevent people from turning to addictive substances is to understand the reasons why they turn to these things in the first place. The best way to stop a bad habit is to deal with it at its source and the same can be said on preventing addiction.

    There are many theories on why people turn to addictive substances which, according to Psychology Today, are mostly imperfect and none of which completely points out the reason with any certainty.[1]

    As many abuse prevention websites, forums and books repeatedly point out, the prevention of substance abuse begins at childhood. Proper parenting, well developed community programs and the understanding of people who are sensitive to the personal issues of an individual is a key step in making sure that they never turn to drugs or alcohol in the first place. It is never too early to talk to your children about the dangers of addiction and it is recommended that you do.[2]

    A few of the factors that increases the risk to addiction are the following:

    1. Personality: Sometimes addiction can begin from someone who was just curious at what a drug/substance can do for them. Many say they just want to test it out and that the chances of them becoming addicted is minimal or even non-existent. Then a few tries later they discover that they cannot let go of it. In these cases it is important to remember the dangers that these substances can cause and avoid them entirely.

    2. Peer Pressure: Trying to fit in is a need that we all feel. If the people around you are using drugs or alcohol, it increases the risk that you would do so as well just so you do not feel left out. As with the first risk factor, knowing the dangers it poses and proper guidance from childhood can help prevent them from even trying it.

    3. Depression, Loneliness, Anxiety: Sometimes, emotional instability causes people to turn to addictive substances to cope. Realizing that someone you know is suffering from emotional problems and helping them deal with their problems may prevent them from turning to substance abuse.

    As for your second question, the research into the use of Ibogaine as a way to cure addiction is still ongoing. As the substance is banned in the US among other countries like Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark and Sweden, scientific research has been considerably slow. There are numerous side effects that are caused by taking Ibogaine like nausea, lack of muscle coordination and dry mouth and several fatalities have been attributed to taking Ibogaine (though never factually confirmed due to the drug's legal status and lack of information about it). Until further medical tests are done, Ibogaine as a “miracle cure” to addiction is still long in coming.[4]


  • sidsha2
    Sep 09, 2011

    Addiction is a bane to the society. The major evils of the world are a result of addiction may it be to drugs, alcohol or prescription medication. The society for that matter cannot do much in curbing addiction as it is a personal habit or inkling to a potentially hazardous substance. The addict is in a state of denial about his or her apparent addiction and its harmful affects. They usually do not realise the outcomes of the addiction unless or until they are faced with the health issues related to it or after committing an offence.

    Therefore the addiction can only be curbed when the addict realises the after affects of his or her addiction and shows courage and will power to stay clean of that substance. As an example I was addicted to coca cola and would consume about a litre a day. This led to weight gain, loss of concentration, unhealthiness, teeth discoloration and degradation of physical well being. When one fine day I decided to quit it all together. It was my will power that carried me through it, and now about 1 and a half years after I can say i'm totally of coca cola.

    Now as an answer to your question about the best course of action, the best course of action is counselling. This is to make the addict understand the harmful affects of his indulgence. Then he should be coaxed in quitting the habit all together. For this purpose the most important thing is family support. Who should also be counselled on how to deal with the person and not give into his demands.

    Ibogaine in my perspective is not a fool proof cure for addiction. It is used in moderate amounts to wean of dependency to pain killers. The side affects of Ibogaine are immense ranging from hallucinations, to neuromuscular dis-coordination and the most important one is dependency on Ibogaine. So for one you will never initiate a substance which in itself has a tendency to become addictive. No one would like to cut him or herself again just to heal another wound.


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