Drug awareness is on the increase today, but we all tend to forget that alcohol is also as addictive as a drug and as damaging too! It gives rise to several other social and physical problems in a person who takes to drinks.

The effect of alcohol on a human brain is complex. Moderate drinking seems to reduce the person’s tension, fear and inhibition and elevates his mood. Heavier drinking cause irritability and abrupt mood swings making a person feel ‘down and out’. Most murders of strangers are committed under the influence of alcohol.

A psychoactive drug is a chemical that acts on the central nervous system and alters the brain function. The person’s perception, mood and behavior are temporarily changed. Fusion of senses, increased alertness and euphoria created by the drug make a person sink deeper and deeper into drug abuse.

Drugs which produce hallucinations change the way in which a person sees his inner and outer worlds. Sounds may be altered, color may be intensified and time comes to a grinding halt. The drug user becomes disoriented, panicky and is often dangerous to the people around him.

A host of symptoms give away the drug addict. Sleeplessness, blood shot red eyes, vomiting, diarrhea, dilated pupils, watery eyes and runny nose are the symptoms parents can not and should not miss. Other symptoms are loss of appetite, changes in personality, mood swings and avoidance of social interaction etc.

Children must be encouraged take up other interesting activities like games, team sports, movies and music. They must be kept away from parties where drinks and drugs flow freely. Parents must become good friends of their children and teach them to say a firm “NO” whenever drinks or drugs are brought to them. Parents themselves must stay away from drinks and drugs and set good examples to their children.

Today creating drug awareness and drug rehabilitation are the major tasks in several countries worldwide. Remember the old adage,” Prevention is better than cure.”

Visalakshi Ramani