Conference Focuses on Impact of Drug Abuse

Conference Focuses on Impact of Drug Abuse

Drug addiction is not just a social problem or a health problem; it is also a financial problem. A report in The Guardian focused on information shared at a conference at the Delta Prince Edward.  This conference took place as part of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine’s (CSAM) annual meeting and focused on the consequences of drug use. Jag Khalsa, a pharmacologist with the U.S.-based National Institute on Drug Abuse’s NISA, told those in attendance that drug addiction costs the U.S. billions of dollars every year due to the more than 200 million drug addicts throughout the world.

As part of NISA, Khalsa manages the medical consequences of drug abuse and co-occurring infections branch. This part of NISA focuses on research in the effects of drug use. Khalsa was quick to point out that while drug abusers have been known to contract and spread infections, HIV and hepatitis are not the only types of illnesses that can occur as a result of drug abuse.

Drug addiction is considered a disorder of the brain and therefore much research is done on this area to determine the best approach to treatment. At the same time, those who abuse drugs are also abusing their brain and the impact can have lasting effects.

For instance, one study in Canada focused on the use of marijuana and what it can do to the brain. In this study, women who smoked marijuana during pregnancy were studied, as well as their children as they got older. The results of this study showed the detrimental effect marijuana had on the children of women who smoked the drug while pregnant.

The perception of drug use and abuse is contributing to the problem and until perception can be changed to truly attack the problem, it will continue to be a cost to the social, health and economic welfare of communities around the world.

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