This report is based on the prevailing issue of drug abuse among Sri Lankan teenagers and the spread through social media. This analyses the continuous increasing trend of drug spread and how social media influences to boost up the spread.
This issue is being discussed since it has become a burning problem in Sri Lanka and the dark shadow of this is now being falling on the younger generation of the country.
The purpose of this report is to thoroughly address the above mentioned issue and find/suggest, as well as implement solution which will be adaptable in the Sri Lankan context in order to gradually reduce and eliminate the drug menace from Sri Lanka.
This report is covering the issue on local aspect. Hence this is limited to the territory of Sri Lanka. However, the solutions suggested are taken through foreign research implementations. The information foe this report is collected by analyzing newspaper articles and online publications. (references are mentioned)
The report divided into five categories as follow,
- Introduction to the issue and the present situation.
- Causes behind drug addiction
- Methods of drug propagation
- Solutions which are already implemented in Sri Lanka
Introduction to the issue and the present situation.
Sri Lanka is experiencing a major problem with drug abuse. When we investigate on this problem it revealed that because of social media the youth get addicted to drugs in a major way. The usage of drugs among youth has increased and it has become a severe problem in the society too. While investigating we found out around 250,000 youth has been addicted to drugs. Out of 50,000 addicted to heroin alone. Annually 2,500 go to rehabilitation centers because of drugs.
External factors affect youth towards the usage of drugs. Some children upload videos in social media. Some of them try to follow them as trials. For an example; some students believe and try to prove the memory power get increased when they use drugs. Youth (age 13-24) become sick, they are aggressive, they can’t control themselves, they lose their memory, and they become unconscious, also leads to prolong kidney failures, heart strokes, and liver failures.
10 years ago there was a less amount of youth who addicted to drugs. But when analyzing the recent past, the number has increased rapidly. These are some reasons behind;
- Sri Lanka has become an exchange point of drug dealers.
- Drug dealers try to earn more profit in their business and they get more quantities. They target youth to sell drugs and then to their business partners.
Causes behind drug addiction
For most people, the initial first decision to take abuse into drugs is voluntary. But as they are swept up into the process of addiction, the medium pathways in their mind change so they are less able to control their behaviour and resist their intense impulses.
Among Youngers, drug addiction might start with experimental use of a recreational drug in social situations, and, for some others, the drug use becomes more often. For others, particularly with opioids, drug addiction starts with exposure to prescribed medications, or receiving medications from a friend or relative who has been prescribed the medication.
1) Social media
The trending drug abusing path, is social media which is more popular within the Youngers. Social media make connections between whole worlds, various people, and various companies all together and, social media also become as addiction drugs eventually.
Basically there are few ways, this is happening through social media.
- Illegal companies advertise their products in social media to gather targeted people.
- Drug addicted users make others to addictive for find drugs.
- Drug dealers or someone who contacted with them, organizing parties, event from social media, where you could easily find drugs.
- Youngers always look for new things to experiment. When some friends might post photos of they using drugs, Youngers who see obviously, may want to try it.
2) Causes of environment
Environment also plays an important part in making an addiction, because environment influences behavior. The environmental factors which may influence to drug addiction
- Isolated and absence from good social connections.
- Stress and family history.
- History of abuse or neglect.
- No extracurricular activities.
- faced injustices from society.
Drug addiction may be influenced by inherited traits.
4) Lack of self-esteem.
The Mental Health and Counselling Center of the University of Texas reported that law self-esteem can lead to lack of self-development and tendency to drugs or alcohol consumption. Law self-esteem caused for many number of Drug abusing conditions. Likewise, if well-confident awaked person could prevent his addictions when, he felt that addiction at the first place.
There are so many direct and indirect causes to drugs. Some people take pill for illnesses, but in order to reduction of drugs they used to have more. However, drugs are not good for additionally uses. We should keep eyes on our youth for a better future.
Propagation of drugs
• Social media
This section mainly describes how drugs extend to the social and other ways. Social media is the one of the main way extends drugs and control to improvement of technology people move to use technological method which is easy to use rather than use old methods. Recent studies show that 92% of teen age (13-17) go online every single day those data show that how easy to abuse drugs to young generation through the social media
• Drug parties
Drug parties also main key factor of spreading drugs. Drug parties mainly develop through social media especially social media like fb (main). Give small drug tablets having an even better time with party
Those drug parties including 3 categories
- Depressants- gamma haydroxylbutrayte, Marijuana
- Stimulants – Cocaine, amphetamines, methylamphetamies
- Hallucinogens – Lsd and MDMA
• Peer pressure
Peer pressure is one of the main factor which leads to teens using drug as they say
Younger teenagers are the easiest victims. Recently studies show that 75% of teenagers seeing photos on social media networks of other teens using drugs, smoking weeds which encourage more teens getting drugs(In silence 20%-25%) of teens using drugs.
Drug connectivity mainly based on social media. In social media advertise drug ads, Using pop up drug ads. In this case they(Drug dealers mainly target how to create a drug customer because some how they want spreading the drugs so that drug dealers they make create pages, groups, and some kind of messenger app(like WhatsApp, Viber, Messenger )
Peer is also main part of spreading drugs
Ex- by giving drug toffees in front of school gates
Film industry (Most of the drug company like tobacco they give money for film industry
If you advertise our drug product we will give that kind of money
(Drugs companies main target is advertise their product and create a drug customer as well as spreading the drugs through social
Family and friends
Most commonly family and friends through spreading drugs
If the father is abusing drugs like cocaine, son also same like that most probably
If the friends using drugs other friends also like to use drugs. In older system specially influence this system now also same scenario but gradually reduce when compare older system.
Suggestions introduced to control drug addiction
The following is the description on the suggestions we bring forward to control the issue of spreading drugs. This is mainly divided into two aspects as the general ways and the ways of controlling drugs by using social media.
It is about restructuring someone’s normal life through training after him being exposed to imprisonment or addiction of drugs. This method is the most common method to recover the drug addicted people
2) Drug Awareness Programs
Drug awareness programs can be conducted to rescue the younger generation from being addicted to drugs as well as to recover the already addicted people. Here, these programs can mention about how drugs are being spread, being addicted, and the consequences. Also, can give an understanding to parents and elder generation about the background in order to prevent youth being addicted to drugs.
Prevention through social media
1) Conducting Facebook and Instagram hashtag campaigns
As per a successful social media campaign done in England, it revealed that they have conducted a Facebook campaign asking to post about ideas they bear relating to drug addiction under hashtags and then rewarded the most influencing people. In Sri Lanka also we can implement such activity.
2) Introducing safe word filters
We suggest the social media administrators to implement safe word filters to social media posts, so that the posts containing offensive and drug attractive words will get banned. This is also a successful solution implemented by other countries.
3) YouTube contests
It is another successfully implemented solution which started in USA and then spread across the world. According to this, competitive contest can be started via YouTube to publish influencing video clips about drug addiction and consequences. After that can introduce a rewarding system for most trending videos. As per the digital platform in Sri Lanka, this will be famous among youth and will be a successful solution.