Hello everyone, and welcome to our blog to follow our journey as we explore substance abuse issues. We are four Social Service students from Laurea Tikkurila campus. In this blog, we want to open up, discuss, and voice our own opinions and hopefully raise topical issues, related to substance abuse problems and their treatment and prevention.
This winter we will also carry out a
project relating on substance abuse, which will hopefully also give us more
insights and new perspectives on substance abuse treatment and problems.
I stumbled upon an article a few classmates of mine posted in our Facebook group. The article in question is about Portugal decriminalizing drugs in 2001 in order to stop the extreme rise in heroin use.
The use of
substances has always been a part of the Finnish culture. Production of moonshine
has long traditions in Finland and during the war, soldiers were offered drugs in
order to avoid exhaustion in unbearable circumstances. During the same time, pharmacies
sold prescription free medicines enhanced with cocaine and heroin (Kemiallisia
unelmia. 2017). Drugs enhanced stamina, but in order to endure the horrors of
war, the soldiers tried to alleviate the anxiety mainly by drinking (Niemi. 2015).
While sitting here in my favorite pizza place, a fight starts between a couple, sitting in a table next to me. It ends up going so badly that the owner has to call the cops and the man ends up spending the next night in a jail. These people are a well known couple, with addiction problems in my neighborhood. But what can be done to help these people, when they don’t seek help themselves?
I first started to think what substance abuse is and what my own idea of it is? What first comes to mind when thinking of substance abuse are drugs, but of course it can also be many other things. Constant use of substance in a harmful manner that negatively affects your mental, physical or social life is a simple definition of substance abuse. But when do you become a substance abuser and not just a person who is using some substance? When will it become a problem and harmful to you? I think its use becomes harmful when it starts to have an effect on your everyday life and has an impact on your personal relationships. Although, broad range of substance abuse in today’s society is not that simple.
Something that also awoke a discussion in our group was question ‘is alcohol a drug? Yes, alcohol is legal in Finland for over 18 year olds. You can use it and it doesn’t mean right away that you are an alcohol abuser. Only when it harms you, your health, your social relationships, etc., is when it becomes alcohol abuse.
But, what about drugs? There has been a lot of discussion about drugs. Can they be used in medicine? Are they harmful if you only use it occasionally? In Finland it is illegal to use, sell or hold drugs without prescription. The most common discussion that I have paid attention to has been the occasional use of cannabis. Many say or feel that they are recreational cannabis users (so-called party users) and do not perceive it to have serious harmful consequences.
A junkie. Someone, who lives for doing drugs. Indifferent. Uncontrollable and reckless. Steals, lies, cheats. Scary, aggressive, dangerous. Pathetic, miserable. Dirty. Hopeless.
These are images that may pop up, when we think of a junkie. How does someone become a junkie? When I was a teenager, in the 90’s, a police officer visited our school to give us a lecture about drug abuse. He showed us what hasch looked like and his main message was: don’t try drugs, because if you do, you’ll get hooked. As many of us experienced during the upcoming years, for ourselves or through friends and family, this isn’t necessarily how it works.