Youth Against Illicit Drugs International
Frequently Asked Questions About

 Frequently Asked Questions About

Alcohol and drug abuse are defined as patterns of drinking or using drugs (prescription and illicit) that result in harm to a person’s health, well-being, relationships, and productivity. A person who abuses drugs and alcohol is not necessarily an addict. However, abuse of these substances is a risk factor for developing an addiction because continuous abuse can lead to physical and psychological dependence.

If you or someone you love wants to get help for alcohol or drug abuse or dependence, call our around-the-clock referral helpline at +233 0245 585 131 for assistance with finding a treatment center.

Factoid: Binge drinking (consuming five or more standard drinks in one session) more than two times is considered alcohol misuse. Using prescription medication for non-medical purposes is classified as prescription drug abuse.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Statistics

Alcohol is the oldest drug around. It is also the most widely-used and almost 50 percent of people aged 12 and over have consumed alcohol worldwide. Most people are able to consume alcohol responsibly. However, for one reason or another, some people abuse alcohol and develop addictions. According to Drug information from the Narcotics Control Board of Ghana (NCOB) states that approximately the use of drugs among the young people in Ghana has indreased to 61 percent since 2001 and still increasing.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 79,000 deaths per year are the direct result of excessive alcohol consumption. It is the third leading cause of death (life-style related) in the nation and the leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24+. In 2005, excessive alcohol caused 4 million emergency room visits and many hospitalizations. About 2,000 people under the legal drinking age (21) die annually in car crashes due to alcohol and it is involved in nearly 50 percent of all teen deaths involving violence.

Drug Abuse is also a major concern for our country and the whole world. According to the latest drug information from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), drug abuse costs the United States over $600 billion annually in health care treatments, lost productivity, and crime. If great nation like America is facing such challenges what then will happen to a developing nation like Ghana concerning drugs? In 2009 alone, over 2.1 million visits to the emergency unit and other health facilities were related to drug abuse, as follows:

  • Non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs (27 percent)
  • Illicit drug use (21 percent)
  • Combination of alcohol with drugs (14 percent)
  • Eighty percent of patients were 21 or older
  • Over 200 of the visits were related to cocaine use among the youth
  • The most common drug combination was alcohol and central nervous system depressants (over 519,000)

However, the cost to the individual is often immeasurable because drug and alcohol abuse can lead to lost relationships, child and spousal abuse, and unemployment.


Approximately 75 percent of people who use illicit drugs are employed, leading to an increased risk for having an accident on the job.



Men are more likely to binge drink than women are. The average is 12.7 episodes of binge drinking per year for men vs. 2.7 episodes per year for women.

Understanding Overdoses.
Most people who struggle with drug addiction face the issue of tolerance buildup. After continuous use, the body becomes less and less stimulated by the drug. This may cause a person to begin using higher dosages to obtain the same high. Although the person may not feel as high, the damaging properties of the drug cause the same amount of harm. If the body receives a level of drugs that it cannot tolerate, this leads to an overdose. While some overdoses occur after continuous use, they can also happen after one single use of a drug. Signs and symptoms of a drug overdose include:

Losing consciousness
Fever or sweating
Breathing problems
Abnormal pulse
Change in skin color

If any of these signs are present, or if you believe a person might be having an overdose, seek life-saving medical attention immediately.

Getting Clean and Sober
The decision to seek out a clean and sober lifestyle is one of the most important steps in the recovery process. Since addiction is such a widespread condition, anyone seeking help will find numerous options for treatment. These treatment options are designed to help walk a person through the steps to sobriety, which can make the transition easier. By calling +233 0245585131 or filling out the quick contact form, we can help guide you toward the right option for your situation.

How an Intervention Works.
Deciding to stop using drugs may be a difficult decision for a person to make. Even if drugs are causing a disruption in a person’s life, the compulsion to abuse substances habitually often overcomes any desire to quit. In some cases, the family and friends of an addict may consider holding an intervention.

During an intervention, each person needs to plead with the person to consider rehabilitation. While it is important to confront the person with the harsh realities of his or her drug use—including the negative effects the drugs have on the person’s relationships with loved ones—this confrontation should be one tackled with compassion and an understanding of the struggle of drug addiction.
Methods for Drugs Withdrawal and Detoxifying from Drugs

Before an addict can begin a rehabilitation program, full withdrawal or detoxification may be necessary. During this process, the body adjusts to its drug-free state and rids itself of the remainder of the drug. Some detox programs use controlled amounts of medicinal drugs to help a person through this process.

Rehab and Addiction Treatment Options
A doctor or addiction specialist or counselor can help each individual find the right rehabilitation or treatment option. The setting is determined by individual needs, so some people may benefit from an inpatient rehab, while others may thrive by using an outpatient program. At the core, the goal is to help a former addict assimilate into a drug-free life as easily as possible.

The most commonly used treatment options for addiction include:

Psychotherapy, which helps patients learn how to resist and redirect compulsions.
Support groups
Individual counseling

If you want to know where to look for help for someone with a drug problem, call +233 0245585131 or fill out the easy contact form to learn about your options.
Aftercare and Relapse Prevention

Relapse is best prevented by structured cognitive-behavioral therapy. By learning about drug abuse prevention and avoid situations that may cause compulsions or cravings, a person is more likely to retain control and make the decision not seek out or use drugs. Utilizing therapy or support groups as aftercare options can reduce the potential for relapse.
Support Groups and Recovery Tools.

The guidance of an experienced peer can be invaluably helpful to someone going through the initial steps of sobriety.

At times, an addiction can seem like a personal struggle that no one around you understands. For this reason, drug addiction support groups can help recovering addicts find comfort in their peers. Depending on the person’s location, there may be a single support group for anyone recovering from an addiction, or there may be groups tailored to those recovering from a specific drug. In addition to providing support as a group, these organizations often pair up new members with existing members who have maintained sobriety for an extended amount of time. The guidance of an experienced peer can be invaluably helpful to someone going through the initial steps of sobriety. If you need help, please do not hesitate to contact YAIDI or read more visit:

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When teens were surveyed to find out why they started using drugs in the first place, 55% replied that it was due to pressure from their friends. They wanted to be cool and popular. Dealers know this.

They will approach you as a friend and offer to “help you out” with “something to bring you up.” The drug will “help you fit in” or “make you cool.”

Drug dealers, motivated by the profits they make, will say anything to get you to buy their drugs.

They will tell you that “cocaine will make your life a party” and that “heroin is a warm blanket.” If you take Ecstasy, “you can be with a lot of girls.”

They don’t care if the drugs ruin your life as long as they are getting paid. All they care about is money. Former dealers have admitted they saw their buyers as “pawns in a chess game.”

Get the facts about drugs. Make your own decisions.

Drugs are more harmful to your health Please stay away from drugs.


Between 2011 and 2012, an estimated 8.9% of adults in used an illegal drug. For young people aged between 16 and 24, the figure was 19.3%. Although this is the lowest level of drug use since we started collecting figures in 1996, drug misuse continues to have a negative effect on the health, wellbeing and quality of life of too many people.

It also drains public resources. For example, crimes related to drugs cost the UK £13.3 billion every year.


We want to reduce the number of people misusing illegal drugs and other harmful drugs and increase the number of people who successfully recover from dependence on these drugs. We also want to restrict the supply of drugs and identify and prosecute those involved in the drug trade.

We also have plans for reducing harmful drinking.

Preventing young people from becoming drug misusers

It is important that we encourage young people to live healthy lives and that they know the dangers of misusing drugs. We also need drug services to help young people as soon as possible if they have a problem with drugs.

We are:

  • supporting children in the first years of their life so that we reduce the risk of them engaging in risky behaviour (like misusing drugs) later in life
  • providing accurate information on drugs and alcohol through drug education and the FRANK service
  • making it easier for headteachers to take action against pupils who are found dealing drugs in school
  • through the Business Rates Retention Scheme (which includes what was the Early Intervention Grant), giving £2 billion to local councils, between 2014 and 2015, which they can use to create programmes to help prevent young people misusing drugs in the first place
  • helping young people who have problems with drugs by giving them treatment and support, including supporting them in other areas of their life (for example with housing or mental health problems), so that they don’t return to drug use as a way of coping with these problems
Helping people recover from drug dependence

We want people who are dependent on drugs to be free of drugs for good. We also want treatment to include help with problems that might encourage people to start misusing drugs again after they are drug free.

We’re testing a new way of commissioning treatment services that for the first time involves ‘payment by results’ - paying treatment providers for getting 3 types of results:

  • services users become free from dependence on drugs and/or alcohol
  • reduced re-offending or continued non-offending
  • improved health and wellbeing

We are piloting this approach in 8 areas over 2 years, and it will be independently evaluated.

Helping offenders who misuse drugs get treatment

Prison isn’t always the best place for offenders who misuse drugs. Our Drugs Intervention Programme refers offenders to treatment services as early as possible in their contact with the criminal justice system.

We are:

  • making the programme more flexible, so that local areas can adapt it to suit their local communities
  • launching new ‘recovery wings’ in prison, to help prisoners become drug free before they move back into the community
  • funding a programme to support prisoners who have recovered from drug dependence when they move back into the community, so that they are less likely to go back to misusing drugs
Providing information on what works best

From April 2013, local councils, supported by Public Health England (PHE), will have responsibility for helping people to live a drug-free life. They will be able to create information, support and treatment services that meet the needs of their local communities.

We will continue to fund research into what works best – and we will share that information with PHE, local councils and other relevant organisations to use in their services.

Restricting the supply of illegal drugs

We restrict the supply of illegal drugs by classifying and controlling drugs, including new psychoactive substances (known as ‘legal highs’).

The establishment of the National Crime Agency will help us co-ordinate national and international efforts to reduce the supply of drugs.


In 2010,  GOV.UK published the national drug strategy for England. The strategy sets out our plans for helping people to live a drug free life.

We publish annual reviews of the strategy. These update our progress in meeting the aims of the strategy and identifying priorities for the coming year. The first annual review of the strategy reports on the progress we have made and sets out the steps we will take next.

Positive trends in a number of areas include:

  • drug use remains at its lowest level since measurement began in 1996, across all age ranges (children and young people as well as adults)
  • numbers of people completing drug treatment free of dependence are at a record level
  • drug-related deaths have fallen over the last 3 years
Who we’re working with

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is an independent expert body that advises government on drug-related issues in the UK.

The Home Secretary and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs work to a joint working protocol. This covers their roles and responsibilities in commissioning and receiving drug-related advice, as well as the membership of the Advisory Council and processes for temporary class drug orders.

Each year, after consulting other relevant government departments, the Home Secretary writes to the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to set out the government’s drug priorities. The Advisory Council will include these in its work programme, along with the work it has chosen to consider.

Bills and legislation Misuse of Drugs Act 1971

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 is the main law to control and classify drugs that are ‘dangerous or otherwise harmful’ when misused.

The act lists all illegal (or controlled) drugs in the UK and divides them into one of 3 ‘classes’ – A, B and C – based on the harm they cause to individuals and society. Class A drugs are considered the most harmful. This is commonly known as the drug classification system.

The act makes it illegal for people to:

  • possess illegal drugs
  • possess illegal drugs with intent to supply
  • supply or offer to supply illegal drugs (including giving them away for free or sharing with others)
  • produce illegal drugs
  • import or export illegal drugs
  • allow a house, flat or office to be used by people to undertake any of these unlawful activities

Illegal drugs can be added to the act by a parliamentary order after consultation with the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. The Secretary of State can temporarily add new drugs to the list of controlled substances until a decision is made about whether they should be permanently controlled.

The act provides the flexibility to control harmful drugs (including under a temporary class drug order) by:

  • naming them or defining them by chemical name individually, such as cannabis and cocaine
  • the use of generic definitions which capture families of drugs that are chemically related, or potential analogues and derivatives of, the main drug, for example, anabolic steroids, cathinones, piperazines, synthetic cannabinoid agonists, phenethylamines and tryptamines
  • capturing simple derivatives, such as salts, esters or ethers, of the controlled drugs (whether these are defined individually or captured by generic definitions)

The act and its associated regulations also enable organisations to carry out legitimate activities involving controlled (illegal) drugs, many of which are used in healthcare.

Since 2010, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 has been amended to control new drugs, including a number of new psychoactive substances:

  • a new range of synthetic cannabinoids, methoxetamine and other related compounds and O-desmethyltramadol
  • desoxypipradrol (2-DPMP), its related compounds and phenazepam
  • naphyrone and other synthetic cathinones, tapentadol and amineptine
Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001

The Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 allow for the lawful possession and supply of controlled (illegal) drugs for legitimate purposes.

They cover prescribing, administering, safe custody, dispensing, record keeping, destruction and disposal of controlled drugs to prevent diversion for misuse.

In 2012, we made a number of changes to the 2001 Regulations. The changes covered:

  • nurse and pharmacist independent prescribers
  • the mixing of medicines for administration to patients that include controlled (illegal) drugs
  • possession authorities under patient group directions
Other regulations

The Misuse of Drugs (Safe Custody) Regulations 1973 set the minimum storage requirements for some illegal (or controlled) drugs. They apply to care homes and retail pharmacies, and are applied as minimum standards in other healthcare settings.

The Misuse of Drugs (Supply to Addicts) Regulations 1997 restrict the prescribing of cocaine, diamorphine and dipipanone for the treatment of addiction to doctors licensed by the Home Office (and in Scotland, by the Scottish government).