The earlier in life one introduces drugs in his body the larger is the probability that he/she will continue on long term problematic use of drugs, not withstanding the negative consequences that such use may bring along. The harm ranges from social difficulties to conflicts in relationships, involvement with the criminal system, medical complications as well as difficulties related to mental health.
Studies continuously demonstrate that substance abuse (including alcohol and nicotine which are also psychoactive substances) at a young age such as teens and even younger has a more devastating and long-lasting effect due to the brains tenderness which is still in its development till the age of around 25.
Youth is an experimental age. It is the time in life where youths start to gain independence while exploring the new things life has to offer. Acceptance by peers and being part of a group is one of the main goals at this age bracket. It is a learning curve, where impulsion may take a more prominent factor in the youth’s decision-making process. To add to the mix, drug experimentation at this stage in life has a strong impact on the brain’s pleasure pathways, where this hedonistic effect serves as a positive reinforcer to continued drug use.
On the 26th of June, the OASI Foundation commemorates its day of institution. 2020 marks its 29th anniversary. Since its birth, OASI Foundation has been disseminating and empowering the importance of preventing substance abuse amongst our younger generation. This is being done through its prevention strategy which does not only involve the dissemination of information in schools, local councils, work and social groups. A very important and vital approach towards drug abuse prevention is providing a primary pleasurable and recreative incentive for young people to engage in activities such as sports and arts. The OASI Social Awareness team works hard in creating and enforcing a culture of participation in these social pleasurable activities.
It is worrying for the OASI Therapy and Rehabilitation Team to have even 15-year olds applying and accessing both residential and community-based therapy because of addiction difficulties caused mainly by cocaine and cannabis abuse.
The 26th of June is also the World Day against drug use and illicit trafficking. This day has been established by the United Nations. On this day, OASI Foundation wants to reinstate that promoting a culture where drugs (including alcohol and nicotine) can be used for recreational purposes is highly socially corrosive. We are unfortunately meeting cases of locals and foreigners who are reaching out for drugs to obtain spiritual experiences and healing. Apart from the huge amount of money that is being snatched, the mental risks being faced are enormous.
On the anniversary of the Foundation, we would like to end this communication with the slogan by which the Foundation began its mission – Life is Beautiful! There is light at the end of the tunnel for those who are feeling hijacked by addiction.