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Substance abuse is the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances and illicit drugs. Generally speaking substance abuse is used to include alcohol however since it has already been described earlier this write up will restrict itself to Psychoactive substance use that can lead to dependence syndrome – a cluster of behavioural, and physiological phenomena that impairs cognitive mental ability which develops after repeated substance use and that typically includes a strong desire to take the drug. Substance users or more correctly abusers have difficulties in controlling their urges. They also face withdrawal symptoms when their drug use is stopped even if temporarily. Also their dependence on drugs leads them to consume increasing dosages of that drug until their health is ruined.

Substance abuse is rooted in history. Probably the oldest large scale substance abuse was opium. The most classic case of this abuse was in China where opium exported by the British nearly destroyed an ancient civilisation. Other than this however substance abuse was usually less widespread. The advent of modern pharmacology and international trade is creating new drugs or supplying drugs in distant lands from a particular location like Columbia for example.

Drugs most often associated with the modern coined term include cannabis, cocaine, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methaqualone, opioids and some substituted amphetamines like methamphetamine and MDMA. However new kinds of drugs are coming up almost every day and the younger generation is falling prey to this lure. There are many reasons for the increase in substance abuse among the younger generation. Current stressful lifestyles, urbanisation and even lower parental guidance and control due to the breakdown of joint family and emergence of nuclear family where both parents are working are some of the important pertinent reasons. Substance abuse has many damaging consequences