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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 154-160

Investigating the factors stimulating and inhibiting drug abuse according to educators, officials, teenagers and young adults in the city of Isfahan

1 Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
2 Institute of Farhang Pajouhan Danesh, Isfahan, Iran
3 Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
4 Psycho Somatic Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

Date of Web Publication27-Feb-2015

Correspondence Address:
Hamid Nasiri
Medical Science University, Isfahan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2395-2296.152235

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Introduction: Given the current widespread nature of drug abuse worldwide, decrease in the average age of drug abuse and changing the drug abuse patterns from traditional drugs to industrial and synthetic ones and due to the negative consequences of drug abuse, investigating the subject of drug abuse has a high priority. The goal of this study is to determine the factors stimulating and inhibiting drug abuse among teenagers and young adults. Methods: This study uses descriptive field method. Subjects included 600 individuals (300 individuals selected from among educators, managers, cultural and law enforcement officials, psychologists, social workers and consultants of government and private sectors and nongovernmental organizations in the city of Isfahan and 300 teenagers and young adults). The samples were selected using nonprobability and random sampling methods and were personally interviewed by psychology experts. The results of the interviews were categorized and coded and reported using descriptive statistics. Results: The most important stimulating factors for drug abuse in the target group are need for happiness and lack of proper recreational activities, facing problems and stress due to unemployment, mental and psychological problems and shortcomings and failures. Also, the most important factors inhibiting drug abuse are sports, proper recreational activities and being employed. Results and Discussion: The results of the study showed that the views of both groups regarding drug abuse were similar and related to each other. Therefore, since prevention is better than cure, creating opportunities for entertainment, recreation and employment is of great importance.

Keywords: Drug abuse, inhibiting factors, prevention, stimulating factors

How to cite this article:
Samouei R, Tayebani T, Sohrabi A, Ebrahimi A, Nasiri H. Investigating the factors stimulating and inhibiting drug abuse according to educators, officials, teenagers and young adults in the city of Isfahan. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2015;1:154-60

How to cite this URL:
Samouei R, Tayebani T, Sohrabi A, Ebrahimi A, Nasiri H. Investigating the factors stimulating and inhibiting drug abuse according to educators, officials, teenagers and young adults in the city of Isfahan. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 May 7];1:154-60. Available from: https://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2015/1/2/154/152235

  Introduction Top

Threefold growth of drug abuse in the current decade has turned drug abuse into an international problem [1] and Social Commission for Global Health (1999) included drug abuse among the four most threatening factors worldwide. [2] Drug abuse and addiction lead to loss of social and financial resources, have numerous negative consequences and are the reason behind many physical and psychological illnesses and social problems. On the other hand studies show an increase in the drug abuse in Iran, decrease in the average drug abuse age, [3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12] increase in drug abuse among women [13] and change of the drug abuse patters from natural drugs to injected and industrial drugs. [10],[14],[15],[16],[17]

These statistics show a bleak picture of the future and can lead to adverse consequences in the society. In general, drug abuse leads to waste of social, financial and human resources and is the reason behind many of physical, psychological and social problems. [18] Therefore, investigating the factors stimulating and inhibiting drug abuse is necessary. Investigations show that there is no general consensus regarding the addictive behavior or subjects among the experts of this field. In other words, drug abuse is a multifactorial phenomenon and can have personal, social, environmental and domestic reasons. Therefore, most recent studies concentrate on stimulating factors and etiology, [19] and there are reports regarding the relation between drug abuse and personal traits such as thrill seeking behavior, [20],[21],[22] weak control over thrill seeking and low self-esteem, [23],[24] modernistic enthusiasm, low risk aversion and high reward seeking behavior in teenagers, [25] psychological turmoil and emotional and behavioral problems in teenagers, [26] psychological illnesses and vulnerabilities, [27] stress lack of necessary stress management skills, [28] antisocial and conduct disorder, [29] depression, anxiety and great need for being validated [30],[31],[32] and felonious and hyperactive behavior. [33]

Among other factors affecting drug abuse in teenagers and young adults are environmental factors such as family, school and peers and relations with other victims of drug abuse. [28],[30],[33],[34],[35],[36],[37],[38],[39],[40],[41],[42],[43],[44] Some studies also reported that educational factors such as academic failure [45],[46],[47],[48] and social factors [49],[50],[51],[52],[53] can affect drug abuse.

Since numerous factors can lead to drug abuse, especially when one considers different social, group and age factors, a number of different approaches for dealing with drug abuse have been proposed by the experts of this field. In information dissemination approach, the hypothesis is that the main reason behind drug abuse is ignorance about its adverse effects. [54] Some studies show that this approach and simply increasing awareness doesn't lead to prevention, and some even believe that this method can stimulate the curiosity of people thus increasing the risk of first-time drug abuse. [55] Therefore, one needs to use more complex social models in order to prevent drug abuse.

In affective education approach, the emphasis is on the psychological factors and etiology of drug abuse. Despite the positive points of this approached, its great emphasis on etiology and using inefficient methods such as using exercises instead of educational methods for teaching the necessary skills leaded to no great improvement in prevention of drug abuse. [55]

In the alternative approach the especial needs and experiences of subjects are considered, for example, the need for education or energetic activities is satisfied using activities such as sports. If the alternative methods are not selected with enough care, this approach can yield inverse results. [56]

In the social influence approach, the emphasis is on the social and psychological factors that are believed to affect drug abuse. For example, the start of smoking in many teenagers is due to presser from peers and relations with friends who themselves smoke. [57] Therefore, the methods for fighting these social and psychological factors are thought to the subjects. The most important weakness of this method is disregarding personal factors.

Integrated social influence approach (or competence enhancement approach) believes that drug abuse is the result of both social and personal factors. Therefore, the emphasis is on personal management and teaching of social skills. [58]

Due to the importance of identifying the stimulating and inhibiting factors in drug abuse, the current study aims to identify these factors according to educators, officials, teenagers and young adults in the city of Isfahan.

  Methods Top

This study uses descriptive field method. The statistical population included expert groups (including educators, managers, cultural and law enforcement officials, psychologists, social workers and consultants of government and private sectors and nongovernmental organizations) and risk groups (teenagers and young adults) in the city of Isfahan in year 2009 (1388). The study sample included 300 members of each group for a total of 600 participants that was selected using nonprobability and random sampling methods and interviewed. Data gathering was carried out using semi-structured interviewing. In the interview of experts group, five open questions were used with each one relating to the area of the expertise of the one being interviewed while target group's interview consisted of eight open questions. The field interviewers were educated to prevent them from leading the interviews, making it possible to extract precise information from the content of the interviews. In order to interview teenagers and young adults, the interview team visited places where these age groups frequented such as cultural and art institutes, stadiums, mosques, parks and addiction treatment centers. In order to analyze the gathered information, the content of the interviews was categorized and coded, and frequency and percentage of each one was reported.

  Results Top

The findings presented in [Table 1] show that the three most important factors in drug abuse are need for happiness and lack of proper recreational activities, dealing with life problems and stress and unemployment, respectively.
Table 1: Frequency distribution and percent of the answer to question "The reasons behind drug abuse in teenagers and young adults" by teenagers and young adults

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Most of the teenagers and young adults that were interviewed considered unemployment, psychological distress and illnesses and deficiencies and shortcomings to be the major stimuli in drug abuse [Table 2].
Table 2: Frequency distribution and percent of the answer to question "Situation or characteristics that stimulate drug abuse" by teenagers and young adults

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The findings shown in [Table 3] suggest that according to teenagers and young adults sports, Proper recreational activities and gaining suitable employment are among the best alternative solutions to drug abuse.
Table 3: Frequency distribution and percent of the answer to question "Alternative methods to drug abuse" by teenagers and young adults

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Educators and officials believe that cultural activities to be the most important factors in inhibiting drug abuse in teenagers and young adults and specifically believe sport activities, Entrepreneurship and Creating joyful recreational spaces, camps and tours to have the best effect in inhibiting drug abuse [Table 4].
Table 4: Suggestions by university professors and officials and experts of cultural and law enforcement regarding alternative solutions for drug abuse

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  Discussion Top

According to teenagers and young adults of Isfahan the most important factors for inclination toward drug abuse are need for happiness and lack of proper recreational activities, life problems and stress, unemployment and bad friends [Table 1].

According to the result presented in [Table 2], the target group considers similar factors such as unemployment, psychological and mental disorders, shortcomings and pressure from friends to be the important factors for inclination toward drug abuse. Other studies report the factors stimulating drug abuse. Some of these factors are depression and anxiety reported by Assarian et.al (2004), depression and peer pressure reported by Molavi and Rasoolzade (2004), lack of proper recreational activities reported by Vafayi and Shahamfar (2004), peer pressure reported by Forooghodin et.al (2004), gaining happiness and addicted friends by Ziaodin (2006), unemployment and lack of recreational facilities by Allahverdipour (2006), curiosity by Najafi et.al (2006), harmony with peers by Farhoudian (2006), curiosity, pleasure and Exhilaration by Keyvanara et.al (2007), peer pressure by Barooni et.al (2007), harmony with peers by Syam (2007), friendship groups by Fezallahi (2008), need for happiness and curiosity by Beyrami (2008), curiosity and unemployment Conger (1979), addicted friends, depression and anxiety by Forman and Linne (1991) psychological illnesses by Weiner (1992), psychological disorder by Brook and Newcomb (1995), extreme thrill seeking by Brown et.al (2001) and Acton et.al (2002), harmony with peers by Agrawal (2007) [59],[47],[60],[40],[38],[62],[13],[63],[64],[9],[43],[41],[42],[65],[29],[26],[25],[23],[22],[66] which are in agreement with the results of this study.

Due to their high energy, thrill seeking and active nature, teenagers and young adults need to have access to recreational activities. Therefore, these age groups always look for ways to get their happiness and thrill. If the proper methods and recreational activates are present in the society, teenagers and young adults rarely seek improper methods. However, when there is a lack of proper recreational activities, teenagers, and young adults seek other methods to satisfy their desires and recommend them to their peers; these methods might not be proper or productive. Although the need for recreational activities differ from person to person, in order to guide the energy of the youth toward the betterment of the society, one needs to make sure everyone has access to enough outlets to satisfy the demands of his or her energy and thrill seeking.

On the other hand, technological, cultural, economic, and industrial changes have changed the life conditions, needs and beliefs of people. These changes can lead to a contradiction, conflict, frustration, and stress that can have negative and adverse effects on a person especially in the long term. Therefore, if people are unfamiliar with proper counters and management methods, lack proper support and have weak and passive will, they will be more susceptible to trying methods suggested by others without thinking of the consequences.

Unemployment is one of the other factors that increase the inclination toward drug abuse in teenagers and young adults. Unemployment can be analyzed from two perspectives: (1) being unemployed and the inability to find employment and (2) inability to fill the free time caused by unemployment in a productive manner. Unemployment causes the person to feel unless, impotent and dependent on others. However, the second consequence of unemployment (too much free time) is of even greater importance. When a teenagers or young adult has a lot of free time but no reliable plan for filling the said free time, it creates a lack of plan and purpose which makes one susceptible to suggestions offered by others regardless of their consequences.

In some situations, the psychological, mental and spiritual characteristics of a person can stimulate drug abuse. These risk inducing characteristics need to be controlled and cured. Some people seek easy ways to reach their goals regardless of the consequences. Other times curiosity and a desire for knowledge can lead people to take up drug abuse. Many will never believe that curiosity that is normally thought to be a positive characteristic can create problems for them.

According to teenagers and young adults of Isfahan, sports, proper recreational activities and employment are the major factors inhibiting drug abuse [Table 3]. Also, educators and officials considered cultural and social activities especially sports activities, Entrepreneurship and creating joyful recreational spaces, camps and tours to be able to inhibit drug abuse in teenagers and young adults [Table 4].

In other words, the results shown in [Table 3] and [Table 4] complement each other and show that both the target group (teenagers and young adults) and officials have identified the factors inhibiting drug abuse and are in agreement with each other. In these results, sport is considered to be a productive activity which provided ample opportunities for strengthening body and mind and a suitable outlet for the pent up energies of the youth. Being involved in sports activities gives one a certain mentality that reduces the chances of selecting unhealthy and damaging paths.

On the other hand, cultural activities help people to use their creativity and empathy. Those involved in these activities learn to accept responsibilities, create ideas and participate in group activities and thus satisfy part of their social needs. Young people are full of energy and excitement and therefore need to participate in fun and enjoyable activities, alone and in groups. If these needs are not met, they will show themselves in other forms. One can say that these activities are the bottleneck that controls the lives of teenagers and young adults who are by nature excitable and thrill seeking and often don't have the prudence and experience of older people. Also, constant supervision is required to keep the programs designed for youth healthy and on the right track.

Artistic and musical activities help people to create a happy environment for themselves and others. Also, empowerment of traditional and religious beliefs helps the youth to know the history and traditions of their country and feel proud of their heritage instead of rejecting it, which can be the answer to suppressed emotions and lack of identity present in the youth.

From an economic point of view, there is great emphasis on entrepreneurship and creating suitable work environments for the youth because after entering a certain age teenagers and young adults desire to be independent, especially from a financial point of view. Young adults who have recently graduated from collage but are unable to find employment can't easily depend on their parents' support. Being forced to depend on others when they desire to be independent can lead them toward unhealthy and dangerous behaviors.

  Conclusion and Suggestions Top

The results of this study show that various cognitive, attitudinal, social and personal factors affect the inclination of the teenagers and young adults toward drug abuse and that these target groups are in need of more attention. One interesting fact shown in the results is that based on the opinion of the interviewed people, the factors stimulating and inhibiting drug abuse overlap with each other. Therefore, one can conclude that the best prevention method is one that considers a wide variety of factors stimulating and inhibiting drug abuse. Also sports activities, employment and joyful recreational spaces, camps and tours are among the needs of the target group and given the fact that prevention is better than cure, planning for satisfaction of these needs and other needs of teenagers and young adults if of great importance.

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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4]


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