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The slow kill – psychoactive substances

The slow kill - psychoactive substances

Chemical substance that impacts the central nervous system by altering brain functions, responses, change in mood and perception and causing hallucinations and disorientation can be termed as Psychoactive Substance.

The “High”!

There is enough historical evidence and documentation showing how psychoactive substance can alter normal behaviour and induce a sense of “high>”. The truth about psychoactive substances is quite ugly and today young adults / adolescents are at the highest risk of getting exposed and addicted to psychoactive substances like different kinds of drugs, alcohol or tobacco.


“sychoactive substances today are used as a coping mechanism. Boredom – get high, heart break – “get stoned”, work pressure – “get zonked”; for millennials drugs and other chemical substances stand for “quick fixes”.

How does a psychoactive substance help as quick fix? “There are chemicals in alcohol like ethanol, which soothes the nerves and induces a sense of ease by slowing down neurotransmitters in the brain. As a result an individual feels “liberated”. Liberated is a state when thoughts and memories become in-coherent thereby corrupting normal motor responses and physical coordination. Psychoactive substances like sedatives, hallucinogens, cannabis, opioids. cocaine, tobacco, even painkillers have muscle-relaxant properties, elements which trigger hypnosis and sedation.

The Slow Kill:

Psychoactive substances are very harmful. Here are some scary facts and statistics on the effects of psychoactive substances on young adults –

  • Young adults on drugs commit more crimes 
  • Young people under the influence of psychoactive substances are at higher risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and AIDS
  • Young people using drugs are reportedly the ones who complain more about depression, anxiety disorder, hyper-sensitivity and stress.
  • Overdose of substances as heroin and cocaine has fatal outcome. 

Why are Young Adults at risk?

  • Easy Access & Affordability: In the Indian society smoking and drinking are acceptable social behaviour (but for an adult). This somehow encourages young people to use psychoactive substances like cannabis and hallucinogens because they can be mixed with tobacco. So one of the primary reasons why this group of people are at risk from psychoactive substances is because of the easy accessibility of such drugs and its affordability.


  • Social Setting: Researches have shown that adolescents or young adults from higher income group are the ones who indulge in long-term addiction. A lot of social factors, like peer pressure, parental disengagement, status and competitiveness drive young crowd towards “quick fixes”. On the other hand underprivileged children are at a risk of early exposure to psychoactive elements. Home environment, domestic abuse, unemployment are the main factors behind the use of drugs and alcohol.

Social Awareness:

It has only been a few years for enterprises and social bodies to come out and speak openly about issues related to psychoactive substances; all this while it was considered “indecorous” to talk about such issues in public. However, with the rise of awareness campaigns people have been subjected to the horrors of psychoactive substances. Yet not enough is done to provide better rehabilitation and counselling choices to the youth of the rural communities, the ones who are exposed to the use of drugs from a very early age. Only a very small segment of the society has the privilege (mostly the urban educated people) to make a clean exit from the grip of drugs and other substances.

Remember psychoactive substances can wreak havoc on the lives of your loved ones. The long term effects of psychoactive substances and drugs are life threatening. Therefore you need to exercise vigilance when it comes to help a friend or family member quit psychoactive substance. The disclaimer “Alcohol is injurious to health” and “Smoking kills” are real so act now or regret later.

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