Addressing Drug Misuse

Chapter 1:
Background to the Research Problem

Drug misuse involves the use of illicit and harmful substance for the purpose that is not legally consistent or appropriate according to medical guidelines (Barnett and Fitzalan Howard, 2018). The increased drug misuse creates negative impact on the health and functioning of the individuals and continuous intake of such substances leads the individual to grow dependence on it or become a part of the wide spectrum of harmful and problematic behaviour (Victor et al., 2017). The Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs in the UK mentions drug misuse as a condition that often causes psychological, physical, social or legal problems for individuals as a result of intoxication, dependency and/or excessive consumption of the drug (, 2018). Thus, drug misuse is seen to be a major problem regarding which enhanced discussed is required to explore the topic in detail.

Problem Statement

According to the WHO reports, total of 269 million individuals (1 in 20 people) over the world between the age of 15-64 year are using drugs. This is more than 30% increase in the misuse of drugs since 2009 (UNDOC, 2020). In 2020, in the UK, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, 1 in 11 individuals between the age of 11-59 years have taken drugs. The report further informed that 21% of individuals who are mainly students and ranges from age of 16-24 years in the UK are involved in high drug use compared to other individuals (, 2020). This indicates that drug misuse has become a major problem in the global condition as well as in the UK and teenagers along with young people are the key consumers of misused drugs.

The drug misuse among students leads them to face cognitive deficient which affects their thinking and memorising capability. This in turn negatively affects their performance in studies and makes them incapable to develop fair results required to build better career through involvement in high studies (Espelage et al., 2018). In contrast, the study by Williams et al. (2018) mentions that drug misuse among the students has become an issue because it is making them involved in crime. This is because the increased drug misuse leads the students to grow dependency on them. It creates need of money for buying drugs which usually they do not have due to unemployed state makes them involve in criminal activity to earn money in maintain steady supply of drugs for them.

The drug misuse among the student has currently become an issue because according to the study Bennett and Holloway (2018) 10% of the crimes are found to be caused student under the influence of drug. Moreover, 14,485 teenagers in 2019 in the UK are found to be in contact with drug misuse (ONS, 2020). This indicates that the key problem is that drug misuse is major issue among the students which is adversely affecting their health and lifestyle. Therefore, the current student is to be developed so that the detailed information about the cause behind the rise of the issue and its effect on the health of the students can be identified to develop strategies in resolving the issue.

Justification of the Research

The drug misuse leads to create array of health complication among teenagers and young people who are still studying such as involving in sexual behaviour, contacting HIV through use of same syringe, deteriorated cognitive deficit and others (Degenhardt et al., 2017). The other study by Talih et al. (2018) mentions that students who are involved in drug use show high rate of depression and anxiety which often leads them to use the drugs for attempting suicide. The other challenges created by drug misuse are absenteeism and dropping out of school (Fernández-Suárez et al., 2016). Therefore, the research topic of identifying the cause and impact of drug misuse among the student is justified as it would lead to create idea about the strategies to be used in avoiding the rise of the misuse to help the students have better life and health.

Significance of the Research

The significance of the study is that it is going to create awareness about the key reason behind the rising statistic of drug misuse and preference among the students. Moreover, it would highlight the problem to be faced as a result of drug misuse among students for which necessary interventions are required to promote he health of the individuals.

Chapter 2:
Literature Review

The illegal intake of non-prescribed and abusive drugs is considered as drug misuse by individuals (Coffin et al., 2020). The four key categories of drugs used for addiction and misuse purpose are stimulants (cocaine and others), opium-related pain killers (marijuana, heroin and others), hallucinogens (LSD and others) and depressants (alcohol and others (Sisay et al., 2017). The family history of addiction is considered to be one of the causes of drug use. This is because of the genetic predisposition among the family members and social circumstances of the family which inclines the children at an early age to get involved in taking and misusing drugs (Hasam and Mushahid, 2017). The presence of peer pressure to use drug for the first time and remain socially connected leads the individuals to gradually develop addiction toward taking drugs (Hasam and Mushahid, 2017). In contrast, the stud by Edmundson et al. (2018) mentioned that presence of increased depression and anxiety among the teenagers regarding their education and career leads them to use drugs. This is because the drugs help them to overcome their psychological pressure and offer them ability to relax from worried attitude.

The short-term impact of misusing illicit drugs includes change in appetite, increased sleepiness, higher heartbeat, lured speech, deteriorated cognitive ability, loss of coordination with reality and temporary sense of euphoria (Morewitz, 2019). The long-term impact on health out of using stimulant drugs such as methamphetamines and cocaine is that it causes damage of the blood vessels in the heart which makes the individual experience coronary artery disease, stroke and heart attack (Fischbach, 2017). The long-term effect of use of opioids that are mainly taken through smoking cause damage to the respiratory system by destruction of alveoli and aberration in the inner lining of the lung resulting individuals to develop chronic respiratory diseases and infections (Vozoris, 2019). The opioids with long-term use causes problem towards binding of specific receptors in the brain which are responsible in managing respiration in turn leading individual to experience shortness of breath (Vozoris, 2019). The increased intake of drug also causes kidney damage as long-term effect in which the filtering capacity of the kidney is reduced leading to deposition of waste in the body which cause internal infection and organ damage (Mallappallil et al., 2017). Thus, it indicates that drug misuse is a major health problem that leads to cause deteriorated physical and mental health condition. Therefore, focus on the existing studies relevant to the topic is required to gather enhanced information regarding further cause and impact of drug misuse on student who are key sufferer on this context.

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Purpose of the Research

The purpose of the research is to identify causes of common drug misuse by students and its impact on their physical and mental health.

Research Objectives
  • To identify the common types of drugs used for misuse by the students
  • To analyse the impact of common drug misuse on the physical and mental health of the students
  • To evaluate the challenges faced to provide drug management intervention to the students
  • To recommend strategies to be used to reduce substance abuse among students
Research Question
  • What are the common types of drugs used for misuse by the students?
  • How the common drug misuse impact on the physical and mental health of the students?
  • What are the challenges faced to provide drug management intervention to the students?
  • What are the strategies to be used to reduce substance abuse among students?
Chapter 3:
Research Methodology

The secondary research method will be used in executing the study. This is because it leads to gather scientific and logical data from existing experimental results in the studies within less time and expenditure of money compared to primary research (Richards et al., 2018).

The electronic search strategy will be used in gathering data for the study. In this process, the platform that will be used include CINHAL, Goggle Scholar, MEDLINE and others. This is because the platforms contain wide number of articles and journals from the globe regarding any medical or health topic such as one explored in the study. The keywords will be used which are “Drug Misuse”, “health impact of drug misuse”, “nature of drug misuse”, “prevalent effect of drug misuse among students” and others.

The inclusion criteria that will be considered in the study are journals and articles published on and after 2015, written in English, contains primary and secondary results, academic and related to drug misuse among teenagers and students. The exclusion criteria will be articles published before 2015, not written in English, contain data regarding substance abuse among teenagers and students, non-academic and partially available with access to only abstract. Since the researchers have only knowledge regarding English, therefore the research papers to be selected for the study will be written in English so that they can derive required data in meaningful way from the articles. The articles published after 2015 will be included as they contain most valid and current data regarding the topic, in turn, avoiding raising error due to inclusion of backdated data in the study. The articles containing qualitative and quantitative data will be included so that both form of data can be involved to create an enriched study.


Barnett, G.D. and Fitzalan Howard, F., 2018. What doesn’t work to reduce reoffending? A review of reviews of ineffective interventions for adults convicted of crimes. European Psychologist, 23(2), p.111.

Bennett, T. and Holloway, K., 2018. Drug and alcohol-related crime among university students. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology, 62(14), pp.4489-4509.

Coffin, P.O., Rowe, C., Oman, N., Sinchek, K., Santos, G.M., Faul, M., Bagnulo, R., Mohamed, D. and Vittinghoff, E., 2020. Illicit opioid use following changes in opioids prescribed for chronic non-cancer pain. PloS one, 15(5), p.e0232538.

Degenhardt, L., Peacock, A., Colledge, S., Leung, J., Grebely, J., Vickerman, P., Stone, J., Cunningham, E.B., Trickey, A., Dumchev, K. and Lynskey, M., 2017. Global prevalence of injecting drug use and sociodemographic characteristics and prevalence of HIV, HBV, and HCV in people who inject drugs: a multistage systematic review. The Lancet Global Health, 5(12), pp.e1192-e1207. 2020, Drug misuse in England and Wales, Available at:[Accessed on: 26 December 2020]

Edmundson, C., Heinsbroek, E., Glass, R., Hope, V., Mohammed, H., White, M. and Desai, M., 2018. Sexualised drug use in the United Kingdom (UK): a review of the literature. International Journal of Drug Policy, 55, pp.131-148.

Espelage, D.L., Davis, J.P., Basile, K.C., Rostad, W.L. and Leemis, R.W., 2018. Alcohol, prescription drug misuse, sexual violence, and dating violence among high school youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 63(5), pp.601-607.

Fernández-Suárez, A., Herrero, J., Pérez, B., Juarros-Basterretxea, J. and Rodríguez-Díaz, F.J., 2016. Risk factors for school dropout in a sample of juvenile offenders. Frontiers in psychology, 7, p.1993.

Fischbach, P., 2017. The role of illicit drug use in sudden death in the young. Cardiology in the Young, 27, p.S75.

Hasam, M.A. and Mushahid, M., 2017. Drug addiction in urban life of Bangladesh: A sociological study for exploring the causes. Asia Pacific Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, 5(2), pp.1-10.

Mallappallil, M., Sabu, J., Friedman, E.A. and Salifu, M., 2017. What do we know about opioids and the kidney?. International journal of molecular sciences, 18(1), p.223.

Morewitz, S.J., 2019. Substance Misuse and Drug Overdose. In Clinical and Psychological Perspectives on Foul Play (pp. 197-223). Springer, Cham.

Richards, D.A., Hanssen, T.A. and Borglin, G., 2018. The second triennial systematic literature review of European nursing research: Impact on patient outcomes and implications for evidence‐based practice. Worldviews on Evidence‐Based Nursing, 15(5), pp.333-343.

Sisay, M., Mengistu, G., Molla, B., Amare, F. and Gabriel, T., 2017. Evaluation of rational drug use based on World Health Organization core drug use indicators in selected public hospitals of eastern Ethiopia: a cross sectional study. BMC health services research, 17(1), pp.1-9.

Talih, F., Daher, M., Daou, D. and Ajaltouni, J., 2018. Examining burnout, depression, and attitudes regarding drug use among Lebanese medical students during the 4 years of medical school. Academic Psychiatry, 42(2), pp.288-296.

UNDOC 2020, UNODC World Drug Report 2020: Global drug use rising; while COVID-19 has far reaching impact on global drug markets, Available at: [Accessed on: 26 December 2020]

Victor, G.A., Walker, R., Cole, J. and Logan, T.K., 2017. Opioid analgesics and heroin: Examining drug misuse trends among a sample of drug treatment clients in Kentucky. International Journal of Drug Policy, 46, pp.1-6.

Vozoris, N.T., 2019. Opioid utility for dyspnea in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a complicated and controversial story. Annals of palliative medicine, 9(2), pp.571-578.

Williams, W.H., Chitsabesan, P., Fazel, S., McMillan, T., Hughes, N., Parsonage, M. and Tonks, J., 2018. Traumatic brain injury: a potential cause of violent crime?. The Lancet Psychiatry, 5(10), pp.836-844.

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