The Causes of Drug Abuse in Hong Kong Prepared by: Table of Contents Introduction—————————————————————P . 4 Causes of abusing substances by young people P. 5-6 Causes of Abuse and Difficulties of Giving Up P. 7-8 Motivations hindered behind for risking lives-P. 9-10 Hong Kong Youth Caught in Wave of Ketamine Addiction P. 11-12 Insights into the motivations of the drug user in Hong KongP. 13-14 Conclusion—————————————————————-P. 5 Works Cited—————————————————————P. 16 Appendix A-“An Examination of the Relationship between Stress and Substance Abuse in Young People in Hong Kong” Appendix B-“ Cough Syrup Abuse among Young People in Hong Kong: Causes of Abuse and Difficulties of Giving Up” Appendix C- Suicidal Behaviours Among Illicit Drug Users Appendix D- “Hong Kong youth caught in wave of ketamine addiction” Appendix E-“Psychoactive drug abuse: Insights into the motivations of the drug user in Hong Kong” Appendix F: Checklist
Introduction Have you even thought of taking drugs for the following reasons: seeking pleasure, boosting confidence, using drugs as a mean for social integration, being addictive to drugs and escaping from reality? Recently, the upward trend of young drug users has been witnessed. More and more people are concerned about the misuse of drug because of its side effects. As drug abuse can be a suicidal behavior leading to the death of human and create serious addiction, it is not a matter that can be ignored or delayed.
Other than seeking solutions for solving the problem of drug abuses, we are more interested in investigating the motivations hindered behind. For this reason, this paper will examine the causes of drug abuse in Hong Kong. Caused for abusing substances by young people Alfred, Chan Wai-yip, a master student of social sciences in Hong Kong deduced the reasons behind drug abuse by teenagers. He believed that teenagers possess some specific characteristics. They are longing to excitement, discovery and stimulation.
They long for constructing a sophisticated and mature self-image. They try to exhibit to be independent by acting rebel. They are obsessive for peer approval. The above characteristics are very likely the reasons behind the initiation of teenage drug abuse and peer approval is the key reason in Alfred’s point of view. (11-12) He deems there are some factors leading to teenagers’ addiction to drugs. There are insufficient propagandas by the government and the public organizations to raise the teenagers’ perception of risk on drug abusing.
The tendency to withdraw from the distasteful real life with the relax feeling arise from drug abusing. Alfred listed some data gathered from the public organizations such as Human Services Policy Centre, Hong Kong Playground Association etc. , to support his opinions. (13-14) He also defined “stress” with McNAmara(2000)’s models. Teenagers could be under stress according to the definition and it is one of the sources of the distasteful experiences in their life. So he brought up that stress is one particular reason for drug abusing.
It was supported by the research conducted by the Scout Association of Hong Kong in 1990 that drug abusing is one of the stress-coping methods. (15-19) In this part of the dissertation, the writer included the general causes for teenage drug abusing. I agreed that these are the possible reasons behind the issue. Adolescent is a development period. Teenagers develop physically as well as psychologically. I guess the psychological development is responsible for their characteristics which initiate drug taking. In my teenage years, I was sometimes very confused.
I tried to act like an adult but my thinking was still very childlike. As a result, I made some wrong decisions. I believe that drug abusing is an immature decision made by the teenage drug abusers. Therefore, adult guidance is very crucial to teenagers. I usually expect to obtain guidance from my parents. Also, most teenagers are students. They are probably facing a lot of pressure for their academic performance. These ideas could explain that most teenage drug abusers came from inharmonic families or performed badly in school.
Perhaps, they are just trying to have a moment of peace. If we want to tackle the problem of teenage drug abuse, we have to deal with the base of the problem, the inharmonic families or the high pressure from school work. Causes of Abuse and Difficulties of Giving Up The causes of teenage drug abuse are mainly the inquisitiveness, desire of high feeling, peer effect and negative emotions of the abusers according to the article. The intentions of several respondents using cough syrup A-K are being found out through interviews and thorough study of their cases.
For many of those interviewees, they start taking drugs because they are interested in the feeling of taking drugs. Usually, they will get a high feeling when they take drugs. This feeling is a main reason for the teenage drug abuse. Many teenagers have an emotion of sadness from their parents, schools and friends. They want to release the bad feeling through these means. The “high feeling” from the drugs make the teenagers get addicted. Moreover, the peer influence is another major reason. They don’t want to be teased as weak and cowardly.
Even though they know that it is wrong, they will still try it. Most of the time, they misunderstand that drugs can reduce the pain of their sorrow. These illusions make the teenagers Intoxicated of the drugs. All the fore-mentioned are the origin of teenage drug abuse. For me, I recognize drug abuse as a problem possessing serious threats to the whole society. The consequences of the issue, indeed, affect not only the drug abusers, but also ruin the atmosphere of the entire community. As a matter of fact, drug abusers are absolutely not the only group of people responsible to the problem.
Instead, this responsibility should be shared by different parties in the society. For instance, the government should make teenagers clear about the drawbacks of taking drugs through education. As we know from the article that many people lured to drug because of their curiosity. If sufficient information and guidance are given in lessons, adolescents will think twice before taking the first step into those evil substances. Moreover, parents also play a very important role in keeping their children on the right track. According to the interviews in the article, many teenagers start taking rugs when they are depressed. It is believed that the possibility for a teenager to get in touch with drugs will sharply decrease with the loves and cares of their parents. Not only the government and parents, in fact, every individual in the society can do minor things in their daily life to fight against drugs. These actions should not be delayed any more. Motivations hindered behind for risking lives The socio-demographic features of drug users are low educational level and suffer from negative life events and poor interpersonal relationship.
For those working force with lower educational level, they tend to take drugs. (76-77) Researches indicate that there is strong correlation between taking drugs and negative life events such as unemployment, debts, chronic pain or illness and receiving psychiatric treatment. Their help seeking behaviors are also associated with their drug habits. Drug abuse is prevalent among those people who have difficulties in seeking help. Besides that, there is also a link between interpersonal relationships with family and friends and drug taking habits. 78-80) Those who are having relationship problems with family members and closed partner have greater chance to engage in drug abuses. For example, it is popular for people who experience sadness such as having broken relationship within past 12 months and having their families or friends passed away to take drugs. Higher possibility is witnessed for those who use drugs to escape away from tragedies. (77-79) Moreover, personal cognitive thinking will also affect one’s decision to use drug in an inappropriate and suicidal way.
Less hope, high depression, loneliness and anxiety tend to induce people to stick to drugs. (80-81) In my opinions, I regard drugs as something required professionals’ advice and misuses of them will lead to adverse effects. Addictive behaviors of drugs are obviously a side effect of drug abuses. For those with lower educational background, their ignorance may push them to be drug abusers. It is silly to use drugs as a mean to escape from negative life events. Everyone will experience negative life events such as unemployment and illness as well as tragedies.
Stressful life may create sadness and pressures. However, drugs are not the solution. After taking drugs, more serious problems may come along. For instance, illicit drug use is a criminal act in Hong Kong and drug abuse creates harmful effects to health. Those with interpersonal problems like poor communication skills may treat drugs as a stimulant to boost their confidence. Although they may become more confident and easier for them to integrate into certain social class after taking drugs, the root problem of their weak interpersonal skills does not solve.
I think everyone knows the impacts of drug abuse. It must be something outweighed the temptation that causes drug abusers to risk their lives, may be sadness. Therefore, more supports should be given to drug abusers for them to overcome these temptations. Hong Kong Youth Caught in Wave of Ketamine Addiction The number of illicit drug users under the age of 21 has increased by 57%, a dramatic increase in Hong Kong’s narcotics statistics over the last four years. And amongst others, Ketamine, an animal tranquilizer, labeled as a recreational drug, has become the most popular substance.
According to police officials, Hong Kong youth have been caught in a wave of Ketamine addiction due to oversupply of it and the fact that compared to others; it is much cheaper and easily accessible. Other reasons behind its addiction are troubled homes and difficulties in school. Most of the Ketamine available on the streets of Hong Kong illegally, are trafficked from China, notably from across the border in Shenzhen. The problem, however, is that the age group of Ketamine users is lower than ever with police reports showing youth as young as 13 who have been arrested for drug offenses.
Principal Alman Chan of Hong Kong’s drug rehab school for youth is familiar with this trend as he notices around 40 or one third of his students are now aged 15 or younger whereas there was only one of that age group 14 years ago. Police have grown more concerned with this trend and have stepped up their efforts in ending Ketamine addiction. Random drug tests in school are the latest plan by authorities. Some two dozen schools have been selected as a trial for this program. The article started with few anecdotes which told by police. Also they showed Hong Kong’s narcotics statistics to demonstrate that how grave is it.
This article’s main idea is the age of drug abuse is getting younger and younger. It explained how and where the teenagers can easily get those Ketamine and the reasons of teenage drug abuse. For the solution, they started to random drug tests in school, but I don’t think it is such a good idea. Those students are taking the drugs because they want to avoid their problems by using drugs. I don’t really think that those teenagers who have troubles in school, they won’t be at school often. So even it is a random test, it has possibility to miss those people who are really illicit drug users.
Furthermore, they can cheat, such as put the others urine or the other ways. Also in my opinion, it might take quite long time to check everyone’s urine. To better find other solutions which can be quickly catch them and cure their problems. It was quite good to write about a drug rehab school in Hong Kong and I hope that teenage drug users plucked up their courage and go to this school and get a new life. Insights into the motivations of the drug user in Hong Kong Reasons for drug abuse relate directly to the kind of society where the activities take places. In Hong Kong, different reasons of drug abuse in different decades.
For example, “Hedonistic”(1960s), “Escapism”(1970s-1980s), “Peer influence”(1990s). In the thesis, the author found that there are five motivations of drug abuse in Hong Kong: 1) hedonism or pleasure seeking 2) peer influence 3) addiction/avoidance of withdrawal symptoms 4) escapism 5) boost confidence. Some motivations have remained constant in the last 50 years – pleasure seeking which leads the list of reasons with 57. 9 percent of participants citing it as their motivation for drug use. Peer pressure/influence and escapism appeared as reasons in the 1970s and have endured.
In fact, peer influence has become more powerful as a reason. In government surveys, 36. 2 percent of drug users cited peer influence as the reason in 1995, but that figure grew to 53. 2 percent in 2009. While addiction or avoidance of withdrawal symptoms remains a strong reason, its importance has waned slowly since the mid-1990s (47. 5 percent in 1995 and 35. 7 percent in 2009 from Table 1) owing perhaps to psychoactive substances replacing heroin as the drug of choice. Psychoactive drugs appear to have fewer physiological withdrawal symptoms than heroin.
From this thesis, the author said that Hong Kong have emerged a new motivation of drug abuse – boosting confidence. These days, many drugs users have not got enough confidence and good communication skills. Thus, drugs would knock down inhibitions, boost confidence and facilitate interpersonal skills, bringing them closer to friends, encouraging intimacy and even boosting performance at work. Most of them take drugs to rebuild communication and social skills. Some drug users think that taking drugs can simply help create a strong, daredevil and macho image.
In this survey, their root problems appear to be inhibition or shyness, lack of communication and social skills and confidence which are affecting how they socialize with other people and develop relationships, and their performance at work. There are three explanations for reasons of drug abuse – 1) Association with Generation Y, 2) Association with stress at work and school, constant need to outperform, 3) Association with quick fixes. Conclusion According to our articles, the problem of teenage drug abuse in Hong Kong is becoming more serious.
The main reasons are their troubled home, difficulties in school, desire of high feeling and their curiosity. Most of drug abusers know the harmful effects of taking drugs. Still, they chose to be a drug abuser for several reasons. We have to figure out possible ways for them to giving up drug taking. Moreover, we need to do something to prevent more teenage drug abusers. Now, the teenage drug abusers are suffering from their mistakes. We hope that the society put more effort to care about them and do not ignore this dangerous problem for their future and next generation. Appendix A/p. 1 An Examination of the Relationship between Stress and Substance Abuse in Young People in Hong Kong” Submitted by Cheng Wai-yip, Alfred for the degree of Master of Social Sciences at the University of Hong Kong in 2004 Chapter 2 (pages 11-19) 2. 2 Causes for abusing substances by young people Adolescent is a time of varied desires. Some of these desires include the need for: (1) excitement, discovery and stimulation; (2) a sophisticated and mature self image; and (3) independence (which usually manifested itself as some kind of rebellion). Perhaps the most influential desire is the need for peer approval.
In general, adolescents want to be perceived as cool, mature, sophisticated and independent. In order to be perceived in this way, they needed to ‘nurture’ their image by speaking, acting, and behaving in certain ways to confirm their image (Palin & Martin, 1993). Adolescents asked themselves some basic questions before they decided to do anything. Among the basic questions, the most important question was ‘What response will my friends have to it? ‘. If the response of friends is expected to be one of approval, then that is a very strong influencing factor.
If the friends disapproved, then it is basically to say a big ‘NO’ to them. So what might appear to be mere mortals and dangerous activity might be perceived as a bit of a lark to adolescents. Drink-driving behavior of adolescents is one of such examples. The need for peer approval, excitement, a sophisticated image and independence, that is, the normal psychology of adolescents is a recipe for adolescent drug experimentation (Palin & Martin, 1993). There were many reasons why adolescents initiate drug taking. First, it is because they are curious. They continued to take drugs because it usually makes them feel good.
Another reason for adolescents to abuse drugs is ‘escaping from reality’. They use drugs to hide from the unpleasant realities of life. Drugs provide them a sense of enjoyment and comfort in itself that further lower their perception of risk while abusing drugs (Palin & Martin, 1993). Risk-perception on drug is one of the important factors leading to abusing drug. This is not solely concerning the risk-perception of the abuser but also the other public institutions and authoritative figures do not have a proper promotion of this risk perception to the abusers.
In a study conducted by the Human Services Policy Centre in 1996, it was suggested that both the experimentation and regular use of all types of drugs included tobacco, alcohol, marijuana were on the rise because high school students’ perception of risks had declined in recent years (Human Services Policy Centre, 1996). Another local study associated with cost perception of drugs by Hong Kong Council of Social Services and Hong Kong Playground Association revealed the results that the perceived costs and benefits of drug abuse played a significant role in such abusing behavior Hong Kong Council of Social Services and Hong Kong Playground Association, 1995). The finding was consistent with the studies in Western countries (Bachman, et al. , 1990, Jessor et al. , 1991). The results of this study also suggested that the perceived cost of taking drug was too high for the ‘never taken group to take drug’. Appendix A/p. 2 The most perceived benefit of taking drug was the feeling of ‘high’, excitement and curiosity.
In a study of ‘Substance Abuse by Youngsters’ conducted by the Hong Kong Young Women Christian Association in 1995, about 90% of the drug abuse respondents agreed that ‘whether one will depend on the drug was related to the will power of that person’ (Hong Kong Young Women Christian Association, 1995). This suggested that their risk-perception on drugs is low and that they could ‘control’ the use of drugs (Hong Kong Young Women Christian Association, 1995). In the survey of ‘The 2000 Survey of Drug Use among Students’ (Lau et al. , 2002), the most frequently chosen reason for the initial abuse of psychotropic substances was curiosity (35. %). The second reason was relief of boredom / depression / anxiety (18%), followed by euphoria / sensory satisfaction seeking (17. 9%) and peer influence / pressure (16. 6%). Although there was a literature on stress and youth drug abusers (Tsui, 1994), however, the relationship between stress and substance abuse has been scarcely studied. 2. 3 Stress in young people Stress as a term was used frequently and relatively unproblematically. According to McNamara (2000), stress is conceptualized within three main models, namely, the environmental model, the medical model and the psychological model.
The environmental model of stress treated stress as an independent factor which arouses from characteristics of disturbing or noxious environments. This model attributed an ‘elastic limit’ to an individual within which a certain degree of strain is tolerated allowing the individual to return to homeostasis. If the individual was subjected to an intolerable amount of stress, psychological and physical damage might occur. The medical model of stress defines stress as an outcome variable, emphasizing the responses of the individual. Hans Selye (1956), the father of stress, described stress as a general physiological response of the body o any demand made upon it. He called the response as the ‘General Adaptation Syndrome’ which consisted of three stages: (1) an alarm reaction, in which adaptation has not yet been acquired; (2) the stage of resistance, in which adaptation is optimal; and (3) the stage of exhaustion, in which the acquired adaptation is lost again. He postulated that this response is nonspecific, so that any noxious stimulus would produce the same stages of response. In the psychological model of stress, Richard Lazarus (1966) viewed stress as a relationship between the individual and the environment.
According to Lazarus (1966), two fundamental processes mediate this relationship: those of cognitive appraisal and of coping. Cognitive appraisal consists of two types of appraisal: primary and secondary. Their function is to ascertain respectively whether the individual’s well-being is at risk and, if so, what resources are available to deal with this risk. Primary appraisal may lead the individual to evaluate the situation as harm or loss, threat, challenge or benign. Secondary appraisal takes into account access to coping options, their applicability and chances of success.
It is common for individuals to re-appraise the situation as it unfolds and they receive more Appendix A/p. 3 information. According to Heaven (1996), stress becomes ‘widely accepted that teenagers and even children face stressful events that have the potential to severely disrupt their lives and negatively affect their psychological adjustment and health’ (p. 44). In a local survey on stress among young people, ‘The Scout Association of Hong Kong’ (1990) identified significant life events and recent strain encountered by an individual as stressful events.
Stress of young people in Hong Kong could include ‘friends emigration’ or ‘conflict with parents’. Li and Ng (1992) found stressors from secondary school students in multiple life areas of family, school, peers, self, society and environment. Both studies concluded that young people in Hong Kong are experiencing excessive life stress in one form or the other. 2. 4 Stress and coping Lazarus and his associates had described a transactional model of stress and coping (Lazarus, 1966) which deserves great attention.
The psychological stress was conceptualized in terms of person-environment transactions that taxed or exceeded the resources of the person. Stress is thus neither an environmental stimulus, a characteristic of person, nor a response but a relationship between the demands and resources of both the person and environment. In brief, when a situation is appraised by an individual as stressful, the person determines how he or she will cope with it. Coping is defined as efforts, both action-oriented and intrapsychic, to manage.
Richard Lazarus (1966) stated that coping could be classified into three main foci or areas of application: (1) appraisal-based coping, including the coping of logical analysis, cognitive redefinition, and cognitive avoidance, (2) problem-focused coping, including seeking information or advice, taking action, and the use of alternative rewards, and (3) emotion-focused coping (thoughts that are meant to reduce the distress associated with the situation). In Lazarus’ model, coping is perceived as a process of sequential phases in which the person and environment context carry out some transactions.
From basic psychological theory, one could distinguish several different coping patterns that could be constructed in terms of stress-coping skills (Lazarus, 1977). Thomas A. Wills grouped these responses into three categories: cognitive, behavioral and acceptance (Wills, 1985). This was supported by Henderson (1977) who argued that one needs at minimum to (1) regulate affect (manage tension), (2) focus attention and simplify the problem, and (3) engage in cognitive-processing or problem-solving efforts.
According to Menaghan (1978), coping could be regarded as mobilization of personal resources which are generalized attitudes and skills that are considered advantageous across many situations which include attitudes about self (esteem, ego strength), attitudes about the world (sense of coherence, belief in mastery), intellectual skills (cognitive flexibility and complexity, analytical abilities, knowledge) and interpersonal skills (communication skills), competence and ease in interpersonal interaction.
Appendix A/p. 4 From previous researches on personality assessment, one would expect considerable variability in coping behaviors across different situations and types of problems. While it might be difficult to classify an individual’s coping style in terms of a single distinct response, it could be possible to etect consistencies over time in the probability of using particular coping mechanism, with some persons having a relatively broader repertoire of coping strategies and using them more frequently. In a local research (The Scout Association of Hong Kong, 1990) on stress of young people, coping response was measured in relation to the major areas based on Hwang’s model (1977) and cited in Shek and Mak (1987) which were modified into six groups of coping mechanisms.
They were: (1) Narcotizing – smoking/drinking and drug-taking; (2) Help seeking – seeking help from classmates, social workers or friends; (3) Confrontation – face the problem, devise the solutions; (4) Hostility – averting from other people, criticize and blame others, resorting to ventilation; (5) Ignoring – coping with the shifting events and having the concept that ‘a boat will automatically travel along the pier when it approaches the pier; (6) Praying – appealing to supernatural powers.
Drug-taking (Narcotizing) was considered as a maladaptive coping mode in which young people dealt with stress passively, indirectly and in a somewhat self-centered manner. 2. 5 Stress and substance abuse In a research on ‘Adverse drug experience and drug use behavior’ (Huba and Bentler, 1986), a total of 478 adolescents were involved in the study. The findings indicated that distressed individuals were most likely to use drugs. Young people had been viewed as a highly stressful population vulnerable to disruptive environment and developmental changes.
The subjects also reported that they had experienced miserable childhood. Their main source of distress came from poor family background, maladjustment in school and negative life events. As they were lacked of positive alternatives to relieve their distress, they tended to use drugs to relieve their stress caused by unfavorable feelings and situations. In another study on adolescent alcohol use concerning ‘Stress, coping, and family conflict’ (Baer et al. , 1987), it was found that students who reported more alcoholic use also reported more stressful life events, daily hassles and conflict in family.
The research also found that the respondents had encountered various stressful life events such as school failure, emotional instability and family break-up. As a result, they formed a habit of using alcohol to narcotize themselves and to escape from the undesirable reality whenever they face stresses. One more research on ‘Substance abuse in children and adolescents evaluation and intervention’ (Schinke, 1991) reviewed that highly anxious individuals found that substances like drug or alcohol with depressant qualities helped them feel relaxed, confident and less anxious.
The above findings are in line with the longitudinal study conducted by George’s (1990) on opiate addicts in which 97% of the respondents reported that their reason for first opiate use was to reduce anxiety. In a local resource manual on drug abuse (Hong Kong Council of Social Services Resource Manual Appendix A/p. 5 Volume III, 1988), it mentioned that drugs was identified to be the way young people chose to feel more at ease in work or social situation and deal with strong feelings of anger, fear, loneliness or sexuality.
Based on this literature, young people used drugs to release their tension and satisfied their need for a feeling of security. From the above researches, it is found that drug taking is one of the maladaptive responses which young people use frequently in coping with stressful life events and situations. The strong positive relationship between the stress and life events also suggested that a stressful life event is an important source of stress among young people. The main reasons for substance abuse of young people are multi-factorial.
Young people have to cope with additional stresses arising from their developmental stage, parental standard and peer pressure. The changes during this maturation period could increase the risk of young people to various direct and indirect pressures to experiment with substances. Stress is identified to be an important factor that leads young people to abuse substances and substance abuse is considered to be one of the maladaptive responses commonly adopted by young people to cope with stress. Appendix B/P. Cough Syrup Abuse among Young People in Hong Kong: Causes of Abuse and Difficulties of Giving Up Twang Wing Keung P. 60-65 REASONS FOR ABUSING COUGH SYRUP GIVEN BY RESPONDENTS The respondents were asked why they took cough syrup when they first abuse it. The answer given by them could be summarized into curiosity, to get ‘high1 feeling, under peers influence and to forget the unhappy emotions. In fact most of the respondents did not give a single reason for abusing cough syrup for the first time.
Usually the reasons are rather mixed up. Case A, D, F, G and I said they took it because of curiosity as they observed others who took cough syrup showed some strange behavior, they wanted to know how it felt. At the same time, they also revealed that they wanted to get a ‘high1 feeling out of the taking of cough syrup. The reason of wanting to get ‘high’ is often related with the unhappy emotions at the time of taking cough syrup. Cases B, C, F and J said they were rather unhappy at the time when they took MB.
Case C said: I was rather unhappy with my parents at that time because, they played too much attention on my youngest brother and he was the only son in our family. I was often blamed by mother for not giving enough care to him. Moreover, at the time, I was having a quarrel with my boyfriend and my 60 adopted father7 who was my best friend left me without leaving a word. I was so upset and did not know what to do. I just want to have the time pass more easily, to forget what a mess it was in my living. interview) Case J said at the first time she took cough syrup, she was studying in the clothing manufacturing training center, she was not happy with the her own performance. She was there because she failed to get into F. 4 not because she likes clothing. At the same time, she was in trouble with her boy-friend because of third party involvement. She thought too much and made her fail to concentrate in the class and the thinking brought her more worries. She took cough syrup because she believed that it could help her to concentrate in the class and not to think so much.
Beside from the unhappy emotions, friend were also reported to be the reason of cough syrup abusing. Cases E, H and K said they abuse cough syrup because of their friends. Case E said once she was with her friends in someone’s home, some of her friends bought cough syrup up there but one of them complained that others had bought a wrong taste for her and urged E to re-purchase from her so that she could get the money to buy another one. After a long persuasion, E bought it from the girl and drunk 1/4 of it and the remind cough syrup was given to her peers. Appendix B/P. Case H told a different story. He said: I was living with my good friend in his house together with his family. You know they are triad 61 tradition, the whole family including his parents are triad members. They have a big house in Sai Wan that is composed of five rooms. Everyone who is familiar with them can go up for the night. One of my friend’s elder brothers who was working in the butcher’s shop told me that it is great to take MB. He only has to work for half day so he gets lots of time without anything to do. He got much experience in different drugs using.
He gave me half bottle of MB and then tell me to mix it up with coke and then gave me a headphone to listen to ‘some really strange music, it was composed of crying of baby, the sound of airplane and sounds of heavy metal. He also asked me to lie on the floor and jump up suddenly. He told me it will make me feel exciting and get the highest feeling. I did what he told me but the experience was terrible. I know he did all these in order to help me get ‘high’. He treated me as his good friend. When he gave me the MB, I did not refuse at all.
One the one hand, I wanted to get ‘high’, on the other hand I knew he treated me good, I did not want him disappointed. ( interview ) Another case L also got MB from his peers for the first dosage. L said K was his best friend* One day when K suggested to take cough syrup, he did not refuse at all. He thought it was no big deal. As they were good friend, then they should share*the happiness so they went to take MB 62 together. From the descriptions made by the respondents, it is easy to see that the kind of peer influence or pressure experienced by them were rather warm in nature.
One was influenced to take cough syrup not because another one forced him to do so but he found it something interesting and good to be shared among best friends. Besides from exploring the reasons for first dosage, the writer also investigated the reasons of continuing use. As the previous study done on the topic of cough syrup abuse among youth by Chan, Lai and Chu (1990) did not differentiate the reasons of first abuse from continuous abuse and the studies done by Narcotics Division also did not do so , therefore it will be meaningful to find out if there are different reasons for starting the abuse and continuing the abuse.
The result obtained was that peer influence and curiosity disappeared in explaining the continuous MB taking behavior* The respondents reported that the MB taking behavior became part of their living and it occupied and mixed with their daily living so they cannot do without it. Only one of the respondents reported that he believed to be addicted so he could not give it up. Concerning the difficulties of quitting the habit, it will be discussed in the coming chapter. Back to the reasons of continuing the habit. Most of them reported that cough syrup taking became part of Appendix B/P. 3 their life so they continue the habit.
Case C said after school/ the ten sisters (her best friends) went to the open corridor in the estate, they bought enough 63 MB beforehand. At there they shared the MB and then they talked. Sometimes, they are serious/ but sometimes just nonsense. C said anyway it became her routine. She went to drink MB with the girls after school and then stayed at the corridor for three or four hours then she went home to help her mother to prepare dinner. After dinner, she sat there to watch T. V. but in fact she was not so conscious at that time for she just felt ‘wing’ but it was never discovered by her parents.
When it was late enough, she went to have a good sleep and the next day muddling in the class and after school repeated what had been done yesterday. In fact besides from case C, lots of respondents, such as B, D, E, F, G, H, K and L reported similar experience. The only one who said he was addicted to MB and could not live without it is case H who said in the beginning he played MB by now he was played by MB. He reported abdominal malaise when he stops taking MB so he continued the using. From the discussion above, we are able to identify two different set of reasons to explain the causes of cough syrup abuse.
The first set deal with the process operating in the earlier history of the individual and was termed by Sutherland (1970) as ‘historical1 explanation and another set is about the situation at which the behavior which was termed as ‘situational’ explanation by Sutherland. Concerning the ‘historical’ explanation, we are able to find that the unhappy relationship with family and poor performance in school contributed to the factor of lacking involvement and commitment to conventional activities . That 64 will be seen as an freedom from social bond from Hirschi’s social control theory.
Another component of the ‘historical1 explanation is the learning of how to take cough syrup, how much to be taken, to mix it up with what, what to do and expect from the feelings , all these prepared the individual to take cough syrup. Situational explanations found are the opportunity to get cough syrup and the offer or invitation of the peers, If these opportunity included the readiness of the peers to buy or to introduce the beginner to buy cough syrup, the invitation or offer of cough syrup are present, the individual is quite likely to take the cough syrup.
From the data collected from the interviews, it could be concluded that the respondents shared some similar backgrounds that free them from the social bonds, the unhappy family relationship, poor academic performance, boring and even frustration school life made them not involve or commit to the conventional living style so they are more ready to perform deviant behavior. From their daily contacts, these respondents learnt from their peers the way to get an ‘high1 feeling from cough syrup before they use it. At last added up with the opportunity to get the cough syrup, the offer or invitation Appendix B/P. of the peers, usually they are their good friends if not the best, the individual started their cough syrup abusing behavior. Reasons for them to continue the using as reflected from the finding is cough syrup became part of their daily life and they could not get rid of it. Appendix C/P. 1 “Suicidal Behaviours Among Illicit Drug Users” Submitted by Cheung Yee Tak for the degree of Master of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong in January 2008 P 83-90 Appendix D/P. 1 Hong Kong youth caught in wave of ketamine addiction HONG KONG, China (CNN) — A 16-year-old Hong Kong boy makes two phone calls or delivery: One for pizza, the other for the drug ketamine. Two teenage girls are found semi-conscious in a car park after overdosing on ketamine. A 13-year-old boy joins a gang and is given free ketamine. These are anecdotes told to CNN by police, a family doctor and a former gang member. Ketamine has become the drug of choice among young people, as the number of people under 21 taking drugs has surged 57 percent in the last four years in Hong Kong, said Commissioner for Narcotics, Sally Wong. “We started off with a very small number of young people taking drugs. We are now more worried about the trend,” Wong said. We don’t want a runaway trend; that’s why we are stepping up action. ” Ketamine, an animal tranquilizer, can put users in a dazed stupor for about two hours, doctors said. Long-term use of ketamine can impair cognitive function and damage internal organs. An oversupply of the drug in Hong Kong and the fact that it is cheaper than other narcotics makes ketamine popular with young people, said Superintendent Wilson Fok of the Hong Kong Police Narcotics Bureau. One gram of ketamine sells on the street here for $13 and is enough to be shared with two other people, while cocaine, for example, sells for $103 a gram, Fok said.
The drug is legal for medical use, but it is trafficked into Hong Kong from other parts of Asia, such as India and mainland China, and sold on the streets illegally, Fok said. Police have recently stepped up their efforts to crack down on drug use at clubs and bars in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, a city in mainland China just across the border. Nearly 120 alleged drug users from Hong Kong, mostly under the age of 30, were arrested at entertainment venues in Shenzhen in July and held for 15 days in sweeps that made headlines for days here. Appendix D/P. 2
However, narcotics police said entertainment venues are not the only places they find drug abuse. “Forty percent of young people abuse drugs in public toilets and playgrounds. That’s what our recent data from last year shows,” Fok said. “They want to find some other places to take drugs. ” The problem has gotten so bad that authorities have decided to do something never done here before: random school drug tests. Beginning in September, some two dozen schools will conduct tests, as part of a trial program. Officials say the drug screening will most likely be in the form of urine tests, though they are still working out the details.
Ketamine can be detected in urine for at least three days, doctors said. Dr. Cheng Chi Man, a family practice doctor, runs a seminar that trains doctors to detect the signs of drug abuse in young patients: drowsiness, skin problems, frequent urination (ketamine can affect bladder function) and frequent sick leave. “When we were 10 years old, we were still in primary school watching TV and eating candy. But they are now taking drugs. ” Alman Chan, principal of Hong Kong’s only drug rehab school for youth, the privately-run Christian Zheng Sheng School, said he has watched as drug use has grown. Just look at our school development. I was here 14 years ago. At that time, I was the only teacher. I had 18 kids. I only had one student who was 15,” he said. “But now, I have one third — about 40 of them — who are 15 years old or younger. That shows you the number of students getting into drugs is bigger and also getting younger and younger. ” There were a few reasons why children were getting involved with drugs, such as troubled homes and difficulties at school, he said. “People are more concerned about material things and they are getting lost,” he added.
Hong Kong Police have arrested children as young as age 13 for drug offenses, according to Commissioner for Narcotics, Sally Wong. Police last week reportedly busted a network that allegedly recruited teenagers to sell illegal drugs– mainly to students. One of those arrested — a 14-year-old school dropout — was found with 28 grams of ketamine, according to the South China Morning Post. Appendix D/P. 3 But ketamine abuse is not limited to young people. It is the second-most popular drug among all age groups in Hong Kong, Superintendent Wilson Fok of the Hong Kong Police Narcotics Bureau said.
Many young drug abusers end up in Alman Chan’s drug rehab school for youth, which is located in a remote part of Lantau Island west of Hong Kong. CNN visited the campus, which is home to 99 boys and 24 girls. The closest road is a three-hour hike through the woods. Chan calls the school “the last stop before jail” for drug abusers. That was the case for Tai Ming Hung’s son Keith, a former gang member. She learned he was using ketamine when he ended up in the hospital after taking the drug a few years ago. “I was in denial. I just didn’t believe it was true.
When I first heard about it, we all didn’t know how to react, because we hadn’t heard of those drugs before,” she said. “I didn’t really understand why we have these harmful drugs in the world. And I was so afraid that it would kill my son. ” 18-year-old Keith, who said he began using ketamine at the age of 13 when he joined a gang, has recovered and is now living at Chan’s school. “I have a feeling that he’s really growing up, he keeps improving,” his mother said. The school’s curriculum involves regular school subjects and chores.
The goal is for each student to finish their court probation and either sit for the university exam or continue on to a vocational school. Many of the students have become interested in video editing and photography. There is a video lab on campus and the students showed CNN some video projects they have done. Other students run a pizza parlor and tea shop on a neighboring island. The average stay at the school is three years and students are encouraged to plan for life after rehab. “We have vocational training.
We help them get some marketable skills; therefore, they may get a job or continue training afterward,” Chan said. “I believe everyone deserves a second chance. ” Appendix E/P. 1 Psychoactive drug abuse: Insights into the motivations of the drug user in Hong Kong Submitted by Tan Ee Lyn P. 40-43 CHAPTER 6 DISCUSSION: HOW REASONS FOR DRUG ABUSE EVOLVED IN HONG KONG THROUGH THE AGES; EMERGENCE OF A NEW MOTIVATION Reasons for drug abuse relate directly to the kind of society where the activity takes place. In countries torn apart by war, people use drugs to ease the pain, both physical and psychological, of losing loved ones.
In privileged nations, social scientists are of the opinion that both licit and illicit drugs are used as a crutch in the search ? for the impossible dream of an elixir that will make life constantly pain-free and pleasurable? (24). 6. 1 Motivations for drug use in Hong Kong, through the ages In Hong Kong, opium and heroin use in the 1960s by both the rich and the working class of coolies and rickshaw pullers was related mainly to hedonistic reasons, followed by the need to cope with physical and mental exhaustion and then pain from illnesses (16).
In the 1970s and 1980s, when Hong Kong was industrializing and expanding its economy, social scientists blamed what was by then an almost exclusively heroin problem on family and work stress (escapism), personality defects, a disadvantaged family background, hedonism, socializing with other drug users to look for work and to pass time (peer influence), easy availability of the drug and easing of physical pain (17) (18). Reasons for drug use underwent further change in the 1990s with the introduction of psychoactive drugs through the rave and dance parties.
The average age of the new drug user fell and motivations for drug use in this period were curiosity, peer influence, relief of boredom, stress and depression, seeking euphoria or sensory satisfaction and avoidance of withdrawal symptoms (1). Appendix E/P. 2 This study reveals five motivations. Four – hedonism or pleasure seeking, the desire to belong to a group/peer influence, addiction/avoidance of withdrawal symptoms and escapism – have been observed in the decades before; while one – to boost confidence – appears to be new.
From this brief recap of all the reasons for drug addiction over the last 50 years, some motivations have remained constant through the ages – such as pleasure seeking which leads the list of reasons with 57. 9 percent of participants citing it as their motivation for drug use. Peer pressure/influence and escapism appeared as reasons in the 1970s and have endured. In fact, peer influence has become more powerful as a reason, as discussed in the preceding chapter, because of the change in drug type and a growing ream of younger users.
In government surveys, 36. 2 percent of drug users cited peer influence as the reason for their habit in 1995, but that figure grew to 53. 2 percent in 2009 (1). As discussed in the previous chapter, drug use has become so habitual it is viewed as a normal activity by participants, who did not see anything deviant about what it was they were doing. They talked about their drug use as if it was part of an evening night out, like dancing, having a beer or a chat when they see friends. This ? normalisation? f drug use is a phenomenon seen both locally and overseas (25)(26). In Lam‘s study, drug taking was described as being akin ? to smoking or drinking, the respondents take drugs in various places, as if it is a kind of hobby? (4). While addiction or avoidance of withdrawal symptoms remains a strong reason, its importance has waned slowly since the mid-1990s (47. 5 percent in 1995 and 35. 7 percent in 2009 from Table 1) owing perhaps to psychoactive substances replacing heroin as the drug of choice.
Psychoactive drugs appear to have fewer physiological withdrawal symptoms than heroin. 6. 2 A new motivation? From this study, a new, separate motivation appears to have emerged. Ten of the participants, or more than half, saw their substance use as motivated by a need to plug a lack of confidence and communication skills. Most spoke about how drugs would knock down inhibitions, boost confidence and interpersonal skills, bring them closer to friends, encourage intimacy and even boost performance at work.
A good number talked specifically about their lack of communication and social skills and how they used drugs to plug that gap. For some others, drugs simply helped project a strong, daredevil, macho image of themselves they wanted the rest of the world to see. This reason for drug use was cited by mostly younger respondents – seven from ages 22 to 31 and three from age 35 and older. It could not be established if this reason may be differentiated by sex as the number of female participants (five) in this study is very small.
From accounts given by these 10 respondents, their root problems appear to be inhibition or shyness, lack of communication and social skills and confidence which seem to be affecting how they socialize with other people and develop relationships, and their performance at work. Work Cited Cheng ,Wai-yip. “An Examination of the Relationship between Stress and Substance Abuse in Young People in Hong Kong. ” Diss. University of Hong Kong, 2004. Print. Cheung, Yee Tak. “Suicidal Behaviours Among Illicit Drug Users. Diss. University of Hong Kong, 2008. Print. “Hong Kong youth caught in wave of ketamine addiction” CNN n. d. 17 Mar. 2011. Tan, Ee Lyn. “Psychoactive drug abuse: Insights into the motivations of the drug user in Hong Kong. ” Diss. Hong Kong University, 2010. Print. Tswang, Wing Keung. Cough Syrup Abuse among Young People in Hong Kong: Causes of Abuse and Difficulties of Giving Up. Hong Kong: Evertree Press, 2008. Print. ———————– ( Class number: 240-35 )
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