Over the last decade drug use has been gradually increasing within the Muslim community. In some areas it has reached crisis point and some are still under the impression that it is not an issue within the community. In the long term a single drug user has an impact upon the whole community.
Yet, with virtually no Islamically oriented treatment options available and with very few Muslims skilled in drug related work, Muslim parents are often left in a state of confusion. Nevertheless, they are often the first ones who seek help for their son or daughters drug use!
So what is a parent to do? Be patient and develop a strong trust based relationship with your son/daughter from a very young age as a preventative measure to such problems.
If you suspect that your child is using a substance try not to shout at them as this may cause an argument. Besides this, your suspicions may be wrong. If you have clear evidence that they are using drugs, approach the subject with them in a calm, controlled manner. Encourage them to open up to you, listen to them and advise.
The drug user can only be helped when they are ready to accept change. One of your roles will be that of a motivator. Seek to understand addiction in all its forms. More extreme forms of addiction create very strong inner tension. The pull can be so great that even highly motivated individuals will have a struggle to ‘break-free’ from drug misuse. Explain the detrimental influence their habit is having on all spheres of their life, family, social and work. Coming off drugs can be a long process. Don’t expect instant results. Learning lessons from the process is as important as the end result. Make it clear to them that you have their best interests at heart but also make clear to them what you will not tolerate.
Don’t suffer in silence. Speak to someone you trust for support. Make contact with your local Drugs Project. Ensure that they can provide an Islamically sensitive service for you.
Below we have summarised some of the common drugs prevalent in our society today.
Marijuana is made from a mixture of buds, leaves, and flowering tops of the hemp plant that grows in warm climates throughout the world. While the drug preparation and storage greatly affects its level of potency, it usually contains several hundred active chemicals. Of these many chemicals, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the one credited as having the greatest affect on the user. THC produces a variety of hallucinogenic, depressant, and stimulant effects. Users report a range of feelings while under the influence of the drug, varying from joy and relaxation, to suspicion and irritation. The “high” produced by marijuana causes physical changes such as reddening of the eyes, fast heartbeat, increased blood pressure, dry mouth, dizziness, and increased appetite.
Effects on the Body
Many feel that marijuana has few adverse side effects on the body; however, this is not always the case. With its high intoxication potential, it has a low dependency potential and low risk of organ damage or death. On the other hand, the consequences of marijuana should not be ignored. It may have negative effects on memory for heavy users. Moreover, information learned while under the influence of this drug is easily forgotten, which is why chronic smokers are at a disadvantage at school and at work. Using marijuana with especially high potencies can be quite dangerous. High levels of THC can cause panic attacks, similar to those produced by hallucinogenic drugs, and the users can feel like they are losing their minds. There are indications that regular marijuana smoking may lead to lung disease and lung cancer as well.
The immediate effects of taking marijuana include rapid heart beat, disorientation, lack of physical coordination, often followed by depression or sleepiness. Some users suffer panic attacks or anxiety.
But the problem does not end there. According to scientific studies, the active ingredient in cannabis, THC, remains in the body for weeks or longer.
Marijuana smoke contains 50% to 70% more cancer-causing substances than tobacco smoke. One major research study reported that a single cannabis joint could cause as much damage to the lungs as up to five regular cigarettes smoked one after another. Long-time joint smokers often suffer from bronchitis, an inflammation of the respiratory tract.
The drug can affect more than your physical health. Studies in Australia in 2008 linked years of heavy marijuana use to brain abnormalities. This is backed up by earlier research on the long-term effects of marijuana, which indicate changes in the brain similar to those caused by long-term abuse of other major drugs. And a number of studies have shown a connection between continued marijuana use and psychosis.
Marijuana changes the structure of sperm cells, deforming them. Thus even small amounts of marijuana can cause temporary sterility in men. Marijuana use can upset a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Studies show that the mental functions of people who have smoked a lot of marijuana tend to be diminished. The THC in cannabis disrupts nerve cells in the brain affecting memory.
Cannabis is one of the few drugs which causes abnormal cell division which leads to severe hereditary defects. A pregnant woman who regularly smokes marijuana or hashish may give birth prematurely to an undersized, underweight baby. Over the last ten years, many children of marijuana users have been born with reduced initiative and lessened abilities to concentrate and pursue life goals. Studies also suggest that prenatal (before birth) use of the drug may result in birth defects, mental abnormalities and increased risk of leukemia1in children.