Basic Concept of Medicine and Drugs

Drugs are chemical substances commonly referred to as medicines in which  we take into our body to cure  certain illness. Drugs are also used to prevent illness; that is, we take them in order not to fall ill or contact diseases.  We can ideally define a drug  to be any substance (other than food that provides nutritional support) that, when inhaled, injected, smoked, consumed, absorbed via a patch on the skin, or dissolved under the tongue causes a physiological (and often psychological) change in the body.

Forms of drugs and medicine

Drugs can be in different forms, namely: solid, semi solid powdered or liquid.

Solid drugs-Tablets, capsules

Semi solid drugs-Ointment creams

Powdered drugs-Powdered drugs are contained in sachets or capsules

Liquid drugs-Liquid drugs may be in the form of syrups

Common modern drugs

In our society today, there are varieties of modern drugs or medicines which are used to prevent or cure different illnesses

Here are some of them;

  1. Phensic
  2. Aspirin
  3. Panaodol
  4. Paracetamol
  5. Daga
  6. Alabukun
  7. Naviquine
  8. Amalar
  9. Procold
  10. Malatox
  11. Tetracycline
  12. Meloxine
  13. Flagyl
  14. Lemon grass, lime, orange, etc, (used in traditional medicine)

People who should give drugs(Professionals who administer drugs)

  1. Doctors
  2. Nurses
  3. Parents
  4. Guardians
  5. Teachers
  6. Pharmacists

Why are guardians/professionals/experts needed before taking drugs

Before taking drugs or medicine, there is need for proper guidance and supervision. The following professionals listed below must ascertain the extent of the illness to be certain before administering the drugs; some reasons for it are given below.

  1. To avoid taking an overdoes
  2. For proper monitoring and supervision
  3. To avoid using unprescribed drugs
  4. To ensure that drugs are taken according to prescription
  5. To take note of effects or reaction of drugs

Drugs must always be taken according to prescription

A drug, in contrast to a medicine, can have a positive or negative effect on a patient. For example, heroin is a drug, in that it’s a substance that causes a specific biological effect. To conclude – all medicines are drugs, whereas not all drugs are medicines.

Review question

  1. What are drugs?
  2. Mention five common drugs you know
  3. Name three people who should give drugs
  4. Give three reasons why guidance is required before taking drugs
  5. List two examples of solid drugs


  1. Find out and identify some common drugs and their brand names
  2. Describe the difference between capsules and tablets
  3. Tell the class kind of drugs you may have ever taken
  4. Ask your parents to take you to a pharmacy to see the variety of drugs available there
  5. Ask your teacher some of the effects of taking an overdoes of drugs.

Drug Abuse

Image result for drugs abuse

Drug abuse is the incorrect use of medicine, without the prescription of a qualified person. Drugs must be taken on the advice of a doctor or pharmacist or any other qualified medical personnel.

Drug abuse is a serious public health problem that affects almost every community and family in some way. Each year drug abuse causes millions of serious illnesses or injuries among Americans. Abused drugs include

  • Methamphetamine
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Club drugs
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Inhalants
  • Marijuana
  • Prescription drugs, including opioids

Drug abuse also plays a role in many major social problems, such as drugged driving, violence, stress, and child abuse. Drug abuse can lead to homelessness, crime, and missed work or problems with keeping a job.

People abuse drugs in several ways, such as taking an overdoes of drugs, using the wrong drugs, using a drug when there is no need for it, etc. all these can have harmful effects on our body

Methods of taking drugs

There are many methods of taking drugs, depending on the advice of a doctor or pharmacist, or the nature of the medicine. Here are some such ways.

Drinking-All liquid medicines, that is, syrups, are taken into the body by drinking.

Swallowing-Tablets and capsules are swallowed with water.

Injecting-Some medicines are taken into the body through injections, using needles and syringes. Medicines taken through injections are in liquid form.

Inhaling-Some medicines are inhaled and care in the form of smoke, vapour, fumes, etc.

Rubbing-Drugs can also be taken by applying or rubbing them on the body, e.g, ointments and other semi liquid drugs can be applied or rubbed on the body.

Identifying people who abuse drugs

People who abuse drugs can be easily identified, because they always exhibit certain negative attitudes, such as the following:

Drunkenness-People who abuse drugs often act as if they are drunk (or actually get drunk) and misbehave

Untidy appearance-Dirty and unkept appearance is a common features in a person who abuse drugs

Disobedience-Drug addict often violate rules and regulations. They do not obey laws. They are rebellious

Frequent fighting-People who abuse drugs have a tendency to disagree and engage in unnecessary fights

Convulsion-Drug abusers sometimes convulse, that is, fall down and jerk and foam in the mouth

Frequent quarreling-Quarreling and constant disagreement are common among those who abuse drugs

Committing crimes-Drug abuse leads some people to commit crimes, such as stealing, rape, etc

Lack of attention-Persons influence by drugs usually finds it difficult to concentrate on anything important. They are always distracted

Getting ill-They often take ill, because they eat food, suffer energy loss and look pale

Accidents-Frequents accidents are also a common thing among people who abuse drugs, because they tend to be careless

Ways of helping people who abuse drugs

  1. Report any negative change in a group abuser’s behaviour to your parents, teacher or reliable adults
  2. Assist the drugs abuser to get medical help
  3. Counsel or advise the drug abuser about the negative effect of abusing drugs
  4. Advise the person to give up abusing drugs

Ways of avoiding drug abuse

  1. Seek clarification before taking medicines
  2. Do not take drugs without a prescription from a medical personnel doctor, pharmacist or any other qualified medical personnel
  3. Keep drugs out of the reach of children, so they don’t misuse them
  4. Avoid keeping bad friends
  5. Avoid self medication
  6. Take only the quantity or doses of drugs recommended

Regulatary agencies for drugs use in Nigeria

In Nigeria, certain agencies are given the power to regulate the production, quality and/or use of drugs in the country. These are the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). NAFDAC is, amonf other things, in charge of monitoring the quality of drugs or food produced locally or imported into the country. The NDLEA, on the other hand, controls the use of hard drugs (banned substances), such as cocaine, marijuana, heroin, etc, as well as enforcing the lwas on those who violate the regulations, these two agencies ensure, separately, that people neither produce, trade in or consume fake drugs/medicines and food, nor produce, trade in or consume fake substances

Parents, teachers and religious bodies can also monitor children in the proper use of drugs as well as avoidance of hard drugs.

Review question

  1. What is drug abuse?
  2. State four methods of taking drugs
  3. Mention three ways to assist people who abuse drugs
  4. Name some agencies in charge of regulating the production, quality and use of drugs
  5. State five things in common with person who abuse drugs
  6. Mention three function of NAFDAC
  7. List two function of the NDLEA


  1. Dramatize how to care for people who abuse drugs
  2. Compose, recite poems and rhymes to create an awareness on the effect of drug abuse
  3. Get more information about how drug abusers behave
  4. Ask your parents to take you to a hospital or pharmacy to identify a medical doctor, a nurse or a pharmacist
  5. Find out from qualified persons how to identify original drugs
  6. Advice you classmates to avoid drug abuse
  7. Join or form a “drug free club” in your school


Illness is a condition of not feeling well. When a person is ill, the person might experience pains and weakness in his or her body. Illness makes a person weak, tired, lose appetite and, therefore, be unable to do the things he/she has been doing before

Common illnesses-Here is a list of some common illnesses

  1. Dysentery
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Cholera
  4. Typhoid
  5. Meningitis
  6. Measles
  7. Cough
  8. Catarrh
  9. Cold
  10. Headache
  11. Cold
  12. Headache
  13. Stomachache
  14. Kwashiokor

Symptoms of common illnesses-When we are ill, we are likely to experience some of these symptoms;

  1. Loss of appetite
  2. Weakness
  3. Headache
  4. Cold
  5. Catarrh
  6. Sleeplessness
  7. Diarrhea
  8. Vomiting
  9. Coughing and sneezing
  10. High body temperature

Causes of common illnesses-Some common illnesses, like diarrhoea, cholera or typhoid could be caused by any of the following;

  1. Living in a dirty and polluted environment
  2. Coming in contact with persons who are already infected by some diseases
  3. Not maintaining a good personal hygiene
  4. Eating contaminated or infected food
  5. Exposure to harsh weather conditions
  6. Poor sanitation, like stagnant water, dirty gutters and bushy surroundings, can cause illnesses
  7. Drinking unclean/impure water

Prevention of common illnesses-There are a number or things we can do to prevent us from getting ill, such as;

  1. Eating a balanced diet
  2. Keeping our surrounding clean
  3. Drinking clean water
  4. Keeping our body clean
  5. Avoiding exposure to harsh weather
  6. Avoiding close contact with people who have contagious diseases
  7. Getting regular medical checkups

Review questions

  1. What are illnesses?
  2. Name four common illnesses
  3. Mention four causes of common illnesses
  4. List five symptoms of common illnesses
  5. Mention four ways to prevent common illnesses


  1. Find out the symptoms of some common illness and explain them in class
  2. Find out the clauses of common illnesses and discuss them in class
  3. Ask your parents how you can prevent common illnesses