Prescribing drugs to patients belongs to the most frequent activities of physicians both in hospitals and in community practice. Most frequently, drug prescription is written by hand using a pen and a prescription book. However, physicians increasingly use computer for drug prescription. This is achieved through the so called “Computerized Drug Prescription Management System (CDPMS)”.
Computerized Drug prescription and Management Systems can serve as efficient tool towards combating drug abuse. Computerized management of hospital pharmacies has already proven to be efficient, allowing the unitary drug dispensation to patients.
CDPMS are also needed for medical reasons. Many studies have demonstrated that drug prescription is imperfect and that "there is a great need for further efforts in this important area, and the time is right for the development and evaluation of hospital-based decision support systems in therapeutics"
1.1 Drug Abuse
DrugAbuse is characterized by taking more than the recommended dose of prescription drug without medical supervision. It is also characterized by using government-controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or other illegal substances. Abuse of drugs and other substances can lead to physical and psychological dependence.
Drug abuse can cause a wide variety of adverse physical reactions. Long-term drug use may damage the heart, liver, and brain. Drug abusers may suffer from malnutrition if they habitually forget to eat, cannot afford to buy food, or eat foods lacking the proper vitamins and minerals. Individuals who abuse injectable drugs risk contracting infections such as hepatitis and HIV from dirty needles or needles shared with other infected abusers. One of the most dangerous effects of illegal drug use is the potential for overdosing—that is, taking too large or too strong dose for the body’s system to handle. A drug overdose may cause an individual to lose consciousness and to breathe inadequately. Without treatment, an individual may die from a drug overdose.
Another form of drug abuse is drug addiction. Drug addiction is marked by a compulsive strong desire for a substance. Successful treatment methods of drug addiction vary and include psychological counseling, or psychotherapy, and detoxification programs—medically supervised programs that gradually wean an individual from a drug over a period of time. Detoxification and psychotherapy are often used together.
The illegal use of drugs was once considered a problem unique to residents of poor, urban neighborhoods. Today, however, people from all economic levels, in both cities and suburbs, abuse drugs. Some people use drugs to relieve stress and to forget about their problems. Genetic factors may predispose other individuals to drug addiction. Environmental factors such as peer pressure, especially in young people, and the availability of drugs, also influence people to abuse drugs.
1.2 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Drug Abuse has been a threat to the intellectual set up of people globally. Many people participate in the act in one way or the other. Different approaches have been in place by different bodies to combat the act. However, the success of such approaches has not been realized to the expectation.
Now that the accuracy, efficiency, consistency and hence reliability of Information Technology (IT) has been proved beyond reasonable doubts, a new approach to combating drug abuse emerges. The new approach is the use of computerized system to combat the act.
Therefore, this project will use the approach of ‘computerized drug prescription and dispensing system’ as a means of combating the problem of drug abuse.
The prevalence of drug abuse and its consequences, the applicability of Information Technology in almost every aspect of human endeavors and my interest in medical line are the motives behind this project.
1.4 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The aim of this project, “An Integrated Drug Management System to Combat Drug Abuse among Nigerian Youths”, is to guard against Drug Abuse. The objectives of the project include:
i. To sensitize/reiterate to the public, especially Nigerian youths, what drug abuse is, types of drug abuse, causes of drug abuse and above all, the effects of drug abuse
ii. To produce a computer software that would be used by practitioners, to combat drug abuse
This project work was carried out through proper research, It was carried out in such a way that facts/information concerning the existing system are gathered, standard analyzed, by standard and a solution is provided. Methods used in collecting the data are; interview, the internet, textbooks and direct observation from people. These methods used provide reliable information of the required knowledge of this research and proper guidance.
All methodologies are derived from a logical problem solving process that is sometimes called a system development life cycle. Database management application was used to carry out data storage while Object Oriented Programming PHP and MySQL was used to carry out the programming and computation.
The project assumes that drugs are bought only in registered medical stores/centres and only from qualified medical practitioners. It also assumes that the intended users of the software component have basic background on computer literacy.
1.7 EXPECTED CONTRIBUTION TO KNOWLEDGE
This project will help all concerned with the fight against drug abuse. These include:
i. Youths: most often, youthful stage is characterized by so many physiological and psychological changes. Some of these changes could be terribly bad. Youths for one reason or the other, engage in drug abuse. The youths are the direct beneficiaries of the project.
ii. Government: government put measures in place to combat drug abuse. This is to protect the psychological well being of its citizenries. The project is significant to government in this regard.
iii. Non-governmental organizations: somenon-governmentalorganizations (NGOs) are not left behind in the efforts of combating drug abuse. The project is significant to them in the sense that it addresses similar problem as the scope of those NGOs.
iv. Medical Practitioners: Medical practitioners, especially pharmacists, prescribers and possibly psychiatric doctors, would find the project significant as it would simplify, enhance efficiency and re-enforce their practice in terms of drug dispensing, prescription and combating drug abuse.
v. Research Institutes: universities, polytechnics, organizations and individuals that have interest in research on ‘computerized drug prescription and dispensing systems’ would find this project useful as it lays the foundation for their research.
1.8 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
Drug abuse and its alias like intoxication, prevail among youths (both males and females), pregnant women, people that are in frustrated situations and even among small children (usually in the form of prescriptive drug abuse). Moreover, it is being practiced round the globe.
However, the scope of this project is mainly ‘Nigerian Youths’. Equally important, among the various forms of drug abuse, this project addresses mainly ‘prescriptive drug abuse’.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
i. Anesthetic: a substance that reduces sensitivity to pain and may cause unconsciousness, especially a drug used in medicine.
ii. Cannabis: a drug produced in various forms from the dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant, smoked or chewed. Its recreational use is illegal in many countries.
iii. Cocaine: an addictive narcotic drug obtained from the leaves of the coca plant, taken illegally as a stimulant. Formula: C17H21NO4.
iv. Cowpox: a skin disease of cattle.
v. Detoxification: the process of subjecting somebody or yourself to withdrawal from a toxic or addictive substance such as alcohol or drugs.
vi. DrugAbuse: deliberate use of an illegal drug or of too much of a prescribed drug.
vii. DrugAddiction: a state of physiological or psychological dependence on a potentially harmful drug.
viii. Hepatitis: inflammation of the liver, causing fever, jaundice, abdominal pain, and weakness.
ix. HIV: a virus that disables human immune system. Full form: Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
x. Hormone: a chemical secreted by an endocrine gland or some nerve cells. It regulates the function of a specific tissue or organ.
xi. Malnutrition: a lack of healthy foods in the diet, or an excessive intake of unhealthy foods, leading to physical harm.
xii. Marijuana: same as cannabis.
xiii. Opium: a brownish gummy extract from the unripe seed pods of the opium poppy that contains several highly addictive narcotic alkaloid substances such as morphine and codeine.
xiv. Overdose: a dangerously large dose of a drug.
xv. Prednisone: anti-inflammatory drug.
xvi. Prescription: a written order issued by a physician or other qualified practitioner that authorizes a pharmacist to supply a specific medication for a patient, with instructions on its use.
xvii. Psychological: having to do with human mind.
xviii. Psychotherapy: the treatment of mental disorders by psychological methods.
xix. Smallpox: human skin disease, caused by virus.
xx. Therapeutics: the branch of medicine that deals with methods of treatment and healing, especially the use of drugs to treat diseases.