The Drug Epidemic In America - Can We Fight This Problem?
A Society Ruined
In today’s society and the diminishment around us drugs are commonly found at the forefront of our demise. Currently there is a social battle that has ensued about if certain drugs have a pharmaceutical quality which would make themd non-harmful and worthy of becoming legal.
Not to mention the legal forms of substances found in prescription drugs. The pharmaceutical industry has landed upon a goldmine and is pushing out “legal” forms of harmful substances by the bottle full. It is no wonder that our world is falling down around us. Those that we are supposed to trust – doctor – are the biggest drug dealers.
Risk of Using Drugs
When evaluating the harm of any substance a risk analysis helps to identify the harm of something. Well for drugs it is pretty simple. We see it on the news, our streets and even in our schools. Many risk factors are ignored and blamed on the individual. Such as they chose to be homeless or they don’t want anything better. Well in fact that may be true but when do we start pointing the attention toward the big picture.
Plain and simple drugs cause poverty, reduced educational ability or drive, one is more susceptible for abuse and trauma. Drugs bring down cities and neighborhoods; take parents away from their children and ultimately is killing off our existence.
But it would be naïve to validate drugs as the problem. We all know that where there are substances to take people away from their pain they are going to use it. People use drugs to escape reality. For each one their reality is their own. But the problem with drugs will never cease without helping people with their vulnerabilities. Such as poverty, education, abuse and trauma – all the things that drugs become an increasing risk factor for. How ironic is that? Drugs induce the same things that a person is running from.
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Saving A Nation
This is not an overnight process. Prevention and treatment can be a the saving grace for many. The war on drugs campaign was a smoke screen to make the society at large believe that the government cared and wanted drugs off the streets. All that campaign did was target poor neighborhood and remove the small drug dealer from the street – commonly young black men. So the war on drugs just helped to jail and imprison many of our youth but still did not target the issues.
Treatment comes in many forms. Certainly following addiction drug treatment is essential. Though mental health treatment is beneficial for these individuals as well. As said above many addicts are running from pain and trauma so the answer there is clear – therapy is the key.
Prevention is much harder. Well it would be absurd to believe that we can prevent usage of substance. That just won’t happen. Substances have been around too long to try to eradicate them all together. But educating our youth on the risk of substances – talk about them do not try to ignore that young people are faced with a decision of whether to use substances. Remove the thought that young people are just experimenting. That is bull. It is known that all addicts experimented before becoming addicted. That experimentation can come at any time, young people are not protected from addiction unless society changes their views and approach to drugs. The rates of young people using marijuana is on the rise because society has reduced the stigma that this substance is a drug.
Some studies are beginning to surface showing that abuse can be a cause or at least a factor in the rising amount of drug use. If we can reach trauma victims soon enough this may lead to a reduction in drug abuse.
Change In Trend
Trends are certainly changing and not for the better. There is a rise in the use of most substances and it does not appear that things will change soon. Especially with marijuana and pharmaceuticals toping the most used chart. Data is from 2012 which is the most recent information. Commonly the data is updated every 2-3 years.
In 2012 a projected 23.9 million Americans aged 12 or older had used an illicit or pharmaceutical substance in the past month. This is a 1.1 percent increase from 2002.
Use is up 5.8 percent from 2007 and in 2012 18.9 million people admitted to using in the last month.
Use from those that reported using it improperly or without a prescription was at 6.8 million.
Interestingly enough the use of cocaine has decreased by 400,000 since 2007. That is likely due to the cost of the product and manufacturing whereas similar substances like methamphetamine is manufactured and reproduced at a high level with low costs.
First Time Users
Most people use drugs for the first time when they are teenagers. As of 2012 there were 2.8 million new users. 65.6% of those new users begin with using marijuana.
(National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2012)
Do you have a drug problem?
Seeking help for a drug addiction is not an easy task. But looking at your usage in an honest manner is exactly what is needed when thinking about treatment. You may have an addiction if you can answer yes to some of the below questions:
- Increased use over time
- Need more of the substance to obtain a feeling of euphoria or high
- Unable to make it to work/school due to the desire to use
- Using money allocated for living expenses on substances
- Driving or operating machinery while intoxicated despite knowing it is a bad idea
- Unable to stop or cut down despite the desire to do so
If you answered yes to more than one of these questions help is available
Contact your local A/A or N/A chapter for direction or contact a local drug habilitation program.