Free «Crisis of Addiction» Essay
Substance abuse refers to an individual’s habit that entails a routine consumption of drugs in amounts and methods that are potentially harmful to him/her and/or other people. The addicts not only misuse illegal substances but also use prescribed/pharmaceutical drugs for non-medical purposes (Merrill, 2011). Examples of the most abused substances are alcohol, cannabis, opioids, cocaine, barbiturates, lorazepam, and diazepam among others. The mostly abused medical drugs are those that possess depressing effects. Substance abuse is a global problem that affects populations in many countries and thus intensive research regarding the issue ranging from its causes to its effects is conducted to facilitate the development of strategies to curb the vice.
At the global level, there are more than 100 million drug users in the world and the menace contributed to a rise in drug-related deaths from 53000 in 1990 to 127000 in 2013 (GDC, 2013). A study conducted in the United States in 2010 revealed that about 50% of the youthful 12-grade students had used illegal substances at least once in their lifetime while about 20% had smoked cigarettes (Johnston, O'Malley, Bachman, Schulenberg, 2011).
Many drug addicts get introduced to the habit through the sharing of drugs in a family or with friends. Families and communities which oppose the substance abuse not strongly enough make it easy for their members to adopt the habit. Children from low-income families, often characterized with low education levels, are prone to engage in the behavior. Parents who smoke and abuse alcohol expose their children to the same habit.
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The drug abuse intervention efforts cost governments and families of the victims a lot of money in their attempts to curb the vice and such initiatives include the medical programs (Owens, Barrett, Weiss, Washington, & Kronick, 2014). In the United States and other countries that have large numbers of prisoners convicted of drug offenses, their allowance incurs huge incarceration costs (Prieto, 2010). The menace also imposes direct costs such as reduced productivity of the affected society as well as premature deaths.
The persistent use of drugs leads to addiction/total psychological dependency, and the attempts to restrain the consumption have severe effects. The affected person develops a chronic illness that necessitates a strict intake of the substances by causing uncontrolled desire accompanied with complications. The drugs also interfere with feeding thus making the victims have weak bodies (Robison & Nestler, 2011).
The persistent use of illegal substances leads to impaired thinking that prompts individuals to engage in risky behaviors without considering the possible harm. For instance, an addict may dangerously cross the highway without observing the traffic flow. The drugs also can cause mental problems that degrade the morals of the victims and thus leading them to crime.
The psychological disturbance resulting from the abuse of drugs leads to the hopelessness that may drive an individual to suicidal thoughts. Drug-related deaths occur all over the world, and thus it is not advisable to ignore the problem. Substance abusers also develop antisocial behaviors that entail the disregard for the welfare of other people and in the long run, this leads to personality changes.
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The drug addicts live in denial that implies the presence of an inner reality that is resistant to external factors. This defense mechanism is called denial. It makes the drug abusers to fail to acknowledge that something bad has happened in their lives. Due to repression, the victims suppress the painful memories and thoughts in their minds, and they forget that they do something bad (Niolon, 2011). Intellectualization is one more defense mechanism that entails distancing oneself from his/her feelings, and thus the addicts discuss their painful experiences without having any emotional reactions to the issues. Additionally, the victims can project the problem by failing to admit their responsibility and instead blame the society for focusing on their behavior. The addicted people also fantasize their lives through the creation of the inner world that makes them focus on imaginations to keep themselves happy while escaping from the real life (Niolon, 2011).
In conclusion, drug abuse is a problem that affects not only the users but also their neighbors, families and the nation as a whole. It entails the consumption of illegal substances as well as pharmaceutical products. The problem emanates from the family setting as well as the friends of an individual, and it results in many deaths (The Global Burden of Disease, 2013). The financial implications regarding direct and indirect costs of the intervention measures place a burden on the families as well as the government. The drugs harm the users both physically and psychologically, and this leads to their engagement in crime, involvement in accidents, homicides, and suicide as well as the development of antisocial behavior among others. The victims use in various defense mechanisms such as repression, fantasy, intellectualization, projection, and denial among others.