Drug Abuse: The Single Most Important Societal Problem May 27, 2011 Drug Abuse – Single Most Important Societal Problem Have you ever walked down the street or in a grocery store and bumped into someone you know, and they look really bad? Drugs have “eaten them alive” and they are barely recognizable. You can remember how beautiful they were “before” the drugs but you’re staring the “after” directly in the face. It is not a pretty sight, is it? Just think, it could be one of your family members or loved ones.
The more I walk down streets, in grocery stores, at my child’s ball games, at work and even on my college campus it is more evident that drug abuse, is much more than a personal problem that everyday people, have in common in some sort of way. After looking at drugs from personal encounters, knowing the facts and reasons for abuse and the factors surrounding drug abuse; in my opinion, it is the single most important societal problem in existence. Imagine not having to walk down the street or in a grocery store to see drug abuse up close and personal.
I don’t have to imagine. I’ve encountered drugs as up close and personal as it gets all my life. My father and step-mother did crack cocaine for the majority of my child hood, my mother smokes marijuana, my maternal grandmother died from cirrhosis of the liver from being an alcoholic, another grandmother chain smokes cigarettes, and my marriage has been completely destroyed by drugs. Talk about up close and personal. One would say that I would have no other choice but to be some type of drug abuser. I must admit that I have tried marijuana and cigarettes.
I have also drank beer and liquor before, but I have not done anything more and never will. I choose not to be an abuser simply because I have seen the before and the after effects of what it can do. I can remember as a young child, maybe four or five, seeing these two girls who I thought was absolutely beautiful. I wanted to “look just like them when I grow up”. I see them now very skinny, no teeth, bad hygiene, don’t care about their children or their public appearance, and I know that is not me. Why would ou want to do drugs when you have a clear picture of before and after, and yet our world is torn apart by drugs. There are many different types of drugs as well as reasons for drug use. Some of the most commonly used drugs include nicotine, beer/liquor, marijuana, heroin, opium, cocaine/crack, methamphetamine, PCP, LSD, steroids, inhalants, and prescription medicines (depressants, stimulants, and pain relievers). Of these drugs, marijuana is the most commonly used. There are many different types of uses and reasons for using drugs.
Some of the types of uses are experimental use which is trying it out once or twice for curiosity, recreational use which is using every few months, situational use which is using to stay awake or for something important, regular use which is using every weekend or once a month, bingeing which is not using often but using very large amounts on occasions, dependence also known as addiction which involves frequent use with signs of physical and psychological dependence, and lastly abstinence which is not using at all.
Some of the reasons people give for drug use are rebellion, they are legal, self medication, boredom, peer pressure, it feels good, curiosity, availability, enhancement, and to escape problems. In my opinion, none of these are reasons for drug abuse, they are excuses. In the 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, it was found that 76 percent of all current illicit drug users (15. 9 million) use marijuana. Other numbers were equally stunning, such as an estimated 1. million of Americans aged 12 or older were current cocaine users, and an estimated 8. 1 million of Americans aged 12 or older had tried ecstasy at least once in their lifetime. According to the National Survey in 2001, there are many different factors that influence and surround drug abuse which include age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, employment, geographic area, criminal justice populations, and association with cigarette and alcohol use. We usually think of teens when thinking of drug abuse, but drug abuse and use affects people of all ages.
Generally, the ages of drug users are between 15-30 years of age, but there has been an increase over the past few years in the rise of senior drug use and abuse. Males are outnumbering females among drug abuse enormously. In 2001, rates of current illicit drug use were highest among American Indians/Alaskan Natives, followed by Blacks, then Whites, then Hispanics and lastly Asians. Rates of drug abuse were higher among those who are homeless, those who had not completed high school, those who lived in certain locations (projects/poverty), those who had been to jail, and those who smoke cigarettes and drink compared to those who did not.
After looking at drugs from personal encounters and knowing the facts and reasons for use and the factors surrounding drug use and abuse; again I say, it is the single most important societal problem in existence. Look at the world around us. Drugs are everywhere. They are in our neighborhoods, schools, workplaces, churches, grocery stores hospitals and other places. Everybody knows someone who is affected in some way by drugs. Many families are destroyed by drug abuse and addiction. Everyday there is a reminder on the news of drugs and its effects on our nation and society.
In my opinion, if we can find a way to fix the drug problems in our nation and society, then we will have solved the single most important problem we have as Americans. References Drug Abuse in America: 2001. (n. d. ). Almanac of Policy Issues. Retrieved May 25, 2011, from http://www. policyalmanac. org/crime/archive/drug_abuse. shtml National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, 2001 – Drug Facts. (n. d. ). Office of National Drug Control Policy. Retrieved May 25, 2011, from http://www. whitehousedrugpolicy. gov/drugfact/nhsda01. html