The drug addiction has radically increased throughout the world over the past few years. This research study aims at analyzing the problem of drug addiction, its individual and social implications and the experts' opinion about this life-threatening practice. The paper has also discussed the current prevention measures launched at the private and public forefront along with examining their effectiveness in the practical arena. The alternatives to curb drug abuse and their potential effectiveness have also been elaborated.
Drug Addiction: A Social Problem
The problem of drug addiction has been significantly rising throughout the globe over the past few decades. The changing moral trends in society and increasing depression have radically increased the problem of drug addiction. It has strengthened its roots swiftly in all parts of society particularly among the teenagers. Numerous reports have stated the fact that all major countries of the world are suffering from the social evil of drug addiction (Elliot et al., 2008).
According to Elliot et al. (2008), drug addiction can be defined as an intense, patterned and uncontrolled dependence on a drug to an extent where human body develops a tolerance to specific medication or drug. An individual addicted to drugs become helpless in terms of controlling the use of that particular drug despite of knowing about its harsh impact on his physical health and well being.
The problem of drug addiction has become the most significant social problem of current era as it lies at the base of other social problems.
Drug Addiction as a Social Problem
The consistent increase in the drug addiction particularly among the teenagers is really alarming. According to the Elliot et al. (2008), drug addiction is simply use of drugs for non-medical reasons backed by the urge of staying relaxed, seeking diversion from the everyday pressures or just to comply with the prevalent trends in the peer group.
Illegal drug abuse has risen from 5% to 15% within the period of 2005 to 2010 because of massive navigation of teenagers towards the destructive trend of drug addiction (DuPont, 2010). According to a research study conducted by the federal government's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, around 16 million teenagers aged between 12 to 20 years are addicted to the exploitation of prescribed drugs for non-medical purposes (Young, 2008). The growing inclination towards drug addiction has emerged from the misconception that they are not dangerous like other as they are medically manufactured and are available at all medical outlets. This has also been confirmed by the report of National Institute on Drug Abuse that the main tragedy about the drug addiction pertains to their unproblematic availability as almost half of the drug abusers get the required drug from their household medicine cabinets, friends or relatives (Elliott et al., 2008).
Implications of Drug Addiction
The drug addiction has intensely adverse impact on the health and efficiency of an individual as they harm his mental potential and physical activeness. The drug addiction causes constriction in pupil, increases body fatigue and perspiration and reduces appetite leading to troublesome weight loss (Elliott et al., 2008). Stimulants and hallucinogens are dangerous for abusers because they dictate the active life. The speech of drug abusers become slurry and skins get flushed (Elliott et al., 2008). They are also greatly vulnerable to the sleeplessness or excessive sleepiness backed by the exhausted feelings. Similarly, the addiction to opiate analgesics badly affects the respiratory centers in the brain that distort the normal breathing (McCabe et al., 2007).
Apart from the physical implications, the psychological consequences of drug addiction are also a crucial factor to be concerned about. According to the research report of U.S.
Department of Mental Health, the people addicted to drug addiction suffer from frequent mood swings, frustrating instincts, ungainliness and forgetfulness (Young, 2008). They lose interest in their academics, personal appearance and career making coupled with the enigmatic behaviors.
Increase in Accidental Deaths
A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that the deaths caused by the excessive abuse of prescribed drugs have exceeded the casualties caused by the road accidents in U.S. (Johnson, 2011). The data from the study reveals that the extensive reduction in the capability to concentrate on a particular condition results in careless driving that have added to the number of accidental deaths in U.S.
Increase in Crime Rate
The drug addiction is among the main causes of considerable increase in crime rate in U.S. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the pharmacy robberies have been doubled as compared to the previous decade (McCabe et al., 2007). Secondly, the drug addiction increases the criminal drives in an individual by disturbing his mental stability that leads to his involvement in street crimes and robberies as he find it more thrilling to adapt sluggish means for materialization of his unhealthy wants (McCabe et al., 2007).
Disturbed Social Quo
The rising inclination towards drug addiction is really alarming because it would halt the developmental pace of every affected country including United States. The reduction in career-
oriented approaches of teenagers will result in passive citizens who would just be a burden on society.
Social Science Experts' Opinion about Drug Addiction
According to the experts, drugs are abused because they intensify the concentration of a chemical named as dopamine in human brain which turns the habit into an addiction (Akins & Mosher, 2007). There are manly two determinants of a drug addiction. The major one is the dose of drug abused excessive to the requirement of therapeutic treatment on more frequent note and the other is administration route which revolves around snorting or injecting drugs resulting in a multiplied rewarding effect (Akins & Mosher, 2007).
The Executive Director of the Adolescent Treatment Center, David Rotenberg states that prescription drugs have turned into the most obvious challenge confronted to U.S. these days. He asserts that the wider prescriptions and their easier availability have elevated the adolescents' addiction to prescription drugs. The opinion of Director of the Division of Epidemiology, Services and Prevention Research at NIDA is also noteworthy in this regard who asserts that these drugs actually need a prescription because they are extremely powerful medications (Friedman, 2006).
A Scientist named as Chapman said that it is easier to depict a teenager's addiction to prescription drugs because drug addiction disables an individual to act normally and make him suffer from mania, odd behaviors, muscular fatigues, declined academic performance and extracurricular activities (Johnson, 2011).
Societal Response to Drug Addiction
The White House has come up with a Drug addiction Prevention Plan that will mainly focus on four areas to cope up with this serious public health problem. The targeted areas involve improving education, enhancing monitoring, ensuring proper medication disposal and eliminating improper prescription and drug-oriented behaviors. The Food and Drug Administration has developed a long-term Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) to work out the opioid medications (Johnson, 2011). REMS include the very important maneuver of imparting significant education to the doctors regarding the appropriate management, careful patient selection and drug prescription. The initiative taken by Drug Enforcement Administration regarding the practice of observing National Prescription Drug Take Back Day once a year is also commendable because it would reinforce the urge for a healthy and healed nation.
There have been a number of partner programs aimed at preventing drug addiction coupled with the public awareness and penalizing those who deviate from the law. Some major partner programs include Drug-Free Communities Support Program which supports communities to depict and tackle the substance drug abuse in their surroundings with a proactive approach. Another major program is National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign that is aimed at curbing down the drug addiction by disseminating the motivational messages with the aid of national media. This also incorporates many free online resources to reduce drug abuse (Young, 2008).
Partnership for a Drug-Free America
The Partnership for a Drug-Free America has been actively responding to the problem of drug addiction since 2003 by conducting research and increasing awareness among the parents. It integrates research oriented communications to convey the hazards of the chronic dilemma of drug addiction. It has maintained plenty of resources to provide expert's response to parental queries that how to tackle teenagers addicted to prescription drugs and how to raise healthy children (Elliott et al., 2008).
Private sector organizations and NGOs such as DARE and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America have played their part effectively in fighting with the social ill of drug addiction. They have been reaching the people in the remote areas of U.S. To spread awareness about the destructive implications of drug addiction. The NGOs have also collaborated with the academic institutions to hold especial workshops and seminars entailing the importance of a healthy life (Gu et al., 2010).
Effectiveness of Societal Responses
The governmental efforts at eliminating the drug addiction have addressed the issue of drug addiction but…