In some cases, these issues or problems stem from different cultural views and beliefs. While at other times, these issues will affect someone who lives in an environment with: parental drug/alcohol related problems, disruptions to the family, social deprivations, the lack of economic opportunities, physical/sexual abuse, peer pressure and stress. The question I will try to determine is whether or not ethnicity and economic factors play a major influence in determining who will be the most likely to abuse drugs and alcohol?
This will highlight the primary reasons as to why someone will begin using these stimulants on a regular basis. Once this is determined, one can provide specific insights that will illustrate the root causes of the problem and their lasting effect on society.
Describe the data collection method (Research Method)
The basic approach that will be used for collecting and analyzing the data is evaluation research. This is when there is a focus on examining a number of different sources in order to more effectively understand the trends. Anything that does not fit with these patterns will be eliminated as a statistical anomaly. The data collection should help to improve the validity of the study and the accuracy of the research by corroborating these facts with each other. When this happens, actuaries can provide more specific reasons that will support or refute the hypothesis that was presented ("Qualitative Research," 2012).
The current status of drug and alcohol abuse in the United States is alarming, especially with respect to young people. According to Gold (2006), a National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse survey found that teenagers in the U.S. had witnessed drug deals at their schools more frequently than they did in their own neighborhoods, and more than a third (39%) reported that at least one student in their schools had died during the previous year from alcohol or drug abuse. Moreover, more than three-quarters of the high school respondents (76%) reported that drugs were routinely used and dealt in their schools (Gold 107). The problem of alcohol and drug abuse, though, is certainly not restricted to young people but extends to older adults as well. For instance, Powell (2011) reports that, "A substantial and growing percentage of older adults misuse alcohol, prescription drugs, or other substances. The number of older adults in need of substance abuse treatment is expected to more than double from 1.7 million in 2000 and 2001 to 4.4 million in 2020" (108).
Although there are some encouraging signs that fewer young people are abusing alcohol and drugs and in recent years, the fact remains large numbers of American youths are still engaging in these self-destructive behaviors and are at risk of the adverse healthcare consequences that are associated with drug and alcohol abuse. In this regard, Gold emphasizes that, "The latest data show a 17% decrease in student drug abuse from 2001 to 2004. That still means, however, that millions of students abuse drugs and alcohol in the United States" (107). Indeed, a study of young people and risky behaviors conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2003 determined that 6.4 million students consumed alcohol and 3.7 million used marijuana in the month prior to the survey (Gold 107). Likewise, Reid and Toncar (2007) report that alcohol abuse is a leading psychiatric diagnosis in the United States today.
The human and economic costs that are associated with drug and alcohol abuse are enormous. The results of the most recent study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that the costs of drug abuse alone are more than $600 billion a year in the United States, a total that includes healthcare, lost productivity, and crimes (Alcohol and Drug Abuse Statistics 2012). The statistics from 2009 show that more than 2.1 million emergency room visits were related to alcohol and drug abuse, broken down as follows:
1. Non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs (27%);
2. Illicit drug use (21%);
3. Combination of alcohol with drugs (14%);
4. Eighty percent of patients were 21 or older;
5. Over 420,000 of the visits were related to cocaine use;
6. The most common drug combination was alcohol and central nervous system depressants