Drug Abuse In America

The invention of drugs has been one of the best breakthroughs man has ever introduced. It has provided hope and longer life to many individuals who are experiencing certain illnesses or diseases. Without the invention of drugs, many would still be dying from simple diseases. In the past years, developments and innovations have been introduced to drugs thus, now, there are more drugs that are readily available in the market and almost every disease has a corresponding drug to cure it. Gone were the days when only prayers and fervent of hopes of healing serve as the only sources of cure.

Man has become more advanced in science and technology and relatively healthier. However, attached with all the advancements in the production of drugs are problems on improper and illegal use. Despite the inclusion of instruction labels and specifications from physicians, there are still many who commit mistakes in properly using drugs and in taking the right dosage. An improper use of drugs may lead to various complications and irritations or even new diseases, thus care must be exercised when using prescribed drugs. Aside from the improper use, there are also those who tend to abuse the use of certain drugs.

They get so attached with the substance and gradually become addicted with it. There are also some substances that are specifically created for minimal consumption and taking more than the required dosage may lead to addiction. These drugs are controlled by the state and are not readily given to the patient without the proper prescription; they cannot be purchased over the counter. Despite the regulation on these drugs, there are still those who abuse it and become addicted. Drug Dependence Drug dependence is the compulsion to use a drug to experience psychological or physical effects.

It may come in various forms such as habituation, addiction and tolerance (Microsoft Encarta online Encyclopedia, 2008). There is tolerance when the body has become so familiar with the use of the drug that in order to achieve the pharmacological effect desired, there is a need to increase the dosage. This situation is also worsened when the drug is prescribed to be used for along period of time such as weeks or months. When the body has been accustomed with the drug, withdrawing from use might prove to be a challenge.

The patient might experience drug withdrawal effects such as nausea, difficulty in sleeping, restlessness, headaches and sweating. Habitual drug dependence on the other hand is characterized by a continued longing or desire for the drug even if the body no longer needs it. The patient believes that the drug produces a certain kind of happy feeling or elation on his part and non-use of such drug may affect the functioning of his body. Addiction on the other hand is a craving for the drug. The patient fervently believes that the drug is a necessity and his body cannot function normally without it.

Commonly abused drugs are categorized in to six groups: hallucinogens, inhalants, cannabis, sedative-hypnotics and stimulants. Stimulants are the most commonly abused drug. Examples of this kind are cocaine and amphetamine drugs. Cocaine is medically used to produce anaesthesia that would be employed in the surgery of the throat and the nose. Amphetamines on the other hand are utilized to treat hay fever and colds. They affect the nervous system, elevate mood, heighten alertness and decrease fatigue. They are also used for the treatment of the sleep order narcolepsy.

Hallucinogens are used for dying patients, drug abusers, mentally ill and alcoholics. They are only used occasionally. Tolerance of the drug develops rapidly but not withdrawal syndromes are felt if the use of the drug is discontinued. Among the hallucinogens which were abused widely in the 196s were lysergic acid diethylamide and mescaline. Inhalants on the other hand are not actually drugs but substances which are sniffed. The common examples of inhalant are aerosols, glue or gasoline. These substances if smelled, produce slight brain stimulation or unconsciousness, depending on the dosage of the inhalant.

Among the common effects of this kind of drug are impaired vision and judgment, and reflex and muscle control. If this kind of drug is used over along a period of time, it may yield to more adverse results such as death and permanent brain damage. Cannabis on the other hand is a kind of drug that comes from plant sources such as marijuana and hashish. Both of these drugs are usually smoked for relaxation, to accelerate the heart beat, heighten the functioning of the senses of hearing, smell, taste and touch. These drugs also have the effect of slowing down time.

The effects of this kind of drug vary from the dosage taken and the prevalent circumstances when the substance was consumed. The drug harms the lungs in the same way that tobacco does. It also affects the physical and psychological maturation of the individual infusing it to his system. Sedative-hypnotics are used in the treatment of epileptic patients, reduction of anxiety and inducement from sleep. Examples of this kind are valiums, barbiturates and librium. This kind of drug produces dependence from the drug just like dependence from alcohol.

Abrupt withdrawal from this kind of drug may cause adverse effects such as convulsions, insomnia, shaking or death (Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia, 2008). Signs and Symptoms of Drug Addiction Drug addiction can be seen through several signs and symptoms. Among the indications of addiction to drugs are: increase r decrease in appetite, smell of substance in the hair, clothing or breath of the abuser, extreme activeness or hyperactivity, needle marks, changes in habits, difficulty in paying attention, moodiness, paranoia and unexplained need for money.

Other signs include violent temper, suspicious behaviour, change in grooming habits, possession of drug paraphernalia and change in the overall attitude of the individual (Narconon, n. d. ). Reasons of Drug Addiction There are several reasons why people use illegal drugs and abuse legal drugs. The perceived effects generated from these drugs encourage people to try them and experience the desired effect. According to Teens Health (2007), people experiment with drugs which are prescribed because they believe that such drugs can aid them in losing weight, having fun, fitting in and studying effectively.

Compared to street drugs, prescription drugs are more often purchased because of the accessibility of buying. Anyone can purchase prescription drug, one only needs to present the prescription mandating the use such drug. Aside from this, many also have the wring notion that prescription drugs are safer because many adults use them. However, prescription drugs are not for everyone’s consumption. These drugs are only safe for those people to whom the drugs are specifically prescribed for because doctors are monitoring the effects of the drugs on the patient. Effects of Drug Addiction

There are also health consequences of drug addiction to the drug abuser. Among the consequences are experiencing drug related medical emergencies and mental birth defects or death to the children of women who are abusing drugs while they are pregnant. Chronic drug use can also lead to diseases like hepatitis and tuberculosis. Drug users are also more prone to sexually-transmitted diseases because of the high risk sexual behaviour that they exhibit (NCJRS, n. d. ). Abuse of medications does not only affect the individual physically and psychologically but also the society.

Most drug users are violent and have a great tendency to commit crimes even if they do not want to. Drug users also experience trouble in school, with friends, at home and with the law. The possibility of committing criminal acts, being a victim thereof or encountering accidents is higher when a person is an illegal drug user or a drug abuser. Based on the data of the National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), there is an estimated 1. 14 million arrests for the violation of drug laws and the largest percentage of the said arrests pertain to drug possession.

Drug tests for arrestees also revealed that most of them are positive for drug use. In a survey conducted among federal detainees, it was discovered that most drug offenders, robbers and burglars in state prisons reported that they are under the influence of drugs when they committed the crime. Statistics of Drug Addiction in the United States In the in the United States, there is substantial variation in the age of the drug users, however, statistics indicate that the there is an increasing number of young people who are getting more hooked with the habit.

In 2001, survey shows that 3. 8 percent of youths who are 12 or 13 years old were reported to be using illegal drugs. The age group of youths which registered the most users fall between the ages of 18 to 20 years old (Policy Almanac, 2002).. The most common gender of drug users is male. Among the reported cases, 8. 7 percent are male which 5. 5 percent are female. In terms of race or ethnicity, 7. 2 percent are whites and the same goes true for blacks. The Hispanics constitute 6. 4 percent of the reported cases.

Asians and Pacific Islanders have the lowest percentage of drug use in the United States. In terms of education, those who have attained higher education such as those who have completed their tertiary level of education have a lower incidence of drug use as compared to those who are out of school or have attained a lower level education. However, drug use is nearly the same in full-time college students and part-time students. There is also a greater percentage of drug use among the unemployed as compared to those who are employed (Policy Almanac, 2002).

Drug addiction is a menace to families and the society. There are so many people who are affected and so many consequences that it yields to. However, the face of all these negative findings about drug addiction, the sale of illegal drugs is still prevalent in the society. There are still more people who are curious to try it or who cannot kill the habit. In the United States, illegal drugs remain available in the market. As compared to the sale of drugs of illegal drugs in the previous decades, there is a higher number of people who are selling illegal drugs.

They are more available now than they were in the past years (NCJRS, n. d. ). Drug addicts find too much difficulty removing in their system the abuse of drug substances because of the satisfaction that they are getting from it. They do not realize the repercussions of their actions or even of they do, they do not have the courage or the will power to fight them. In combating the illegal drugs, there have been various laws passed by Congress to stop it. However, these laws seem to be insufficient as it does not actually treat the problem on drug addicts.

The proper treatment must be employed so that addicts will be able to reform and be better individuals. If drug addicts are not reformed, they will continually cause menace to the society. Principles of Treatment of Drug Dependents There are various principles of effective treatments for drug addicts. The first principle is no single treatment is appropriate for all individuals. The treatment settings should match the interventions and services designated for the specific problems of the patient. Second, treatment should be available.

The individual should be ready for treatment when the treatment is employed. It is important that the patient is ready to be treated so that it can take effect in the proper perspective. Second, treatment should be readily available. The patient’s determination of his readiness to go through trial has no specific period. If there is a period wherein treatment is specifically available, then the patient may not be able to avail healing by the time that he is ready. Third, treatment should be holistic and simply limited to the drug use problem of the individual.

The problem of the patient should be seen in relation to his medical records, psychological, social, emotional, and physical needs. It should also address the vocational and legal problems of the patient. In addition, the treatment plan accorded to the patient should be in consonance with his continuously changing needs. The patient should be regularly assessed to determine the factors that should be given attention to. Fourth, adequate duration of time should be allotted for the treatment of the patient. The length of time that the patient has been going through the recovery may affect the results of the healing.

Fifth, the plan should include behavioural therapies and counselling to engage the patient in the treatment process. Motivation, building skills in resisting drug use, and replacing the drug abuse and illegal drug use with rewarding non-drug activities. Building the right approach and creating the proper motivation and behavioural skills may prove to be helpful for the patient in combating the temptation of drug use. There should be a strong motivation to continue with the process in order to become effective. Sixth, the patient should be medically detoxified.

The treatment should aid the patient in removing in his system the drugs which he abused and help him recover from the symptoms of withdrawal that he is experiencing. However, this process alone is not sufficient for the treatment of the patient (NIDA, 2008). Approaches to Treatment There are various approaches to treatment that are being employed by drug rehabilitation organizations. Among the treatments are the antagonist maintenance treatment, narcotic antagonist treatment, out patient drug-free treatment and long term residential treatment (NIDA, 2008).

These approaches are employed depending on the needs of the patient and the result of his medical assessment. Rehabilitation from drug use is dependent on the proper treatment that should be employed. Treatment against illegal drug use and drug abuse should not be merely limited to the medical aspect. The approach should be holistic and should address all issues so that the patient can have a support system that will aid him through the process of change. If only one aspect is addressed, there is a possibility that the patient will not gain full healing and go back to the habit of drug use.

Rehabilitation from drug use means erasing the bad habits and creating a new person who can face the challenges of life without depending on drugs. Drug laws and rehabilitation of drug users should have a good understanding of the natured of drug abuse and the elements thereof so that the proper treatment and care will be imposed. There should be an effective intervention developed and a comprehensive research and study on the topic (National Academy Press, 2001). Dealing with drug users is no ordinary task. It involves lives and the reform thereof. References

“America’s Drug Abuse Profile”. (n. d. ). National Criminal Justice and Reference Service. Retrieved 6 September 2008, from http://www. ncjrs. gov/htm/chapter2. htm Drug Abuse in America: 2001”. (2002). Policy Almanac. Retrieved 6 September 2008 from http://www. policyalmanac. org/crime/archive/drug_abuse. shtml “Drug Addiction Signs”. (n. d. ). NARCONON. Retrieved 6 September 2008 from, http://www. addictionca. com/drug-addiction-signs. htm “Drug Dependence”. (2008). Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 6 September 2008 from, http://encarta. msn.

com/encyclopedia_761560733/Drug_Dependence. html “Informing America’s Policy on Illegal Drugs”. (2001). National Academy Press. Retrieved 6 September 2008 from http://www. nap. edu/openbook. php? record_id=10021&page=R1 “Prescription Drug Abuse”. (2007). Teen’s Health. Retrieved 6 September 2008 from http://kidshealth. org/teen/drug_alcohol/drugs/prescription_drug_abuse. html “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research Based Guide”. (2008). National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved 6 September 2008 from, http://www. nida. nih. gov/PODAT/PODAT1. html

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