The New Wave of Addiction in America

Addiction is something almost everyone in the world can relate to, especially Americans. Addiction is prevalent in almost every society, but it seems that in America one has more opportunity to become addicted to substance being as we are one of the wealthiest nations on this planet. One of the quickest and easiest ways to get addicted to a substance is experimenting with prescription pills. Though other illegal drugs may be more addictive, or have more harmful effects, I would like to emphasize a group of drugs regularly overlooked.

Prescription pills, not only pain killers, but benzodiazepines and hallucinogens as well are drugs that doctors commonly use to treat sick individuals. Pain killers, such as Percocet are derived from opium, benzodiazepines, such as Xanax are mood altering substances, and hallucinogens like Ketamine make you hallucinate. These substances are very helpful to individuals who need them, but also extremely detrimental to people who do not (Gupta). Doctors, though they mostly intend to do well, regularly prescribe these substances to Americans who do not need them, and as a result flood the black market.

These pills are everywhere, reaching from coast to coast and certainly getting in the hands of our youth resulting in a prevalence that leads users to addiction. Addiction to prescription pills and other hard drugs among the youth of America can be thwarted by new and stronger policies for doctors prescribing of drugs, an emphasis on punishing prescription and other hard drugs very seriously and a better education while the nation’s youth is still young about the harmful effects of hard drugs. One of the largest problems that I see in the drug society today is the ease of obtaining prescription pills.

In my experience as a teenager, I could at any time obtain prescription pills with no trouble at all. With one phone call to a friend, I could get pills like Percocet or Oxycotin in as little as an hour. Though I have never been interested in experimenting with prescription pills, the option was always there. Reasoning behind my disinterest in trying prescription drugs is because my brother struggled with addiction, my friends struggled with addiction, and I lost very good friends because of overdose.

The Amount of prescription drugs have been prescribed in the United States has quintupled annually in the last decade (Kluger 47). Research shows evidence that the new wave behind addiction in the United States is fueled by the distorted perceptions of doctors prescribing highly addictive drugs to people that would never need them. Doctors in America are regulated, but only to a certain extent. Stronger policies must be enforced to stop the massive amounts of prescription pills getting to the streets and to our children that are prescribed by our doctors.

More time in prison, a higher federal and local police force regulation, and increased awareness by our pharmacists will all greatly affect the number of prescription pills that flood the market and ultimately form addiction among our youth. Only with stronger regulations, increased awareness, and ultimately a social uprising is the only way to stop the prevalence of prescription drugs in America. Punishment for prescription drug abuse is very low for first time offenders.

In Georgia, first time offenders that are caught dealing schedule 4 and 5 prescription drugs are usually told to pay a fine and be sentenced six month probation while their license is suspended (Georgia). For repeat offenders, the charge goes up to jail time, but how many people has this person led to addiction before they are caught twice? I found this outrageous. Though only a first time offender, this person who was dealing an extremely harmful drug, that destroys lives, has probation and a fine. I feel like a minimum sentence of jail time is needed for the dealing of prescription pills.

Though this will crowd our nation’s jails more, people need to understand the seriousness of dealing such harmful substances. All the while, to counter the new income of people into the jailing system, I feel our government should stop imprisoning people who distribute harmless drugs such as marijuana (Iverson). By doing so, there would be plenty of room for individuals distributing harmful and addicting drugs (NORML). There is a great need for reform in punishment for prescription drug dealing as well as the dealing of harmless drugs.

Better education of harmful drugs is one of the best ways of counteracting the prescription pill epidemic we are in. Our nation as a whole needs to unite in educating our youth at the right stages in their lives. When I went through school, my peers and I were educated on the harmful nature of drugs when we were in sixth grade. I find this totally ineffective. Though it is important to tell young children that it is wrong to do harmful drugs, there needs to be more education while kids progress through life. Children in high school are rarely even taught about drugs except in their health classes.

In a recent study by Brown University, they found 10% of all high school kids reported taking prescription pills without a doctor’s recommendation (Prescription). People need to educate kids on the seriousness of prescription pills, along with other harmful drugs. Our youth need to understand how easy it is to get addicted to a tiny white pill and how it can grip and destroy your life. Ultimately, our youth needs education about though your doctors prescribe something, that fact alone does not make it safe. Better education of our youth is vital to the ceasing of the prescription pill addiction epidemic.

A rise in addiction to prescription pills among Americans is an undeniable fact. The question is, what can we do about it? Stronger policies for doctors for prescribing harmful substances will lower the amount of pills on the streets, stronger punishment for prescription pill abusers will result in less drug dealers on the streets, and more education for our youth will prevent abuse from the core. America and the rest of the world need to realize the detrimental effects that abusing prescription pills will ensue.

Only with reform, will there be any change, my wish is to expedite the process in hopes of saving a poor soul and the people they affect to go through the misery of addiction. Works Cited: Gupta, Sanjay, and Jonathan D. Lynch. “What Did She Want with Xanax?. ” Time 159. 6 (2002): 67. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 13 Oct. 2010. “Georgia Drug Possession W/Intent Laws – GA Drug Trafficking Penalties | Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyers. ” Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyers – GA Criminal Attorney. 1 Jan. 2010. Web. 09 Nov. 2010. . Iverson, Leslie.

“Long-term effects of exposure to cannabis. ” Current Opinion in Pharmacology 5(2005): 69-72. Kluger, Jeffrey. “The New Drug Crisis: Addiction By Prescription. ” Time 176. 11 (2010): 46-49. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 12 Oct. 2010. NORML, NORML. “19 Reasons for Every Californian to Vote Yes on Prop 19 | NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform. ” NORML Blog. Jan. -Feb. 2010. Web. 11 Nov. 2010. . “Prescription for Danger: Prescription Drug Abuse in Teens. ” Brown University Child & Adolescent Behavior Letter 21. 1 (2005): 9-10. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 12 Oct. 2010.

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