Detrimental Social Problems: Substance Abuse Essay example

Detrimental Social Problems: Substance Abuse Essay example

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Substance abuse is one of the most detrimental social problems found in all societies. It has been the leading cause for generational breakdowns of families and communities, and is probably the most controversial social problem when developing corrective solutions. Substance abuse can be defined as the chemical dependence, or pattern of usage of both legal and illegal substances, that has adverse physical, psychological, and psychomotor effects on the human body. The use of substances does not always have to be a drug, but can also be anything taken into the body that can cause a mood-altering effect, such as inhalants or solvents. Additionally, substance abuse has many different faces and is the one social problem that crosses all boundaries, such as race, class, socioeconomic status, age, and gender, to name a few. Historically, substance abuse has been identified in many different ways, and society’s, namely the United States in this paper, approach in identifying and addressing the problem has changed over time.
Substance abuse in the United States can be traced as far back as the 1700’s, during which time alcohol and opiates were the top drugs of choice. The face of the substance abuser at this time were mostly White and Chinese. Historic records of the British trade illustrate the large masses of opium shipped to Britain and other countries, and China was the first nation to ban the sell and trade completely in 1799 (http://opioids.com/timeline). When prohibition laws were enacted in the 1900’s to address alcoholism, news article dating back to 1914, was written in the New York Times, which addresses the concerns of substance abuse among the southern community of African Americans. The article reports that the addiction to c...


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...een banned as illegal, pharmaceutical companies have developed a wide array of legal medicines that have the same addictive properties as these drugs. Depressants, opioids, and stimulants are easily accessible to individuals who report the slightest symptoms to physicians, and these drugs, including hydrocodone, barbiturates, and amphetamines, to name a few, are some of the leading prescription drugs abused by Americans. This type of substance abuse is viewed differently by society, because they are not obtained in an “illegal” manner, but can be prescribed to adults, children, and in some cases, even the family pet. The danger of the abuse is just as serious however, as it is for illegal substances, but the treatment of the substance affected person takes a different direction, which is mainly due to the political viewpoints that have set the prosecuting statutes.

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