Drug abuse dates as far back as the Biblical era, so it is not a new phenomenon. “The emotional and social damage and the devastation linked to drugs and their use is immeasurable.” The ripple of subversive and detrimental consequences from alcoholism, drug addictions, and addictive behavior is appalling. Among the long list of effects is lost productivity, anxiety, depression, increased crime rate, probable incarceration, frequent illness, and premature death. The limitless consequences include the destruction to personal development, relationships, and families (Henderson 1-2). “Understandably, Americans consider drug abuse to be one of the most serious problems” in the fabric of society. And although “addiction is the result of voluntary drug use, addiction is no longer voluntary behavior, it’s uncontrollable behavior,” says Alan Leshner, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (Torr 12-13).
Addiction is a progressive, chronic, and ultimately a fatal disease. It is progressive in the sense that if it is left untreated it will get worse. Chronic means long term. Once one becomes dependent, it is like diabetes, in that diabetes is an incurable disease that can only be controlled. Long-term addictions have the high potential to lead to death through overdose, AIDs, suicide, or an accident (Aronson 17). The cycle of addiction tends to follow a pattern.
People first take drugs for many different reasons. Early on, drug experimentation can stem from curiosity, peer pressure and influence, or because of the environment people live in (Nagle 17). For example, in the East Side of downtown it is apparent that drug dealing and drug usage is prevalent. The police recently arrested 54 individuals from the East Side. Unfortunately it was just one block out of approximately 50 more on that side of town.
Next comes the social use stage. This is the stage where most individuals tend to stop or control their usage. People will try it and occasionally use drugs to “cut loose”, party, and have a good time, generally if, and only if, everyone else around them is doing it. Otherwise they could either take it or leave it and don’t necessarily seek out illegal drugs.
However, as a tolerance to the substances begins to build and the social group changes from friends in the same peer group to primarily drug users and abusers, that is when the drug...
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...er says, that “eventually, the drugs decrease the person’s ability to experience pleasure without a drug” (Torr 13).
Enfin, one of the most browbeating and frustrating things in the world is the disease of addiction. It is a progressive, chronic, and often fatal disease that takes control of life away from people. However, “drugs are here to stay, and...we have no choice but to learn how to live with them so that they cause the least possible harm” (Torr 116). Unfortunately, ten percent of all eighth graders and twenty percent of all tenth graders are using marijuana at least once a month (Torr 38).
Aronson, Virginia. "Junior Drug Awareness." Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2011.
“Dopamine System May Be the Key to Addiction.” News Briefs. Nature Magazine. May-June 2012. National Drug Strategy Network. Web. 20 Apr. 2015
Henderson, Elizabeth Connell. Understanding Addiction. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2013.
Nagle, Jeanne. Everything You Need to Know About Drug Addiction. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2012.
Torr, James D. Drug Abuse: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2014.