September 11, 2016
Drug and alcohol abuse and addiction is a serious issue in the United States today and it has been for some time now. The issue simply gets worse and worse as the years go by, not better. Really, when it comes down to it the biggest crisis is something that has to do with prescription drug abuse and alcohol abuse specifically. These two substances combined cause more damage than literally all other addictive substances combined. In the U.S. today this is an epidemic. Some people get hooked on prescription drugs after popping a few pills at a party, while still others get addicted after a course of prescription pain medication following surgery and others after trying to medicate their way out of depression with leftover pills or with pills they got from a friend.
No matter how you look at it, the addiction crisis is a steady and a serious one to say the least, and the prescription drug abuse problem of them all is the most rapidly expanding one. This has made life difficult and tricky for Americans and it has put a lot of pressure on law enforcement, parents, and educators to really work on preventing these drugs from gaining any ground with various demographics, especially with young adults and students in particular.
This is a lot easier said than done though. However people end up get hooked on opioids, whether it was accidental or not, one thing is clear and that is that very few successfully get off them once they are addicted to them. One police officer had this to say on the matter:
“The recovery rate, in my opinion, is less than 1 percent. Opiate abuse usually starts with other gateway drugs such as marijuana, Percocet, or prescription pain killers. Then they go on to abuse heroin or even stronger pain drugs. Then, unless they are helped and rehabilitated, they will most likely die from an overdose.”
The Statistics on the Matter
It’s not just opiates that are causing so many problems. Truthfully, other substances also make big problems in other areas too. Listed below are some of the statistics on the substance abuse crisis of the nation today:
• In the year of 2013, about 39.0 percent of youths aged 12 to 17 perceived great risk in having five or more drinks once or twice a week. Similarly, 39.5 percent of youths perceived great risk in smoking marijuana once or twice a week. So a lot of youngsters do see the risks here, but it doesn’t seem to help prevent the overall use and abuse of these drugs amongst young adults in general.
• In the year of 2013, 70.6 percent of youths of the age of 12 to 17 reported having seen or heard drug or alcohol prevention messages from sources outside of school, which was lower than in 2002 (83.2 percent) and in 2012 (75.9 percent). For some reason, preventative measures are going down even though drug use is going up. The percentage of school-enrolled youths reporting that they had seen or heard prevention messages at school also declined during this period, from 88.8 percent in 2002 to 73.5 percent. The prevalence of past month illicit drug use in 2013 was lower among youths who reported having such exposure to prevention messages compared with youths who did not have such exposure. So obviously, prevention works, but it just isn’t being applied like it used to be.
• Semi-tractor trailer truck drivers test positive for drugs, and this statistic alone has been increasingly alarming, especially since it puts so many other lives at risk. A 2007 study conducted in the state of Oregon by the Oregon state police found that in fact nearly ten percent of randomly selected truck drivers tested positive for drugs of one kind or another, with both marijuana and methamphetamine rates just to name a few being higher than in similar checks done in the year of 1998.
Increasing Prevention is Key to Stopping Addiction
There are two ways that addiction in any given area, whether it be a city, a state, or an entire country can be addressed. These are with prevention and rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is the effective treatment of the various key addiction-related physical and mental traits in any given individual. Simply stated, for the nation to be truly free from addiction, all of those Americans who are currently addicted to drugs and alcohol need to beat addiction and they need to get rehabilitated and sobered up for good.
Prevention is another major, key point, yet it is often forgotten about or missed. Prevention is simply defined as those actions that are taken on the part of the government, parents, elders, teachers, police officers, and other civil servants and opinion leaders to try to stop substance abuse from occurring in any given area. Any time a parent talks to a child about addiction, or a police force busts a drug ring, or a teacher educates about drugs, those are efforts to prevent drug and alcohol addiction. Now more than ever, prevention in the U.S. needs to be increased.
In a lot of ways, teachers and policemen and women are leading the way in prevention in this nation. With a combination of educating about drug and alcohol abuse and addiction and with law enforcement attempts at getting drug use and drug substance out of an area, certain areas where this has been practiced are now doing much better. This model must be followed everywhere though, and if it is then the nation will experience a great amount of relief over all.