Background on Drug Abuse

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Updated: Apr 30, 2024
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Background on Drug Abuse

This essay will provide an overview of drug abuse, including its definition, types of commonly abused substances, and factors that lead to addiction. It will examine the social, psychological, and physical implications of drug abuse. Moreover, at PapersOwl, there are additional free essay samples connected to Addiction.

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Drug abuse has been around for as long as the world has been created. Drug abuse dates back to the early 5000 B.C. when the Sumerians used opium, suggested by the fact that they have an ideogram for it which has been translated as HUL, meaning joy or rejoicing (Lindesmith, 2008). It then occurred often later on because indigenous South Americans chewed on coca leaves in the rainforest as a type of ritual, giving them stimulation and energy. Since then, scientist found out that the leaves they chewed on had a sort of drug, cocaine, to make them feel that way.

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Many other drugs have been discovered to make certain drugs become addictive. The three most addictive would be cocaine, originating from the coca leaves, heroine, and nicotine. There are many reasons on why people use drugs. One can be to have fun, feel high, or even to relieve stress or pain. Throughout the years, certain types of drugs come from all over the place, categorizing from plant rooted to manufactured drugs and legal to illegal drugs ( Dombeck, 2018). All drugs, however, eventually lead to drug addiction and abuse.

The Effects of Drug Abuse

In today’s society drug abuse has been a real problem. Drug abuse can be defined as the habitual taking of addictive or illegal drugs or a disease that affects your brain and behavior to want to consume drugs (Goldberg, 2018). Drug abuse has affected many lives and even caused lives. Drugs has many side effects that occurs when being taken either for good or bad. Not all drugs are bad as seen by society. Today there are drugs that help many people in many various ways for good. However, there are drugs that are deemed illegal and used for the wrong reasons. Teens and adults abuse prescription drugs for many reasons, such as To feel good or get high, relax or relieve tension, reduce appetite or increase alertness, experiment with the mental effects of the substance, maintain an addiction and prevent withdrawal, be accepted by peers or to be social, try to improve concentration and academic or work performance. The instant thought of drugs being bad are due to news broadcast and articles, whenever drugs are misused it instantly gets shown to the world this makes us think drugs are bad.

Prescription/ Over the Counter Drugs

It is thought that drug abuse only occurs to illegal drugs but that’s not always the case there are many drugs that are legal and get abused. These drugs are known as over the counter drugs or prescription drugs. Throughout the years many people has found ways to make legal things illegal and this is just the case for some over the counter drugs. This includes high induced pain killers, coughing syrup, and more. As stated in the article Over-the-Counter Drugs of Abuse by (Brande, 2017) It is a common misconception that only illegal drugs are dangerous. There are many different over-the-counter (OTC) drugs with psychoactive, or mind-altering properties that may lead to a number of serious medical and mental health consequences if abused for the mere purpose of getting high. Furthermore, there are also prescription drugs that are abused when in the hands of the wrong person. Prescription drugs are more danger and has stronger properties of aiding someone in pain there for the only way to get hands and them is through a doctor or specialist. Prescription drugs can be dangerous in many ways due to high dosages of many missed ingredients it can result in health failure or even affect an Individual negatively if overtaken or misused. As stated the abuse of prescription drugs can be defined as taking a medication in a manner or dose other than prescribed; taking someone else’s prescription, even if for a legitimate medical complaint such as pain; or taking a medication to feel euphoria (NIDA, 2018).

Illegal Drugs

Lots of drugs are illegal due to the fact that they can harm a person in many ways. Illegal drugs includes marijuana, cocaine, heroin, opium, amphetamine, and Methamphetamine. This is just a list of the many drugs that are deemed illegal, today there are more and more being created and sold unsafely. These drugs become illegal due to the factor of abusing these drugs and how harmful they can be for an Individual if taken. For example, illegal drugs can damage the brain, heart, and other important organs. Different illegal drugs have different effects on people and these effects are influenced by many factors. Today illegal drugs can be found almost anywhere it’s getter easier to get hand on these illegal drugs nowadays and that’s what’s creating these addictions and abuse. Illegal drugs come from all over the world and can be found anywhere easily.

Drug Addiction

Drug abuse isn’t only an one time thing. If drugs are being abused it more common that it will occur again. Drug abuse can happen multiple times and it eventually turns into drug addiction. Drug addiction is commonly known as overly abusing drugs. This is very harmful to the body as stated in the sections above. Drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who want to. Fortunately, researchers know more than ever about how drugs affect the brain and have found treatments that can help people recover from drug addiction and lead productive lives (NIDA, 2018). Drug addiction can be helped and is currently curable if treated by doctors and specialist. Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. These brain changes can be persistent, which is why drug addiction is considered a “”relapsing”” disease”people in recovery from drug use disorders are at increased risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug (NIDA, 2018). Drug addiction has been researched for many years now and some effective ways of treatment are as followed behavioral counseling, long-term follow-up to prevent relapse, medical devices and applications used to treat withdrawal symptoms or deliver skills training, medication, evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. This is all of course up to the will of the Individual to want to stop abusing drug and get better as stated above doctors and specialist can only do so much for an Individual the rest is up to the abuser to want to stop.

Dangers of Drug Abuse

Drugs are suppose to help you as we all know, but that just might not be the case in today’s society. There’s so many things going on when it comes to drugs that it is starting to become a controversial topic. Drugs can be dangerous nowadays and that is just the beginning of it. Drugs may even cause deaths. According to (NIDA, 2017) the total death rate for drug related deaths states more than 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses from 1999-2017, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids. As stated above a drug overdose can be defined as taking too much of a substance, whether it’s prescription, over-the-counter, legal, or illegal. Drug overdoses may be accidental or intentional. If you’ve taken more than the recommended amount of a drug or enough to have a harmful effect on your body’s functions, you have overdosed. An overdose can lead to serious medical complications, including death. The severity of a drug overdose depends on the drug, the amount taken, and the physical and medical history of the person who overdosed according to Health Lines Drug Overdose article. Just in the past years there are many accounts of drug overdoses by celebrities that has be publicly announced to bring awareness, the first being rapper Mac Miller who passed away on September 7, 2018 from a drug abuse overdose. The second being pop star Michael Jackson who also died from a drug overdose in 2009. Many Drugs are dangerous because their main functions are to help or cure the body but when abused it starts to over take the body and harms the body all the toxins take over the bloodstream and ends up hurting the Individual’s body. This is not to be mistaken for benzodiazepines drugs, who’s main purposes are for someone who is looking to feel euphoria which is another definition for a high.

Society vs Drug Abuse

As a society drug abuse has become a increasingly big problem and must be dealt with. Today the government are trying their best to enforce laws against drugs. It is for sure that there are more drugs than laws against drugs, and that may be the reason why there are so many drug related crimes today. As of 2017 alone there have been 1,632,921 drug law violations in the U.S. 85.4% being possession of drugs and the remaining 14.6% for selling or manufacturing the drugs itself (CSDP, 2017). Drugs will be in the society as people live but it’s up to the society to know what to do and what should be done. Drug abuse should not become a problem and responsibility must be taken for what needs to be done. If there is an issue with drugs it should be dealt with right away. Society should reject drugs as the people knows what may come of it and the dangers behind drugs. Drugs shouldn’t be the only way, there are many things that can replace drugs and it’s time that the people take an initiative to change for the future because society will only see the number of drug related crimes, deaths, and abuses rise. Our society should deal with people who use drugs by three simple solutions: 1) Offer treatment and compassion to people who want help for their drug problems; 2) leave people alone who don’t want or need treatment; and 3) continue to hold people responsible for crimes that harm others (Newman, 2014). In Newman’s article How Should Our Society Deal With People Who Use Drugs also states, It is time to stop arresting people simply for using or possessing drugs. Let’s help people with drug problems, leave in peace those without a problem, and hold responsible those who harm others.

Resolutions to Drug Abuse

Although drug abuse may be a way out for someone who is suffering in their everyday life, it shouldn’t be their go to when stressed. There are plenty other activities that can replace drug abuse. Today there are even plenty of people that are willing to help others that have a drug abusing problem. They are willing to put in their time effort to help drug abusers, to show that although life is hard drugs aren’t the only way. It is more common to see someone abusing drugs when with friends but that is not an excuse, also it is not setting the right example for others that are around. There are 3 primary ways to deal with addiction,

Handle the Physical Addiction First

Before any counseling can be done with an addict, the physical addiction needs to be addressed. First, an addict needs to get through the acute withdrawal from the drug they have been using. After the initial detox, there is more work to be done (Good, 2017).

Life Skills

Giving an addict life skills is extremely important when attempting to solve an addiction. Remember, the only life skills an addict uses on a daily basis are lying, cheating, stealing, manipulating and whatever else they have to do to get their fix. Those are their life skills, even though they are completely destructive. Addicts, after being relieved of their physical addiction, need to be taught how to live life again as a constructive member of society. Without these skills, all that’s created is a drug-free person who is lost in the sea of life, floating through a storm with no way to deal with it (Good, 2017).

Intensive One-On-One Counseling

The best way to solve an addiction is a multi-pronged approach which includes handling the physical addiction, giving the addict the life skills they need to deal with life and life’s problems effectively, and utilizing one-on-one counseling as a means of getting to the root cause of a person’s addiction and helping to fully handle it so they can lead long, productive lives (Good, 2017).

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Background on Drug Abuse. (2020, Apr 21). Retrieved from