Addiction Impacts on Society
It doesn’t take a DEA officer to realize that there is a very real drug and alcohol problem that plagues a surprising percentage of the world’s population. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the US currently spends $193 billion dollars on crime, lost work productivity and healthcare related in a relation to illicit drugs. What’s even scarier is that the US also currently spends $235 billion on those same things but in relation to alcohol.
The Grip of Drugs and Alcohol on Society
There is no arguing that the nation has a significant problem with drugs and alcohol. However, to get to the bottom of the nation’s problem with alcohol and drug abuse, a very basic question must be asked. Why do people do drugs or drink in the first place? Common answers include:
- It’s just a normal thing to do while in attendance of social gatherings or parties.
- It helps in coping with the stress that comes with work/school, and it provides a means of relief from mental distress or physical illness.
- It helps compensate for guilt, low self-esteem, and shyness.
- It feels better to drink/do drugs rather than enjoy the company of others, partake in hobbies, or better oneself.
Either way, drug and alcohol abuse eventually transforms from a recreational means for “getting away” to an actual addiction or dependency. This is most common when the abuse begins to affect other areas of the user’s life. For example, he/she may begin defaulting on their bills or they may begin missing work from time to time either from being too hungover from the drug use or being heavily under the influence of it.
According to the Florida Institute of Technology, 50% of all reported violent crimes and 50% of all reported suicides are directly related to drugs or alcohol in some way. As you can see, drugs and alcohol not only complicate a person’s life, but they can end it completely as well. Many people assume that a drug-related death will never happen to them, but sadly, it can and does happen, and it’s even quite common.
Driving Under the Influence
One of the most common incidents that involve alcohol-related deaths is popularly known as driving while under the influence. This is the act of operating a motor vehicle while simultaneously experiencing the effects of alcohol or other type of drug. This is illegal in the United States, and it has very real repercussions if the offender is caught in the act.
According to a statistic from 20120 on MADD.org (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), adults were guilty of driving while under the influence 112 million times. That added up to about 300,000 incidents per single day. These were 300,000 chances for a drunk driver or another innocent driver to become involved in an alcohol-related car accident.
Drug and Alcohol-Related Incarceration
In a 2006 report released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), drugs and alcohol were related to these offenses by inmates:
- 83% of property crimes
- 78% of violent crimes
- 77% parole or probation offenses, and weapon, immigration, or public order offenses
What’s even more frightening is that at the end of 2011, there were roughly 1,341,804 prisoners admitted in state prisons, and of that number, 225,242 of them were incarcerated for drug-related offenses. It is estimated that either way, 85% of prison inmates are in need of serious substance abuse treatment.
The Ongoing Drug War
It is estimated that the US spends more than a whopping $51,000,000,000 on the drug war each year. Yes, there are 9 zeros there, and that is just on a yearly basis. Although law enforcement continues to work towards getting drugs off the streets, it seems as though drug prices continue to decrease, the purity of the substances increases and the demand only gets thicker.
Signs of Drug/Alcohol Addiction
Drugs and alcohol are incredibly easy to become addicted to as you would more than likely assume after reading some of these statistics. The only way to prevent falling into the same mishaps as others with drugs and alcohol is to stop the problem as soon as it happens or prevents the problem from happening at all. These are a few signs that you or a loved one could be addicted to drugs or alcohol:
- Responsibilities are being neglected. – Many drug abusers will begin viewing using their drug of choice as a higher priority than their responsibilities.
Risks are being taken to get the drug or the drug is being used under risky conditions.
- Risks are being taken to get the drug or the drug is being used under risky conditions. – If you’re putting your life in danger to obtain the drug or you find yourself mixing it with other substances, there’s a chance you could suffer from addiction.
- The drug has to lead you to legal trouble. – When you’ve found yourself in a courtroom due to your drug use, it’s time to seek help.
- Your life revolves around the drug. – A definite sign of addiction is making other factors of your life mold around your addiction.
You’ve replaced the activities you used to enjoy with the drug.
- You’ve replaced the activities you used to enjoy with the drug. – If you find that you no longer take up reading or hiking because you want to use your drug more, you’re more than likely addicted.
If you suffer from one or more of these symptoms of addiction, it’s time to seek help. Make the choice to better your life today.
Overall, the drug and alcohol struggle that affects society clearly is not coming to an end any time soon, but awareness is what helps spark change. It’s statistics and real numbers that inject the harshness of reality into people, not their willpower to stop on their own. If a single life is saved after he/she takes the time to read the truth in this guide, then this article will have proven to be successful.
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