Free «Chemical Dependency: Crisis of Addiction» Essay Paper

Chemical Dependency: Crisis of Addiction


The consequences of drugs usage can be terrible and destroying on personal, social and national level. Temporary and permanent damage of the abusers’ health lead to the problems in the social, economic, healthcare and all other possible spheres. The aim of this paper is to provide the evidence that all types of drugs ruin human lives, including their health, worldview and their children’s future.

Sociocultural Determinants of Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is largely predetermined by the exterior and inner forces that affect the life of each person. In such a way, Gilliland & James (2014) have focused on the notions of set and settings as those that reflect the personality characteristics and emotional state of the abuser together with social and physical environment as the aspects that contribute to substance addiction. In such a way, a set can include expectation, education level and feelings of a person, while the setting comprises physical surroundings, legal and religious aspects (Gilliland & James, 2012). Such aspects may be influential both at the current moment and throughout life due to the development of some definite style of behavior predetermined by some rules, permissions or prohibitions that may differ on the level of family, region or country. The factors that may predestine people’s desire or refusal to use drugs depend on various norms, rules, beliefs, and traditions. In such a way, differences in behavior can be determined by the parental influence, family structure, peer influence, role model, advertising and promotion, socio-economic factors, drugs availability, knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes.

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Widespread Use

According to the data of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), the usage of the illicit drugs in the US is growing. In 2013, the number of the Americans, who have used the illicit drugs was 24,6 million (2015a). This number included 19,8 million of marijuana users, 6,5 million of prescription drugs users, 1,5 million of cocaine users, 1,3 million of hallucinogens users, 0,5 million users of inhalants, and 0,3 million users of heroin (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2015a). The number of tobacco smokers was 55,8 million (21,3% of population) (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2015a). At the same time, the number of adult Americans, who are heavy drinkers is 16 million and of those, who are defined as binge drinkers, is 55 million (Gilliland & James, 2012). 18,7 million of people with alcohol problems need professional treatment, while 22 million people need treatment against drugs of different origin (Gilliland & James, 2012).

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Indirect and Direct Financial Costs

Drug abuse is quite costly for the economy of the country. With regard to the above mentioned numbers, the chemical dependency costs more than 700$ billion to the American nation due to the loss of work productivity, related crimes and demanded healthcare expenses (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2015b). NIH report shows that tobacco abuse costs 130$ billion annually for healthcare and 295$ billion in general. Regarding alcohol abuse, 25$ billion is spent every year for healthcare and 224$ billion in general. Moreover, illicit drugs abuse amounts 11$ billion annually for healthcare, and the total sum is 193$ billion (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2015b).

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Psychological and Physical Costs

Psychological effects of drug abuse are closely interrelated with the reasons that make people use legal or illegal drugs. Being caused by the desire to overcome some stress or pain, the effects start with the sense of relief that gradually transforms into obsession. In fact, the psychological costs of drug abuse can differ and include the unhealthy mood swings, depression, anxiety or even paranoia. Some other issues that lead to further abuse aggravation are inability to get pleasure in everyday life, search for risks and new feelings or complications in the mental state, possible hallucinations, and finally, nervousness predetermined by the necessity to get another drug portion. What is more important, the amount of drug that is necessary to get pleasure in case of its regular usage is constantly growing.

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Physical costs vary from the permanent ones to more serious that may lead to death. Vomiting, headache, abdominal pains, problems with sleeping and appetite are quite weak threats in contrast to the possible infection with HIV or hepatitis. Moreover, drug abuse can also lead to heart attacks, lungs cancer, emphysema, kidneys and liver damage. Finally, the offspring of the abusers are the most likely to be under serious negative psychological impacts throughout their entire lives. Psychological and physical impacts of drug addiction often become serious obstacles for the happy life not only for the abusers, but also for their family, co-workers and the entire society.

Crimes and Accidents

Illicit drugs are closely interrelated with the criminal justice system processes. Arrests, adjudication, imprisonment and post-release rehabilitation often are the processes followed by drugs abuse or distribution (US Department of Justice, 2010). For instance, in 2008, the most frequent arrest category comprised 12,2% and was related to drug violations (US Department of Justice, 2010). The impact of drugs on human physical characteristics including attention, concentration and reaction are also essential effects that lead not only to crimes, but also to accidents on the roads. 15,1 per 100,000 of car accidents, according to CDC report, were defined as drug-related (US Department of Justice, 2010). Especially the psychological issues that lead to obsession and weakening of moral barriers lead to raised crimes’ statistics.

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Suicide, Homicides and Interpersonal Relationships

Brain damage and depression that can be provoked by drugs usage is a common reason for suicides. DAWN survey reported up to 6,2 of suicides per 100,000 as drug-related (US Department of Justice, 2010). As for the CDC report, the number of drug-related homicides was 6,2 per 100,000, while the number of the suicides with the same origin was 11,1 per 100,000 (US Department of Justice, 2010). Considering the interpersonal relationship, they definitely suffer due to physical and mental impacts drugs have on people. Healthy family atmosphere cannot exist between people who are mentally ill.

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