Drug Addiction & Society: A Growing Phenomenon
According to the results of the
2001 National Household Survey on
Drug Abuse, 15.9 million Americans
aged twelve or older reported having
used an illicit drug in the month
prior to the survey, representing
an overall increase of 0.8% from
the previous year. Of those surveyed,
drug use increased amongst youths
aged 12 to 17-years from 9.7% to
10.8% and amongst young adults aged
18 to 25-years from 15.9% to 18.8%.
Surprisingly, the survey also uncovered
that there were approximately 4.6
million Americans who met the criteria
for drug addiction and required
professional help but who were in
denial about having a drug problem.
With more than 16.6 million Americans
aged 12 or older (7.3% of the population)
classified as having a drug dependence
or abuse problem, up from 14.5 million
the previous year, drug addiction
is a growing phenomenon that needs
to be addressed.
Effects of Drug Abuse
the problem of drug addiction begins with the individual addict
his or herself, the effects of any addiction are more widespread
and destructive than most people would care to believe. Beginning
with the addict’s family and leading all the way to
the random victim of a drug-related crime, drug addiction
is a problem that affects society as a whole.
Initially, many families of addicts tend to deny that there
is a problem in the first place and unwittingly aid the addict
in their dependency by providing the financial means to continue
using or by taking care of any negative consequences arising
from the addiction. As the addict falls deeper and deeper
into a life of drug dependency, close personal relationships
are pushed to the limit, as many members of the addict’s
family often harbor feelings of guilt or resentment towards
the addict and his or her upsetting behavior. Often times,
the addict is forced to move out or does so willingly, as
the cycle of drug abuse becomes too much for the spouse and/or
other family members to bear.
But the effects do not stop there, as addicts fail to show
up for work, costing employers millions of dollars a year
due to absenteeism, inefficiency and workplace negligence.
As many long-term addicts eventually run out of money to support
their habits, a life of crime becomes a viable alternative,
costing society millions of dollars in legal fees and social
welfare programs. Moreover, the crime that arises from drug
addictions can affect anyone at random, as the addict seeks
to assuage their dependency at all costs. Perhaps the greatest
cost of all however is the loss of a once happy and independent
brother, sister, mother, father, friend or spouse to the vices
of an addiction that has spun out of control.