Substance abuse informative essay

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Substance abuse is the continuous and irresponsible consumption of various substances such as alcohol and illegal drugs which alter the normal functioning of a person. Cutting across all ages and races, the abuse of substances is very common the world over. The most commonly abused substance is alcohol since it is legal and easily accessible even to minors. However, other forms of drugs such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, depressants and ecstasy are also widely abused causing major harmful effects to the user. The magnitude of substance abuse is usually very huge since millions of people are addicted to at least one type of substance or several substances.

Causal Explanation

The prolonged use of substances alters the normal functioning of the body causing addiction to the user. A number of reasons have been identified as the major cause of substance abuse. Atop the list is peer pressure, where mostly young teenagers experiment with various drugs. They are normally influenced by their friends and at times by celebrities (Lyman, 2013).

Boredom and idleness are another major cause of substance abuse. Young people mostly who have just finished college and are yet to secure a job usually find themselves with a lot of idle time in their hands. They start with experimentation of various drugs and with the time they start abusing various drugs and substances (Lyman, 2013).

Failing relationships and marriages have also seen a lot of people get into substance abuse. As people try to forget the pain of ending a relationship, they turn to drugs and alcohol. The highest number of alcoholics are people who have failed marriages and relationships. They usually heavily use substances in order to overcome their pain (Lyman, 2013).

More so, poverty has also been identified as a major cause of drug and substance abuse. The hardships of life and failed dreams usually makes people turn to abuse of drugs and substances so as to get away from the harsh realities of life and also to relieve stress. (Lyman, 2013).

Key Figures and Groups Affected

There are many types of people who abuse substances. Key among them are musicians. Musicians usually depend on shows and performances to boost their popularity and as well as generate income. They, therefore, tend to turn to stimulants and hard drugs such as cocaine in order to be alert and feel confident enough to perform in front of huge crowds (Lyman, 2013).

According to Lyman (2013), refugees and immigrants form groups that heavily abuse substances. Trauma and stress caused by separation from families and friends make them indulge in drugs and other forms of drugs so as to deal with reality. Also, most immigrants fail to achieve their dreams and end up being poor, hence turning to drug and substance abuse.

Military personnel also another group that abuse substances in order to forget the hardships and experiences of war. Most on finishing their tours come back home and start having nightmares, and at other times they may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and in the run, the military ex-military men will find themselves heavily addicted to various substances (Lyman, 2013).

Legislative History

The legislative history of drug and substance abuse goes way back in the nineteenth century. The fight against drug abuse began in the 1860s where laws were made to curb wrong labeling of pharmaceuticals and to alter them with harmful narcotics. Also selling of drugs from unlicensed stores and failure to indicate the bad effects of drugs attracted penalties. In 1880, opium importation in the United States and China was banned (Carruth, & Rowe, 2013).

According to dosage Carruth and Rowe (2013), the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 was passed by Congress which made it illegal to transport drugs and foods which have been altered and incorrectly labeled. Drugs such as morphine, cannabis, and alcohol were required to be labeled correctly with what is contained in the package and also how to administer the

The year 1914 saw California ban the use of marijuana and by the year 1940, all states in the United States were regulating the use of cannabis. The federal bureau of narcotics was formed in 1930. The Controlled Substances Act was passed into law by Congress in the year 1970. This law was meant to regulate the manufacture, use, possession and transportation of various substances within the United States (Carruth, & Rowe, 2013).

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act was enforced into law in 1986. The act saw the introduction of various sentences to various drug-related charges. The sentences were mandatory. In 1988, the Office of National Drug Policy was formed which was tasked to coordinate the legislative policies in the government. Also, the policy was created so as to coordinate the drug policy related to security, research and diplomatic policy in the government (Carruth, & Rowe, 2013).

Current Policy

The current substance abuse policy in the US is the National Drug Control Policy. The policy was formed in 1988 and established in 1989 with the aim of completely eradicating the abuse of drugs, eradicate drug trafficking and in the process bring the number of violent and crime cases related to drugs to zero. The National Drug Control Policy was implemented to control the use of drugs in the whole nation (Benjamin, 2001). A number of goals were set to enforce the policy, and under each goal, several objectives were also set.

The first goal of the National Drug Control Policy is to empower America’s youth to avoid and reject the use of illegal substances, tobacco, and alcohol. To achieve this goal, parents, teachers, the clergy and other professionals are educated on how to empower the youth to reject the use of these harmful substances. Also, the government aimed to vigorously campaign and advertise several programs that educate on the dangers of using drugs and substances. Mentorship also is another objective that was set to help realize this goal. Parents and various mentors are supported as they encourage and empower the youth to engage in a lifestyle that is positive and healthy (Benjamin, 2001).

Another goal set to check and mitigate substance abuse is decrease the costs incurred by the public due to illegal use of drugs. Under this goal, the research and development of medications that significantly reduce substance abuse are supported. Also, an effective and efficient drug treatment is supported. This leads to a system that responds to any existing or upcoming trends in substance abuse. More so, professionals who help people overcome drug and substance abuse are supported in terms of educating and training them so that they are equipped with the relevant skills. Another objective is to create a working environment that is free of drugs. This is through the adoption of a program that allows education, prevention and drug- testing at the workplace (Benjamin, 2001).

In order to reduce the supply of drugs, breaking foreign and domestic drug sources of supply is another goal set under the National Drug Control Policy. Under this goal, international policies that illegalize laundering of money and also assist in any money laundering cases are promoted. Support of scientific research and use of technology to combat the supply of illegal drugs in the world is also another objective that helps achieve the goal of reducing drug supply. Also, the support of initiatives by international organizations to deal with the problem of trafficking drugs and production is an objective that helps in reducing the supply of drugs in the United States (Benjamin, 2001).

Other goals set under the National Drug Control Policy are improving the safety of US citizens by decreasing crime and violence related to drugs, and eliminate drug threat to America’s sea, air, and land (Benjamin, 2001).

Social Welfare Program

As a result of the implementation of the National Drug Control policy, major social welfare programs and services were also conceived and implemented. One of these programs is the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. The US Office responsible for National Drug Control identified the media as a platform that millions of young people use on a daily basis for entertainment and communicating. The program focuses on reaching to as many young people as possible in order to sensitize them about the harmful effects of drug and substance abuse (Calder, & Schulze, 2015). The campaign has two main goals:

  • Reach out to young Americans so as to prevent and reduce substance abuse in the United States.
  • Change the attitudes and perspective of youngsters towards drug and substance abuse

The above goals were set in consideration of some values. First, it was realized that early prevention of drug and substance use has a higher chance of succeeding in avoiding a generation that irresponsibly abuses drugs and substances. Also, primary substance use prevention will in turn decrease cases of drug treatment and rehabilitation. And finally, reaching out to as many youths as possible via the media to prevent the use of substances and drugs is easier compared to convincing people to give up substance abuse.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Benjamin. D. (2001). National Drug Policy: United States of America.
  2. Calder, B. D., & Schulze, S. (2015). A psychos-educational program using audio-visual media to prevent adolescent substance abuse. Education as Change19(1), 36-53.
  3. Carruth, B., & Rowe, T. C. (2013). Federal narcotics laws and the war on drugs: money down a rat hole. Routledge
  4. Lyman, M. D. (2013). Drugs in Society: Causes, Concepts, and control. Routledge.
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