Drug and Alcohol Addiction

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Running Head: DRUG & ALCOHOL ADDICTION

Drug & Alcohol Addiction

Even though drug and alcohol addiction is the repeated and excessive use of drugs and alcohol to achieve a certain effect, which involves two components: physical and psychological dependency, they both can be treated. The cause of substance abuse is examined through several studies which showed drugs and alcohol are used to get relief from untreated mental or physical pain, through genetics, and low self-esteem. It is very important to know information about drug and alcohol addiction because not only is it a battle for the individual it impacts their family as well. “Whether a drug is considered good or bad depends not on objective conditions but on subjective concerns. Subjective concerns are not fixed, but changed over time. These concerns, and the views they generate, influence how people use and abuse drugs, whether a drug will be legal or illegal, and what social policies people want to adopt” (Henslin, 2008, p. 87). Drug addicts depend on the regular consumption of a drug to make it throughout the day.

Drug addiction has been a problem for many people for centuries. Many drugs that were used for medical purpose such as opium, heroin, and cocaine resulted in problems that led to these substances becoming banned. Addiction is now widely classed as a disease which is progressive, incurable and will lead to death or institutionalization if not arrested. Addiction affects all those whom are close to the individual that finds themselves powerless to stop seeking and consuming drugs habitually and their lives begin to suffer (Sage, 2009). According to Lewis, people do not agree that treatment works. The stigma of drug addiction interferes with the acceptance scientific knowledge of this problem and the attempts to remedy it (1997).

Henslin (2008) stated how each theory has a different understanding of drugs as a social problem. The symbolic interactionists see drug addiction as powerful symbols that affect social life. Drugs can be viewed differently. Some drug users may see drugs as a diversion and they can do without them. Some drug users may see drugs as if they cannot do without them. Functionalists examine drugs as functions and dysfunctions. Any drugs that are used are dysfunctional when it interferes with people’s physical or social functioning. Conflict theorists view drugs as being used a political tool. By making a drug used by a common group illegal, the authorities can unleash the police. The state can protect the favored groups that make money from a drug by making it legal. Henslin stated, “Our history provides numerous examples of how those in power have used drugs to consolidate sentiment against disfavored groups” (p. 95, para 4).

The same type of drug can affect two people differently. The drug, the individual, and the setting are three main factors depend on what an individual will experience from drugs. The amount, quality, and how the drug is administered differs the effect of a drug. Effects can differ according to the individual whether one is relaxed, depressed, or anxious. The effects can differ according to body weight and metabolism. The place where an individual use the drugs influences the expectations and can change the effects of the drug (Henslin, 2008).

Alcohol is the America’s first choice of drugs taken for sociability. Alcoholics are people who have severe problems with alcohol. There are about ten million Americans that are considered alcoholics. Some of the alcoholics stand on street corners and panhandles strangers. Alcohol-related crimes and social welfare are very costly. Alcohol is the most expensive of all drug problems. Alcohol-related car and truck wrecks have claimed the lives of 17,000 Americans a year. There are positive and negative consequences for health that results from drinking. Research shows light drinking can...
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