Drug abuse is rife in many countries. Every society, every age and ethnic group, every social class, and every family has been touched by the devastating effects of drug addiction. Billions of dollars are spent regulating drug use, treating addicts and their families, and fighting drug-related crime. Although drugs threaten many homes and societies, their effects can be combated more effectively. Drug abuse causes multiple problems for families and communities. Addicts are often too sick, physically and mentally, to function as normal, responsible members of a family or of society. For example, they often neglect or abuse their families and strain these relationships and resources, especially if they eventually require expensive treatment or hospitalization. Adult addicts may lose their jobs and, therefore, their means of supporting themselves and any dependents. Children and teens who abuse drugs become more rebellious and distant from their families, who despair over coping with their loved ones’ drug problems. A second problematic effect of drug abuse is the crimes committed by those profiting from selling illegal drugs and by the addicts who look for more and more desperate ways to support their habits. Increased police resources are needed to fight smuggling and dealing illicit drugs and the criminals who profit from them. Communities continue to struggle to find ways to deter drug abuse and to rehabilitate addicts. Combating drug problems strains the police departments as well as the communties’ resources. Since many cities and communities are financially strapped, adding more police protection, mainly through taxes, puts a strain on the citizens.
Despite these problems, the menace of drugs can be fought. Education is the first line of attack. Children need to be taught at home and in school about the dangers of drug abuse. For example, discussions around the dinner table and during family outings and school programs and activities in health classes can...
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