Substance Abuse

Topics: Addiction, Drug addiction, Heroin Pages: 5 (1858 words) Published: December 19, 2010
Substance abuse is a growing problem that not only affects the person who is abusing alcohol or drugs but affects the lives of those who are close to the abuser. Substance abuse is the abuse of any substance. A drug is a substance that modifies one or more of the body’s functions when it is consumed. Everything from over-the-counter pain medication, to opiates, prescription drugs such as Oxycontin, alcohol, cocaine, heroin and even coffee can be abused in one way or another. The two main substances being abused in our nation are nicotine and alcohol. According to the Michigan Institute for Social research, “Substance abuse is a major public health problem.” Substance abuse is responsible for half a million preventable deaths each year. These two things create major addictions and cost our taxpayers millions of dollars every year. The use and abuse of drugs has been around for many centuries and is not something new. According to, American Society of Anesthesiologist, “The oldest "prescriptions" in recorded history seem to be contained in Babylonian clay tablets and ancient Egyptian papyrus. These prescriptions utilized hundreds of different botanicals and foods. From the earliest recorded times, then, plants and herbals have been an important part of traditional healing practices. Many cultures have a long history of herbal medicine use: the Chinese; Ayurveda, a holistic system that originated in the Vedic civilization of India; Curanderismo, a Mexican-American healing tradition; and western herbalism. Many botanical compounds were the basis of medical pharmacotherapeutics in the United States as recently as the 1930s. The World Health Organization estimates that up to 80 percent of the world's population still depends on herbal medicines.”

The complexities and causes of addiction are many. Some of the causes can include: peer pressure, a disturbed childhood, and lack of confidence when it comes to confronting the reality. Some additional factors are: easy access drugs, irresponsible parents and broken family situations. A person dealing with substance abuse may also be dealing with a genetic predisposition, depression and loneliness. Drug abuse can also be sparked by person's environment if drugs are readily available a person could be influenced by their environment a start using and abusing drugs and alcohol. There is not one type of person that is affected by substance abuse. The fact is that people of all races, ages, and background can abuse drugs and alcohol. According to,, “Despite the fact that drug use is more or less consistent across racial lines, many punitive drug laws are based on beliefs that certain communities of color commonly abuse certain substances. Due to the racial injustices caused by the drug war, supporting drug policy reform can help end racial inequality. Drug Policy Alliance is drawing attention to these disproportionate impacts of the drug war and working to end the war on people of color. Although African Americans comprise only 12.2 percent of the population and 13 percent of drug users, they make up 38 percent of those arrested for drug offenses and 59 percent of those convicted of drug offenses causing critics to call the war on drugs the "New Jim Crow." The higher arrest rates for African Americans and Latinos do not reflect a higher abuse rate in these communities but rather a law enforcement emphasis on inner city areas where drug use and sales are more likely to take place in open-air drug markets where treatment resources are scarce.” Teenagers are another group that is affected by drug and alcohol abuse. According to,, “There is a high likelihood that your teen will be exposed to drugs and alcohol, and according to drug statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse there is a good chance that your teen will try drugs. Teens as young as 13 have often already tried drugs as powerful as...

References: American Society of Anesthesiologist, (n d) Herbal Medicines: What Do We Need to Know? Retrieved September 10, 2010 from
Michigan Institute for Social Research (n d) Substance Abuse. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from
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