Essay on Drug Abuse

A lot of the problems found in our society today can also be found forever embedded in the pages of the work of William Shakespeare. Problems such as murder, incest, corruption in government, and countless others, that in some way or another effect every one of us. They existed 400 years ago and they still exist today.

Between 20% and 30% of teens have admitted to, at one point or another in their lives, used illicit drugs, in a 2001 study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Although some claim that illicit drug use has declined in the last few years, it seems mainly to fluctuate and abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise. Teen drug use is especially dangerous because the mind and body are not yet fully developed. Drug abuse negatively alters both your perception and your actions. This can lead a person to say or do things that are harmful to themselves or others that they usually would not do, because of this the user is not the only one affected. Substance abuse has been known to ruin relationships, hurt families, destroy homes, and even in some cases lead to death. Teens may turn to drugs because they have problems. However in reality drug abuse is not the answer and only makes problems worse while adding to the list. So what can we do?

In another study done by NIDA and SAMHSA it was found that the percentage of individuals who abused drugs in both the state and federal prison is typically around 40%-50% in the month before the offense and between 20% and 30% at the time of the offense. From this it can easily be assumed that drug use played some part. The biggest thing that I believe we could do to help this problem is to provide drug rehab rather than incarceration. Some people a.k.a. tax payers may be skeptical of this, but in the long run it would actually be beneficial. My reasoning for this is because rather than the money going to provide for these people in prisons where they are not getting the help they need, it could go to detox centers to help people get clean and drug rehabs to help people stay clean. In return this gives people a progressive opportunity to become more productive members of society.

Another thing that would be beneficial would be to provide open discussions and credible information to our youth who have not fallen into drug use. DARE programs are currently implemented in schools Nation Wide and like with most other controversial topics (i.e. sexual education), some parents are skeptical about whether or not the pro's out weigh the con's in providing students as young as elementary school with such information. But you may be surprised with what your children are confronted with even in as young as junior high. I have experienced this and seen the effects it has had on people I care about and in return myself. Therefore I support programs such as these and believe preaching abstinence is not enough. In fact preaching abstinence is hardly ever enough. I mean really, how many children do you know that are satisfied with the over used 'because I said so'? As for me I would want my children to know the risks and causation before they are confronted, because lets face it, how much help would it be to them after? Not much. One improvement I think that could be made however would be to extend these programs, with a more mature approach of course, into the middle schools. Some children/adolescents mature later than others and are confronted with these issues later; I believe that ongoing support and education on this topic at this very vulnerable age will only be to their benefit. Coming from a realist perspective at the moment, I am fully aware that drug abuse cannot be completely stopped, its illegal already and I'm sure if there were a way we would have found it by now. The same could be said for the countless other problems we have been faced with for hundreds of years. However there are ways we can help.

Forget what I've told you or what you've heard about numbers and statistics for a moment. Instead think about some one you have heard of or some one in your life who has plunged head first into the grips of substance abuse. They are more than digits in front of a percent sign. Luckily for drug abusers, especially teen drug abusers, there is help out there. The sooner you catch it the better, so you should always keep open eyes and try to seek help for the ones you care about quickly because the road back to a normal life can be hard, long and have many holes to fall back into. In the long run you are the only one who can change you. Relapse is way too common but with ongoing support, these roads can be paved.





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AndThisIsReal This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 13, 2009 at 2:16 pm
I know this article is a bit long.
It was orignally for an english class.
However this topic has become quite personal to me lately.
I figured this would be the best way to let it out.
Thank for reading and any comments/suggestions would always be appreciated and passed on.
Thanks, Sammiey.
 
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