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Alcohol is part of our society. People use it to celebrate, socialize, relax, and enhance the enjoyment of meals. Nearly 90 percent of adults in the United States report that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime, and more than half report drinking in the last month. 1  Although most people drink in moderation, nearly 40 percent of U.S. adults drink in excess of the low-risk guidelines established by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). 2  (See “ Drinking Patterns and Their Definitions .”)

Alcohol misuse has wide-ranging adverse consequences. In the United States, nearly 88,000 people per year die from alcohol-related causes; 3  globally, alcohol accounts for 3.3 million deaths—5.9 percent of all deaths—each year. 4  Alcohol misuse also contributes to poor performance at school and work; family problems; unprotected sex and sexually transmitted diseases; violence; memory blackouts; unintentional injuries, accidents, and overdoses; and organ damage and disease. It can lead to alcohol use disorder (AUD), a serious chronic condition that affects nearly 16 million people in the United States. 5  (See “ What Is Alcohol Use Disorder? ”) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that alcohol misuse, including AUD, costs the United States $249 billion per year due to health care expenses, lost workplace productivity, crime, property damage, and other outcomes. 6

NIAAA, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the largest funder of alcohol research in the world. For nearly five decades, NIAAA’s extramural research program has supported a diverse portfolio of innovative investigator-initiated research to elucidate the effects of alcohol on health and reduce the burden of alcohol misuse for individuals at all stages of life. This work is complemented by a robust intramural research program that leverages the state-of-the-art resources available at NIH to advance high-risk, high-reward studies in key areas of alcohol science. In addition, through the Collaborative Research on Addiction at NIH (CRAN) initiative, NIAAA is partnering with the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Cancer Institute to integrate resources and expertise across NIH to develop a comprehensive, well integrated understanding of substance use, misuse, and addiction that considers the common and distinctive features of addictive substances and substance use disorders (SUDs).

Research supported by NIAAA has spurred tremendous progress in identifying the factors that contribute to alcohol-related problems and the fundamental biological and behavioral mechanisms by which they develop, and it has paved the way for innovative preventive and treatment interventions. Once viewed as a moral failing or character flaw, AUD is now widely regarded as a chronic but treatable brain disease that develops through complex, dynamic interactions among biological, environmental, and developmental factors. This shift in perspective, bolstered by decades of research on the neurobiology of addiction, has helped reduce the stigma associated with AUD and has underscored the need for a multipronged approach to preventing and treating alcohol-related problems, with interventions designed for individuals, families, communities, and society at large.

This strategic plan serves as a roadmap for catalyzing continued progress across the spectrum of alcohol research and translating these advances for the benefit of the public. It highlights NIAAA’s research goals in five key areas:

  • Goal 1: Identify Mechanisms of Alcohol Action, Alcohol-Related Pathology, and Recovery  
  • Goal 2: Improve Diagnosis and Tracking of Alcohol Misuse, Alcohol Use Disorder, and Alcohol-Related Consequences  
  • Goal 3: Develop and Improve Strategies To Prevent Alcohol Misuse, Alcohol Use Disorder, and Alcohol-Related Consequences  
  • Goal 4: Develop and Improve Treatments for Alcohol Misuse, Alcohol Use Disorder, Co-Occurring Conditions, and Alcohol-Related Consequences  
  • Goal 5: Enhance the Public Health Impact of NIAAA-Supported Research

Along with the goals outlined above, NIAAA has identified several cross-cutting research themes, which are woven throughout this strategic plan.

Address Alcohol Misuse Across the Lifespan

Human biology and behavior change throughout life; these changes affect drinking patterns and risks for alcohol-related injury and disease. NIAAA has adopted a “lifespan approach” to alcohol research that considers how the emergence and progression of drinking behavior and related outcomes interact with developmental changes and environmental inputs across the lifespan, from the embryonic and fetal stages of development into older adulthood. This perspective guides the identification of life-stage–appropriate strategies for preventing, treating, and facilitating recovery from alcohol problems, as well as tailoring resources to the needs of individuals of all ages.

Address Co-Occurring Conditions

AUD frequently co-occurs with other SUDs and mental health conditions, including major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, antisocial and borderline personality disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Individuals suffering from psychiatric comorbidity tend to have a poorer prognosis, higher risk for treatment dropout, less support for sobriety from their families and in the workplace, and a higher risk for suicide. Alcohol misuse also contributes to more than 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions, 9  including alcoholic liver disease. In fact, alcohol is involved in nearly half of all liver disease deaths in the United States each year. 10  Alcohol misuse frequently co-occurs with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), contributes to HIV transmission, reduces HIV screening, makes it difficult to follow complex HIV medication regimens, and contributes to or exacerbates other health conditions in HIV-infected individuals. NIAAA will continue to support research to investigate the relationships between AUD and co-occurring conditions and to develop interventions to prevent and treat them.

Reduce Health Disparities

Some groups of people may be more vulnerable to alcohol problems than others. For example, although Native Americans are less likely to drink than white Americans, those who do drink are more likely to binge drink, 11  have a higher rate of past-year AUD compared with other racial and ethnic groups, 12  and are approximately twice as likely to die from alcohol-related causes than the general American public. 13  In addition, Hispanics and blacks who drink are more likely to binge drink than whites who drink, 11  but Hispanics with AUD are less likely than whites with AUD to receive alcohol treatment at a specialty facility. 14  The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities are also important subpopulations to consider. Lesbian and bisexual women are about seven times more likely than heterosexual women to meet criteria for AUD. 15  Although rates of alcohol use and AUD among men who have sex with men (MSM) are comparable to rates in the general population, alcohol misuse among MSM is an important public health problem. Alcohol misuse is a known risk factor for HIV, and MSM account for more than half of all new HIV infections each year in the United States. 16  NIAAA is committed to ensuring that all people benefit from alcohol research advances and will support studies to better understand health disparities and develop interventions for at-risk groups.

Advance Precision Medicine

Studies investigating how individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle contribute to disease are bringing us closer to developing individually tailored interventions for alcohol-related conditions. NIAAA will continue to support research on the factors that contribute to individual variation in alcohol misuse, AUD, and alcohol-related outcomes. The Institute will use that information to guide the development and validation of prognostic and diagnostic biomarkers and personalized interventions for these conditions. These efforts will be aided by the recent expansion of electronic medical records and the development of mobile health technologies, which have the potential to improve the quality and collection of patient data and to provide comprehensive, personalized health care services where and when patients need them.

Strengthen the Biomedical Workforce

Cultivating a talented and diverse research workforce is essential to advancing the frontiers of scientific knowledge and to translating research findings into practice. NIAAA promotes alcohol research training through individual pre- and postdoctoral fellowships, institutional training grants, and career development awards that span the breadth of NIAAA’s research portfolio. Diverse research teams broaden the scope of scientific inquiry, bring creative solutions to bear on complex scientific problems, and encourage research relevant to the health care needs of underserved populations. Programs to identify, recruit, and train scientists from diverse populations, especially those underrepresented in health research, are an important component of NIAAA’s training portfolio.

Serve as a Responsible Steward of Our Nation’s Research Resources

Underpinning NIAAA’s ability to advance innovative science is an unwavering commitment to responsible research stewardship. NIAAA supports efforts to enhance the rigor and reproducibility of research, including ensuring that sex is incorporated as a biological variable into the design, analysis, and scientific reporting of the studies it funds. This is a critical step toward ensuring that everyone, regardless of sex or gender, benefits from alcohol research advances. NIAAA maximizes the use of research resources by forging strategic partnerships with other NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices; other Federal agencies; academia; industry; and not-for-profit organizations. Such partnerships provide opportunities to share resources and expertise, and to broaden the dissemination of alcohol research findings. Moreover, by encouraging the use of common research metrics and protocols, as well as the sharing, aggregation, and secondary analysis of data, NIAAA hopes to improve the efficiency of alcohol research and stimulate new insight into preventing and treating alcohol-related conditions.

Drinking Patterns and Their Definitions  

What Is a Standard Drink?

Many people are surprised to learn what counts as a drink. The amount of liquid in your glass, can, or bottle does not necessarily match how much alcohol is in your drink. Different types of beer, wine, or malt liquor can have very different amounts of alcohol. For example, many light beers have almost as much alcohol as regular beer—about 85 percent as much.

What is a standard drink? 12 fluid ounces of regular beer equals 8 to 9 fluid ounces of malt liquor showing in a 12 ounce glass, equals 5 fluid ounces of table wine, equals 1.5 fluid ounces of distilled spirits. Each beverage portrayed above represents one standard drink (or one alcohol drink equivalent), defined in the United States as any beverage containing .6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of pure alcohol.

Moderate Alcohol Consumption

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 7  which are intended to help individuals improve and maintain overall health and reduce the risk of chronic disease, moderate drinking is up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.

Low-Risk Drinking for Developing Alcohol Use Disorder

As defined by NIAAA, for women, low-risk drinking is no more than three drinks on any single day and no more than seven drinks per week. For men, it is defined as no more than 4 drinks on any single day and no more than 14 drinks per week. NIAAA research shows that only about 2 in 100 people who drink within these limits have alcohol use disorder. Even within these limits, you can have problems if you drink too quickly or have other health issues.

Alcohol Misuse

Alcohol misuse refers to drinking in a manner, situation, amount, or frequency that could cause harm to the users or to those around them. For individuals younger than the legal drinking age of 21, or for pregnant women, any alcohol use constitutes misuse.

Binge Drinking

NIAAA defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration levels to 0.08 g/dL (0.08 percent) or higher. This typically occurs after a woman consumes four drinks or a man consumes five drinks in a 2-hour time frame.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which conducts the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), defines binge drinking for men as drinking five or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days. SAMHSA defines binge drinking for women as drinking four or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days.

Extreme Binge Drinking

Extreme binge drinking, also known as high-intensity drinking, refers to drinking at levels far beyond the binge threshold, resulting in high peak blood alcohol concentrations. Though definitions vary, some studies define extreme binge drinking as 2 or more times the gender-specific binge drinking thresholds (i.e., 10 or more standard drinks for men; 8 or more for women); other studies use a higher threshold that may or may not be gender specific.

Heavy Drinking

SAMHSA defines heavy drinking as binge drinking (based on the SAMHSA binge drinking thresholds described above for men and women) on 5 or more days in the past 30 days.

Certain people should avoid alcohol completely, including those who:

  • Are younger than the minimum legal drinking age of 21.
  • Are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
  • Have a medical condition that alcohol can aggravate.
  • Take medications that interact with alcohol.
  • Are driving a vehicle or operating machinery (or plan to do so shortly after drinking).

What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?  

woman drinking wine by the window

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a medical condition that doctors diagnose when a patient’s drinking causes distress or harm. It ranges from mild to severe and is characterized by clinically significant impairments in health and social function. To be diagnosed with AUD, a person must meet certain diagnostic criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).8 The current DSM (DSM-5) integrates the two DSM–IV disorders, alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence, into a single disorder called AUD. Under DSM-5, anyone meeting any 2 of the 11 criteria during the same 12-month period is diagnosed with AUD. The severity of AUD is based on the number of criteria a person meets—mild (2–3), moderate (4–5), or severe (6 or more).

To assess whether someone has AUD, a health care provider may ask him or her some questions. For example, in the past year, have you:

  • Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer, than you intended?
  • More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t
  • Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
  • Experienced craving—a strong need, or urge, to drink?
  • Found that drinking—or being sick from drinking—often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
  • Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
  • Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
  • More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
  • Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout (i.e., forgetting, after drinking, where you were or what you did while drinking)?
  • Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
  • Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, dysphoria, depression, restlessness, nausea, or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?

Any of these symptoms may be a cause for concern. The more symptoms one has, the more urgent the need for change.

Drug Abuse - Free Essay Examples And Topic Ideas

Drug abuse, the chronic or habitual use of drugs to alter one’s mood, emotion, or state of consciousness, is a severe social and health issue. Essays on drug abuse could explore the causes and consequences of drug abuse, the various types and classifications of drugs, and the societal reactions to drug abuse. Discussions might also cover prevention and treatment strategies, the portrayal of drug abuse in media and literature, and the ongoing efforts by governments and organizations to combat drug abuse and its detrimental effects. We’ve gathered an extensive assortment of free essay samples on the topic of Drug Abuse you can find at Papersowl. You can use our samples for inspiration to write your own essay, research paper, or just to explore a new topic for yourself.

Teenage Drug Abuse

There is a major concern about the teenage drug use today. Within the ages 15 through 24, fifty percent of deaths (from homicides, accidents, suicides) involve drugs. The two common reasons why teens use drugs are anxiety and depression. Factors like peer pressure, desire to escape, curiosity, emotional struggles, and stress may also lead to the consumption of drugs or alcohol. Teens are more likely to abuse drugs than adults because the part of their brain used for judgment and […]

Poverty and Drug Abuse Addiction

One popular stereotype associated with drug use is that it is rampant among the poor. However, this is not entirely true since insufficient money linked with the poor cannot probably sustain drug use. The link between the two factors is multifaceted, and the connectedness of poverty is complex. Poverty entails unstable family and interpersonal associations, low-skilled jobs and low status, high arrest degrees, illegitimacy, school dropping out, deprived physical health, high mental conditions, and high mortality rates. Such factors resemble […]

Drug Addictions

Drug addictions are something that many people in America face. A lot of families today face a person who is a drug addict or an alcoholic and this is breaking up families. People can help people addicted to drugs by providing community support, education,and teaching drug addicts how to deal with stress after overcoming addiction. Community and support groups are a great ways and opportunities for recovering addicts to be able to meet and befriend people who are also going […]

What are some Solutions to Drug Abuse?

Nowadays, many people have thought that drugs are viable solution for personal problems or any other situations that affect the life of a person, but eventually, if a person reads the words drugs, it becomes a real problem in the current society. Therefore, there are factors that expose the drugs as an issue in the society. How can we understand this point? First, the abuse of different substances and drugs are one of the most common situations that teenagers and […]

Reflection of Motivation of Early Dropout from Drug Abuse Treatment

The correlation between early dropout addicts and lack of motivation. Simpson created three scales used to determine the stages of cognitive treatment. Simpson and Joe constructed a theory that different lifestyles can influence how the client will succeed in the treatment program. This study's motive is to test the accuracy of three motivation levels for early treatment dropouts. This study consist of 311 clients, addicts, with diverse socio demographics that are located in Corpus Christi, Dallas, And Houston. The clients […]

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The Truth about Drugs – Illegal Drugs

A close amount of 280 million people consume illegal drugs. The most commonly used illegal drug is marijuana or weed. According to the United Nations 2008 World Drug Report close to 3.9% of the earth's population between the ages of 15 and 64 abuse marijuana. Many teenagers and adults abuse drugs everyday. According to many sources a lot of people who let drugs control their lives have turned their life around and made a successful life. While others are still […]

Background on Drug Abuse

Drug abuse has been around for as long as the world has been created. Drug abuse dates back to the early 5000 B.C. when the Sumerians used opium, suggested by the fact that they have an ideogram for it which has been translated as HUL, meaning joy or rejoicing (Lindesmith, 2008). It then occurred often later on because indigenous South Americans chewed on coca leaves in the rainforest as a type of ritual, giving them stimulation and energy. Since then, […]

Effects of Parental Alcoholism and Drug Abuse on Teens

Addiction is a word very common in our day to day lives, but not very many people actually know what it is or how to treat it. It is an individualistic disease that can infect everybody, not just a certain group of people, with damages that can ripple through families for years to come. Addiction within parents can have effects lasting lifetimes within the family and can also have a huge societal impact. For many, addiction is a scary word, […]

Drug Testing

For every student who complains that drug testing is an invasion of his or hers privacy we can show you a hundred parents who have lost their children to drugs. With drug testing students get a safe place where they can learn. Even the teachers are better off with this, because with less drugs schools are much safer. Should High School students or even college students be routinely tested for drug use? Before you answer think about this as a […]

Drug Abuse – Destructive Pattern

Drug abuse is the destructive pattern of using substances that leads to uncounted problems and diseases in the human body. It is a physical and psychological term which takes dependence on human activities. Drugs create bad effects on human life like anxiety, impaired social relations, depression, hopelessness, rejection etc. Impaired social relations and suicide are considered the worst consequences of addiction. The drugs have negative consequences on one's life. If the addicts were able to see the reality of their […]

Drug Abuse in the United States

Drug abuse in the United States has long been a topical issue and persists even today. Many different reasons make people get addicted as well as different levels to which people get dependent on drugs. Opioid use and abuse may start out of curiosity while others take them as prescribed medication for treatment but in the long run, they get addicted. In the United States, many people label Opioid addiction as a health problem rather than drug addiction. The reason […]

Drugs – Escape from Reality

Who wants to escape from reality? You must go for Drugs then. A phenomenon used by all fools in today's world. Drug abuse is when one misuses the drugs in a harmful way. Drug addiction is harmful not only for the addicted but also has a lot of negative effects on society. There is no country in the world where such a problem doesn't exist. Today this issue is often being discussed by doctors who claim that dope abuse mainly […]

Drug Abuse in Athletes

Is taking drugs to boost yourself up just to win or maybe even break a record really worth losing your career over? All the hard work you put in over the years, just for it to be taken away from you in a second over performance enhancing drugs because you wanted to win. Maybe your injury was so bad that you need to use illegal drugs to cure it without doctor orders. As a result, to this you could risk […]

What is Drug and Drug Abuse?

Drugs are substances that can affect the body’s function either physically or mentally, and also kill many cells in our body when we consume them. There are many factors that contribute to drug addiction. One of these factors is peer pressure. Many people succumb to peer pressure, but this is particularly prevalent among teenagers and children, as they are not yet mature mentally, and tend to emulate their surroundings. As an example, if a person has loved ones or friends […]

Effects of Drug Abuse on Families

Abstract In the USA, the family units have emerged to much complicated. Families continue to evolve ranging from the extended, nuclear and up to the single parenting family setups. Others are the stepfamilies, multigenerational and the foster types of families. Thus, abuse by a member of the family of substances may result in differences based on the formation of the family itself. This paper presents a discussion on the issues of treatment that may emerge within the various structures of […]

Drug Abuse in the Community i Live in

The overwhelming problem of drug abuse in Decatur, Illinois has developed into a major issue. For example, Heroin, crack cocaine, powder cocaine, prescription opioids, marijuana, and meth are being sold and used at an epidemic rate. Some cities drug problems might be worse than Decatur's, however, for the small size of this city, the drug abuse is phenomenal. Although some people might not see drug addiction as an illness, people are not drug addicts by choice, but after trying the […]

People with an Addiction have a Mental Illness

6.8 million people with an addiction have a mental illness. When people think about addictions they automatically think about a drug addiction. Although it is the most common addiction in America, there are plenty of other addictions. For example, Food addiction, video game addiction, working addiction, and an exercising addiction just to name a few. An addiction is abusing the use of a substance and that can be bad for you if you use too much of it. There are […]

Drug Abuse Among Students

Medication manhandle is these days one of the gravest social damages. Late years have encountered an extreme ascent in sedate manhandle among school and college understudies. In America today, more people struggle with some kind of addiction to drugs than in the past. Alcohol use is high among college students and places them at risk for health problems, injuries, and poor academic performance. Drugs have a chemical effect that damage the brain and body. Drugs have shown to interfere with […]

The Correlation between Adult Drug Abusers and Children

The National Institute on drug abuse estimates that a quarter of children in the U.S. grow up in households where there is substance abuse. It makes them 8 times more likely to develop an addiction of their own. Many children are unfortunate enough to have to pay the consequences that drug abusing adults indirectly throw at them. Many of these children grow up to be adults who have, over time, developed the same habits. Others have no control over the […]

Drug Abuse Prevention and Control

The deep, energetic and sonorous voice of Whitney Houston that graced our ears will truly be missed. She was found dead in her house as a result of cocaine overdose. She was about 48 when she died. So will young Mac Miller and Lil Peep- talented celebrities who died of accidental fentanyl overdose at a very young age. Their stories, we heard due to the status they have achieved in the society. There are millions of other young people all […]

Drug Abuse in Sports

Drug abuse occurs in all sports and at most levels of competition. Athletic life may lead to drug abuse for a number of reasons,, to self-treat injuries, and retirement from sport. Most sport organizations ban the use of any drug that can help your ability to excel in any sport. Using enhancing drugs, always have side effects like easy to anger, depression, and even death. Today people may know that athletes use steroids and performance-enhancing drugs, but it is only […]

Prescription Drug Abuse

In reading the articles 'Nonmedical Prescription Drug Use Among US Young Adults by Educational Attainment,' 'Ethnic/Racial Differences in Peer and Parent Influence on Adolescent Prescription Drug Misuse,' and 'Influences of Motivational Contexts on Prescription Drug Misuse and Related Drug Problems', they all highlight the misuse of prescription drug use by young adults. Each article provides its unique interpretation of studies concerning how and why youth misuse prescription drugs on an ethnic level. The articles also discuss the risks of prescription […]

The Truth of Drug Abuse

As Nathan Driskell once said, Addiction is the only prison where the locks are on the inside. Addiction is a common issue and numerous people don't realize. Over twenty million Americans under the age of 18 are already addicted to a drug. Drug abuse is a major concern despite a person's race, gender, national origin, ethnicity, social status, or religion. Addictions can affect anyone and can be caused by a variety of reasons. To overcome an addiction and staying drug […]

Investigation of the Effects of Drug Abuse

ABSTRACT In investigation of the effects of drug abuse on adolescents' academic performance various theoretical perspectives were utilized and strategies to curb drug use were also identified. The study was conducted in Triangle: Chiredzi; Masvingo Province of Zimbabwe. The participants were from 3 High schools. The students' ages were ranging from 12 to 21 years. A descriptive survey design combining both qualitative and quantitative research strategies was employed. The researcher used a purposive sampling technique. The sample size represented 10% […]

The Drug Abuse Across the United States of America

The drug abuse across the United States of America has been noticed as a tremendous problem since the past thirty years, whether it being the use of prescription drugs or illicit drugs. According to the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health, (NIDA, 2015) it is estimated that 24.6 million Americans, in 2013, from ages twelve and older had used illicit drugs. Americans generally take drugs for variety reasons, that being to feel better, be better, or do better. […]

Most Drugs and Medicated Substances Can be Beneficial

People do misuse drugs and medications. Drug abuse occurs when an individual excessively exploits a drug or medication outside of its original function, which could result in harm to the user, their families, and even their community (Huffman & Dowdell, 2015). Abusing drugs can cause hazardous consequences that will affect a person from a biological, psychological, and social standpoint. Fortunately, drug abuse can be prevented and treated. The Foundation Recovery Network (2018) expresses that drug abuse and drug addiction are […]

Student: Drug Abuse, Struggle, and Health Risks.

Today’s student faces many risks, including drug abuse, struggle, and health risks. Reacting to these risks before they become more serious dilemmas can be difficult. One of the purposes of dealing with drug abuse is to encourage the public to understand the causes of drug abuse and to prevent its onset. Drug abuse has serious consequences in our homes, schools, and communities. The use of all illegal drugs and the inappropriate use of licit drugs is considered drug abuse. Teens […]

Drug Abuse: War on Drugs

Drug abuse has been happening over so many years and it’s bad for our community. A drug isn't a good thing to mess with it understandable if its used for reasonable reasons but more than needed is drug abuse. Some people disagree with this and opposed to other side drugs are good for our community. Many people coming back from the war will be addicted to drugs and alcohol due to the massage amount of drugs that is given to […]

Drug Abuse and Overdosing Deaths

Drug abuse and overdosing are a grave issue that is affecting the nation. The death rate has increased intensely in recent years in United States due to Overdosing on drugs with number of deaths doubling every nine years including accidental and unintentional deaths. (Cunningham, 2018). The abuse and dependence to opioids- including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription drugs for pain relief is a serious nationwide catastrophe that disturbs communal health and as well as economical, psychological, social, and physiological welfare. The […]

Drug Abuse has Become America’s Problem

The American society has reached a point where, according to the National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health, over 28 million American citizens over the age of 12 suffer from a disease related to drug addiction. Addictions are some of the most challenging issues in the twenty-first century. Our modern society still perceives ongoing addictions as stigmas and sees the diseased people as being immoral, weak, deceptive, and having failed at upholding high values. However, stigmatizing this worldwide issue creates […]

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The social issue of drug abuse is widespread and seems to be affecting almost any nation. People of all ages take psychotropic substances in various forms and for different reasons. The least one can say is that all these habits are harmful and detrimental to human health. Though governments, medical staff, educators, and media constantly warn people about drugs, the effects are barely visible. Other substances that cause disorders in people’s brains, bodies, and behavior include alcohol, nicotine, and marijuana. The addictive feeling these create makes the person unable to control the use despite experiencing harm. Teenage drug abuse in America is a reoccurring problem and is often considered a gateway for amphetamines, opiates, and heroin. Since the issue is prevalent in schools, many educational institutions and college administrations introduce programs to combat the phenomenon. To safeguard the youth, teachers assign various argumentative essay topics about drug addiction. Acknowledging the problem and writing about it can prove an effective technique. It will help students perceive drugs as harmful and extremely addictive. The predominant topics include the factors leading to drug use, its impact on health, and prevention mechanisms. Alternatively, you may consider writing a research paper on substance abuse and how it affects a particular society. Regardless of the topic, your opinion matters, so ensure your outline is as smooth and legible as possible. In short, use transition phrases wisely, pay attention to grammar and vocabulary, and back up your arguments that support the thesis statement. Also, it’s best to stick to the 5-paragraph paper type that includes an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Do you still have doubts about how to frame your essay? Perhaps your deadline is too short, or you need assistance with academic writing. Worry not because PapersOwl has your back with a myriad of essay examples on drug abuse. The platform offers various other tools that students find immensely helpful in college life.

Essays About Substance Addiction Drug abuse and misuse affect more than 19.7 million adults (aged 12 or over) in America alone. Drug and alcohol issues cost America more than 740 billion dollars. Alcohol and drug addiction are a huge issue facing society, and as the opioid crisis continues to grow, so too does the need for further studies on any prescription drug and other substances. Across both medical and psychological fields of study, there is a greater need to understand why drug abuse is happening, and what can be done in the future to help prevent it. Essays about teenage drug abuse are commonplace in today’s classroom requirements. Numerous colleges require students to write persuasive essays, or an argumentative essay, or research paper on drug abuse. We specialize in these styles of essays and offer students a free example of teen drug addiction papers, to help them understand the style of papers that are required in this field. All our topics are aligned with class modules around America, and beyond. We specialize in students understanding this complex and varied topic. We aim to provide a well-written essay on drug abuse and carefully constructed essays that present facts on teen drug abuse in a clear, concise manner. Thorough research combined with scholarly reports creates compelling arguments that ascertain why teen drug abuse is happening in society today. All our essays are one hundred percent unique and look at a range of topics from substance abuse in communities, the impact drugs have on families, solutions to drug abuse, effects of parental alcohol and drug abuse on kids, and much more.

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Writing An Effective Drug Abuse Essay Introduction

Table of Contents

Drug abuse is the obsessive, compulsive, and excessive use of drugs over time. Regular use of drugs within a specific time frame results in addiction. A drug abuse essay discusses the concept of drug abuse, its effects, and ways to get rid of drug addiction. The  introduction to drug abuse essay  sets the tone for the rest of the paper. 

The introduction is the first thing a reader sees, so it should be gripping. Your introduction should be compelling; it needs to give the reader an overview of the topic and present the argument or thesis.

The introduction should immediately grab the reader’s attention so that he or she will want to read the rest of the piece.

What Is A Drug Abuse Essay?

Drug addiction is a huge problem all over the world. It is the continuous use of certain substances to excite the brain and derive pleasure. Drugs are self-destructive and lead to significant changes in one’s behavior, activities, brain functioning, and health. 

It is now more important than ever to educate others about the effects of drugs and their several harmful effects. Drug abuse essays aim to present an argumentative view on the problem of drug abuse. They also highlight possible solutions that may help eliminate drug addiction. 

Common drug abuse essays are as follows:

  • Poverty and Drug Abuse Addiction
  • Drug Abuse in the Community
  • Teenage Drug Abuse
  • Drugs – Escape from Reality
  • The Truth About Drugs – Illegal Drugs
  • Drug Abuse Among Students.
  • Substance Abuse and Development.
  • The Destructive Pattern of Drug Abuse
  • Drug Testing
  • Prescription Drug Abuse
  • Background on Drug Abuse
  • Effects of Parental Drug Abuse on Teens
  • The Relationship Between Adult Drug Abusers and Children.
  • Effects of Drug Abuse on Families
  • Drug Abuse Prevention and Control.
  • The Truth of Drug Abuse.
  • Drug Abuse in Athletes

How To Write A Compelling Introduction to Drug Abuse Essay

The introduction sets up the main issue you want to address within the main body of the paper. It gives an overview of the topic , provides background information, and states the thesis.

The introduction must grab the reader’s attention instantly and keep them engaged. It should be clear, concise, and relevant to the topic. 

A good introduction consists of the following:

1.  The Hook. The opening paragraph should intensely appeal to the reader’s immediate attention. Begin with a bold statement, a shocking fact/statistic, an anecdote, or a thoughtful question that tells the reader what the paper is about.

2.  Background Information. Your introductory paragraph should provide the reader with background information about your topic, so they can grasp the significance of what you’re writing about. 

3.  The Thesis : Your paper’s thesis is what you will try to prove. It should be interesting enough to draw the reader’s immediate attention and let them know the main point you’re going to be arguing. 

Introduction to Drug Abuse Essay Example

Drug addiction has become a serious problem today. More than 19.7 million adults (aged 12 or older) were reported to use illicit drugs in America in 2015. And, the rate has been steady. America spent over 740 billion dollars on drug and alcohol problems. Drug use has crucial psychological, social, and health effects. There is a need to understand the ill effects of drug abuse and what can be done to curb the rising cases. 

person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug

The introduction to drug abuse essay sets the tone of the paper. Your introduction should grab the readers’ attention and help them decide whether or not to continue reading the piece.

Begin with an exciting opening statement; it could be a shocking fact or an interesting anecdote. Give the readers an overview of the topic and provide background information.

End the introduction with the thesis statement, a summary of the main points the body of the essay will focus on. 

Writing An Effective Drug Abuse Essay Introduction

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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Understanding Drug Use and Addiction DrugFacts

Many people don't understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. They may mistakenly think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop their drug use simply by choosing to. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who want to. Fortunately, researchers know more than ever about how drugs affect the brain and have found treatments that can help people recover from drug addiction and lead productive lives.

What Is drug addiction?

Addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. These brain changes can be persistent, which is why drug addiction is considered a "relapsing" disease—people in recovery from drug use disorders are at increased risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug.

It's common for a person to relapse, but relapse doesn't mean that treatment doesn’t work. As with other chronic health conditions, treatment should be ongoing and should be adjusted based on how the patient responds. Treatment plans need to be reviewed often and modified to fit the patient’s changing needs.

Video: Why are Drugs So Hard to Quit?

Illustration of female scientist pointing at brain scans in research lab setting.

What happens to the brain when a person takes drugs?

Most drugs affect the brain's "reward circuit," causing euphoria as well as flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine. A properly functioning reward system motivates a person to repeat behaviors needed to thrive, such as eating and spending time with loved ones. Surges of dopamine in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable but unhealthy behaviors like taking drugs, leading people to repeat the behavior again and again.

As a person continues to use drugs, the brain adapts by reducing the ability of cells in the reward circuit to respond to it. This reduces the high that the person feels compared to the high they felt when first taking the drug—an effect known as tolerance. They might take more of the drug to try and achieve the same high. These brain adaptations often lead to the person becoming less and less able to derive pleasure from other things they once enjoyed, like food, sex, or social activities.

Long-term use also causes changes in other brain chemical systems and circuits as well, affecting functions that include:

  • decision-making

Despite being aware of these harmful outcomes, many people who use drugs continue to take them, which is the nature of addiction.

Why do some people become addicted to drugs while others don't?

No one factor can predict if a person will become addicted to drugs. A combination of factors influences risk for addiction. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction. For example:

Girl on a bench

  • Biology . The genes that people are born with account for about half of a person's risk for addiction. Gender, ethnicity, and the presence of other mental disorders may also influence risk for drug use and addiction.
  • Environment . A person’s environment includes many different influences, from family and friends to economic status and general quality of life. Factors such as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, early exposure to drugs, stress, and parental guidance can greatly affect a person’s likelihood of drug use and addiction.
  • Development . Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages in a person’s life to affect addiction risk. Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier that drug use begins, the more likely it will progress to addiction. This is particularly problematic for teens. Because areas in their brains that control decision-making, judgment, and self-control are still developing, teens may be especially prone to risky behaviors, including trying drugs.

Can drug addiction be cured or prevented?

As with most other chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, treatment for drug addiction generally isn’t a cure. However, addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed. People who are recovering from an addiction will be at risk for relapse for years and possibly for their whole lives. Research shows that combining addiction treatment medicines with behavioral therapy ensures the best chance of success for most patients. Treatment approaches tailored to each patient’s drug use patterns and any co-occurring medical, mental, and social problems can lead to continued recovery.

Photo of a person's fists with the words "drug free" written across the fingers.

More good news is that drug use and addiction are preventable. Results from NIDA-funded research have shown that prevention programs involving families, schools, communities, and the media are effective for preventing or reducing drug use and addiction. Although personal events and cultural factors affect drug use trends, when young people view drug use as harmful, they tend to decrease their drug taking. Therefore, education and outreach are key in helping people understand the possible risks of drug use. Teachers, parents, and health care providers have crucial roles in educating young people and preventing drug use and addiction.

Points to Remember

  • Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences.
  • Brain changes that occur over time with drug use challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. This is why drug addiction is also a relapsing disease.
  • Relapse is the return to drug use after an attempt to stop. Relapse indicates the need for more or different treatment.
  • Most drugs affect the brain's reward circuit by flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine. Surges of dopamine in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable but unhealthy activities, leading people to repeat the behavior again and again.
  • Over time, the brain adjusts to the excess dopamine, which reduces the high that the person feels compared to the high they felt when first taking the drug—an effect known as tolerance. They might take more of the drug, trying to achieve the same dopamine high.
  • No single factor can predict whether a person will become addicted to drugs. A combination of genetic, environmental, and developmental factors influences risk for addiction. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction.
  • Drug addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed.
  • More good news is that drug use and addiction are preventable. Teachers, parents, and health care providers have crucial roles in educating young people and preventing drug use and addiction.

For information about understanding drug use and addiction, visit:

  • www.nida.nih.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drug-abuse-addiction

For more information about the costs of drug abuse to the United States, visit:

  • www.nida.nih.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics#costs

For more information about prevention, visit:

  • www.nida.nih.gov/related-topics/prevention

For more information about treatment, visit:

  • www.nida.nih.gov/related-topics/treatment

To find a publicly funded treatment center in your state, call 1-800-662-HELP or visit:

  • https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/

This publication is available for your use and may be reproduced in its entirety without permission from NIDA. Citation of the source is appreciated, using the following language: Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Introduction: Drugs and Alcohol

By John Pickrell

4 September 2006

New Scientist Default Image

Man with beer glass smoking a cigarette

(Image: Eddie Mulholland/Rex Features)

People have been using substances to lift their spirits for millennia. Techniques for fermenting beer and related tipples are known from Egypt and Sumeria 4000 years ago, and they soon spread across the inhabited world. Coca leaves (the source of cocaine), tobacco, and caffeine were also popular with ancient cultures.

Humans may even have an evolutionary pre-disposition to seek out narcotics , even though they can be addictive and damaging . Some people may have genes which make them more genetically prone to drug addiction than others. Even some animals – jaguars, lemurs and bees , for example – have a habit of getting high.

There is an enormous amount of research on drug taking, examining both legal highs, such as alcohol, nicotine and caffeine , and illegal stimulants, such as marijuana, LSD , cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines , heroin and magic mushrooms and the so-called date-rape drugs rohypnol and GHB .

Alcohol – Some experts believe that the world’s first impromptu breweries might have been created when grain stores became drenched with rain and warmed in the sun. Ever since, humans have discovered that alcohol reduces their inhibitions, impairs their judgement , affects sexual desire and performance , creates beer bellies and leads to hangovers ( and dubious cures ).

Binge drinking is an ever-increasing health concern, and when not consumed in moderation, alcohol can lead to liver problems , brain damage and infertility. Drinking whilst pregnant can also damage the unborn child . It is not all… bad news though: studies show that some types of booze, such as red wine , are rich in antioxidant polyphenols which can help prevent heart disease and cancer.

Marijuana , once the preserve of hippies, is now regularly smoked by millions of people in the US and UK. Around 14.6 million Americans have used marijuana in the last 30 days. Though still controversial, support for controlled legalisation of this most common illegal drug is growing.

That support is bolstered by research showing that cannabis (and psychoactive extracts such as THC or cannabinoids ) can provide relief for sufferers of multiple sclerosis , Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy . Cannabis can also help to improve appetite and decrease weight loss in AIDS victims and may be able to slow the growth of cancerous tumours .

However, detractors argue that the long-term effects of smoking dope on the brain are unclear, that it decreases fertility , damages the unborn foetus , can contribute to cot death in babies born to dope-smoking parents, and may lead to memory loss, schizophrenia, depression and other illnesses.

Ecstasy , or MDMA , was allegedly first prescribed as an anti-depressant. It was also used by American marriage counsellors and psychotherapists in the 1970s. The drug made patients feel less anxious and more open, accepting and empathic. But notoriety for the drug in the UK did not come until it was popularised by the rave dance scene in fields and warehouses in the late 1980s. Use of the drug is now common in main stream clubs and 2 million or more British youngsters pop the tablets at weekends. Clubbers enjoy the feelings of emotional closeness, rushes of energy, increased stamina heightened sense of touch and other effects.

Critics say that regular ecstasy use is a recipe for causing memory loss and lasting damage to the brain’s serotonin-producing neurons. Users can die from fatal overheating or a dangerous build-up of water on the brain. Ecstasy causes other problems such as stifling sex drive and damaging babies in the womb .

Tablets contaminated with other compounds are part of the problem and many tests have been developed to check for purity. Controversial research found evidence of a link between ecstasy and Parkinson’s disease in 2002, though the finding was later retracted . Other animal studies conversely hinted that ecstasy might actually help treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease . Some experts point to the fact that despite the drug’s massive popularity, ecstasy deaths remain extremely rare: downhill skiing kills more people. Controversial medical trials are testing the use of MDMA to treat post-traumatic stress disorder in victims of rape and violent crime.

Cocaine comes from the coca plant , the leaves of which have been used by Native South Americans for 3000 years as a mild stimulant. Cocaine itself was first developed as a local anaesthetic , but has been a popular street drug since the 1970s. Today it is used by millions of people in the US alone and up to 150,000 end up in emergency rooms with heart attacks or other side effects . It acts on the brain’s dopamine system , and is thought to mimic the thrill of desire and anticipation.

Cocaine is highly addictive – many users become dependent after a year or two, and some research suggests that just a single dose could get you hooked. Use of the drug is linked to high blood pressure, deadly heart conditions and violent behaviour . Therapies to help addicts conquer their dependence include vaccines and related methods , which use antibodies to bind cocaine and stop it reaching its target in the brain. Other drugs can block cocaine cravings .

Nicotine comes from the leaves of the tobacco plant and was first cultivated and used by Native Americans 8000 years ago. Early European settlers in the Americas cultivated it as a cash crop for export, and smoking became popular back home in Europe during the 1600s. These days, an estimated 46 million Americans smoke 420 billion cigarettes per year . Smoking was thought to have few ill effects until researchers noticed that lung cancer prevalence rose enormously, along with the popularity of cigarette smoking in the twentieth century.

Today the 40-plus known carcinogenic chemicals in tobacco smoke are linked to cancers including those of the stomach, lung, pancreas, cervix and kidney. Research has also shown that nicotine or other tobacco chemicals can increase the speed of growth of tumours , cause cot death in the children of smokers, kill brain cells and lead to heart disease , strokes, emphysema and even mental illness .

Passive smoking is also widely thought to be dangerous activity and has been linked to an increase in cancers, heart disease and stroke , as well as lower than average IQ levels in children. Some people may be genetically-prone to nicotine addiction, and teenagers are more likely to become addicted than adults. Scientists are developing a controversial vaccine which could be used to protect young people against cigarette addiction.

Caffeine is found in around 60 known plant species, is a key ingredient of coffee, tea and chocolate , and is the world’s most popular stimulant. Tea has been popular in China for at least 3000 years, but possibly for much longer. Caffeine is used by billions of people to boost alertness.

The drug increases blood pressure and stimulates the heart lungs and other organs. There have been few verifiable links between caffeine and serious health problems , though research has shown it can increase sensitivity to pain, cause panic attacks and play havoc with sleep cycles . Some role in heart disease and cancer has been suggested, but not proven. Research has hinted that caffeine perhaps offers some unusual benefits by protecting against diabetes and radiation poisoning . Critics argue that addictive caffeine – supposedly a flavouring – is used by soft drink manufacturers to keep punters coming back for more .

  • psychoactive drugs /

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Drug and Alcohol Abuse among Young People

Alcohol abuse essay introduction, health problems, social consequences, drug abuse conclusion essay, works cited.

Alcoholism and drug addiction are considered not only purely medical but also social problems of modern society. Alcohol and drug abuse have been known since ancient times and have now extended to disturbing proportions in the world community.

Even when limiting alcohol and drug abuse to legally permissible levels, many countries recognize them as a social disaster.

The recognition of alcohol and drug abuse (with certain exclusions regarding social drinking) as threatening problems is widely accepted beyond national borders and social characteristics. At the same time, this problem is even more concerning regarding its occurrence in the young generation. This paper will examine the fact that drug and alcohol abuse is a serious problem among young people.

The use of alcohol and drugs currently presents the most serious threat to the health and well-being of many young people. In regards to alcohol, the conclusion of public health services is clear: there is no scientific acknowledgment of a safe limit of the consumption of alcohol. It is especially so when it concerns children and teenagers, who are the most vulnerable population.

Regarding drugs, the most horrifying consequences are concerned with fatal outcomes. For example, “In 1989, there were 1,200 deaths in the United Kingdom where the underlying cause was attributed to drug dependence or non-dependent abuse of drugs or controlled drugs were somehow implicated as a cause.” (Plant, and Plant 72)

There are many alcohol and drug-related health issues, but fatal outcomes are definitely their most dangerous consequences. In the case of alcohol, driving can be seen as a serious threat. According to statistics, “The rate of fatal crashes among alcohol-involved drivers between 16 and 20 years old is more than twice the rate for alcohol-involved drivers 21 and older.” (“The Health Effects of Teen Alcohol Use”)

Moreover, the interaction of alcohol with such conditions as depression can lead to suicide, which is “the third leading cause of death among people between the ages of 14 and 25.” (“The Health Effects of Teen Alcohol Use”)

Violence can be considered a direct consequence of alcohol and drug abuse. Violence among young people is a massive problem in our society, and its extent is difficult to determine. The impact of drug and alcohol abuse on young people can go in both directions, where they can be the ones applying violence and its victims.

An annual survey conducted by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows, as of 2000, that “illicit drug users were also about 16 times more likely than nonusers to report being arrested and booked for larceny or theft; more than 14 times more likely to be arrested and booked for such offenses as driving under the influence, drunkenness, or liquor law violations; and more than 9 times more likely to be arrested and booked on an assault charge. (“Drug-Related Crime”) Victims of violence are often raised in a family where one or both parents abuse alcohol and drugs.

Explaining the background of such families, it should be mentioned that several factors lead to such violent environment, where kids are raised in “poverty, often with drug and alcohol problems, in neighborhoods where drugs and crime are common and jobs are scarce.” (“Covering Child Abuse”)

The social consequences of alcohol and drug abuse lie within the reasons people using such substances. Aside from such factors as curiosity, risk-taking, and imitation, many people are using drugs and alcohol to escape reality or some stressful life events.

Accordingly, if these substances were heavily abused for a long time, it can make the users emotionally unadapted, feeling uncomfortable in public, having difficulties coping with life obstacles, and lacking social interests or plans for the future.

Another consequence can be seen through forming specific groups of friends who share the same habits, and thus making a circle that is hard to escape. This can affect education, where “studies have shown that school drop-out is more common among heavy-drinking students than among others.” (Klingemann)

It can be seen through the consequences discussed above that alcohol and drug abuse among young people is indeed posing a serious social problem. However, these consequences are only small parts of the problem of young people using drugs and alcohol.

The most considerable concern regarding the young generation is that they are the foundation for the future. Governments and countries are trying to erase many past mistakes by raising and encouraging a generation that will have the best characteristics. These characteristics will allow them to keep the nation strong. This can become quite difficult when this foundation is facing serious problems.

“Covering Child Abuse.” American Journalism Review Sept. 1997: 1+.

“Drug-Related Crime”. 2000. Drug policy Information Clearing House.Web.

“The Health Effects of Teen Alcohol Use”. 2008. Teen Drug Abuse.

Klingemann, Harald. “Alcohol and Its Social Consequences – the Forgotten Dimension”. 2001. World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe.

Plant, Martin, and Moira Plant. Risk-Takers: Alcohol, Drugs, Sex, and Youth. New York: Tavistock Routledge, 1992.

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Essay On Drugs And Alcohol

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Drug Abuse , Drugs , Addiction , Bullying , Alcohol , Violence , Abuse , Alcoholism

Words: 1100

Published: 03/30/2020


Drugs and Alcohol

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Drug and alcohol abuse is connected to emotional or psychological issues (Watts, 2014). There are some people who are able to use prescription drugs recreationally, without reaping negative consequences. However, there are others who experience addiction which can cause problems at home, work, school and in significant relationships. Drug and alcohol addiction usually starts with recreational use, until a dependency on the substance is formed. This is when the user or addict is unable to function without having the substance in their system. Some individuals are more prone to drug and alcohol addiction than others (Marlatt, et al., 2005). As with many diseases and conditions, there are some who are more vulnerable than others. There are definitely higher risks for addiction in those who have immediate relatives with the same condition. There are also some pre-existing psychological problems that can also increase the risk of drug and alcohol addiction, this includes depression, anxiety and paranoia. Besides these psychological triggers, there are also environmental factors that can contribute to this problem. Neglect or traumatic incidents as a child, early use of drugs and exposure to an environment where there is easy access to drugs are only some of the things that can contribute to early addiction.

In many cases, a very good friend of the addict or a family member who first raises concern about drug or alcohol abuse (Watts, 2014). This is usually done through behavioral observations. If an individual is suspected to be involved in substance abuse, a drug test will be done. This can be done through a urinary sample or a blood sample. The first port of call us a general practitioner or primary care physician. Several questions will be asked by the doctor in order to know more about the substance consumed. This includes the type of substance, the frequency and other questions pertaining to the habitual use of the substance. During this time, the doctor may refer the patient to a psychologist who will be able to evaluate the patient if ever he or she may feel they have a problem (Marlatt, et al., 2005). Once an addiction problem is suspected, a specialist will enter the picture. When there is both alcohol/drug abuse and a mental health problem present, it is called a co-occurring disorder (Watts, 2014). When a mental health problems goes untreated, the substance problem usually gets worse. A specialist will be able to determine if there is a mental health disorder present even before the drug or alcohol abuse started.

Age of Onset

The age of onset varies, depending on an individual. However, studies show that minors as early as 14 – 15 years of age are already experimenting with alcohol and drugs (Watts, 2014). During this time, the individuals take the substances recreationally. If they are at high risk of developing an addiction or dependency problem, the down spiral of abuse can start within a year or two years of first use. If there is a mental health problem present previous the substance abuse, the dependency can be more severe (Marlatt, et al., 2005). If there are preexisting tendencies and problems even before the abuse, addiction might come within a couple of months of first use. Studies show that individuals, teenagers in particular, who are exposed to environments where drug or alcohol abuse is rampant, the risk of developing a substance abuse problem is higher.

Individuals who are suffering from drug and alcohol abuse usually exhibit both physical and emotional symptoms (Marlatt, et al., 2005). Many addicts are irritable, have mood swings and are secretive. They might not do very well within social groups and try to avoid contact with people who are not within their close circle. During the later portion of their abuse, they might start experiencing deteriorating relationships. Individuals who have an addiction problem will show signs of struggle in terms of their work, school or home life. Individuals who have a drug dependency or addiction problem will have one or more of the following symptoms (Watts, 2014): - Extremely high tolerance to the substance which has less of an effect on their body. This means that they need to get more in order to get the same pleasure. - Signs of physical or withdrawal symptoms. This means that the patient will need to take the substance in order to avoid symptoms of withdrawal. When they go without the substance, they might start to feel deep anxiety. - The patient takes a higher than intended dose of the substance or is drinking extreme amounts of alcohol - They spend a large amount of time trying to get hold of the substance. This includes selling anything or everything just to get another hit. - Social activities, or responsibilities are no longer a priority for the patient - They continue to take it and might defend their abuse if told to stop.

Substance abuse comes in many different forms (Watts, 2014). There are some individuals who are addicted to prescription drugs, where there are others who are addicted to illicit substances. Oxycodone addiction, opiate addiction and alcohol abuse are only some of the different types. There are complicated types when a patient is given a pain reliever in order to overcome an existing substance abuse problem, only to become addicted to the prescribed pain killer.

There are different types of treatment for this type of abuse (Watts, 2014). There are in-house and out-patient types of rehabilitation centers. The amenities and cost for these centers also differ. There are bunker-type centers for teens and luxurious rehabilitation resorts for celebrities. The most common type of treatment involves the 12-step program, where the patients are exposed to individuals who are also trying to overcome a substance abuse problem. This involves education on the reality of drug abuse as well as lessons on how to avoid temptation or relapse.

Marlatt, G. A., & Donovan, D. M. (Eds.). (2005). Relapse prevention: Maintenance strategies in the treatment of addictive behaviors. Guilford Press. Watts, W. D. (2014). Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention: Defining the Need in Organizations. Sociological Practice, 9(1), 9.


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Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Essay


According to MacLean, Cameron, Harney and Lee (2012), volatile substance use is one of the main problems that make it hard to attain a desirable social fabric.

With most people turning into substance abuse, the question that is asked is how the psychosocial institutions can reduce the number of new abusers of drugs and alcohol and the way the drug and alcohol addicts can be rehabilitated and incorporated back in the society effectively.

Research shows that a substantial number of rehabilitation institutions have been established to facilitate the recovery of drug and alcohol addicts. However, further research reiterates the resounding role of social networks of the addicts in fostering full recovery and rehabilitation of the addicts.

Therefore, the development of interpersonal relations that foster the development of social networks and social identity is critical in the rehabilitation of the drug and alcohol addicts. More often than not, the rehabilitation process is halted only by paying attention to the social workers and psychological professionals, addicts, health care professionals, and the families of the addicts.

This leaves out the issue of interpersonal relations among addicts, yet is vital in rehabilitation. The main question that this paper seeks to answer is: what role do interpersonal relations play in drug and alcohol rehabilitation?

This paper argues that the policies governing the rehabilitation of drug and alcohol addicts should pay attention to interpersonal relations of the people under rehabilitation because they are the main determinants of complete rehabilitation.

In presenting the arguments, the paper begins by bringing out the essence of interpersonal relations of the subjects in drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. This is followed by an intense discussion about the modalities of incorporating interpersonal factors in the road to recovery and rehabilitation of drug and alcohol addicts.

The discussion focuses on the exploration of studies that expand on drug and alcohol rehabilitation, before drawing conclusions and recommendations that can help in explaining how interpersonal relations should be factored in rehabilitation.

The essence of Interpersonal relations in drug and alcohol rehabilitation

As observed in the introduction, the rate of alcohol and substance abuse in quite high. Thus, substance abuse rehabilitation centres have been established to help volatile substance users regain their status and social position in the society.

However, as these centres continue to work, it is evident that they leave out important steps that are critical in offering complete therapy for the alcohol and drug abusers. Research ascertains the importance of groups in rehabilitative counselling and the administration of recovery medications for drug and alcohol abuse addicts (O’Farrell & Fals-Stewart, 2008).

Borrowing from this, it can be argued that drug and alcohol abuse is a habit that occurs in the social space. According to Morgenstern and Longabaugh (2000), the cognitive behaviours of individuals who engage in drug and substance abuse are largely shaped by the environment in which they dwell.

Therefore, the full recovery and complete rehabilitation of the drug and alcohol addicts can only be achieved when they are placed within the environments that influence their behaviour. Failure to do so implies a vacuum in the rehabilitation therapy. This is denoted by the separation of the people, physically or psychologically, from the environment in which they are supposed to dwell in for their entire lifetime (Klimas, 2010).

According to Klimas (2010), there is a close relationship between relationships and the recovery of drug and substance abusers. Therefore, the process of therapeutic change that is embraced by rehabilitation institutions needs to foster the interaction of individuals within the recovery group and the nature of relations that are embraced by individuals outside the recovery groups.

This argument is invigorated by the tendency of most addicts within the institutions to portray positive characters, denoting recovery as a way of speeding up the completion of the recovery process. These people often revert back to the earlier habits once they are out of the rehabilitation centres and out of monitoring institutions.

According to the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (2005), group therapy is highly favoured when it comes to the active phase of rehabilitation where the behaviour and actions of individuals and their close associates play a great role in enhancing behaviour change.

In a similar sense, the long-term recovery plans for the addicts have to consider the placement and consideration of all people who associate with the addicts within the wider social realm.

Most of the institutions that deal with the rehabilitation of drug and alcohol addicts only focus on the formal groups that are established therapeutically while ignoring the other interactions that are embraced by the addicts outside these groups.

Relationships in the cycle of addiction change as the stage of addiction progresses from one level to another. This is an important consideration in the rehabilitation process because changes in relationships also occur during the recovery phase of individuals who are undergoing rehabilitation (Klimas, 2010).

It is important to note that interpersonal relations play out differently in the recovery phase. In some cases, the recovering addicts may come from equally addicted families. In such situations, relations become more complex, but they are simple when it comes to the elimination of incidences of drug use.

Close ties between the addicts denote a high level of ties. These ties are depicted in acts of sympathy and excessive care and concern. In most cases, individuals may find themselves helping people they have close relations within the wrong way because of the high level of attachment and feelings that they have for the addicts.

This is common in cases where an addict enters a drug and alcohol recovery therapy as an individual. In situations where couples enter therapy together, they might also break some rules of recovery because of the mutual feelings they may have (Simmons, 2006). Therefore, consideration should also be paid to cases where relationships can be hindrances in the recovery of drug and alcohol addicts.

Interpersonal considerations in drug and alcohol rehabilitation

Klimas (2010) observes that the modern concept of group therapy in drug and substance abuse rehabilitation considers the extended issue of interpersonal relationships in attaining full recovery of the addicts.

This is based on the classification of the recovery therapy in two: group therapy, which applies during the early stages of recovery for the volatile substance use addicts and the outside group therapy that comes in the advanced stages of recovery.

Here, the question of the nature of relationships that should be embraced by the psychiatric and counsellors comes out. Individuals undergoing therapy undergo psychosocial problems during the entire process of recovery. These problems can only be sorted out by the kinds and levels of interactions that are fostered and who the addicts interact with (Klimas, 2010).

According to Price and Simmel (2002), people who are undergoing rehabilitation face psychological problems like trauma. The problems emanate from the changes in their lifestyles that are characterized by addiction. Such problems become much more complex when the addicts are confronting the health-related conditions caused by excessive drug use and alcoholism.

According to the research that was conducted by Price and Simmel (2002) to ascertain the role of partners in the addiction and recovery of addicted women, the researchers observed that the formation of partnerships is critical in solving the psychologically associated problems. Addicts can hardly recover in isolation. However, the other important thing to note is that addicts can only recover fully when right partnerships are formed.

According to UNDOC and WHO (2008), effective interventions for drug and alcohol addicts require the development of networked systems.

These systems are wide in the sense that they involve a wide range of partners, among them the civil society, labour, welfare, and the criminal justice, among others. Avoiding drug and alcohol abuse is attained when individuals understand the dangers of drugs and the essence of living a drug-free life.

Therefore, the involvement of a large number of players is critical in the dissemination of knowledge and the reduction of the rate at which drugs and alcohol are made available to people in the society. The importance of social welfare departments is reiterated, especially when it comes to the coordination of recovery for the addicts due to the nature of drug use in the society.

A substantial number of people who engage in drug abuse are people who are placed within highly interactive environments, for instance students. Therefore, interpersonal relationships cannot be easily avoided in the recovery of the individuals.

This is why the WHO and UNDOC insist on the involvement of the social welfare departments in the recovery of drug addicts and alcohol addicts. The greater involvement of the social welfare is to help in developing the modalities on which the relationships of the addicts under recovery can be monitored (UNDOC & WHO, 2008).

In their research about the importance of social support for drug addicts who are undergoing recovery therapy, Dobkin, De Civita, Paraherakis and Gill (2002) found out that high social support that comes from the encouragement of the recovering addicts to foster relations with people outside the rehabilitation process highly promotes quick recovery.

By further conducting a regression analysis based on hierarchy, Dobkin, De Civita, Paraherakis and Gill (2002) further observed that the pace of recovery is higher for patients who are allowed to embrace relations than inpatients or recovering addicts. This reiterates the value of social support, which is necessitated by the development of relationships with the recovering addicts in the course of their recovery.

This is supported by the research by Beattie and Longabaugh (1997), who insisted on the value of social relationships in the realms of drug and alcohol addiction and recovery.

The subjective well-being of alcohol addicts depends on the patterns of interactions that are fostered by the addicts and the kind of discussions that they engage in. Positive relationships, which in this case mean engaging in constructive group activities, help in stabilizing the mental and emotional status of the recovering addicts.

Granfield and Cloud (2001) brought about the issue of social capital gathered by the addicts in helping the addicts in complete recovery. Therefore, any policies that are developed to help with drug and alcohol recovery have to pay attention to natural recovery, which is largely pegged on social capital.

Social capital in this sense means the relationships, norms, and institutions that are available in the society. At the centre of the development of social capital entails the relationships that are developed by individuals because human beings are social beings and interaction plays a great role in the psychosocial development of people.

Relations within the lives of the addicts together with the actual resources that they possess is critical in cushioning the recovering addicts from the social and psychological forces that engulf their lives because of the changes that take place in their lives during recovery (Granfield & Cloud, 2001).

Challenges of embracing partnership and relationships in the recovery of drug and alcohol addicts

Partners can be engaged in the recovery of addicts in different ways. One of the common ways of engaging partners and embracing relations in the recovery of addicts is the choice of partners who can give assurance of recovery to the addicts.

Relationships are part of the extended care for the addicts and can facilitate complete recovery or bring about hindrances in the recovery of individuals. There are prospects of change that need to be observed and given full attention by the people who are monitoring the progress of recovery during recovery.

Taking an example from the Tekuma Recovery Group in Israel where the addicts are attached to role models to help in shaping the changes in their cognitive behaviours, it can be argued that the patient-therapist model of addiction recovery has to be expanded to include more people.

It is easy to encourage the participants to be fully responsible for their compulsive behaviours through the linkage of the addicts who are undergoing recovery with partners or allowing them to choose partners outside the inside recovery groups (Tekuma Recovery Group, n.d.).

Interpersonal distress is one of the main causes of drug use in the society. This distress comes from the kinds of relations and behaviours that are common in the environment in which a person dwells. Therefore, rehabilitating the severe cases of addiction needs to focus on the individual and the larger environment in which a person dwells.

Taking an example from the case study by Klimas (2010), one addict confessed that the behaviour of his mother forced him to start using drugs as a consolation. He always came home from work and found her mother completely drunk; therefore, he had to get some drugs to cope psychologically with the situation and handle the embarrassment and agony.

This means that a given form of complexity presents itself here. The main aim of running recovery programs is to reinstate the consciousness of the addicts so that they are fit to join the society. However, the same society might still be having the sources of distress that resulted in the addictive trends in the persons who have undergone full recovery.

According to Beattie and Longabaugh (1997), it is important to comprehend the roles that are played by social relationships in the course of recovery, treatment, or relapse of the addicts. This is very helpful, more so in the clarification of the way clients can make use of interpersonal relationships in an effective way, thereby maximizing the impact of the recovery and rehabilitation therapy.

Therefore, rehabilitating individuals should go far much deeper than dealing with the individuals alone into unearthing all forms of relationships that are fostered by the rehabilitated individuals and how they might contribute to the well-being of the individual.

For instance, in the case of an individual who started engaging in drugs because of the behaviour of her mother, people responsible for the recovery of the individual should go further and rehabilitate the mother if possible (Klimas, 2010).

According to Andjelokvic (2012), encouraging the clients in the rehabilitation centres to link with the community enables them to create intense levels of interaction. This is critical in the positive shaping of their emotional content. An example is the linkage of the clients to the spiritual mentors as part of the therapy.

The development of strong relationships with the spiritually inclined people enables the clients to mould their behaviours in line with the spiritual content. This is a form of counter-transference in drug and alcohol rehabilitation (Andjelokvic, 2012).

According to Klimas (2010), another issue that is common among the recovering addicts is that they often become allergic to developing and embracing social relationships.

This emanates from the changes that take place in the interpersonal functioning of an individual during the entire period the individual undergoes the recovery therapy. However, the question that comes out here is how these behaviours impact on the positive functioning of an individual in the society in the long term basis.

Koehn (2007) presented a framework on which relationships can be modelled in drug and alcohol abuse. Known as the relationship sculpture, this framework can help people who are experiencing drug addiction problems to explore the changes in their interpersonal relationships, especially the intimate relationships.

It is critical to assess the changes in the relations’ landscape of the addicts throughout the entire process of recovery as set by the facilitators of recovery in order to experience changes in their lives.

The discussion conducted in the paper reiterates the importance of broadening the angle at which interpersonal relationships are developed and fostered by the recovering addicts. Most of the points presented in the paper denote that interpersonal relationships play a dual role when it comes to drug and alcohol use and recovery from drugs.

Just as interpersonal relationships can cause drug addiction, such relationships can also play a critical role in the full recovery of drug and alcohol addicts.

However, this depends on the level at which the professionals dealing with the clients in drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs understand the interplay between interpersonal networks and relationships in the recovery process.

It is important for the professionals who are working with the addicts to know most of the conflicting priorities that can prevent the addicts from developing and maintaining relationships with the social networks established within the formal recovery groups and outside the formal groups.

The discussion also points to the need for counsellors and psychologists, as well as other healthcare professionals working with substance abusers to broaden their scope regarding the issue of interpersonal relationships because they often take the centre stage in addiction and recovery.

Andjelokvic, B. B. (2012). P-1131 – Some experiences of group psychotherapy in Orthodox community of rehabilitation of drug addicts. European Psychiatry, 271 . doi:10.1016/S0924-9338(12)75298-7

Beattie, M. C., & Longabaugh, R. (1997). Interpersonal factors and post‐treatment drinking and subjective well-being. Addiction, 92 (11), 1507-1521.

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2005). Substance abuse treatment: Group therapy , (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 41.) . Web.

Dobkin, P. L., De Civita, M., Paraherakis, A., & Gill, K. (2002). The role of functional social support in treatment retention and outcomes among outpatient adult substance abusers. Addiction, 97 (3), 347-356.

Granfield, R., & Cloud, W. (2001). Social context and “natural recovery”: The role of social capital in the resolution of drug-associated problems. Substance Use & Misuse, 36 (11), 1543-1570.

Klimas, J. (2010). Interpersonal relationships during addiction and recovery: A qualitative exploration of the views of clients in therapeutic community . Web.

Koehn, C. V. (2007). Experiential work group treatment for alcohol and other drug problems: the relationship sculpture. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly , 25(3), 99-111.

MacLean, S., Cameron, J., Harney, A., & Lee, N. K. (2012). Psychosocial therapeutic interventions for volatile substance use: a systematic review. Addiction, 107 (2), 278-288.

Morgenstern, J., & Longabaugh, R. (2000). Cognitive–behavioral treatment for alcohol dependence: A review of evidence for its hypothesized mechanisms of action. Addiction, 95 (10), 1475-1490.

O’Farrell, T. J., & Fals-Stewart, W. (2008). Behavioral couples therapy for alcoholism and other drug abuse. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 26 (1/2), 195-219.

Price, A., & Simmel, C. (2002). Partners’ influence on women’s addiction and recovery: The connection between substance abuse, trauma, and intimate Relationships . Berkeley, CA: National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center, University of California at Berkeley.

Simmons, J. (2006). The interplay between interpersonal dynamics, treatment barriers, and larger social forces: an exploratory study of drug-using couples in Hartford, CT. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 1 (12), 1-13.

Tekuma Recovery Group. Tekuma recovery at a glance . Web.

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