Drug addiction is considered as a major problem around the global and has received much attention from the drug abuse researchers. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates that there were 24.5 million drug and alcohol addicts in the United States in 2013, and that those numbers are likely to expand by 8.5% yearly. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014). Drug addiction is an ongoing issue in modern society, having a significant hold on the various patterns of human activity.
Fuelling violent crimes and organized criminality, drugs play a significant role in the society today as people around the world are concerned with how it could affected on people’s lives, both directly or indirectly. However, the basis of the drug problem comes essentially from those who demand it, but unlike other consumer’s goods, drugs seem to be able to control consumers on different aspects, mentally and physically. To this day, it remains a common misconception that drug addiction is a moral issue, not a mental disorder.
This is not surprising given that in popular culture, deteriorates of today’s society are equated to drug addicts, labelling them either as moral failures or criminals.
Based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV), drug use is outlined as any use of a drug; however, it typically refers to associate occasional or recreational use of drugs. In short, it is the use of drugs for psychotropic rather than medical purposes. If the drug used is unlawful one, then there is the legal transgression to be concerned with. (Kuhar, 2014, pp. 17-18)
Besides, there is the danger of continued use of drugs to where they become a more severe problem. When it comes to drug abuse which is a more serious problem, there is a greater degree of drug use, a distressing or negative impacts on the drug user’s life and even came a further loss of control. (Kuhar, 2014, pp. 17-18)
Regarding the experiments on addiction are conducted on animals, focusing on the physiological effects of drugs on them. This was the basis of research on the understanding of drugs and its effects on humans. In these experiments, lab rats were placed in a Skinner Box with two levers; one with saline solution and another with a drug solution that is contaminated with cocaine. The amount administered by the rats were recorded and the rats almost always choose the drug solution. When replaced with other drugs that are commonly abused by humans, the results were the same. The experiments showed a strong positive reinforcement of drug abuse, and the results of the experiments were consistent with the behaviour of drug addicts. (Kuhar, 2014, pp. 29-38) The findings were important to establish the interactions of drugs and human’s brain, and why people are prone to addiction. As it turns out, we as humans are evolutionally developed to be vulnerable to drug addiction. This explains why so many addicts could not refrain from drugs despite knowing that it is harmful, and why overdoses are common.
On the other hand, genetics is one of the contributions to a person’s tendency toward drug addiction. Drug addiction is often attributed to a lack of willpower or self-control, which means that people who have addictions make a conscious choice to engage in their destructive behaviour, but experts believe that some forms of addiction have their roots deep in the cells of people who use drugs. By understanding genes, mutations and how they are used give an appreciation of how genetic studies are carried out in finding out the factors of addiction. In a study by the National Human Genome Research Institute (2017), researchers obtained DNA from each participant to conduct a test population that has the trait of interest (such as drug taking) and a control population that does not have the trait. All the genes in all the subjects are characterized and the occurrence of genetic markers which are the Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) are used in studies of heritability in the populations are compared. The influence of one’s genes on drug taking varies from person to person, and each person has a different level of biological vulnerability. (National Human Genome Research Institute, 2017)
In addition to that, there is a strong relationship that exists between mental health disorders and addiction. Substances can create mental health symptoms like paranoia, delusions or depression while the person is under the influence of the drug. Psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) often lead to drug addiction in individuals. (Dual Diagnosis, 2018) For some addicts, it is a matter of trying to relieve the stress and pain associated with that illness. In other case, the drug abuse sets off a series of events that cause a mental illness diagnosis. In any circumstance, humans can facilitate drug use as a justification for treating both problems. Withdrawal or ceasing drug use can precipitate problems like anxiety. In fact, drug addiction treatment can be more successful when also treating the mental problem. Mental issues can weaken one’s resolve to deal with other problems such as drug use which distracts and exhaust people’s lives. It is clear that having a mental illness seems to go hand in hand with drug abuse, and once the connection has been forged, it can be difficult to break without help. (Kuhar, 2014, pp. 106)
Other than personality traits, environmental factors are a significant cause which contribute to drug addiction. There is a Rat Park study by a researcher at Simon Fraser University, Bruce Alexander which is to measure the effect of environment on addiction rates by separating rats into two cages, a stimulating one and an isolated one, and gave them morphine. The rats in both cages became physically dependent on the morphine, but the Rat Park’s rats consumed less morphine than the group in the boring cage. This experiment has proven that it is not the drugs that are addiction but rather the experimental stressors that are placed on the rats we are studying. (Alexander, 2010) Due to stress environment, people are more likely to be get addicted to drugs in order to make themselves feeling in a better way. The home in which a person grows up could have a great deal of influence over drug use and abuse. For example, frequent arguments between family. The parents who stayed together but fought frequently and intensely are more likely affecting the stress level that generates one to becoming addicted. On the other hand, some children who grow up in homes where drugs were at play were more likely growing up to mimic their parents’ drug and alcohol abuse. The atmosphere right outside an addict’s front door additionally plays a part. If one lives in a neighbourhood where drug use is normalized, he begins to see it as normal and assumes that abuse is both common and harmless. Nevertheless, it can also be stressful to live in that type of environment which leads some of the people turn to drugs in order to numbing the fear and worries. Drugs appear to be a way to fit in and get relief, and the allure can be hard to resist. (Center On Addiction, 2017)
Sometimes, personality traits are considered risk factors contribute to drug taking, and, in turn, the psychoactive substances impact individuals’ traits. (Terracciano et al, 2008) The way a person thinks and the way a person behaves in a given situation can lead to drug addiction. Personality traits have been linked with the risk of having substance abuse disorder. Impulsivity, physical activity level, having difficulty sitting still, and the tendency to become emotionally upset have been correlated with higher drug use. People with introverted personalities and who tend to have less positive mood, or be attracted to rewards in life are more correlated with drug use. In contrast, the ones who are extroverted that desire to be around people and also have more positive emotions are less likely to abuse drugs. The reason for this may be that people who are extroverted and with more positive feelings are more sensitive to all kinds of rewards, like rewards from social situations, winning games, or obtaining promotions – and these alternative rewards compete with the positive feelings that may go along using a drug. On the other hand, people with low positive emotionality or extroversion have less interest in other rewards, and are more easily pulled in by the effects of the drug. (Live Science, 2014)
Drug addiction can trap anyone, men and women, even children and teenagers in every age and economic group. The issues of substance abuse are often presented to us as insurmountable obstacles that are impossible to face, with signs of gang violence and deplorable addicts the main face of medicine and drug abuse. People around the world have to actively fight that perception and further our case more to help those who need it most to get over the addiction of drug. After all, it has been proven again and again that drug addiction is a treatable mental disorder that has to be seen as one, and not a form of criminal offense. With that, perhaps people could solve the problems of drug abuse and the many social effects it brings to all of the humans. It is not a particularly great time to be a drug addict; it never is, but our society is making it worse.
- Alexandra, B. (2010) Rat Park. Addiction: The View from Rat Park. Retrieved on
- December 1, 2018 from: http://www.brucekalexander.com/articles-speeches/rat-park/148-addiction-the-view-from-rat-park
- Center On Addiction. (January 24, 2017) Family Matters: Substance Abuse and The
- American Family. Retrieved on November 17, 2018 from: https://www.centeronaddiction.org/addiction-research/reports/family-matters-substance-abuse-and-american-family
- Kuhar, M. (2014). The Addicted Brain: Why We Abuse Drugs, Alcohol, and Nicotine.
- Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education
- Live Science. (April 15, 2014) How Personality Increases Risk of Drug Abuse.
- Retrieved on November 7, 2018 from: https://www.livescience.com/44851-personality-substance-use-disorder-risk.html
- National Human Genome Research Institute. (August 2017) The Forefront of
- Genomics. Retrieved on November 17, 2018 from:
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, (2014). Special
- Considerations for Addictive Prevention and Treatment. Retrieved on November 7, 2018 from: https://www.hazeldenbettyford.org/education/bcr/addiction-research/older-adults-drug-abuse-ru-315
- Terracciano, A., Löckenhoff, C. E., Crum, R. M., Bienvenu, O. J., & Costa, P.
Cite this Drug Addiction As an Issue in Modern Society
Drug Addiction As an Issue in Modern Society. (2021, Jun 09). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/drug-addiction-as-an-issue-in-modern-society/