Political Socialization in the United States is influenced by several factors, such as families, peers, media exposure, and involvement in political parties. This research paper seeks to illustrate the detrimental effects of alcohol and drug addiction on political socialization in America. The study will explore these four influences and evaluate how addiction negatively impacts each one.
The political views of an American citizen are heavily influenced by their family. The way in which the family perceives and involves itself in political matters plays a significant role in shaping an individual’s perspective. Parents play a vital part in imparting the importance of participating in the political system to their children through their actions and approval. As a result, if the family strongly aligns with specific political factions characterized by addictive and anti-social behaviors, these viewpoints are likely to be adopted by their children as well.
In The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Volume 24, number 4, Jeanette Taylor, M.A. explores the strong connection between conduct disorder, anti-social personality disorder, alcohol abuse, and drug abuse in families of delinquent adolescent males who misuse substances. Taylor’s research shows a significant positive correlation among these issues within each male’s family. As a result, identifying male multiple problem youths also reveals families with a high occurrence of similar problems. Thus, the tendencies of a family are closely linked to the behaviors of their children.
With the rise of conduct and personality disorders, our nation is witnessing an increased apathy and pessimism towards political matters. As a result, moral values and general welfare have declined. According to the press release from the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, approximately 113 million people aged 12 and above in the United States, accounting for around 52 percent, admitted to consuming alcohol in 1998.
The data shows that around 33 million people (29.2%) participate in binge drinking and 12 million (10.6%) are considered heavy drinkers. This percentage distribution has not changed since 1988, demonstrating the continued presence of alcohol and drug addiction issues in the US. The press release also provides additional information on the country’s struggles with substance abuse.
In 1998, about 13.6 million Americans, which is approximately 6.2% of the population aged 12 and older in the United States, were actively using illicit drugs. The NHSDA conducts yearly assessments to monitor changes in drug, alcohol, and tobacco use and determine their prevalence. These statistics are derived from a representative sample of individuals aged 12 and above living in households as well as group quarters such as dormitories and homeless shelters.
A survey conducted in 1998 revealed that alcohol and drug use among individuals starts at younger ages than previously known. It is important to recognize that during this period, children are highly influenced by their home environments, daily experiences, and peers. These early years are commonly referred to as the “formative” years.
According to the book “American Government and Politics Today” by Schmidt, Shelley, and Bardes, substance abuse in the United States has led to reduced political participation. Additionally, there has been a substantial rise in the number of incarcerated individuals. Since 1980, the population of people imprisoned in state and federal prisons has increased from approximately 500,000 to over 1.7 million.
This paper suggests that incarcerated individuals are currently disconnected from our political process. It is worth noting the notable lack of familial influence on their understanding of national issues. Their belief system is shaped by fear and hostility towards authority figures, leading to limited desires to participate in personal and political matters.
According to the authors of American Government and Politics Today, there has been a continuous shift in the composition of American families. Although the traditional two-parent family is still prevalent, its frequency has decreased. The authors highlight that only two decades ago, more than 85 percent of children resided with both parents. However, presently, 71 percent of children under eighteen continue to reside with two parents, while 25 percent solely live with one parent.
Around 25% of children in single-parent households, similar to those who are addicted or incarcerated, face poverty and encounter individual obstacles that hinder their engagement in politics. These children prioritize immediate survival and lack the time and motivation to educate themselves on relevant matters or take a stance. They are consumed by problems that leave little opportunity for advocating societal change or addressing daily challenges. Without external intervention, such as support from schools or peers, these children rely solely on their families’ limited efforts, if any, to improve their situation.
Citizens with addiction problems face difficulties in seeking guidance and education due to the anti-social characteristics of the disease. The high rate of teen dropouts in America and declining enforcement of attendance at home further compound this issue. The all-consuming nature of the preferred substance, whether it be alcohol or illicit drugs, makes it unlikely for the afflicted to be influenced positively. In her book, “Growing Out of an Alcoholic Family,” Karen Sandwig discusses the process of relearning in recovery as an ACOA* and describes a five-stage process to escape the negative effects of the alcoholic family network.
- Identifying the fact that there are problems in your life that stem from the alcoholic family network.
- Examining what these problems are.
- Recognizing why you believe, act, or feel the way you do.
- Reconciling yourself to the need of changing destructive behavior and beliefs patterns into ones that are constructive.
- Restoring your original, healthy personality.”
< p > This process, along with any other in the treatment and elimination of negative influences in the addict’s life and their family members’ lives, becomes too overwhelming to allow enough freedom for the individual to focus on issues outside their personal life. These issues alone can take a lifetime to resurrect and rebuild, and any involvement from peers should be focused on these areas. Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that only a small portion (2 percent) of individuals affected by addiction or related to the addict actually initiate this process, let alone successfully complete it and expand into broader political and social engagement. < /p >Very few people in recovery successfully navigate the abundant treatment options and extensive support network available to them. Those who do manage to sustain their recovery often prioritize making up for lost time and pursuing career goals in order to achieve stability before retirement. In addition to these personal transformations, recovery also introduces individuals to new recreational activities and social circles. These new relationships provide opportunities for recovering individuals to gain insight into their own beliefs and feelings about politics and government.
After removing the layers of anger and resentment, people in these regions can experience a positive impact on their recovery. They can embark on a self-discovery and transformation journey. With appropriate guidance, they can receive support and nurturing to become valuable community members who contribute to society. This recovery fellowship often reintroduces ex-addicts to a world they had previously tried to evade by resorting to substance abuse.
Political Socialization is a significant aspect of the new world as well as the Democratic process. The mass media in America serve various functions, all of which have political implications and are essential to the Democratic process. These functions encompass:
- reporting the news,
- identifying public problems,
- socializing new generations,
- providing a political forum,
- making profits.
The media plays a crucial and ongoing role in shaping the political perspectives of individuals in the United States who are recovering from addiction. It is often seen as the only reliable source of information, especially when other sources are considered untrustworthy. As a society, we depend on the media to provide accurate insights into our government’s involvement in our lives. Regardless of the type of addiction, it creates challenges and damages personal relationships. Addicts frequently rely exclusively on the media for input, whether it be by reading newspapers at work (if they still have jobs) or watching television (unless they have resorted to selling it). The media remains a presence even when trust and social interactions diminish, families lose hope, and addicts choose to isolate themselves from society.
Recovery for the addict releases a significant amount of energy that used to be wasted on obtaining more alcohol or drugs, cleaning up the aftermath of the previous night, and trying to repair relationships that were on the verge of collapse. This newfound spare time can now be devoted to examining societal issues, which often leads to a newfound sense of enjoyment in taking part. With the advent of the Internet, the latest form of mass media, in the political socialization of America, the reintegration into society as a citizen will be even more effortless and enjoyable for individuals in recovery.
With the potential for recovery and embracing life also comes the opportunity to form connections and build relationships with other individuals who are also on a journey to recovery. These fellowships introduce new friendships and unexpectedly forge strong bonds between individuals who may have never interacted before. This process can also contribute to political socialization in America, as these associations with others can evolve into affiliations with a particular political party, especially if the individual had no previous political affiliation.
Additionally, a newfound life for the recovering individual could lead to increased party affiliation and participation. This would be advantageous considering that the strength of political parties mainly lies at the state and local level. Armed with knowledge about themselves, the recovering person could undoubtedly make a valuable contribution to such events.
The government is making extensive and inclusive efforts to address addiction in the country. The New Medications to Treat Addiction Act of 1999, introduced on 4/27/99, is currently under review by the 106th Congress Senate Committee of Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (S 885 Is). This bill aims to find alternative methods for treating drug addiction in the United States, apart from Methadone. According to its explanation, Methadone only replaces one addiction with another and does not support lasting recovery or abstinence.
Senator Joseph R. Bidden Jr. is the sole sponsor of this bill, which seeks to amend the Public Health Service Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The main goals of the bill are to encourage the creation of drugs that can prevent addiction to illegal substances and establish guidelines for their manufacturing. Additionally, it aims to oversee the distribution of these medications for individuals struggling with addiction. Furthermore, it designates funding from the Victims of Violent Crimes Fund; $100,000,000 has been allocated for Fiscal year 2001 as well as Fiscal year 2002.
The amendment to the Public Health Service Act, Section 101, contains various elements. These elements encompass the reauthorization of Medication Development Programs and a suggestion to study drugs for addiction treatment. Sec. 571 lays out specific criteria for determining suitable drug treatments for heroin and cocaine addiction. Section 572 deals with patent protection rights and responsibilities concerning manufacturers and developers of narcotics used in addiction treatment.
From my personal interactions with many individuals in Lansing who are undergoing recovery, I have learned the significance of embracing change and reassessing my perspective on society and its diverse obstacles. Initially, I never envisioned myself participating in voting or even enrolling in a government class to write a research paper.
Despite doubts from skeptics, I, a thirty-year-old caucasian man, see myself as a unique individual among radical young adults in recovery. It is surprising that few of us possess substantial knowledge or interest in politics. Our conversations lack value for the “elite” and we generally have no intention to coexist with them. Nevertheless, we still enjoy the same advantages and privileges as any other citizen and freely interact with our peers on a daily basis.