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Substance Abuse in the US Essay

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Updated: Dec 11th, 2018

The study of substance abuse in the US shows an irregular trend in their use. Consumption of some the drug has increased while there is a decline in the use of others. The reasons leading to an increase and decrease in the usage are wide-ranging.

The increase in the use of Crack for instance, has been because of the change in the mode of usage. At first, its consumption was low because of the harmful chemicals that were used during its manufacture. However, that has changed because the chemical components have been reduced. In addition, the use of Crack does not need an injection. The addicts fear using the syringe because of the risk of conducting the HIV virus.

Drugs that need injection for use have seen a decline in their usage due to the AIDS scourge. Though cocaine is said to be the most powerful drug that makes one to go “high,” its use has significantly dropped. This has been because of the use of the syringe. This is in addition to its fatal side effects.

Continued use of cocaine has life-threatening effects. It causes an increase in high blood pressure, liver damage, heart attack, and most recently cancer among other harmful effects (Toit 1977). The use of Marijuana has remained constant partly because of the fight between the government and health practitioners over its medicinal value and legality. The study also reveals increased use of stimulants such as Ritalin especially among the teenagers. Regular use of these drugs causes far-reaching effects such as nausea and addiction.

The use of illicit drugs is sometimes considered as having medicinal value. Using the drugs may also be seen as a cultural obligation. The most common drug that has caused controversy is Marijuana. The tussle is whether it should be legalized or not. Doctors have approved its usage in the treatment of pain. The government is opposed to this quoting from doctors who have presented a dissenting opinion on the matter.

The health institutions though limited to critically ill patients have recommended the use of Marijuana. Amphetamines are used in the treatment of asthma and nasal congestion with its dose coming in various forms. Coca that is contained in cocaine cures rheumatism, malaria, and toothache when used in tea leaves. In fact, in the US today cocaine is classified under the Controlled Substances Act as schedule 11(Commission 1973). Its use though limited is permitted in hospitals.

The effects of substance abuse go beyond the addict. It encompasses employers, health practitioners, friends, and to a large extend the society. In marriage relationships where only one partner is an addict, the non-addict is adversely affected. It can change the personality of the addict leading to unpredictable moods that may keep shifting from instant violence to immediate silence.

Such behavior leads to breakage of marriage relationships. Addiction causes craving if the need is not satisfied. If the resources are limited then violence may break out. This may cause embarrassment to the family as they are exposed to the society in an attempt to look for a solution. If the addict is a student, his relationship with teachers and schoolmates is spoiled.

This can lead to stigmatization towards the addict. This will cause reduced motivation and concentration in the addict’s academic performance. Other substances have extreme health effects such cancer that may come from excessive cigarette smoking. Expectant mothers can give birth to children with defects if they regularly abuse drugs.

The family and society as a whole covers fines charged on criminal actions, rehab, and treatment costs that make up the costs of addiction. Other effects include madness, paranoia, and low self-esteem.


Toit, D. (1977) Drugs, Rituals, and Altered States of Consciousness. Rotterdam: Balkema Publishers.

Commission, US (1973). Drug use in America. Washington DC: Ardent Media Publishers.

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