According to a 2012 United Nations report, drug abuse kills 200,000 people per year. If every person in the world who was suffering from drug addiction received the treatment they needed, it would cost $250 billion annually. Drug addiction is not only a reality for those who suffer from it; the damaging effects of the addiction extend to the family and friends of those who abuse drugs, and sometimes extends even to complete strangers when said drug abuse causes the abuser to act out violently.
Why is Drug Abuse So Prevalent?
There are as many reasons for why an individual would choose to abuse drugs as there are people who suffer from the addiction. However, by looking at those who choose to use drugs, particularly those who start as teenagers, a few common trends do emerge.
Stress is often a factor. When people feel that the stress they bear is too much, they often turn to means of escape, such as drugs, instead of facing the stress head on. Many begin taking drugs due to peer pressure and the desire to “fit in,” and then the addiction grows out of control from there. Drugs are often easier to obtain than treatment for whatever emotional or underlying psychological issues exist.
Many young people are misinformed about the dangers of drugs. Over 40 percent of teens believe there are no harmful effects of trying heroin once or twice.Drugs are often a requirement of sorts in gangs and similar groups, and those who are members often feel that in order to survive they have to do drugs, and the addiction takes over from there.
There are many other reasons for why someone would try drugs in the first place, but almost always the addiction takes on a life of its own. Most people who try drugs the first time, particularly very addicting drugs, don’t plan to become addicted and believe they can limit their intake. However, because of the addictive chemicals in the drugs the person returns over and over, feeling that they need the drug. This is where addiction begins, and from that point on, it is very difficult to stop the proverbial train.
How Can Drug Abuse Be Prevented?
Most people do not wake up in the morning having never taken drugs and decide to try heroin. Most often than not, the use of highly addictive drugs is something that is worked up to over time. Maybe the person was originally an alcoholic and then tried other drugs. Seeking a greater and greater high, they will eventually arrive at the very dangerous and highly addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.
Because of this, if action is taken at the very beginning when signs of addiction or addictive behavior first arise, it is possible that the individual can find help and never progress to the more addictive and damaging drugs. However, there are other things that could make a positive impact on the likelihood of prevention as well such as:
- Availability of treatment, particularly to those who live in low-income areas
- Education about addiction and the dangers of drugs
- Support communities for young children who are most susceptible to peer pressure and introduction to drugs
- A close family or group of friends who can help those prone to addiction stay on the right track
Where Can Those Addicted to Drugs Find Help?
It is never too late to seek help for drug addiction. If you or someone you know are suffering the emotional, psychological, and physical consequences of drug abuse, there are treatment options available. By far, the most effective treatment is an inpatient facility. There are several reasons that inpatient treatment for drug abuse is the most effective. Inpatient treatment facilities have highly trained staff monitoring the patients at all times, so medical help is always available.
Being around others suffering from drug addiction can be empowering because the patient doesn’t feel that they are alone, and they are encouraged by the progress of others. The ability to be away from the outside world during treatment is helpful because the temptation to use drugs, and the availability to do so, is diminished/removed entirely. There are counselors available at all times for emotional and psychological support, which is often the biggest part of healing. The stresses of everyday life are absent (as far as work, family obligations, etc.) so the patient can focus entirely on healing.
Finding an inpatient treatment facility for yourself or a loved one suffering from drug addiction is an excellent option, and can help drastically. Even those who have serious addictions that have been going on for years can receive help at specialized facilities. Drug addiction and abuse is an illness and it can be treated, but making that initial decision to seek help is the most important step.