From: Silver Springs, NV
School: Silver Stage High School
Addiction: A Larger Perspective
other medical concerns which cannot be predicted beforehand,
addiction is the result of not only genetic predisposition, but
circumstance and culture as well. The United States is one of the
world’s leading countries in the prevalence of opiate use,
constituting a state of nationwide addiction crisis. Not only
involving illegal substances, addiction is also a concern for those
who have been issued prescription drugs, particularly painkillers.
While the situations leading a person to addiction are relatively
preventable, addiction is an extremely difficult process to reverse.
causes a rapid decline in the health of those affected, increasing
the risk for a multitude of medical conditions. Additionally, an
individual’s body will soon become dependent on the stimulant,
resulting in withdrawal symptoms when it is removed. However, the
impact of addiction reaches far beyond the suffering individual.
Family members of those suffering from addiction find themselves in
an unstable and potentially dangerous environment. Addiction is a
common cause of divorce, as it strains the relationship between
spouses; children in homes plagued by addiction are more likely to
follow a similar path in the future.
this is a widespread problem, the nation as a whole feels the effects
of addiction within its borders. Public areas such as parks become
unsafe due to the increase in drug use in that location. Police
respond to calls not only of drug transactions, but of behavioral
problems and domestic violence as a result of drug use. There is
national debate about how services should be provided to assist those
struggling with addiction; private enterprise systems are costly to
individuals and their families, yet making rehabilitation a free
public service becomes costly in taxes.
order to develop a solution for the addiction crisis on both a small
and large scale, it is important to understand the factors which make
addiction difficult to resolve. Addictive behaviors share two
important characteristics: they are both intrinsically rewarding (the
individual finds pleasure in the action) and self-reinforcing (a
single exposure increases the likelihood of repeated exposure). For
an individual to overcome their addiction, the first step is for them
to realize the need for help. Educating the population not only about
the negative impacts of addiction but about the greater and positive
impacts of sobriety such as family relations, education, and careers
would be an important step. Additionally, it is important to
reinforce the idea that addiction harms more than a single person;
even someone willing to disregard their own health may find it to be
a deterrent to realize that their actions could harm their loved ones
addiction on a societal level first must begin by creating a culture
of intolerance to drug use. Enablers, those who may not use drugs but
allow others to, are a key factor in the growth of addiction. The
same educational programs mentioned previously would help even
individuals not at risk for addiction to understand how they would be
affected by their friends’ or family’s addictive behaviors.
Furthermore, while nationalizing the rehabilitation industry would
produce serious negative consequences, it would be beneficial for
these resources to be more easily accessible. For example, offering
free consultations and counseling may encourage those struggling with
addiction to continue with treatment.
is unlikely that there will ever be a completely certain method for
preventing addiction. An extensive number of variables combine to
create the issue, and it takes equally as many to reverse the
process. Despite the overwhelming odds, it is crucial to maintain
hope that one day addiction will become a problem of the past.