Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 Round 2 – Addiction: A Confining Escape


Addiction: A Confining Escape

Addiction: A Confining Escape

Addiction is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as “ a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences.” This essentially means that an individual suffering from addiction may be aware of his problem but still be unable to stop it even if he wants to. I, myself, have been addicted to alcohol and marijuana.

From general observation, I can tell that addiction to drugs and alcohol has reached crisis status. Reports and statistics confirm the general observation. I personally know more people who are battling addiction to a substance i.e., prescription drugs, narcotics, and alcohol, than I did ten (10) years ago. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 19.7 million American adults (aged 12 and over) battled a substance disorder in 2017. In 2019, 4% of urine samples tested positive for methamphetamines and 5% tested positive for fentanyl, compared to 1% and for both drugs in 2013. However, the biggest and most glaring sign that we are battling addition worldwide is the increase in the number of opioid overdose deaths which jumped from 2,670 in 2011 to 31,335 in 2018.

The adverse effects of addiction can be seen at both the individual and societal levels. Effects on the individual level can involve mental illness. Nearly 50% of people who suffer from an addition also experience some form of mental illness. Drug abuse also results in much higher chances of contracting viral infections such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.

For society, the consequences are harder, for example, with an increase in substance abuse also comes an increase in crime rates, especially robberies, theft, and burglary. Substance abuse is also a strain on government health institutions and funding. Citizens lose their lives, i.e., there have been 700,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. since 2000. In 2017, drug abuse and addiction cost American society more than $740 billion annually in lost workplace productivity, healthcare expenses and crime-related costs as reported by the National Center for Drug Abuse statistics.

Family intervention and professional counseling may be a good place to start in trying to help a substance dependent individual. It is important to find out the root cause behind an individual’s substance abuse and rectify it at that level. It is worth noting that individuals begin to abuse substances as an escape from psychological ills only to be imprisoned by addiction.

Enhanced Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP) can also help curb the addiction pandemic. As an example, between 2010-2015, there was an 85% decrease in opioid prescriptions due to enhanced PDMP.