Addiction: Dangers of Social Acceptance
Addiction: Dangers of Social Acceptance
No matter what the statistics say on the dangers caused by nicotine, alcohol, or opioid addiction, people in the United States choose to continue abusing those substances—but why? Millions of Americans die from complications caused by substance abuse, and no warning label or ad is stopping them. These substances are so widely available and socially acceptable, even encouraged, which leads to such a common exposure to them. The US is dealing with such a substance abuse and addiction problem because substance abuse is encouraged in most cases. Teenagers are exposed to nicotine at such an early age. Drinking alcohol to the point of intoxication has become so common and socially acceptable. Opioids are easily prescribed for any pain, even to teenagers. If these addictive substances were not so available and socially acceptable, the US might be able to stand up against addiction.
Nicotine is the most common addiction in the United States because of its exposure to teenagers and the aesthetic it provides them. All teenagers are encouraged, even pressured, to try nicotine devices, with nicotine being highly addictive that it leads most of them to develop dependencies that continue into their adulthood and lead to nicotine and tobacco abuse. The dependency leads to numerous fatal health issues with lung cancer increasing in occurrence. Why don’t the anti-Juul ads or the warning labels on cigarette packs stop people? Because people are already addicted, and it is not easy to stop without help. Asking for help in the United States is extremely frowned upon and discourages people who want to quit from seeking assistance. An ad won’t end their addiction.
Most people are introduced to alcohol in their teenage years, and alcohol abuse is very common for young adults, who end up developing an addiction to it for the rest of their adulthood. College students in particular are extremely encouraged to drink to the point of intoxication every weekend and sometimes on weekdays. This increasing abuse leads them to depend on alcohol and continue abusing it. Deaths related to alcohol abuse exceed 80,000 annually in the US.
Opioids, one of the most highly addictive substances in the world, are prescribed for any sort of pain. My sister was prescribed opioids after her wisdom teeth extraction, and she used them as described because she thought she needed to, even though she said her pain was not intense. Even though she followed the directions, this didn’t prevent her body and mind from developing a dependency that would have destroyed her future if she had not taken measures to receive addiction help. The unnecessary distribution of opioids for pain is a leading cause for its high rate of addiction in the United States.
These are just a few of the most common and highly addictive substances available in the US, all of which are extremely accessible. However, the addictions associated with each are so detrimental to the health of the individual and the functioning of society as a whole. They cause millions of deaths that can be prevented and reduce the productivity of all individuals in a society leading to a societal crisis.
Addictions are so difficult to end once fully developed, so I believe we should focus on their prevention. Because most addictions occur at a young age of exposure to these substances, children should be taught from the age of 13 about the dangers of these substances. Aesthetically pleasing and tasteful nicotine devices should be banned because teenagers use them for their taste, which inevitably leads to a nicotine addiction. Teaching teenagers about the dangers of alcoholism might lead to more responsible use in their young adult years. Limiting the distribution of opioids to only serious pain will lower the occurrence of opioid addiction significantly. As a college student, I have experienced the pressure and the encouragement of drug abuse. Making this use shameful and increasing drug testing capacities can save thousands of lives. Society uniting as one to take a step toward discouraging drug use—and encouraging people to seek professional help—will have a significant effect on the reduction of addiction for people today and future generations.