Name: Joshua Boen
From: Minnetonka, MN
Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Addiction
1 in 10 Americans today struggle with some form of substance addiction. Addiction took over 70,000 lives within the last year in America alone. That is almost double the total homicides in the United States for that year. Addiction is often caused by a variety of circumstances, but it always causes pain, side effects and the only way to solve the problem is to increase widespread knowledge about the topic.
There are various reasons why people become addicted to drugs, but most of them can be categorized as either a result of peers, rebellion, or escape. The first reason, peers, is most common in places like college or high school. Most often what will happen is that someone will bring drugs to a party or a get-together and encourage their other friends to try it. Another reason people try drugs is to rebel. It is common knowledge in our society today that drugs are bad for you and that you shouldn’t do them, and this may be the reason why some people try them. Some people may want to try drugs just to go against “the system” and end up addicted in the process. The final reason I think people are addicted to drugs is that they long for an escape. In modern times, depression and unhappiness, in general, have skyrocketed as people are no longer happy with their normal lives. Many choose to try to escape their reality through the use of artificial stimulants, psychedelics, and drugs that flood the brain with dopamine. As many people continue to ignore the warnings of others about the dangers of what drugs they are using, the dangerous effects only affect more and more people.
The widespread use of these drugs has extremely negative effects on people and the society that we live in today. The first and most easily visible negative effect on individual people is the damage done to the brains of those who take drugs regularly or who are addicted. 1 in 4 deaths can be attributed to alcohol, tobacco, or some other substance abuse. On top of that, in the last year, there were over 500,000 visits to the hospital within the last year due to adverse reactions to cocaine. The individual statistics are very easy to see but the negative effects are also visible across society as a whole. The National Institute of Drug abuse states that an estimated 67 billion dollars are lost every year due to various addictions. These negative effects are obvious and palpable, but solutions to the problem are less cut and dry.
The main ways we can remedy this crisis are preventative measures and rehabilitation centers. By informing the youth about the specific side effects and the dangers of these drugs there is a chance that a large group of teens could avoid even trying drugs in the first place. The most important way to help current addicts is rehabilitation centers and research on how to help stop addictions. At the moment only 10 percent of those who are struggling with addictions are receiving treatment at a specialized facility. The other solution is to research the human brain so that we can better understand how to stop addictions to drugs like heroin and cocaine. By following these steps, we can create a world that has fewer addictions and a brighter future.
Addictions are caused by a need to escape, cause damage to society, and can only be improved by improving the system that is supposed to help them. If we can increase the help that is given to people with addictions, we can create a society that is better for people living in it, thus making the need to escape their lives disappear. Only then will we be able to break the vicious cycle of addiction in our society.