Name: Oscar Alexander Lora
From: Hershey, Pennsylvania
Grade: Graduate Student
School: Penn State College of Medicine
Votes: 0 Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 - Nexus of personal crisis and international trade

Nexus of personal crisis and international trade

The
United States is currently dealing with a widespread addiction crisis
that has become progressively worse in recent years. There are two
intertwined factors that I believe are contributing the addiction
crisis that the United States is facing today that links common
occurrences that happen in the lives of everyday people and harmful
large-scale international trade policies that exasperate the
situation.

The
economy as it stands today is doing very well for many areas but
there still exists many pockets throughout the country that have not
reaped the benefits of the economic upswing and continue to struggle
with issues like unemployment and being able to provide community
resources to deal with problems like addiction/drug use. In certain
areas of the country, especially regions dependent on manufacturing
jobs, there has been are marked increase in the unemployment rate
that runs counter to the national unemployment trajectory. As a
physician assistant student I have taken coursework in behavioral
medicine and one of the things I have learned during the drug
abuse/addiction unit is that one of the major triggers for substance
abuse is a significant and negative life event occurring in someone’s
life. Becoming unemployed is one of the top triggers for the start of
drug abuse, which is concomitantly linked with a trigger for
depression. Drug abuse has the known physiological effect of
releasing dopamine from the nucleus accumbens region of the brain
which registers pleasure in the mind of the individual. Drug abuse
thus becomes a cycle to escape the problems that the individual is
facing in his/her life. Eventually the drug no longer functions to
get the individual “high” but is instead used to feel normal i.e.
to not go into withdraw.

People
all around the country experience negative and significant life
events throughout their lives and may predispose them to turn to drug
use which in turn leads to addiction. The widespread availability of
drugs on the black market only serves to make it easier to obtain the
drugs and exasperates the situation. One of the major sources of
troublesome drugs available in the United States today is China.
Drugs like fentanyl and its various derivatives are manufactured in
places like China on an industrial scale and the Chinese government
does very little to regulate these practices. The growing trade
between the United States and China facilitates the export of these
drugs into the United States which are then distributed onto the
streets of America. This is an emerging problem that is helping to
exasperate the problems caused by established drug trade
organizations like the Mexican cartels and other established criminal
organizations.


The
best way to remedy the addiction crisis we are facing today is to
deal with the issue at both the individual level and at the societal
level. At the individual level one of the most important things that
can be done it to make behavioral health more available to
individuals who need it. This can be done by training more behavioral
health providers and clinicians, providing wider access to addiction
centers and behavioral medicine centers, and doing an outreach
marketing program that informs individuals that these people and
programs exist for them to take advantage of. At the societal level I
believe that increasing funds for addiction and behavioral medicine
centers will in turn make these places more available for the
individual. I also believe that more pressure needs to be placed on
illegitimate sources of drugs by placing pressure on America’s high
volume trading partners whose countries are sources for illicit drug
exports, while continuing to utilize domestic prescription drug
monitoring programs so that the flow of drugs to consumers can be
well regulated and not prone to abuses.


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