Name: Zion Stephens
From: Thomasville, NC
The Dangers of Addiction
“This one time won’t hurt”. Another individual utters these five words as we speak. Little do they know that this is only the beginning of their addiction. Addiction has plagued our nation for far too long, and has destroyed homes, separated families, and even claimed lives. So many people who believed that their first or only experience with drugs or substances would be “harmless”, are sadly either in graves or fight the relentless battle of addiction. According to the Addiction Center of America, almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, and only 10% of them receive treatment Addiction Statistics – Facts on Drug and Alcohol Use. (2019, December 5). Retrieved from https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/addiction-statistics/. There are several reasons as to why we as a society struggle with the addiction crisis. It is my personal belief that we struggle with this crisis due to generational patterns and repetition of these addictions as well as failure to raise awareness to the severity of addiction.
It is my personal belief that generational patterns are one of the leading causes of the addiction crisis in our nation. Generational addiction patterns typically start with parents and pass to children. In turn, when these children grow and have families of their own, their children then witness the same addiction pattern that was present in the original household. Addiction patterns are extremely dangerous because they continue a cycle of drug, substance addiction, that imprints on children, teaching them to not only think that the behavior is okay, but to imitate this behavior. I believe that there are various ways to break these addiction patterns, including seeking treatment, emphasizing the damaging effects of addiction, as well as discouraging the repetition of the behavior. For example, a young girl witnesses her mother abusing alcohol, and is taught to believe that this behavior is okay. However, if the mother seeks treatment, as well as discourages the behavior in her household, she has the ability to cessate the cycle of addiction before it reaches her child.
I also believe that one of the main reasons we as a nation struggle with the addiction crisis is because we fail to raise awareness to the damaging effects it has on one’s life. We are failing to teach the next generations that the introduction to a new substance or drug that may seem innocent or harmless now, has the power to destroy and corrupt not only their lives, but the lives of the people around them. Most people fail to realize that addiction does not only impact the person who is addicted, but it impacts the lives of the family and friends around the person. The emotional and physical stress in trying to receive help for the addicted individual, as well as having to cope with a loved one quickly declining and spiraling further into addiction can be hard on the family and friends. It is important that we emphasize to not only the young people, but the adults that drugs and substances lead to lives of addiction, and that introducing a person to these various drugs and various substances, will forever change the course of an individual’s life. If there are individuals who are addicted now, it is important that we emphasize the importance of receiving treatment, and being provided with help that could possibly save the person’s life. Educating the next generations on the true danger of addiction will be one of the first steps that will change and even save lives, as well as slowly heal our nation of the addiction crisis.
In conclusion, raising awareness to the danger of addiction, as well as bringing an end to addiction patterns in the home, will in turn help our nation out of the addiction crisis. It is time to lay to rest the five words that catalyze the cycle of addiction, and make it known that one time truly will hurt