Drug use is a major issue of concern in America. Every sector of society including; healthcare, the economy, and criminal justice systems is in one way or another affected by use of drugs. Despite all its bad effects, its devastating impact on the younger generation and its severity is a real problem to the nation. Young people including teenagers are dying from drug abuse; others wreck their lives, while others have abandon school. Notably, the issue of drugs ranges from drug trafficking to drug use. In all these stages, many illegal activities are involved. The illegal drug market is one of the most profitable markets in the US. It is a market with endless controversies, for instance, aggressive and sophisticated drug traffickers are the greatest hindrance to ending it.
An estimated 13 million Americans use drugs on a current basis. Subsequently, drug use and drug abuse have drop significantly from 1980, however, despite this remarkable decrease, over one third of Americans eleven and older have tried illicit drugs. The majority of drug users use marijuana, while others use cocaine and heroin. Drug abuse costs the US economy billions of dollars in increased crime, health care costs, and lost productivity (Marjoribanks, 2009, p. 67).
I grew up in Detroit where the issue of drugs was rampant. Drugs such as; marijuana, cocaine, and heroine were openly trafficked in the streets. State and federal governments could not handle this issue despite their effort to arrest drug users and drug traffickers. I remember one scenario when a senior peer was introduced to drugs by his friends. Although he was not interested, he ended up using drugs due to peer influence. Unfortunately, luck was not on his side, he was arrested soon after he got addicted. Apparently, such cases were the order of the day in my neighborhood. Through endless efforts, I managed to keep away from drugs. Additionally, school was no different from the streets. Students used drugs on a current basis; some made good income from selling drugs while others ended up in jail. There were organized crime groups who peddled drugs secretly in school. Our neighborhood was plagued by attendant violence and crime.
The popular Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (DARE) was very informative. This program was aimed at preventing use of controlled drugs, violent behavior, and membership in gangs. Dare had many lessons intended to help students refrain from drugs. It gave us knowledge and skills to make choices based on one’s opinion, and to say no to peer pressure. Personally, I was educated on effects of smoking marijuana, drinking alcohol, and using cocaine and heroin. I leaned that marijuana smoke contains 650-70% cancer causing chemicals. I am grateful to have had DARE lessons because it taught me to be responsible, to say NO to drugs, and most importantly, I was able to acquire knowledge on how I should stay healthy and happy by avoiding drugs. Remarkably, I would credit DARE for informing me the dangers of smoking. I still remember one lesson I learnt regarding drug abuse, that instead of smoking, I should venture in skill enhancing activities such as sports and entertainment. We all have a chance to make decisions in life, I am grateful that with DARE, I managed to make the best decisions in life by staying away from drugs (Office, 2011, p. 312).
Unfortunately, when I was in 5th grade, my cousin in high school started abusing cocaine. It was a sad encounter because none of his family members was aware of it. Luckily, with time his mother discovered his bad behavior. Interventions were underway and he was soon inducted to a rehabilitation centre in their state. Issues such as this are so rampant in the society today. However, due to lack of information, negligence, and uncertainties, parents and guardians do not discover their root causes. The majority of people especially youths who are introduced into drug use end up to be wrecks, because there is no one to intervene and stop them from the risky activity.
Drug use and drug abuse is like cancer to the soul. I remember vividly how drug abuse was rampant in our society. Students who attended school were at great risk of using drugs because only selected schools were free from some drug use among students. Seemingly, drug use was a rite of passage in Detroit. Many youths were indulged in drug use for so long while only a few managed to quit after discovering its side effects. The issue of ‘rite of passage’ is still evident today. Youths in many states are using drugs to be accepted in the society. Subsequently, unless profound and coherent interventions are considered to curb this menace, efforts to limit use of drugs will bear no fruits.
Interventions such as use of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) are effective in treating substance abuse. This program is designed to treat mental health issues, to stop cravings, prevent relapse, and bring about cognitive perception on health issues. If drug abusers and drug addicts undergo such programs, they would be in a position to change their situation, and adopt a positive life. The law enforcement should consider certain strategies to prevent gangs and reduce drug use in the streets. To start with, it should prevent youths from joining gangs, mediate and intervene in conflicts between gangs, and transform existing gangs into neighborhood clubs (Rostom, 2007, p. 56).
Drugs are not good. They are extremely terrible for one’s mental health. Drugs like marijuana affect both physical and mental health. Subsequently, instead of solving issues, they make matters worse. Drugs are linked to terrorism, and if they are legalized, the US economy will experience a windfall.
Marjoribanks, J., Proctor, M., Farquhar, C., Sangkomkamhang, U. S., & Derks, R. S. (2009). Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for primary dysmenorrhoea (Review).
Office of Federal Registry National Archives and Records Administration. (2011). Code Of Federal Regulations Title 21, Food and Drugs: Revised April 1, 2011. Natl Archives and Records.
Rostom, A., Dubé, C., Lewin, G., Tsertsvadze, A., Barrowman, N., Code, C., & Moher, D. (2007). Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors for primary prevention of colorectal cancer: a systematic review prepared for the US Preventive Services Task Force. Annals of internal medicine, 146(5), 376-389.