Much of the economic burden of substance abuse and dependence falls on the population that does not abuse drugs or alcohol. Economic costs to governments for alcohol problems were $57.2 billion in 1992, compared with $15.1 billion for private insurance, $9 billion for victims, and $66.8 billion for alcohol abusers and members of their households. Society bears these costs in a variety of ways, including alcohol-related crimes and trauma (for example, motor vehicle crashes); government services (such as criminal justice and highway safety); and various social insurance programs (such as private and public health insurance, life insurance, tax payments, pensions, and social welfare insurance).
With the explosion of drug experimentation in the 1960s and 1970s, Dilaudid began to appear on the streets under a variety of names, including "dillies" and "drug store heroin." Other problems arose with the prescription painkiller. Some people did not use it correctly and became addicted to it. Others gave away their prescriptions, or sold them, or allowed family members to use the pills. Such tactics began occurring in the early twenty-first century with the popular painkillers OxyContin and Vicodin. In 2005, Purdue Pharma introduced a new, extended-release hydromorphone capsule called Palladone. Stronger and more dangerous than OxyContin, Palladone was regulated by the most sophisticated tracking devices in an effort to keep it from falling into illegal use. Palladone is a Schedule II controlled substance.
The threat of crack, the most dangerous and unpredictable of illegal drugs, has been fuelled by the easy availability of cocaine. During the past ten years, the street prices of both hard and soft drugs have fallen sharply. Cocaine and heroin have declined by nearly a third, while ecstasy has dropped by more than half. In real terms, the figures, compiled by the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), represent an even sharper fall. While whisky and beer prices have doubled and cigarettes almost tripled in price over the decade, illegal drugs are now often cheaper than a night out in a pub. The cost of LSD, a hallucinogenic drug, is less than a packet of cigarettes. These figures confirm that the increasing resources employed to disrupt the illegal drugs trade are having little impact. Over the past five years, heroin seizures have more than doubled and cocaine seizures have increased five-fold. But Customs and Excise officials accept that they are intercepting only a fraction, probably less than 10%, of the drugs coming into the country. The street prices of drugs have never been lower.
In the United States, injuries are the fourth-leading cause of death, exceeded only by heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Of all deaths from injury in the United States, about 65 percent are classified as unintentional or accidental. The other 35 percent are intentional injuries, occurring as a result of fights, assaults, suicide, homicide, and other crimes. Alcohol-related fatalities have been estimated to be about 43 percent of all unintentional injuries.
Drug abuse is defined as the chronic or habitual use of any chemical substance to alter states of body or mind for other than medically warranted purposes. Drug abuse is a problem which has an effect on people of all income levels,
ages, and stations in life. Quite often the last person to see that there is a
problem is the drug abuser them self. Every year, more and more people become
drug addicts in their pursuit to get "high".
Dependence is the compulsive use of a substance despite negative consequences which can be severe; drug dependence is simply excessive use of a drug or use of a drug for purposes for which it was not medically intended. Physical dependence on a substance (needing a drug to function) is not necessary or sufficient to define addiction. There are some substances that don't cause addiction but do cause physical dependence (for example, some blood pressure medications) and substances that cause addiction but not classic physical dependence (cocaine withdrawal, for example, it does not have symptoms like vomiting and chills; it is mainly characterized by depression).
An effective therapeutic community attends to the many needs of the individual, not just his or her drug use. Care given at a therapeutic community addresses the individual's drug use and associated medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal problems. Also, a therapeutic community will continue to be flexible and provide ongoing assessments of the individual's needs, which may change during the course of care.
Remaining in care at a therapeutic community for an adequate period of time is critical for treatment effectiveness. The time depends on an individual's needs. For most people, the significant improvement is reached at about 3 months in treatment.
Abstinence is the act or practice of refraining from indulging a desire. The type of abstinence we are referring to here is abstinence from drugs and alcohol. This term has two connotations when it comes to abstaining from drugs. The first refers to drug or alcohol treatment programs that aim to help an individual stop using drugs or alcohol for the rest of their lives. The time abstinence is also used in drug education and prevention. It refers to trying to stop children from ever using drugs.
Residential treatment offers intensive drug addiction help over a period of weeks or months. This form of treatment has some advantages over out-patient treatment, although it may not be suitable for everyone. For example, those who are responsible for caring for young children may be better suited to attendance at an out patient treatment program. Residential treatment offers a safe, drug and alcohol-free environment where individuals can confront their own drug addiction and associated issues, with the help of qualified staff. Therapy usually consists of a mixture of group counseling, individual counseling and an introduction to the principles of a drug recovery program.
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