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- Understanding The Effects Of Drug Addiction
- The Devastation Caused By Addiction
- Effects Of Addiction On American Society
- 1. Communicable Diseases
- 2. Negative Feelings
- 3. Family Impact
- 4. Losing Family
- 5. Violence
- 6. Financial Issues
- 7. Health
- 8. Relationships/Marriage
- 9. Homes And Families
- 10. Education
- 11. Employment
- 12. Health
- 13. Personality
- 14. Law And Crime
- 15. Health Care System
The Effects Of Drug Addiction In Society
Recent statistics put the number of Americans who abused illicit drugs in 2012 at 24 million, the number of alcohol abusers at 18 million and the total number of overdose incidents involving prescription medications at 22,114. This goes to show that the effects of drug addiction in society are widespread.
At any one time, around 10% of the entire American population is using and abusing alcohol and drugs. As a direct result, multitudes of co-workers, employers, neighbors, families, and friends are affected directly.
To better understand the true effects of drug addiction in society, it is important to review the costs linked to alcohol and drug abuse - which totals close to $600 billion on an annual basis. These costs come in the form of damages, legal fees, health care, and lost revenues.
Additionally, drug abuse and addiction are closely linked to higher rates of child abuse, prison sentences, lost productivity, increases in work-related injuries and accidents, sexual assaults in colleges, and placements of children in foster care.
In the same way, those who are addicted to drugs have a higher likelihood of engaging in increasingly risky behaviors. They also suffer higher incidences of mental health disorders and may be more likely than most to get into altercations with the law and end up being incarcerated for a variety of crimes that non-substance users may not be likely to commit. Last but not least, the burden of substance abuse and addiction in terms of influence on American youth, trauma, and other costs is quite substantial.
Today, addiction is becoming an increasingly major concern for families and society alike - a concern that continues to grow every year. As addiction continues ruining the lives of those who are closely affected by it, even society suffers from the rippling effects of the condition.
Read on to learn more about the effects of drug addiction in society - particularly with respect to individuals, neighborhoods, families, workplaces, and more:
Understanding The Effects Of Drug Addiction
Alcoholism and drug addiction are conditions that cause damage to addicts, their friends and families, their communities, and the economy and society at large. This is because, by its very nature, addiction tends to come with dreadfully widespread effects and far-reaching impacts.
From dealing with addicts within the home - most of whom tend to be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous - to the often huge expenses that both individuals and communities incur, it is clear that the problem of drug addiction is far-reaching.
Today, the population of substance users and addicts have been rising. Additionally, the average age of an addict is going much lower than it used to be. As a direct result, American society is inevitably having to deal with a serious problem. This is particularly true when you consider the fact that addiction is not limited to the underprivileged and the poor anymore - making it even more important for society to start dealing with the problem before it gets out of hand.
Addiction has also been affecting the most respected, richest, and brightest icons in society - with the increase in the legal prescriptions of addictive medications as well as the wider availability of over the counter drugs.
Unfortunately, these drugs have been showing up on American nightlife scenes, in school and college campuses, and at soccer games and PTA meetings. Sadly, most people pick these drugs from their medicine cabinets at home instead of getting them at street corners.
The acceptability and legality of these medications have been contributing to the broadening drug abuse and addiction problem in the country - to such an extent that they have turned their abuse into devastating epidemics. When you add the millions more who are already addicted to illegal substances like methamphetamines, heroin, and cocaine, it is easy to see just how problematic the effects of drug addiction in society has become.
The NLM (abbreviation for the National Library of Medicine) currently estimates that 20% of the entire American population have abused prescription medications for non-medical purposes. The same body reports that the increasing abuse of these drugs could be attributed to the fact that doctors have been overly issuing prescriptions for these medications while the spread of online pharmacists has added to the problem.
This form of substance abuse and addiction is another contributing factor to the increasingly higher costs of admissions into emergency rooms and departments as a result of complications and overdoses.
Additionally, DAWN (abbreviation for the Drug Abuse Warning Network) recently reported that painkillers (including Morphine, Hydrocodone, and Oxycodone) and benzodiazepines (such as Diazepam, Clonazepam, Lorazepam, and Alprazolam) are the most frequently abused prescription medications that lead to emergency room visits.
When you add these statistics to the already high numbers of drug addiction involving methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin abuse, it is clear that American society is facing overwhelming facts to illustrate the divesting effects of addiction.
The Devastation Caused By Addiction
But why is addiction such a devastating problem? At its most basic, addiction to drugs is considered to be an insidious and progressive disease that can creep up on an individual without them realizing it. This is one of the reasons most addicts are unable to recognize that they have a problem until the condition completely takes their lives over.
In many cases, the signs and symptoms of substance abuse and addiction can be so subtle that most people easily overlook them. In fact, millions of people struggle with addictions without realizing that they have already started going down a rather dangerous slippery slope. Therefore, you can be sure that addicts are not just the people who assume have lost everything in their lives as a result of substance abuse. Examples of other addicts include:
- Not just those who abuse hard drugs like cocaine on a daily basis but also anyone who vacillates between alcohol, marijuana, tranquilizers, ecstasy, pills, and cocaine, among other drugs
- People who abuse drugs every day while still managing to perform well, continue their work, and carry on in life even though they have a nice buzz on the substances they use
- People who drink on a daily basis even though they never seem drunk
In the same way, addiction is now considered to be a smart disease of the brain. This is in the sense that it can convince the addict that they have to keep on using alcohol and drugs to be able to function normally in their day to day lives - even in spite of the negative consequences that often arise as a result.
As a disease, addiction can also turn your brain into the reason why you lose your life. This is because it will rewire your brain such that you start giving yourself excuses and justifying your ongoing substance abuse.
It is for this exact reason that drug addiction is among the most devastating of all conditions that have been plaguing American society. In fact, most addicts are unable to understand that they have a problem with intoxicating and mind-altering substances until they get to a point where they lose control. Even then, however, addiction can continue driving them to continue engaging in destructive behavior.
Therefore, even in the phase of overwhelming evidence - often involving multiple accidents involving drugs, drug overdoses, complications from interactions between different drugs, and visits to emergency rooms for drug poisoning - most addicts will still continue using these substances. This is because they might still be unaware of the fact that their addiction has taken hold over their lives.
Substance abuse is also acceptable in many social circles - with some even encouraging the destructive behavior. This provides addiction with a window of opportunity that might not apply to other conditions and diseases. In particular, this window is huge because the onset of substance abuse and addiction is not always immediate.
Additionally, addiction tends to progress subtly and continues to grow with the tolerance of the individual and with the continued abuse of multiple drugs. As a direct result, even though most of the people who abuse drugs recreationally might not become addicts, the statistics show that millions more of these people do become addicts. Unfortunately, a large majority of these people will never see addiction approaching.
The acceptable nature of substance abuse in society, the wide availability of intoxicating and mind-altering substances, and many other factors have ensured that addiction continues to grow at alarming rates. From club drugs like Ketamine, GHB, ecstasy, and cocaine to prescriptions written out for made-up and real conditions, it is clear that drugs are increasingly becoming a permanent fixture of American society.
In the same way, the more unsuspecting addicts continue getting away with substance abuse, the more likely it is that they will end up feeling indestructible. They may even start thinking that they will get a DUI charge or get caught in the act. All these factors, unfortunately, never really apply to the substance user until they happen to them.
According to the BOJ (Bureau of Justice), it is estimated that more than 1.8 million arrests were made for drugs among adults above the age of 18 in 2007. This was a rise in numbers from the 1 million people who were arrested for similar charges in 1990.
Since 1970, the number of people getting arrested for drug-related crimes has been on the steady incline. It is also likely that the numbers might continue rising with the large availability of both illegal and legal drugs in American society today.
Even so, it is impossible to ignore the fact that addiction and substance abuse are serious social problems. The disturbing fact is that addiction is a disease that progresses subtly. More often than not, the condition is also undetectable for most victims until their lives are completely riddled with instability, arrests, financial hardships, and disparity - to such an extent that they get out of control.
With so many dangerous and devastating consequences, the effects of drug addiction in society cannot be ignored. As a direct result, it might seem logical that no one would want to take the risk in the first place. Unfortunately, society continues to focus on the temporary pleasure and enjoyment that comes from drug abuse - even in the face of many research studies pointing to the dangers of such substance abuse.
Effects Of Addiction On American Society
NIDA (or the National Institute on Drug Abuse) reports that drug addiction comes with economic impacts on American society - which total close to $67 billion every year. The same body has also stated that the best way to reduce these devastating costs is to get treatment and rehabilitation. This is because addiction treatment programs and centers can help addicts to overcome their condition and start leading a lifestyle of sobriety, recovery, and abstinence.
Through such treatment, most of those who struggle with substances of abuse can be freed of the behavioral problems that are linked to ongoing substance abuse and addiction.
Today, the effects of drug addiction in society are many and varied. They include:
- Drug addiction treatment
- Drug-related complications
- Drug-related injuries
- Medical costs linked to drug overdoses
- Social welfare programs
- Time and energy lost from productive work
Since addiction is brain diseases - and the brain is the main center of behavioral patterns and judgement - it is easy to see why most addicts have a high propensity and likelihood to commit immoral and unlawful acts to obtain, use, and recover from the abuse of addictive and intoxicating substances. These substances can also impact the functioning of their brains, further adding to this disturbing likelihood.
When one is under the influence of alcohol and drugs, their inhibitions are lowered drastically - to such a point that they might feel indestructible and invincible. This may lead to the substance user become more aggressive and irresponsible in their behavior and actions.
Consider, for instance, that the NHTSA (or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has reported that in 2006, there were more than 17,000 traffic fatalities linked to alcohol abuse - an increase of 2.4% from 2005.
Additional devastating effects of drug addiction on society include:
1. Communicable Diseases
Addiction is also among the main factors contributing to the spread of communicable diseases like HIV and hepatitis. This is because most substance abusers tend to share their needles (in the case of intravenous substance use) and many other drug-related paraphernalia.
These diseases have also been spread by people who use drugs - especially because drugs can impair one's judgment. When this happens, such people are more likely to make increasingly bad decisions - which can lead them to participate in dangerous unprotected sexual activities with infected individuals.
NIDA has also reported that substance abuse is the single-largest factor contributing to new HIV infections in the United States. According to the Administration, it is estimated that more than 240,000 new diagnoses for HIV and AIDS were made from 1998 through to 2003 due to intravenous drug abuse.
New evidence also shows that the best way to reduce or eliminate the spread of these blood-borne diseases and infections is through drug treatment and rehabilitation. Through successful rehabilitation, more addicts will be able to abstain from abusing intoxicating and mind-altering substances. In the long run, this could potentially reduce the incidents of reckless behavior that have been causing the spread of these blood-borne infections.
2. Negative Feelings
Different organizations have been amassing valuable information about the effects of substance abuse and addiction on society. Unfortunately, this information cannot even scratch the surface of the actual negative impact of addiction - especially as it relates to the hopelessness and devastation that addicts, their families, and friends feel on a daily basis.
For a family struck with addiction, most of these effects will go over and beyond mere statistics and numbers. In fact, most of those who are affected will be plagued by emotions of sheer terror, confusion, disparity, anger, depression, and failure. This is because addiction, by its nature, tends to inflict all these negative emotions on its victims and any concerned family member. In fact, these effects cannot be described accurately in terms of numbers.
Today, millions of Americans continue struggling with addiction while millions more continue watching their loved ones suffering. When they do this, they often have to deal with feelings of innate hopelessness - especially as substance abuse and addiction continues to systematically and coldly destroy the lives of everyone concerned.
However, informative websites can now provide you with information to educate yourself about addiction and how to handle it. Unfortunately, you are unlikely to get a clear picture of the adverse effects of drug addiction unless you encounter it in yourself or a family member/loved one.
3. Family Impact
The impact of addiction on the family is also worthy of study. The people who are close to substance users and addicts are often hard hit by the condition. Studies have now shown some common patterns - most of which tend to emerge in families with at least one addict.
Most of these patterns involve the following effects:
- Children in denial about their substance abusing parents and all behaviors related to substance abuse
- Children lacking necessities, like shelter, food, warmth, and care
- Children taking on parental roles because their parents abuse drugs
- Denial, mainly where parents are trying to cope with a substance using child
- Domestic disputes involving the use of drugs and alcohol
- Families ending up poor or homeless
- Families receiving inadequate health care
- Higher than normal levels of negativism and criticism within households
- Misdirected anger between addicts and non-addicted members of a family
- Parental inconsistency
- Self-medication while trying to cope with innate family dysfunction.
- The formation of Co-dependent relationships between partners
Drug abuse is also the primary reason for over 75% of all placements in foster care for children. Additionally, close to 80% of all cases of child neglect and abuse often cite substance abuse as the primary factor.
The rate of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction among the youth - particularly those who are in foster care - also tend to be higher in comparison with other populations.
That said, there are some specific types of drugs that are linked to the increasing cases of loss of child custody. For instance, less than 10% of the babies who are born to mothers addicted to heroin tend to live with their biological parents until they are 5 years old. Sadly, the children of addicts are 8 times more likely to end up abusing drugs later on in their lives.
Substance abuse is often unwarranted. Even so, it involves patterns of the regular consumption of both natural and synthetic substances in unapproved quantities and frequencies.
Today, American society has been evolving - primarily with regards to the structure of the family unit. As a direct result, the family structure has been changing into a complex feature. This has come in the form of the changing traditional family system and its replacement by multi-generational families, foster families, stepfamilies, and single-parent families.
Substance abuse and addiction have also been affecting both individuals and families. In the long run, this has seeped over into society - which is why it is so essential to provide drug addiction education to prevent the problem from progressing further.
4. Losing Family
Dealing with substance abuse and addiction is painful for many families to bear - especially those who lack adequate drug education and prevention strategies. As a direct result, addiction takes a downward spiral on the substance user as well as their family. In the long run, this might lead to the family breaking up - especially when you consider the financial and emotional stress linked to ongoing substance abuse.
In the community, the total ratio of homeless underage children has been increasing as a direct result of substance abuse and addiction. This is often a result of the number of children who are increasingly subjected to abuse, violence, and money problems.
In the long run, some of these children may end up being removed from the environment and being placed under state custody. This problem has been costing states about $1 billion on an annual basis.
Most addicts tend to act out erratically and violently while they are under the negative influence of intoxicating and mind-altering substances. This may cause them to act violently - in ways that can affect other family members both emotionally and physically.
Addicts also have a higher likelihood of posing harm to others around them - the members of their families in particular. In the long run, this results in a myriad of serious injuries. Unfortunately, the addict may not be able to control themselves because intoxicating substances often make them lose their ability to think clearly and logically.
In the community, drugs also make people more unstable and violent than they otherwise would have been. These people are a danger and threat to society as well as to the neighborhoods that they live in- especially when you consider that their outbursts of violence and aggression are unpredictable and there is no telling what they might do.
6. Financial Issues
On the family unit, ongoing addiction can end up costing you a lot - costs that will primarily be borne by your family. In the long run, substance abuse can lead you to lose your original financial status. Addiction can also force a family to struggle to manage financially - especially when the addict starts lying and stealing so that they can get money to fund their drug habit.
In the community, drug abuse is often linked to higher incidence of crime. As an addict continues maintaining their problem, they may do anything to get money. In other cases, they may act violently - especially if they are unable to obtain money and valuable for their drug habit.
According to recent statistics, more than 50% of all the people who are arrested every day for a severe crime are under the influence of drug and alcohol. After this happens, society picks up the bill for law enforcement and incarceration of those apprehended.
Most people who abuse drugs are unaware of the harm that they cause to themselves and their families. In particular, families that have to deal with a substance abuse problem often nurse feelings of depression and anxiety - which can turn into resentment and anger. In the long run, this may ruin the health and wellness of those concerned.
In the community, substance abuse causes people to feel ashamed and stressed emotionally. Later on, those who are affected will isolate themselves from their communities and neighbors. This is why it is essential that there is community awareness and drug education so that people can know how to deal with families that are struggling with an addict.
In case you are in a situation where one person in a relationship is an addict, it is highly likely that the other person will suffer and have to endure untold hardship. In many of these situations, the addict may change from their previously happy and easy going personality to extreme behavior, secrecy, violent outbursts, and mood swings.
These changes are often difficult for the non-drug using partner to contend with. The situation becomes even worse in case the couple has children. This is because it is both confusing and distressing for children to see their parents struggling with substance abuse and addiction.
In the same way, the substance user might start experiencing financial difficulties - which their partner might not even be aware of or know about. When you combine this with the paranoia, criminal behavior, and irrational behavior of the addict, then you have the ideal recipe for divorce and marital/relationship breakdown.
Addicts might also start resorting to violence when they are desperate to start using again - especially if their partner has forbidden them from using. This may lead them to harm their partner, children, or anyone else around them.
Sadly, most of these actions are committed by people who are not naturally inclined to violent behavior. This is because the need for drugs and alcohol can drive an addict to act erratically and in ways that are not usual for them. At this point, addiction will be the main priority for substance abuser, and it is everything that matters and counts to them.
People who are addicted might also become self-centered, selfish, and utterly oblivious to the needs and concerns of their partners and dependents. As a result, they may stop taking care of their responsibilities at home - such as taking care of daily bills and dealing with the daily issues that come with running a good home.
In the long run, this negligence and obliviousness could lead to the relationship or marriage breaking down as a result of financial distress and hardship. The other partner will have to cope on their own - which becomes increasingly difficult if they have children.
As a direct result, this may cause other people in the family to exclude the addict and close ranks. They could be forced to do this to protect the entire family from the other negative consequences that arise from the often unpredictable behavior of the addict.
9. Homes And Families
Among the effects of drug addiction in society is the fact that family members are often ashamed and embarrassed by the behavior of their substance using relations. They could also be bothered of what others will think - and feel unsure about the steps they need to take to remedy the situation.
In case you are an addict, then it is highly likely that your family will become increasingly concerned. They may also need you to realize that addiction is becoming a big problem for you and them - to such a point that you start preparing to face it.
Your family, for instance, may push you out and exclude you from various events. However, this is a form of tough love that is often necessary to get you to accept that you have a drug problem and to seek treatment and rehabilitation for it before you continue suffering more.
When children, teens, and young people are addicted to mind-altering and intoxicating substances, then it is highly likely that their home life, relationships and friendships with their peers, and schooling will start suffering. Among these effects is that they are more likely to truant from school.
Truanting often happens for children who are addicted as well as those who have parents who abuse drugs - meaning that their parents might not be taking good care of them.
It can be difficult for some people to resist the urge and temptation to start abusing drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, and other intoxicating substances. Some, for instance, might feel the desire to join a particular clique of friends. Others will be compelled to get involved with drugs because they want to taste the forbidden fruit that their parents have denied them.
Unfortunately, all these forms of drug experimentation often lead to addiction. This is because addiction tends occurring faster and easier for young people - particularly those in their teens whose brains are not yet fully formed - than for adults. In fact, many young people will become addicts the first time they decide to experiment with a drug.
In case you suspect that your children are addicts, you should look for some of the signs and symptoms of addiction, including:
- Anti-social behavior
- Erratic behavior
- Reports of violent behavior and theft from the school
- Reports that your child was caught dealing drugs
- Unexplained absences from home and school
Drug addiction can also cause children to lose their motivation and confrontation in school and educational activities. They may also start spending more time in seclusion or stay out with their friends - including people that you might not even know.
However, the prime does not just affect children who abuse drugs. Even those with parents who are addicts may experience schooling and educational difficulties. They may, for instance, be concerned and worried about their parent's ongoing substance abuse.
Otherwise might be forced to start taking care of themselves and adopting parental roles for their younger siblings - just because their parents forgot about them when they were intoxicated.
The needs of these children will also be superseded by their parent's ongoing substance abuse and addiction. This means that the parents may be controlled by the condition and start doing things that can support their drug problem - including engaging in criminal behavior. In the long run, the school performance of three children will inevitably suffer - and some of them may even be forced to drop out.
Both employers and employees are affected when one person develops a substance use disorder and becomes an addict. The concerned employee may eventually change. Whereas they might once have been efficient, punctual, and smart, they may start coming in late for work, neglect their personal hygiene and appearance, and even display unacceptable, unprofessional, and erratic - or even violent - behavior.
Some of these employees may also refuse to attend work without giving any valid reason. Alternatively, they will start falling behind in their work schedules by failing to complete their duties. Others could also steal from the company and from colleagues to support their drug habit.
In the long run, it is highly likely that the company or organization will force such an employee to seek addiction treatment and rehabilitation. More often than not, however, they will lose their job.
All of these factors could have a negative impact in their family and home life, as well as on their standing in society. This is because losing your job means that your income will be reduced - and your family may suffer especially if you are the primary breadwinner.
On the other hand, when addiction affects your performance at work and leads you to lose your job, it could strain your relationship both with your spouse and with any dependents that you have. In the long run, it could lead to a breakdown of the marriage or relationship or even cause you to be issued with a divorce.
It is difficult to suspect and notice that your colleague is an addict. However, the problem mainly comes when you have to work with an addict - especially if yours is a highly stressful job posting.
In case most of your colleagues are heavy drinkers and alcoholics, it is highly likely that they will be going to clubs and work after work. Alternatively, this might be part of your job description, such as when you have to entertain clients. In the long run, this could contribute to your substance abuse and addiction - especially if you engage in it too frequently.
Today, the effects of drug addiction on society involve the influence of substance abuse and addiction on the American workplace. With so many people involved in these intoxicating substances, it is inevitable that workplaces have been losing many man-hours, valuable employees, and proper productivity. This has been having a negative impact on society because the fewer Americans work, the less the amount of revenue goes into the economy - which ends up affecting everyone.
Among the obvious effects of substance abuse displays itself in the form of the negative influence it has on the health and wellness of everyone concerned. In the long run, this effect could negate society.
Some intoxicating and mind-altering substances like caffeine and alcohol may be okay to engage in especially when you take them moderately or occasionally. However, those who turn it into a regular habit will end up ruining their health and wellness.
Even taking as few as one cigarette daily could prove harmful to your health and to that of anyone around you (in the form of second-hand smoke). Although you might assume that you are a light smoker and that no harm will come to you, you should keep in mind that nicotine is among the most powerful of all stimulant drugs - especially in terms of the damage it causes to human health.
Other hard drugs like ecstasy, poppers, amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin are even more dangerous - irrespective of the amount you take. As such, you should avoid them at all costs. In fact, there is nothing like a safe or moderate amount of heroin or crack cocaine - or any other substance of abuse.
Addiction comes with long-term health effects, some of which might prove fatal. In fact, drugs and alcohol can claim your life - either in the form of a drug overdose, an accident, a successful suicide attempt, and the physical and psychological damage that these substances cause.
Other negative health side effects of substance abuse on both individuals and societies at large include:
- Birth defects for mothers who abuse intoxicating substances
- Rising numbers of communicable diseases
- Unwanted pregnancies
- Organ failure
- Psychological damage, and mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and other conditions
Ongoing substance abuse can affect your behavior and personality in different ways. These changes, however, will largely be based on the type of drugs you use, the amounts of these substances that you abuse, and the frequency of your substance use. Your psychological and genetic makeup, lifestyle, physical health, and the environment you grow up in and live in can also influence how addiction affects your personality.
That said, some drugs tend to come with greater effects on personality than others. For instance, heroin tends to be a stronger influence of personality change than nicotine. This is primarily because these drugs come with different effects on the human brain. But exactly how does drug addiction negatively affect the personality of those concerned? Consider the following:
- A lack of trust in others and in themselves
- Arrogant and uncaring behavior
- Deliberate offensiveness
- Erratic behavior that is out of character
- Increasing risk of self-harm
- Increasingly prioritizing substance abuse over other aspects of life, including friends and family
- Low self-esteem
- Spending more time with people that their loved ones do not know
- Withdrawing from friends and family
Addiction also affects the chemical makeup and functioning of the brain. For instance, if you take crystal meth, alcohol, ecstasy, cannabis, and amphetamines - among many other drugs of abuse - they may change the structure of your brain. In the long run, this could have a dramatic effect on your personality.
14. Law And Crime
According to recent statistics, addicts are often more highly inclined to criminal behavior than other people who do not use intoxicating and mind-altering substances. This is because an addict may resort to such behavior because of their increasingly important and urgent need to support their drug habit.
This criminal activity may involve, but is not limited to:
- Stealing to obtain the funds they need to fund their addiction
- Committing fraudulent activities
Addiction also affects society in the sense that states and the federal government have to maintain police and law enforcement personnel - some of whom would not be needed if America was not facing such a great epidemic involving substances of abuse.
Today, most of the crimes committed in the country are related to drugs. They often involve robberies, muggings, and burglary - among other acts of crime that influence the society as a while.
In fact, serious addicts have a higher propensity to engage in violent crimes - or break the law as a result of their ongoing drug problem. Some of these people are desperate to quench their desire for drugs that they may do anything to meet this need. This may sometimes force them to commit violent crimes.
In other cases, substance abuse overtakes the thoughts of civilized, educated, and rational behavior. As a direct result, the addict will stop thinking about their actions and how they may influence and affect others in negative ways. In the long run, all those who are involve in such an altercation will end up losing.
Most addicts also have difficulties keeping a job, maintaining their finances, and taking care of their mental health. All these issues can see them landing in jail - which causes problems both for them and for society at large. In particular, American society spends billions of dollars on incarcerated individuals who were apprehended and imprisoned for drug-related crimes.
Whether this is as a result of pursuing illegal means to gain money and fund a drug habit or it comes from committing a crime as a result of paranoia and delusions, it is highly likely that ongoing substance abuse has negative impacts related to the law and crime.
According to recent statistics, incarcerations involving drugs comprise over 50% of all populations in federal prisons and close to 20% of the population of people in state prisons.
When you average the annual cost across all the 50 states for the population of people in states, the cost per inmate is more than $32,000. Stays in a federal prison, on the other hand, averages over $26,000 for every inmate.
Additionally, crimes related to drugs that result in prison time for the offender often average sentences of anywhere between 3 and 9 years. In the long run, taxpayers end up shouldering an annual burden of $144 million (federal prisons) and $45 billion (for state prisons).
15. Health Care System
Last but not least, the effects of drug addiction in society have permeated into the healthcare system. In particular, addiction is a chronic condition that has been causing an increase in the cost of treatment.
Most of the money that is spend to support the medical costs linked to drug addiction are often absorbed by taxpayers and hospitals. In fact, 20% of all Medicaid funds and about 25% of all Medicare finances go to expenses related to substance abuse and addiction. Additionally, the burden of addiction on the healthcare system on its own amounts to more than $180 billion every year.
In the same way, co-occurring mental disorders linked to addiction often precede or result from ongoing substance abuse. All these conditions also contribute to the increasing costs associated with the healthcare system.
In the long run, these costs are eventually passed on to employers and tapers in the form of higher taxes and insurance premiums. When you couple these costs with the lost productivity and lost wages, it is clear that ongoing substance abuse and addiction is a great financial burden to American society and to the economy.
To reduce or completely eliminate the effects of drug addiction in society, it is important that people engage in more mass education about substance abuse and addiction to prevent the problem from happening for those who are not yet addicted. For people with an active addiction, the best solution would be to enroll into an appropriate substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation program to deal with the problem.
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