There are millions of men and women who use illegal drugs. In fact, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 20 million Americans age 12 years and older have used a form of illegal drugs in the last 30 days. Of all the Americans that are 12 years of age and older, 20 million represents approximately 8% of this population. According to this particular survey, illegal drugs are those that include: marijuana, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and prescription drugs that are used without a prescription.
One of the things that experts agree on is that there needs to be more education about drugs and how they can be harmful. Many people don’t know enough about certain drugs. This lack of knowledge can facilitate accepting drugs or alcohol when they are offered at a party or club. However, if there were more education about various drugs and what they do to the mind and body, experts feel that there would be less people who would agree to ingest the drug.
Along these lines, if people understood the long-term effect on an individual, family, or community, then they might refuse to take the drug. For instance, the estimated cost of drug use and abuse is over $190 billion. This includes $130 billion that is lost in productivity, $20 billion in healthcare costs, and $40 billion in legal costs including the legal attempts to stop drug trafficking. Also, the costs to the individual and the family include:
- -Spread of infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, etc) either through sharing of drug paraphernalia or unprotected sex
- -Deaths due to overdose or other complications from drug use
- -Effects on unborn children of pregnant drug users
- -Impact on the family, crime and homelessness
Most people take drugs because they like the short-term effects of the drug. Yet, that short term effect is precisely what becomes problematic. For instance, when someone takes a drug (alcohol or marijuana, for example), the signals coming and going from the brain have changed. This creates the euphoria, but it also creates the negative changes in the brain. Essentially a drug alters the normal functioning of the brain. Although this alteration can cause temporary good feelings, it can also cause anxiety, paranoia, uncontrolled behavior, respiratory problems, and other health complications. Although drugs feel good temporarily, they do so at a cost.
There is also a dangerous long-term effect of almost any drug. Frequently, this is the growing dependence upon a drug which requires more and more use of it and that interferes with more important aspects of your life, such as family, friends, career, health, and happiness.
It’s important that everyone understand that drugs can be dangerous. Although it’s easy to say yes to the use of drugs because of the temporary pleasure it brings, the consequences might soon get out of control. This can be particularly true for those who have a genetic predisposition toward addiction. Now that experts agree that addiction is an illness of the brain, there have been recent discoveries that point to certain people being more vulnerable to the development of an addiction.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, it’s essential that you seek help from a mental health professional.
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