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Brian Morris

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10/22/2015
Davis Period 2
Drug Issues
The health and general well-being of our citizens is a cornerstone to a strong
United States. Therefore, ensuring the health and well-being of Americans must
absolutely be a priority. One of the major factors damaging the health and welfare of our
citizens today is drug abuse. Unfortunately, drug abuse has had a significant presence
throughout the history of America. Going all the way back to the original colonies there
are records of narcotic (opiate) drugs being wrongfully used for personal pleasure. Very
quickly, with both increasing technology and demand for the highly sought after drugs,
the amount of known medications or elixirs rapidly grew from only 90 in 1804, to 600 in
1857, and eventually over 28,000 in 1905 (Narconon International). Today, with the
modern medicinal technology and hundreds of thousands of different types of drugs,
Americans are easily able to abuse drugs in more ways than ever before. Drug abuse is
frighteningly harmful not only to the individual, but also to their friends, family, and
community. In order to improve the health and general welfare of the citizens of the
United States, more drastic actions must be taken in order to successfully fight the abuse
of drugs. One of our nation's greatest weaknesses when it comes to drug abuse is the lack
of effective drug rehabilitation centers. It is essential that the bill to increase funding for
research and development related to improving drug rehabilitation centers' success is
passed because to reduce the negative effects of drug abuse on individuals and their
community, to address the insufficient number of drug rehabilitation centers, and to

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increase the collective knowledge of the effects of drug abuse and how to reduce its
prevalence.
Not surprisingly, the abuse of drugs has countless harmful and damaging effects
on the user and the community around them. Drugs use can take root in people's lives in
many ways. The primary reasons people begin using drugs are because they feel
pressured in some way to experiment with drugs at social events or parties, they use
drugs as a way to cope with illness, stress, a loss, or many other life difficulties, and when
they use drugs as a substitute for internal problems such as low self-esteem, guilt, or poor
relationships. When an individual relies on drugs as a way to deal with these everyday
issues, it can become an addiction which poses an enormous danger. Addiction to drugs
creates even bigger problems in the user's personal life as well as in the lives of those
connected to him or her. The Florida Institute of Technology states, "It is estimated that
drugs and alcohol are a factor in at least 80 percent of domestic violence incidents and
contributes to 60 percent of all sub-standard job performance and at least 40 percent of all
industrial accidents" (Florida Institute of Technology). With the majority of all domestic
violence and sub-standard job performance being caused by drug abuse, it is clear that
drug addiction is only pushing the United States' well-being in the wrong direction and is
costing the nation both morally and financially. More importantly, if action is not taken
against stopping a drug addiction early enough, the user begins facing serious health
risks, including death. "Drugs account for 90% of poisoning deaths, and the number of
deaths from drug poisoning has increased substantially in recent years" (Michael,
McCaig, Uddin). Drugs are a very deadly substance and recently, have been

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posing a larger and larger threat to users. "Over 38,000 peopled died of drug overdoses
in the U.S. in 2010, greater than the deaths attributed to motor vehicle accidents,
homicides and suicides" (Warner, Chen, Makuc, Anderson, Minino). Drug addiction is
no matter to take lightly, especially when it accounts for almost 40,000 deaths per year.
Generally, addiction cannot be addressed safely by the individual. The user needs
professional help to successfully conquer drug addiction, and it is the duty of the nation
to provide this help.
With such a prominent drug issue in America, it is important that the necessary
rehabilitation centers and resources for individuals are available so that citizens can end
their dangerous and crippling addictions. Unfortunately, drug rehabilitation resources are
not as widely available as they need to be. "In 2009, only 11.2 percent of some 23.5
million people aged 12 or older that needed treatment for an illicit drug abuse problem
actually received it at a specialty facility" (DrugFacts: Treatments Statistics). This means that
in 2009, an overwhelming 88 percent of people aged 12 or older did not get the help or
proper treatment they needed, leaving almost 20.9 million of America's citizens at serious
risk to themselves and others. "Nearly 90% of people who meet clinical criteria for

addiction or substance abuse involving alcohol and drugs other than nicotine report
receiving no treatment at all, and many who do receive treatment do not receive care that
has been proven to be effective" (CASA Columbia). This means that only about ten
percent of users actually receive help and an even smaller percentage get help that is
actually effective. Therefore, far less than ten percent of drug abusers actually
successfully ending their addiction. Because the treatment of addictions are so widely
overlooked, an alarming portion of the funding is being forced to be spent on cleaning up

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and repairing the repercussions of the drug abuse. "Each year federal, state and local
governments spend close to $500 billion on addiction and risky substance use, but for every
dollar that federal and state governments spend, only two cents goes to prevention and
treatment" (CASA Columbia). While 500 billion dollars may seem to be an ample

amount of funding to address drug abuse across the nation, the reality is that only two
percent of this 500 billion dollars is going towards prevention and treatment of drug
abuse and addiction. This means 98 percent is spent on enforcement and repairing
damages caused by drug addiction. More funding must be spent on creating more
rehabilitation centers, but also creating smarter and more effective methods of stopping
drug abuse in the first place.
In order to be more effective at stopping drug abuse, more needs to be known
about the topic. The more information and knowledge about the drugs, effects,
treatments, and addiction that the United States collectively has, the more that can be
done to put drug abuse to an end. "Today we understand that addiction is a brain disease
characterized by fundamental and long-lasting changes in the brain. Modern treatments
are based on scientific research" (University of Utah). This bill will increase
funding to allow for more scientific research to be done by both companies and large
universities to further learning on treatments. "The Obama Administration's approach to
the drug problem is borne out of the recognition that drug use is a major public health
threat, and that substance use disorders are preventable and treatable diseases. The
Obama Administration is committed to using science and research to inform policy
decisions" (The White House). To most effectively put an end to the drug problem in
America, it is necessary that actions be made based off of extensive research and

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findings. "Historically speaking, the idea of addiction as a brain disease is a very new
one. People once saw addiction as a personality flaw and a sign of weakness" (University
of Utah). Not too long ago, people still saw addiction simply as a weakness in one's
personality. It is clear that America has come a long way in terms of how much is known
about drug addiction, and with further research, even more advancements in drug abuse
knowledge, and therefore prevention and treatment, can be made than ever before.
People opposing this bill may argue that the additional funding should not go
towards research and development for rehabilitation centers, but instead towards other
departments such as police forces and drug enforcement agencies in the hopes of
cracking down on drug abusers. These same people that oppose the bill may also argue
that rehabilitation centers are ineffective and a waste of both time and money. It is true
that strengthening agencies will help reduce the number of people who abusing drugs
who are a part of our free society. However, the goal of the bill is not to put more drug
abusers behind bars. Instead, the aim is to help eliminate the addiction, not the user, so
that the individuals can go on to live productive and happy lives, promoting the nation's
overall success. One of the more effective ways to prevent addiction is to intervene early.
"Behaviors and symptoms that signal the development of a behavioral disorder often
manifest two to four years before a disorder is present. In addition, people with a mental
health issue are more likely to use alcohol or drugs than those not affected by a mental
illness" (SAMHSA). Symptoms of addictions can be seen up to four years in advance, in
some cases giving friends and families in the user's life adequate time to intervene. This
leaves a very broad time period for when treatment can be very effective

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before the abuse gets worse and maybe even deadly. Research in this area has improved
intervening methods. "Early use of drugs increases a persons chances of developing
addiction. Remember, drugs change brainsand this can lead to addiction and other
serious problems" (Volkow 7). Prevention can go a long way in helping avoid addiction
and all of the negative consequences that are sure to follow. Instead of trying to control
the drug abuse problem in America with police enforcement agencies once an addiction
has begun, it will be much more effective and cost efficient to prevent the addiction in the
first place. "Drug abuse and addiction have negative consequences for individuals and
for society. Estimates of the total overall costs of substance abuse in the United States,
including productivity and health- and crime-related costs, exceed $600 billion annually"
(National Institute on Drug Abuse). The 1.5 billion dollars of funding allocated by this
bill will go a long way to reduce the 600 billion dollars spent annually on drug abuse. If
the steps laid out in the bill are followed as stated, the success of drug rehabilitation
centers will increase, rendering the funding well spent.
Drug abuse is one of the leading causes for problems among friends, family and
in communities. It is essential that the United States increases funding for research and
development related to improving drug rehabilitation centers' success in order to reduce
the negative effect of drug abuse on individuals and their community, to address the
insufficient number of drug rehabilitation centers, and to increase the collective
knowledge of the effects of drug abuse and how to reduce its prevalence. In doing so,
drug abuse will be better treated earlier before it becomes a more substantial problem for

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society. The bill must be passed in order to reduce the number of drug abusers in the
United States, thereby improving the health and well-being of it's citizens and
strengthening the nation in total.

Works Cited
"About Drugs and Addiction." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, 24 Feb. 2014. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
"Addiction Treatment." Ending Addiction Changes Everything. CASAColumbia, n.d.
Web. 02 Nov. 2015.
"Addiction Treatments Past and Present." Addiction Treatments Past and Present. N.p.,
Albert, Michael, Linda F. McCaig, and Sayeedha Uddin. "Emergency Department Visits
for Drug Poisoning: United States, 20082011." Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 09 Apr. 2015. Web. 02
Nov. 2015.n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
"Costs of Addiction & Substance Use." CASAColumbia. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
Volkow, Nora D., M.D. "How Science Has Revolutionized the Understanding of Drug
Addiction." Preface. Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction.
Rockville, MD?: National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health,
U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 2007. N. pag. Print.
"Facts about Alcohol and Drug Abuse." Florida Institute of Technology. Florida
Institute of Technology, n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2015.
"Policy and Research." The White House. The White House, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
"Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness." Ann.lynsen. N.p., 13 Oct. 2015.
Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
"Seeds for Thought." Seeds for Thought. University of Utah Health Sciences, n.d. Web.
02 Nov. 2015.

"The History of Drug Abuse Addiction in America and the Origins of Drug
Treatment." Narconon News. Department of Drug Education, Prevention, and
Information, 12 June 2009. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.
"Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction." DrugFacts:. National Institute on Drug
Abuse, n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2015.
Warner M, Chen LH, Makuc DM, Anderson RN, Minio AM. Drug poisoning deaths in
the United States, 19802008. NCHS data brief, no 81. Hyattsville, MD: National
Center for Health Statistics. 2011