Drug Abuse is an epidemic that has been sweeping the nation and since 1999, the number of overdose deaths related to the use of an illegal substance has exceeded 700,000. Drug abuse might claim this many victims because, in the United States, there is an increased focus on treating drug use as a criminal venture, as opposed to treating it like a disease. This creates a stigma that leads to a majority of drug users never seeking the help they need, either at a government facility or a private rehabilitation clinic, like drug rehab Austin.
Understanding that it is a disease is imperative to making treatment more affordable and widely available. Addiction affects patients by acting on the reward pathways in the brain that use dopamine in positive feedback responses. It’s the part of your brain that creates pleasurable sensations when you eat or have sex. However, the effects that drugs produce in these systems are exponentially higher than those for natural stimuli. With consistent use, these pathways become rewired, making it harder for a person to make logical decisions or suppress their urges.
Despite this understanding of the mechanisms behind addiction, the United States has spent half a century combatting drug use in the country as if it were a war. While there are were several political and social factors that affected this. Besides the costs of enforcement, there are also economic and social losses to be had due to the lost productivity drugs cause and the burden that drug use places on our medical systems and communities
However, the sharp rise in cases had helped to change the message surrounding addiction, with it gaining more acceptance as a disease and more people seeking detox programs and treatment centers, like drug detox austin. That being said, drug are still very deterimental to the United States and has a huge economic and human cost.
The War on Drugs
The War on Drugs was started by President Richard Nixon in 1971 and was aimed at reducing drug use, restoring communities and making America safer. However, despite some initial success, it has failed to achieve its stated goals, as drug addiction rose to affect 12 percent of the population aged 12 and older by 2019.
The True Cost of the Addiction Epidemic
According to Federal reports from the Obama White house, the economic cost of drug use was over $190 billion a year. This included $11 billion in healthcare costs and over $60 billion in enforcement cost. However, most of the losses were a result of lost productivity due to worker absences or losses due to incarceration, treatment and premature death.
They estimated that in 2009, a majority of drug users were actually employed, although they find it hard to operate productively in most instances. Nearly 12 percent of employed drug users have worked for multiple employers in a five year span and are more likely to take days off or just be absent.
Drugs also affect school performance, with lower GPAs and class attendance being prevalent among drug users in school.
However the stigma portrays it, drug addiction is never solely the fault of the patient and they should not expect to recover without difficulty if they choose to take the journey alone. Friends and family can provide and excellent support network and specialized programs, such as drug detox austin tx can greatly bolster a persons chances of success.