Drug abuse is the catalyst for many major social problems, including drugged driving, violence, stress, and child abuse, and it can further lead to homelessness, crime, and joblessness. According to a recent USA Today article, more Americans die from drug overdoses today (nearly 44,000 deaths a year) than from car accidents or any other type of injury. Drug abuse also harms unborn babies and destroys families. So why are people getting addicted in the first place?
Addicts aren’t made from a single drug use incident. But some people who try drugs, although obviously not all, go on to take more and more and become addicted as a result. Non-users mistakenly assume that drug abusers lack moral principles or willpower and that they should just be able to stop using drugs simply by choosing to change their behavior. Just quit, right?
Not so easy, according the latest studies. Scientists now know drug addiction is a disease and there are lots of risk factors that can contribute to your getting that disease, including your genes, what kind of school you attend, what kind of neighborhood you live in, and what kinds of people you hang around with. Incidentally, these same factors can also protect you from getting the disease.
Besides the tragic loss of lives it steals annually, addiction and substance abuse, also known as drug abuse and substance use disorder, yields negative consequences for individuals as well as society, with an estimated $700 billion annually in costs related to crime, lost work productivity and health care (source DrugAbuse.gov).
In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than a strong will. In fact, according to DrugAbuse.gov, because drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug abuse, quitting is difficult, even for those who are ready to commit to quitting.
Research shows that combining addiction treatment medications with behavioral therapy is the best way to ensure success for most patients. However, the best is to prevent drug abuse in the first place. Results from NIDA-funded research show that prevention programs through education outreach involving families, schools, communities, and the media are effective in reducing drug abuse. Likewise, teachers, parents, and medical and public health professionals must consistently send the message that drug addiction can be prevented if one never abuses drugs.
Through scientific advances, we know more about how drugs work in the brain than ever, and we also know that drug addiction can be successfully treated to help people stop abusing drugs and lead productive lives.
If you think you or someone close to you might have a problem with drug use or if you simply have questions you’d like answered, call Clay Behavioral Health Center today at 904-291-5561 for the help you need for a better, drug-free life. If you feel hopeless and/or are considering ending your life, please call the suicide prevention hotline NOW at (800) 273-8255!