$600 billion dollars in damages, that include crimes, medical costs, and more, is the annual amount of money that stems from substance abuse in the United States alone. Let’s put that number into perspective. You could buy 31, 762 homes set at the median US price. You could buy 30,000 brand-new fully decked-out Lamborghinis. You could give every single person living in the United States two dollars each. It is a tragedy that so much money is poured into something so harmful to society.
No one plans on, or wants to, become addicted to drugs or alcohol. So then why is it such a large problem in the world today?
Many future addicts start their downward journey by first coming into contact with a “gateway” drug or experience. “Hard” (alcoholic) fruit drinks, marijuana, concerts, and parties can serve as some popular doorways into the life of drug abuse for someone who is a new user. A normal person who may have never wanted to partake in drugs may try something new to get the “full” concert experience. Attending a party with friends or coworkers who might be experimenting with drugs will lead to the temptation of joining the “fun”. These experiences will vary for different people, but it’s important to recognize the scenarios and items that lead down the path to drug addiction.
Another unfortunate usage of drugs starts when someone is attempting to escape from the stress or problems that are in their life. “I just need to smoke a joint to relax”, soon turns to “I can only smoke a joint to relax”. You can replace joint with the drug of your choice, but you get the point. Many alcoholics only started enjoying a drink or two after work, until it slowly turned into ten drinks after work and their issues in life will only get work as their negative behavior starts to affect them outside the bar.
The first time a new user indulges in drug use, their brain is stimulated to release certain chemicals resulting in the drug “high” that is often talked about.
The problem is that after repeated usage, the user needs to increase their dose to reach the same high that a smaller dose used to induce. For example, someone who only drinks occasionally may start feeling tipsy after their first glass of alcohol, while a heavy drinker will need to consume three of four glasses to get the same buzz.
This leads people to slowly start increasing both the amounts and frequencies that they use a substance in. This isn’t a 0 to 100 process. Months, or even years, later they realize one day that they are no longer in control of their usage, and are completely addicted to their particular substance.
As people become more addicted, the drug digs its claws in deeper, driving people to gain more product by any means necessary. This often leads to job loss, broken relationships, homelessness, and ultimately jail. Once someone hits rock bottom, the turn to their drugs even more than before. It becomes an endless pit that they are too helpless to recover from on their own. Luckily, friends and family members, social workers, and law enforcement officials work with addicts to help them get back on their feet and on the road to recovery.
Drug addiction is a disease that can be treated, just like other diseases. There is no reason to be ashamed admitting that you may have a problem with drug abuse. Acknowledging you have a problem and seeking help are the best choices you can make for yourself, or for a loved one you are worried about. Drug addiction isn’t a struggle that you have to fight alone. There are thousands of other people who feel just as helpless, and there are hundreds of support systems waiting with open arms.
Check out some of our other articles to begin the steps to live a drug-free life! You can accomplish freedom from drug abuse!