With drug and alcohol addiction on the rise, it is not a stretch to acknowledge that addiction has a very firm grip on our society. It may seem easy to look the other way and pretend like it does not exist, that is, until it happens to you; however, addiction does not just affect that individual or their family. Addiction affects every person, every family, and every community in this country, whether it is emotionally, financially, or physically.
Every year the number of individuals abusing drugs or alcohol rises, while the age of first use decreases. Even though heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and ecstasy are still high on the list of abused drugs, prescription drugs are quickly making their way to the top. Prescription drugs have brought addiction to a whole new class of addicts. No longer is it only the poor, lower classes abusing drugs. The easily obtainable prescription drugs have opened the door of addiction for the rich upper classes, business men and soccer moms, children and teens. In this pace-paced, pleasure oriented society, it is not hard to see how drugs found their way in. No one is safe from the powers of addiction.
Each year the economic effect of addiction on the U.S. increases. From arrests, to treatment facilities, to medical costs, the United States spends over $ 60 billion each year to fight against drugs and addiction. Addiction causes rises in crimes such as burglaries and other irresponsible, unlawful behavior. More people are killed each year in car accidents because someone was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the most common form of violent crime committed in the U.S. today.
Apart from the increased cost for medical care, addiction is having an extreme effect on health in today’s society. Consistent abuse of drugs and alcohol has tremendous long term effects on the health of the addict; which is also a sizable contributor to the ever increasing rise of health care costs. Increased heart rate and blood pressure, collapsed veins, and damage to vital organs are just a few of the ailments brought about by addiction. On a societal level, drug abuse, sharing needles, and participating in dangerous sexual acts while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are now the leading causes of the spreading of HIV and Hepatitis.
There are thousands of treatment centers and rehabilitation programs available nationwide for every income level; unfortunately many do not see the need until it is too late. If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction, the time to act is now. Don’t wait until another person dies from an overdose or is killed in a DUI related accident. As a society, it is time we stepped up, educated our children, and extended a helping hand to those who need it. It is time we won our country back from this epidemic called addiction.