Social Work: Substance Abuse
Among social problems the US struggles to overcome is that of substance abuse. According to survey, there is some progress made especially in terms of reduction of illicit drug use in all the states (McCaffrey, 2007). The situation, is however far from over since young people carry on with substance abuse. The substances that are commonly abused include, alcohol, heroin, marijuana, alcohol, cocaine, psychotherapeutic drugs as well as other illicit drugs. So much as such drugs continue to be abused, there are some social aspects of the nation that will continue to be affected. The worst thing arises from the fact children as young as the age of 12 years are involved in drug use. Another point that is crucial that comes from consequences of substance and drugs abuse affect Americans on their socio-economic backgrounds, ethnic, educational levels and racial identities.
According to estimates, about 22 million Americans struggle to overcome substance and drugs abuse, something that demands urgent measures. Studies indicate these Americans are aged 12 years and above, with the largest percentage of registered cases among young starts aged 12 and 17 years. Out of the substance and drug abuse, the most used is marijuana with an estimated 14.6 million users. It is followed by cocaine with estimated 2 million current users, followed by hallucinogens which is abused by close to 1 million people. Close to 170,000 people have also been found to be users of heroin. On that same note, majority of people are reported to be users of psychotherapeutic drugs without medical reasons. The National Survey on Drug use and Health, 2004 showed an estimated 6 million people used different kinds of psychotherapeutic drugs. Out of these, 4.4 million used pain relievers, 1.6 million used tranquilizers, 0.3 million used sedatives while 1.2 million used stimulants (McCaffrey, 2007).
As it is indicated above, the American society is at great risk since the young generation is largely affected by drug use and they are major abusers as indicated by their ages from 12 to 17. Drugs and substance abuse rate, regrettably varies according to the ethnic or racial groups that are within the society. According to the survey, rate was higher in Alaska Native youths who were of American Indian, registering 26%. People from mixed races recorded 12.2 while 11 percent were white youths. Hispanic youths were 10 percent while Black youths using the drug were 9.3 percent. Lastly, only 6 percent comprised Asian youth’s illegal abusing substances. This indicates that substance and drug abuse is an actual threat in the American society.
It is clearly evident there is danger of substance abuse due to negative social indicators such as financial difficulties, family disruptions, domestic abuse and violence, educational failures, child abuse and other kinds of crimes. It is estimated US loses close to $ 600 billion every year on the productivity affected, crime and health related issues cause by abuse of substances (Substance Abuse, 2013). Note individuals who abuse drugs are part of a great public concern for American government. The negative health related concerns that are caused by substance abuse include domestic violence, teenage pregnancies, suicide, homicides and other related complications, STI and HIV/AIDS. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Report, 2010, motor vehicle crashes are greatly attributed to substance abuse.
Data from the US Department of Health and Human Services (2013) indicates use of cocaine leads to some serious complications like cardiovascular activities, an aspect that can lead to heart attacks among abusers. Also, there I proof that a large percentage of HIV/AIDS cases in the US are the result of drug injection behaviors. These individuals go on and infect their sexual partners with the HIV virus thus increasing the death rate. It is common knowledge that in the US, crime is a major issue, especially among racial minorities. A large number of those arrested for assault, homicide and theft, tested positive for abuse of substance. Maternal drug abuse leads to numerous child defects at birth. Majority of expectant mothers taking drugs at any given time in the course of their pregnancy might make the infant suffer from specific biological problems. On the same line, infant mortality rates, premature births, miscarriages and underweight births in the US are largely the cause of prenatal drug exposure.
The illustrations and analysis above show substance abuse is in fact, a real social issue in the American community. The fact young generation is mostly affected with the problem is an indication the country lacks citizens who are responsible and with the ability of building the nation. To improve the situation, action needs to be taken immediately. The government has already played a crucial role by enacting a couple of laws regulating circulation of illicit drugs, though, less has been attained so far since the problem continues to exist. Precisely because of this, the ideal approach towards elimination of the problem is adopting social approaches. This means social work can play a significant role in making sure that victims get assistance in accordance to their situations.
Note the solution to substance abuse involves different kinds of aspects of victims. This arises from the fact drug addiction is quite a complex issue and there are different kinds of treatment that entail components like school, the family, work and the community at large. There are different reasons that drive people into drug abuse, among them is unemployment. As such, social remedy is supposed to include helping victims through training and rehabilitating them so as to ensure they secure jobs for purposes of self-sustenance. Apart from pharmacological treatment, there is also the need to focus on behavior part of the same, an aspect that entails counseling victims as well as restoring them. Social work practice is also a great approach that helps rehabilitees and informs the public about consequences of substance abuse.
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Drug involvement of fatally injured drivers: Traffic Safety Facts. (2010). National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation. Washington, DC. P.1. Retrieved January 13, 2014 from http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811415.pdf.
McCaffrey, B. (2007). II. America’s Drug Abuse Profile. The National Drug Control Strategy.
Retrieved January 13, 2014 from https://www.ncjrs.gov/htm/chapter2.htm
Substance Abuse. (2013). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved January 13,
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