how to stop drug abuse in a community

How to Stop Drug Abuse in a Community

What Is Substance Abuse?

A substance use disorder (SUD) is also known as a drug and alcohol addiction. Because of the high alcohol and drug use rates right now, many people wonder how to stop drug abuse in a community. This is especially true since alcohol and drug addiction can affect anyone regardless of these three main aspects:

  • Age
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Cultural background

Many of us know at least one person who is currently fighting a substance use disorder. Sadly enough, many individuals know a person who lost their fight for the following reasons:

  • Fatal overdose
  • Illness
  • Violence

How Does Substance Abuse Affect People In A Community?

There are many social effects of drug abuse on the community. It’s essential to remember that addiction is a brain disease that can cause severe effects to the:

  • Body
  • Mind
  • Brain damage

Individuals that suffer from substance use disorders often suffer changes in the following areas often: 

  • Judgment
  • Perceptions
  • Decision making
  • Behavior

Improves Performance

People often utilize drugs as a way to improve their academics or sports performance. This is because certain drugs known as stimulants initially help people focus and be more alert. Over time though, people that abuse stimulants will start to develop negative side effects and withdrawal symptoms that will ultimately hinder their academic and sports performance abilities. 

Initially Helps Them Feel Better

It is extremely possible that when an individual became addicted to drugs, it was as a result of self-medicating. People also often develop substance addictions because they are using substances to help them cope with their underlying mental health issues. Unfortunately, though, extensive substance abuse will eventually only worsen mental health issues.

Causes Peer Pressure

A struggling addict might not see drug use as an issue because he or she views it as a normalized behavior. This is possible to occur when everyone surrounding the addict participates in drug use and doesn’t discuss the dangers of addiction. 

Commonly, an individual can also begin using drugs due to peer pressure. Peer pressure is when an individual or a group of people continually try to persuade someone to engage in negative behaviors or activities. Often times, introducing substance abuse in a group of individuals will start to cause the individuals that choose to abuse substances to peer pressure the ones that don’t want to abuse substances into doing so anyway.

Relieves Stress

It’s possible that a struggling addict could have started engaging in drugs to relieve repressed stress. This is because many individuals have heard that drugs produce intense high feelings. 

Though drugs do often cause a release of intense feelings of pleasure, it’s important to keep in mind that they also cause the brain to constantly seek the same high. Thus, once the brain is not able to inevitably achieve that same high, drugs may cause a person to crash and experience depressive lows that worsens one’s stress and overall health and well-being. 

Who Does Addiction Affect?

Unfortunately, everyone is susceptible to addiction occurring in their lives. Regardless of an individual’s financial standing, education, or age, any individual can develop addictive behaviors under the right circumstances. 

There are many addiction treatment centers with resources that offer utilized programs that specialize in providing treatment for those most at risk for addiction. Groups of people that are often at risk for addiction and thus, have their own individualized treatment programs at FCR include the following:

Seniors

There are multiple reasons why seniors start abusing substances until they develop substance addictions. Some of these reasons are listed below.

  • To cope with the death of a close friend, pet, or spouse
  • Due to placement or relocation in nursing homes
  • Declines in their physical or mental health 
  • To manage sleep issues
  • To cope with family conflict 
  • Extra free time due to retirement

Individuals over the age of 65 who need substance abuse treatment can discover programs across the nation offering the following programs:

  • Individual counseling
  • Case management 
  • Family therapy

LGBTQ

The LGBTQ community faces numerous challenges that can make them more inclined to developing substance addictions than the general population. Fortunately, the number of LGBTQ-specific treatment centers across the nation is rising. 

Pregnant Women

Soon-to-be mothers who struggle with drug addiction or alcohol dependency often suffer from underlying medical conditions. Rehab centers that treat pregnant women are skilled in understanding the delicacy of the situation at hand. Thus, such rehab centers strive to provide compassionate care that helps babies and moms heal from certain types of substance use disorders. 

Veterans

 Numerous veterans are struggling from co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism. Thus, the rehab programs for service members address dual diagnosis often to provide individuals with the greatest possibilities of successfully returning to civilian life that is peaceful. 

Medical Professionals

Doctors and nurses have some of the highest drug and alcohol rates among the professional workforce.  This is due to the easy access that doctors and nurses have to prescription substances. Due to this disturbing trend, there are numerous rehab programs that are tailored to assist medical professionals that suffer from substance use issues. 

Such rehab programs are extremely beneficial to medical professionals because they guarantee that the medical professionals won’t lose their licenses. Thus, such medical professionals can continue practicing medicine once they complete their addiction treatment programs. 

College Students

Many students that go away for college come back home with a newfound sense of independence and freedom. This is because although college is a time of self-discovery and intellectual growth, it’s also a time when students are often presented with the opportunity to experiment with drugs and alcohol. In fact, according to the Addiction Center, “Heavy drinking and drug experimentation are widely accepted activities among college students. As a result, this demographic has some of the greatest chances of developing addictive habits.”

Studies indicate that a majority of students will use drugs and drink at least once during their college years. It’s essential that college age students are aware of risky situations that present themselves in a wrong manner. 

What Are The Social Impacts Of Drug Abuse?

No one is immune to addiction. Thus, addiction can affect anyone. 

Many social impacts can arise once addiction strikes a person’s life. Therefore, it’s safe to say that all facets of an addict’s life will be affected by his or her drug and alcohol addiction. 

Once an individual has decided to embark on the addiction lifestyle, friendships can be lost. Due to all the social effects of drug abuse on the community, there are many communities against substance abuse. 

Addiction often causes relationships to become strained, including ones with family and friends. Some emotions can run high in these relationships which in turn can cause many people to cut ties with individuals that suffer from substance abuse issues due to their negative behaviors. 

How Can Addiction Negatively Impact Individuals In A Society?

Communities throughout the United States experience the negative effects of substance addiction on various levels. There’s an extensive number of the nation’s top public social and health concerns that are credited to drug and alcohol dependency. 

Cardiovascular Diseases

Research showcases a powerful connection between dependence on certain drugs such as nicotine, cocaine, heroin, and heart attacks.

Drunk Driving

A major indication of an alcohol abuse issue is nearly one-third of drunk drivers are repeat offenders.

Crime

Many criminal offenses are often fueled by drug and alcohol addiction with nearly 50 percent of jail and prison inmates being diagnosed with a SUD.

Mental Illness

Chronic alcohol and drug use causes major changes in the brain which can worsen mental illness symptoms. Conversely, people with mental illness use drugs and alcohol to cope with their symptoms often.

To address the massive impact of substance abuse throughout the world, national officials, policymakers, and communities are striving toward a treatment approach that focuses on:

  • Recovery
  • Awareness
  • Prevention 

Modifying the conversation spoken about addiction will assist in the shattering of the substance abuse stigma. For one, society can make a conscious effort to describe substance addiction as a disease rather than a crime that should be punished. As individuals break free from the stigma attached to addiction, more individuals will feel more confident in their decision to seek the help that they need from it.

What Is The Relation Between Teens And Drug And Alcohol Addiction?

Teens are the most likely to see the perceived positive social benefits that can arise from drug and alcohol abuse vs the negative consequences that can occur. Teenagers are also most likely to desire to engage in risk-taking behavior. 

During the teenage years of development, there is a massive growth spurt that occurs both mentally and physically. This is because an individual’s frontal cortex, which isn’t fully developed until adulthood, is primarily responsible for good decision-making. 

Drug and alcohol use affects the body and brain in various ways. Alcohol and drugs rewire the brain by recognizing falsely the high as an entity to strive for. 

During the critical period of development in the teenage brain, short-term and long-term memory is affected by substance use. Thus, there are many negative effects that can occur due to abusing substances as a teenager. 

Examples of such negative effects include:

  • Memory issues
  • Limited learning potential 
  • Unhealthy habits for both the mind and body
  • Damaged synapses

An article was written by Cohn Media suggesting this about the social effects of drug abuse, “Your brain changes by being unable to resist the need to experience the same high that you had while on drugs.” 

What Can Communities Do To Combat, Prevent, And Address Substance Abuse?

The environment plays an important role in the prevention of substance abuse. Communities play a crucial role in protecting adolescents from early substance use. 

Many preventive efforts can be implemented by building comprehensive strategies and coalitions which can be used to reduce substance use and addiction risk factors. Here at Florida Center for Recovery, we can assist with  the creation of those preventative efforts. 

What Are The Permanent Effects Of Addiction On The Brain?

It’s essential to be aware that both short-term and long-term effects of drugs and alcohol can have lasting effects on an individual’s brain. The brain goes through an alteration process and becomes unable to resist the experience it once discovered while high. During this stage, there is nothing that can give the same high or compare to the last high received. 

The intense effect of addiction on the brain begins and continues because the individual’s reward pathways have been rewired, either permanently or temporarily. Once this journey has occurred, there is still hope for the struggling individual. Drug and alcohol addiction is extremely addictive and can manifest itself in various ways though. 

The brain will attempt to adjust and modify by making changes according to what it is experiencing from the effects of drugs. Besides the rewiring of the reward pathways, individuals that struggle with substance addiction might also undergo a complete loss of being able to experience pleasure. The entire process can lead to severe mental illness, among many other things. 

Get Help At Florida Center For Recovery Today

We here at Florida Center for Recovery understand that having a strong treatment support system is the key to recovery. Thus, we provide clients with more individualized programs. 

If you or someone you love is struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, we are here to help with the recovery process from beginning to end.  

References:

https://www.addictioncenter.com/community-resources/

https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/social-effects-of-drug-abuse/

https://www.addictionpolicy.org/post/what-is-prevention-the-role-of-the-community

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