War on Drugs in the United States

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One of the biggest wars America is fighting against is drugs. While the war on drugs as become even more of a severe problem over several decades, this conflict has been a battle for over a century. Some of the most common drugs that are abused my millions everyday consist of prescription and over the counter drugs. As well as stimulants such as Methylphenidate and amphetamines like adderall which gained its popularity in the 1990s.

Along with one of the biggest addictions to opioid drugs which include heroin which was popular beginning in the 19th century, oxycodone(oxycontin), hydrocodone(vicodin), and pain relievers like morphine which was first used in the 1800’s and codeine. Some other drugs that are also used, commonly in the younger ages, include cocaine which was created in the 1880’s though by the 1900’s there was roughly 200,000 cocaine addicts in the US. Along with crack cocaine which appeared around 1985 and LSD which emerged in the 1950’s and became very popular in the 1960’s and then again the 1990’s and still remains popular to this day especially in the rave scene.

Whether the decision to take a drug is completely voluntary or is needed after something serious happens such as a surgery, what happens after the drug is taken is the important part. When people think of addiction they automatically think of drugs, when actually a person can become addicted to several other things, why? Because of what is happening psychologically in the brain. When you take a drug it starts to target the reward system in the brain. From this a natural chemical in your brain called dopamine is released.

Just has when someone is addicted to something such as food, sex, and even cuddling dopamine is released. While doing drugs does release much more dopamine than what I stated it is all to similar and that flood of euphoria that someone experiences during this time impels them to continue and repeat the experience. Soon the brain becomes wired for this addiction and something that is seen too often is a person continues to use and abuse to feel normal. Even when the drug or drugs no longer provide pleasure for them, they will continue to use to avoid withdraws. Some long term mental health issues include depression and anxiety. Along with long term use of drugs such as cocaine, LSD and even marijuana can lead to paranoia.

As well as the numerous mental health issues that arise from long-term substance abuse, there is even more issues that affect the physical health of the individual that is using. In 2012 it was reported that 23 million people needed treatment for substance abuse. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, kidney damage can occur due to some drugs causing dehydration, muscle breakdown and increased body temperature. Liver failure can also occur from abusing opioids and steroids. The abuse of drugs,especially injection drugs and inhalants such as crack cocaine, can also lead to cardiovascular and respiratory damage.

The circumstance of contracting HIV/AIDS is also possible when the individual is using injectable drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamines, and is sharing a needle with others. Something I stated before is the growing tolerance an abuser begin to sustain. This tolerance is very dangerous as it causes the individual to escalate the amount of drugs used in hopes to reach the euphoric state they once felt. By doing this it increases the chance of overdose and even death for the individual.

There has also been an increase in the production of synthetic fentanyl that has been combined with cocaine lacing the already dangerous drug. Since most people do not know that the cocaine has be contaminated it is often fatal. In 2017 alone over 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, this involves prescription opioids and illicit drugs. In 2016 of the over 42,000 opioid-related deaths, 19,000 involved fentanyl, 17,000 involved perception opioids and 15,000 involved heroin. This epidemic continues to worsen every year, killing thousands of kids and young adults.

The approximate cost of drug abuse in the United States, which includes illicit drugs, tobacco, and alcohol, amounts to over 720 billions dollars annually. The substance abuse in America increased the cost of healthcare, crime and lost productivity. The cost of illegal drug abuse amounted to 193 billion dollars, along with prescription drug abuse amounting to over 78 billion dollars. Other cost of substance abuse includes the deaths for overdoses, the spread of HIV/AIDs, and crime.

According to The National Drug Intelligence Center drug abuse costs, in lost productivity, the nation over 120 billion dollars every year. Within the the lost of productivity includes incarceration, hospitalization, reduced labor and more. Also according to The National Drug Intelligence Center drug abuse budgets for $48 billion for incarceration expenses and $4 billion due to premature deaths. The National Drug Intelligence Center approximates that the annual cost of drug related crimes in the United States amounts to more than $60 billion and the criminal justice system cost making up $56 billion of that amount.

According to the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program, who monitors arrestee’s in 10 cities across the United States, between 63 percent to 83 percent of all individuals arrested test positive for illicit substances at the time of their arrest. “The NDIC estimates that the annual costs of emergency department visits related to drug abuse are $161 million, with an additional $5.5 million in costs for those who have to be hospitalized.”(Fogoros, 2018) From this we all have to ask the question, Is this battle and war on drugs working? Can the United States win this battle?

In conclusion, this war is severe. Over many years we, as a society, have continued to looked over the drug abuse and violence in America. Only now over the last couple of years have we started to take this topic so serious, this could be due to the power of social media and the internet. The fact of the matter is too many people are losing their lives along with people losing their families. This war on drugs is not working. A resolution may never be available if we do not consider new alternatives now.

Cite this paper

War on Drugs in the United States. (2021, Mar 26). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/war-on-drugs-in-the-united-states/

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