Drug Abuse and Addiction - Finding Help
Drug abuse is arguably the biggest social crisis confronting society in the 21 st century.
The world's most powerful governments appear weak and ineffective when it comes to tackling a problem which is now spiralling out of control. Man has been using mind altering substances for more than 7,000 years, but never before has the abuse of drugs caused global death, destruction and misery on such a massive scale.
Politicians the world over have declared "Wars on Drugs", pledging millions of pounds from annual budgets to crack down on dealers and addicts. But the war is being lost. And our world leaders are asking what, if anything, can be done to turn back this rising tide of drug addiction.
In order to tackle a problem, obviously it's important to be able to define the exact nature of that problem. But what exactly is drug abuse? As a society, we seem to be extraordinarily confused and woolly minded when it comes to answering this all important question. Some harmful drugs are legal, others are not. Some dangerous drugs are prescribed by doctors, to the detriment of their patients. Others are promoted to the masses by multi-billion-dollar conglomerates, while supportive governments rake in the resulting taxes.
Three of the most widely abused substances in the world (and the ones which cause the most widespread damage) are tobacco, alcohol and inhalants. All are legal and readily available. Yet the massive abuse of these substances destroys millions of lives each year and the terrible health and social consequences cost the global public purse billions of dollars.
So should these substances be banned? Judging from the prohibition fiasco in the USA in the 1920s, it seems the answer is no. That "great experiment" was a spectacular failure. It proved that outlawing something that a large number of people want (in this case alcohol) merely drives it underground and creates a highly lucrative black market industry for murderous gangs. America now has some of the toughest anti-drug laws in the world - but hard drugs are easy to come by in schools and on street corners in every major city. Billions of dollars are spent every year on tackling the health, social and criminal fall-out of drug abuse but a relatively paltry sum is dedicated to education, prevention and treatment.
Whilst the criminalisation of hard drugs doesn't stop them being readily available and widely used, it does expose users to lethal "dirty" substances doctored by unscrupulous dealers. And it deters addicts from seeking help and treatment for fear of arrest. It seems the only people who are really benefiting from the current anti-drug war are the mega-rich drug barons.
The idea of relaxing drug laws, legalising certain drugs and regulating their distribution and use aren't the best vote winners. But perhaps it's time for a more open and honest public debate on this issue. In both financial and social terms, the prevention and treatment of addiction seems to make more sense than the costly incarceration of addicts.
This site examines the use and abuse of a wide range of substances - from cigarettes and prescription drugs to magic mushrooms and heroin. If your life has been touched by drug abuse or you have an opinion on any of the issues raised here, please contact us.
More On Drug Addiction Treatments - Medication - Detox Centers - 12 step programs - Alternative Treatments - Self Help
More on Alcohol - The effects of Alcohol - Treatment for Alocoholism
More on smoking - The effects of smoking - Passive smoking - Smoking bans - To stop smoking
More on Inhalants - The effects of inhalants
More on Cannabis - The effects of cannabis - Legalization of cannabis - the law - Medical cannabis
More on Amphetamines - The effects of amphetamines
More on Cocaine - The effects of cocaine
More on Date Rape Drugs - Protection against date rape drugs
More on Ecstacy - The effects of ecstacy - Can ecstacy kill you
More on Heroin - The effects of heroin - Treatments for heroin addiction
More on LSD - The effects of LSD - About Timothy Leary and LSD
More on Magic Mushrooms - The effects of magic mushrooms
More on Opiates - The history of opium
More on Steroids - The effects of steroids