Detrimental Social Problems: Substance Abuse Essays

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Substance abuse is one of the most detrimental social problems found in all societies. It has been the leading cause for generational breakdowns of families and communities, and is probably the most controversial social problem when developing corrective solutions. Substance abuse can be defined as the chemical dependence, or pattern of usage of both legal and illegal substances, that has adverse physical, psychological, and psychomotor effects on the human body. The use of substances does not always have to be a drug, but can also be anything taken into the body that can cause a mood-altering effect, such as inhalants or solvents. Additionally, substance abuse has many different faces and is the one social problem that crosses all…show more content…
The only method to keep him from taking the drug is imprisoning him” (http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/history/negro_cocaine_fiends.htm). These words are haunting, especially when taking into consideration society’s response to crack cocaine and the African American communities in which were flooded with the drug.
It is common knowledge that America has the world’s largest population of prisoners, and in 2008, a study was completed by the Pew Charitable Trusts which indicated that half of the inmates in jail and prison are serving time for nonviolent drug charges (http://www.pewstates.org/news-room/press-releases/new-pew-study-finds-36-percent-increase-in-prison-time-served-85899394970). Since the “War on Drugs” approach about forty years ago, the criminalization of the addict has done very little to address the problem of substance abuse in society. While there is no one clear cause of substance abuse, there have been patterns identified in substance abusers, that may be the underlying factors that lead to the addiction. Some of these factors include mental health and biology.
Persons who suffer from untreated and/or undiagnosed mental illness are prone to turn to substance abuse in their attempts to self-medicate. Due to the mood-altering effects of substances, those who may experience anxiety, depression, and psychotic symptoms, tend to find temporary relief from such symptoms in their drug usage, however the adverse effects

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