Drug Addiction : The United States War On Drugs

930 Words Oct 26th, 2015 4 Pages
The decades-old United States war on drugs has not been successful and very cost ineffective (Madden, 2008). Today, drug addiction continues to be an important public health problem in our nation. The U.S. spends more than $700 billion dollars annually in costs related to substance abuse (National Institute on Drug Abuse [NIDA], 2015). Drug-related costs include abuse of tobacco, alcohol, illicit drugs, crime, lost work productivity, and health care (NIDA, 2015). And the costs corresponding to those whose lives are ruined or whose death is premature, are too immense to be measured. Collateral damage such as that of family members who have to endure witnessing these experiences is not just unfortunate; it is also priceless. Treatment programs for drug addiction are available, and psychosocial approaches have demonstrated to be better than no-treatment controls (Madden, 2008; Silverman, Roll, & Higgins, 2008). Unfortunately, currently available treatment programs are not effective in all individuals, and high relapse rates are typical (Silverman et al., 2008). Considering the immense impact drug addiction has on individuals as well as society, the development of a treatment program that produces long-term abstinence outcomes is of paramount importance.
The work of behavior analysts has suggested that drug addiction is an operant behavior that is shaped and maintained by interactions with environmental contingencies (Bigelow & Silverman, 1999). As such, alternative non-drug…

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