Professor James Earhart
31 January 2016
Drugs are a cancer on the population due to the destructive natures to both individuals and social institutions. As a result, communities have broken family, dangerous work environments, high crime rates and ect. The sad truth is there appears to be no end in sight in regards to the abuse and use of drugs. Let’s take a short look at the effects of drugs in just four intuitions.
First let’s take a look in regards to the institution of the law. The law is in place to create balance and safety and certain drugs are considered illegal. However, these drugs are still used frequently. Examples of illegal drugs include: marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, hallucinogens and heroin. These of course are the 4 most popular of these drugs. Marijuana has been the center of controversy as some states have legalized it while others remain to see it as a gateway drug, which lead users to try other drugs (Mooney, Knox, Schacht, 76). Drug use and crime have a high correlation together but it has yet to be proven formally whether drug use causes crime to occur (Mooney, Knox, Schacht, 84). Regarding the drug crime correlation, the following are all crimes in regards to drugs: possession, cultivation, production and sale of control substances, public intoxication, and driving while intoxicated (Mooney, Knox, Schacht, 84). Just in 2011 a high number of offenders on either parole or probation were taking illicit drugs (Mooney, Knox, Schacht, 82).
The second institution to take a look at is the family. The family is a center point of our society. The United States have some disturbing statistics regarding the family’s suffering regarding a member’s substance use. For example, one study showed that “1 in 10 children under the age of 18 lives with a parent in need of treatment” for either drug use or alcohol use (Mooney, Knox, Schacht, 83). Other studies have shown that children in such homes are surrounded by home violence, have “higher probability of physical illness” due to car accidents, and more likely to be a victim of child abuse. (Mooney, Knox, Schacht, 83). It have even concluded that the children may face mental health issues as a result to the environment, though more likely among females.
A third institution to observe regarding drug use is the workplace. Much like the statistics regarding the family, statistics involving drug use in the workplace can be quite alarming. Consider these statistics: 2/3 illict drug users are employed, 8% of employees drink alcohol on a daily basis, and a loss of 100 billion dollars is expected to be the result of substance abuse (University of Pennsylvania, The Effects of Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace). It is believed that the 100 billion dollars are lost are resulted, more specifically, from the following: decreased productivity/efficiency, accident and safety hazards, medical claims, turnovers, and employee theft (University of Pennsylvania, The Effects of Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace).
The final institution is the health system. It is common knowledge that smoking is a hazardous hobby however that doesn’t stop 12 million current users. It is estimated that half (6 million) of those will die as a result of that habit (Mooney, Knox, Schacht, 86). On the other end, alcohol has claimed responsibility for the death of over 2 million people, which accounts for about 4 percent of the world’s population (Mooney, Knox, Schacht, 86). Drinking alcohol excessively can result in: cirrhosis of the liver, cancer, hypertension, and psychological disorders (Mooney, Knox, Schacht, 86). The saddest truth is the result of pregnant others whom engage in drinking while carrying their child. Two notable results are fetal alcohol syndrome, which is “characterized by serious mental and physical handicaps including facial deformities, growth problems, difficulty communicating, short attention spans, and hearing and vision problems” and neonatal abstinence syndrome, which is a child goes through withdrawal as consequences for the mother alcohol/drug use (Mooney, Knox, Schacht, 86).
As stated earlier, drugs are a cancer on society. Whether they are legal or not, they have been known to create a number of issues, some of which have been listed above. Though there are programs that work to reduce such statistics such as the War on Drugs, Mother Against Drunk Driving, and 12 step programs, there needs to be new ideas for the newer generation of users. Until we address this problem head on, we will continue to be haunted and plagued by this cancer. That is the sad truth.
Mooney, Linda A, Knox, David, and Schacht, Caroline. Understanding Social Problems. Stamford: Cengage Learning. 2015. Print.
University of Pennsylvania. Web. 31 January 2016