Drug Abuse Menace in U.S Essay

Drug abuse is the misuse of either illicit or prescribed drugs to the extent of interfering with the health of the user. Drug abuse cases have increased in the society, and it is raising concern since it affects the society both economically and socially. Drug abuse is a relapsing condition that affects the individual, their family, the society and impacts on the quality of life of all its victims. World Health report recognized drug abuse as a major killer and has made over 600000 people disabled or bedridden. Drug abuse has been in existence for over two centuries, and its effects keep getting worse as more complex and harmful drugs are abused. In the USA, the commonly abused drugs are cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, heroin, amphetamine and methamphetamine.

In addition, today majority of American youth are trapped in the endless addiction, and the loss of the economic viable young people is on the rise. In fact, according to the White House department of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) about 17.4 youths have had experience with drug abuse that either resulted in direct hospitalization or rehabilitation (Segal 2014). Whatever the reasons for this menace, the impact has been enormous. Some of the leading social issues includes rising in the rate of school dropouts, breakage of marriage and rise in crimes. Sadly, there has been reluctant attitude on the part of the stakeholders to openly discuss these negative effects and seek an amicable solution.

Background and scope of the problem

Segal (2014) agrees that by 2010, the number of drug abusers in USA was 22.6 million which amounted to 8.9 % of the total population. The numbers of marijuana users rose from 5.8 million to 14.4 million in the period between 2007 and 2010. Alcohol is most abused drug and according to a research done in 2013, 1 million people between the ages of 10-20 years confirmed that they were taking alcohol. The deaths associated with drug abuse have risen by 540% over the thirty years. The amount spent on drug abuse in the country amounted to 122 billion dollars in the year 2012 (Segal 2014). The above statistics confirms that the rate of drug abuse in the current society is alarming, and its effects will cause a big damage if a remedy is not found.

In addition, there are a number of social implications when the number of addicts increases. While the effects of the drug may appear long-term and perhaps too theoretical, the ultimate effect is the loss of lives and increase in incapacitation. Today, majority of drug users lack basic access to rehabilitation centers, and the social workers approach through intimidation and coercion into these centers appears to have severely reduce the overall effectiveness of curbing this menace. Today, the American government is confronted by a worrying reality of a large population that sadly is at the edge of destruction because of excessive drug use. Singly, strategic plans on curbing drug menace may not yield much. However, must policy makers to enact stringent anti-drug policies and legislation that would lead a long-term sustainable solution.

Stakeholders in problem resolution

The major stakeholder in control of drug abuse is the government since it has a responsibility to ensure that law is maintained. According to the USA constitution, drug abuse is prohibited, and hence the government is the biggest stakeholder in terms of controlling the drug abuse. The government enforces laws that deal with drug abuse and have the power to prosecute drug addicts. They also have the responsibility of educating the public on drug abuse and ensuring the creation of drug abuse awareness. Within the government agencies, the congress and senate have the greatest responsibility to enact policies and pass legislation that curtails drug barons and drug cartels from operating within the U.S boundaries.

The United Nations office of drug abuse and crime is also responsible for ensuring that drugs zero drug abuse rates. They organize forums whereby they enlighten the public on drug abuse and its effects. They have a responsibility to propose possible strategies and laws to the government that will help in reducing drug abuse. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is the government agency that is responsible researching n drug abuse and providing remedies to the problem of drug abuse. The medical sector is also a stakeholder since they deal with the addicts and can help in advising them to stop drug abuse and propose to them good strategies on how to quit drug abuse. In addition, the white house has created ONDCP center that is tasked to keep the President and the executive on the progress made in the fight against this menace. It is, therefore, evident that drug abuse menace is a top priority of local and even international bodies. No single government or non-governmental agency can single combat this menace. It requires a multi-disciplinary approach that is anchored on shared values and goals (Segal 2014).

Ethical issues in the problem

Drug abuse in the current society is contributing to increased mortality and morbidity rates. Drug abuse affects the user's health and aggravates existing diseases since the body's immunity is reduced. For instance, a person suffering from HIV/Aids and is abusing drugs increases their chances of dying by over 20%. Drug abuse increases the expense of the abuse in two ways. Continuous abuse of drugs leads to addiction and hence the abuser cannot live without taking the drugs. The quantity of drugs taken increases with addiction and hence the expenses of the abuser will keep on increasing. Secondly, the abuse's health condition deteriorates with time, and they find themselves in a situation whereby they spend a lot of money on medication and counseling. An increased expense burdens the drug abuser and can be passed on to their relatives, and hence, in the end it becomes an expense to the society.

Upon addiction to drugs, the abuser's productivity is lowered and hence he/she cannot work at the same rate they used to work at before. This translates into reduced income or even loss of jobs. The effect is immediately felt by their families, unable to meet their financial demands. Lack of finances prompts the abuser to engage into social evils in order to get enough finances to cater for their addiction. Drug abuse, therefore, contributes to social evils such as prostitution and high crime rate. High crime rate in turn affects the business operation in the society and hence the economic activities and productivity in crippled.

Addiction to drugs leads to the children in such families not being able to access good education and medical attention. Failure to have to have good education lead to desperation in life and the children may also be dragged into drug abuse and other evil activities. Drug abuse by student's leads to poor grades and the probability of academic success is lowered. Therefore, drug abuse by one person in the society eventually affects the society and hence there is a need to address the problem.

Political climate on the issue

With the increased rate of drug abuse, the Americans feel that the government is not stretching its ability to control drug. Cross-border drugs should be prevented by the government and hence should be the first people to control drug abuse. People feel that the government is doing little to control abuse of drugs, and the victims of drug abuse are going through difficult challenges. Despite creating rules and policies against drug abuse, the government has done little in terms of follow-up of the implemented laws and policies.

Although the primary responsibility of any government is to promote personal growth in realization of goals and ambition, drug abuse should be seen as an impediment to his noble duty. While there are allegations of drugs trafficking, the laws created should provide for arresting, prosecution and punishing all offenders irrespective of the societal standing. In United States, drug abuse has been the center of heated debates and the some states allows consumption of marijuana. Certainly, this is a great threat to fight against drug abuse. While the politician may wish to appeal to electorate irrespective of the norms and national interest, there should be uniformity across the states that prohibit any hard drug use. However, there has been raising concern by Human Right Watch (HRW) that the fight against drug abuse has led to prejudice against black Americans who are allegedly targeted by police operations. Racial issues stand to be a huge challenge in the fight against drug trafficking.

Policies and program available to solve the problem

One of the available in United States includes drug anonymous groups that are incorporated rehabilitation programs that serve to offer medical and psychological assistance of addicts based on their voluntary admission. Besides, the governments of U.S together with Mexican government have jointly signed Merida Initiative into a policy that combats inter-border drugs trafficking. In addition, in 2012, the U.S sent Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control team and DEA agents into the drug-torn Honduras to undertake a program that was purposely tasked to combat drug abuse. Today, such programs remain available and should be initiated in areas colonized by the drug abuse menace (Segal 2014).


Segal, B. (2014). Perspectives on Drug Use in the United States. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.