Drug Alcohol Abuse Term Paper

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Drug/Alcohol Abuse

Drug and alcohol abuse has been a growing problem across the world especially in young adults. In U.S. alone, alcohol is the most often used substance. Almost 90% of adults state some experience with alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a depressant that impairs the nervous system activity. Besides, it can also affect judgment, mental state, agility, physical coordination and also concentration. It is also responsible for garbled speech and staggering gait. It can also result in lack of appropriate sexual behavior or aggression. Heavy alcohol use can lead to state of trance because of which a person is unable to react normally to his surroundings or coma. Moderate alcohol use can also impact the individual's capability to function normally at home, work or school. Besides, it can also cause law and order problems. Long-term alcohol use leads to liver damage and loss of memory. Different approaches have been demonstrated to be useful for the treatment of serious alcohol problems. These treatments constitute the Community Reinforcement Approach, Cue Exposure treatment, Project CALM and other social skills training. Cognitive behavioral therapy assists in the treatment of benzodiazepine withdrawal in people who have become addicted at the time of treatment for panic disorders. Whereas the other approaches might be helpful for treatment of benzodiazepine withdrawal, they have not been assessed scientifically in the identical manner. (Drug and Alcohol Abuse and Dependence)

II. History of the Problem:Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Drug Alcohol Abuse Assignment

The problem of drug abuse started with the use of psychoactive drugs that either change hands through cross-border illegal route or obtained legally but consumed by persons for whom they were not prescribed or in amounts higher than that recommended or for purposes other than those for which they were prescribed. Few drugs have been marked as illicit right from the moment of their discovery or synthesis. Normally, drugs have been considered as illegal when evidence for problems in their use surfaced. A lot of drugs presently considered as illegal have accepted a phase of legal popularity within the upper and middle classes. With the change in their legal status, their clientele also changed. Those drugs accorded importance for their ability to derive illicit pleasures have earlier been used to get rid of physical pain, as cough syrup, as medicine for diarrhea, as sleep pills and health improving acetonics and also as means of enhancing routine work performance, and also as treatment for dependence on other drugs. Subsequent to the First World War, in the U.S., the Harrison Act saw an important endeavor to render psychoactive drugs illegal. It ushered a reduction in their prescription by doctors leading to a decline in their use by the middle class. (the Natural History of Drug Abuse)

Drug and alcohol abuse also became concentrated in several outsider groups like musicians and minority groups. After World War -II, drug use has come to become more pervasive. It first ran among the isolated black ghettoes of the U.S. And from there to the urban middle-class college students. Thereafter, their younger siblings acquired the habit from them and next it spread to the working-class youth and rural populations. Since the period of last three decades, the leaning has been for bigger and larger groups to become involved and for the age of initiation to be lower. In a lot of regions of the world, wherein the older patterns of use by middleclass and rural populations were less forcibly censored through the use lawful means, this novel usage patterns by the urban youths has been overlaid on the conventional pattern. For example in S. America, high school and college students consume marijuana, like children in Europe and America. With the rise of illegal drug use into the middle-class youth, there has been a huge proliferation in drug research, the major portion concentrating just on this novel postwar pattern. The individuality of the new drug users is strikingly different from that of the earlier uses. In the present era, young users of illegal drugs are separate from them as regards their demographic characteristics, their family environment, and the types of people with whom they associate. Since the Second World War, young drug users have been urban, male, minority-group members especially Black and Spanish American. (the Natural History of Drug Abuse)

III. Why the problem exists according to Anomie Theory, Control Theory and Techniques of Neutralization:

The important distinction in studying the problem of abuse is to distinguish between the act and the intention, the wrong mind. The same act can be proper or improper according to the circumstances. The example is where a nurse administers heroin to a patient by the doctor's orders. Thus an act becomes improper when it is done not as defined to be proper. The deviant character of the act, it is argued, thus lies in the minds of the society that perceives it. It is also argued that control could lead to deviance from the established laws. (Taylor; Walton; Young, 139)

Obviously we can see that the use of such drugs and alcohol is partly by addiction and partly by other factors that cause in the first instance to explore such venues and then to get addicted to it. One of the important causes that are advanced by eminent theorists is the theory of strain. The classic theories of strain by Merton argues that the strain that resulted from the failure to achieve a result could act as the driving force for the individual seeking such outlets, even though they are well aware of its consequences and the individuals who pursue a variety of goals for many needs often find that they are not successful. When these ambitions are frustrated they turn to solace from external sources. (Laufer, 132) Merton explains the Anomie by stating that the inequality among people and the consequent frustrations and tension which calls a strain that could make the individual take to four ways to subdue the strain. One of the options is to immerse the thought process into something pleasant and this then is the root cause of addiction. (Dream Machine: An Explication of Merton's Social Structure and Anomie)

Durkheim coined the term anomie to include the absence of norms. The individual suffered from the absence of a moral code that regulated the will. The rapidly changing social scenario with the complex form of hierarchies leaves little room for unchanged values of morals. Morals or what is right also gets redefined. One cause of the anomie is the modernization that has had adverse effect on the human mind. This loss of moral self-governance could also be the result of a mental imbalance or illness or even the weary and tired attitude with the situation in life. The arguments advanced by Matza and Sykes in contrast is that if people believe in rules and sets of behavior then they cannot break them. But at all times people do break rules. They tend to justify their action by neutralizing the action by setting it against a 'need' or explanation that could justify their behavior. These techniques of neutralization always precede the act. Thus the addict first rationalizes the reasons why the abuse must be carried on with before the act is done, and the rationalization is precedent to the act. (Theories of Crime)

In the case of abuse of drugs, the theories of strain, neutralization and the differential association may all be observed. It could be also as a result of anomie and pathological needs. There are no clear cut and ready reasons for the deviant behavior and may vary from race culture and fro individual to individual. Much of the abuse stems from social conditions and the association the individual is forced to make in the society, broadly called Circumstances. One of the arguments is also that social control itself creates the deviant behavior. The authorities react to deviance and the first step therefore will be to stop reaction against deviance. In addressing the problems of abuse larger vision that encompasses each individual's background is necessary.

IV. Role of primary socialization agents (family, peer group, educational/school system, and mass media) to resolve or decrease the frequency and prevalence of the problem:

The gravity of taking into account the effect of substance abuse from a family context is supported by several examples. One example is the value that family plays in impacting the initiation of alcohol and other drug abuse, the amount of that use, and the selection of substances. The decision to use or refrain from using is sometimes dependent on the relationship of the user with that of the family, the coping mechanism of the family and other family member's attitude towards substance use. One more example of family impact is the extent to which the family serves as the protective layer or buffer against substance use and its harmful effect. In families where alcohol and other drugs are disapproved, family members are less inclined to use them. A third example is the effect that the abuse of alcohol and other drugs often… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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