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Drug Addiction Is a Social Problem


The problem of drug addiction is one that affects many people from all over the UK, as well as other parts of the world. However, despite addiction being a recognised brain illness and one that affects millions of individuals the world over, there are still so many misconceptions surrounding it. This is often because most unaffected people just do not understand what drug addiction is. Many view it in a very poor light because of the negative press that it gets. A large number of individuals are therefore of the opinion that drug addiction is something that only affects those who make poor choices or have no willpower. They think that drug addicts are only harming themselves and should therefore be left to get on with their bad behaviour. They fail to realise that drug addiction is much farther reaching than the affected individual. In this article, we will discuss why drug addiction is a social problem and not just an issue for the affected person.

How Drug Addiction Affects the Individual

There is no doubting that drug addiction has a devastating impact on the lives of those affected. This is an illness that can destroy lives and lead to poor health and even premature death. Nevertheless, contrary to popular belief, those affected by drug addiction do not all use illegal drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, or heroin.

The reality is that many individuals in the UK are currently affected by prescription drug addiction. Prescription medication is given to those suffering from a variety of health conditions that require strong pain medication or sedatives, and is only available from a doctor.

This medication is intended to be used only over a short period because it has the potential to cause addiction in those who use it. Nonetheless, prescription drug abuse is a widespread problem, with most people failing to understand the implications of their actions. Some will take more of the medication than advised to do so while others will take medication that has been prescribed for another person without a moment’s thought.

Whether the affected individual is addicted to illegal drugs or prescription medication, the effect on their life can be disastrous. As well as the many health problems that occur with drug addiction, there are countless other areas of the person’s life that will be negatively affected. It is difficult to maintain healthy relationships with others when drug addiction has taken hold.

Once the person is in the grip of a drug addiction, he or she will find it very difficult to think of anything else but the substance that consumes them. He or she may act in an inappropriate or unpredictable manner, which can impact on their relationship with family members, friends, and even co-workers.

Another area of their life that can be negatively affected is their financial situation. Those who spend much of their time under the influence of substances such as illegal drugs or prescription medication will find it hard to be productive at work. Sick days become commonplace and many will get to the point where they are unable to attend work due to being either intoxicated or ill as the effects of the drug wear off.

While it is easy to see how funding an illegal drug addiction would affect the finances of the individual, it is a different situation for those who are addicted to prescription medication – at least in the beginning. Here in the United Kingdom, prescription medication is available from the NHS, so patients would not be spending a huge amount of money funding their habit. However, things may change when the prescription is stopped by their doctor. If the person has developed an addiction, he or she will be forced to source the medication elsewhere, and many look online. Some will take street drugs instead and end up with a crippling addiction to a different type of drug altogether.

The Effect of Drug Addiction on Society

It may not be instantly obvious as to why drug addiction is a social problem, but it is estimated that for every one person with an addiction, a further five are negatively impacted – and it is not always those closest to the addict.

It is evident that when one member of a family is affected by drug addiction, other members of the same family are going to be affected too. Spouses, parents, children, and siblings all suffer when one member of the family has a drug addiction, but this illness can also affect entire communities and society in general. Here’s how.

  • The National Health Service has reported that in England alone, there were 8,621 hospital admissions in 2015-2016 with a primary diagnosis of drug-related mental health and behavioural disorders. This was an increase of six per cent on the previous twelve months.
  • In the same period, there were 15,074 hospital admissions with a primary diagnosis of poisoning by illicit drugs. This was also a six per cent increase on the previous twelve months.
  • In 2015, there were 2,479 drug-related deaths in England and Wales. This was an increase of ten per cent on 2014.

With that in mind, it is easy to see the impact that drug use is having on the NHS. Nevertheless, this does not tell the full story. Drug abuse is also related to violent crime and domestic abuse. The victims of these crimes also need to be treated by emergency services, and this is obviously impacting on the NHS as well. The cost of drug abuse and addiction to the NHS runs into the millions, if not billions every single year.

It is not just health services that are affected by substance misuse, though; the reality is that this is an illness that is linked to crime. Those who find themselves in the grip of addiction often resort to crime to fund their habits. Various levels of crime are committed by those desperate to get their hands on the drugs they crave. It can include burglary, muggings, theft, and even armed robbery if the person is desperate enough.

As many drugs are illegal substances, those who manufacture and supply them are instantly committing a crime, and a large chunk of police resources are dedicated to tackling the issue of drugs every single year. Substance misuse costs the police and prosecution services billions annually.

As the picture starts to become clearer, it is easy to see why drug addiction is a social problem.

Is It Easy to Overcome a Drug Addiction?

There are many in Britain who believe that those who commit crimes because of a drug addiction should not be prosecuted but should instead be treated. They believe that treatment should be offered in the first instance because sending drug addicts to prison often results in them sourcing much harder drugs while inside. Many will then re-offend when they get out of prison, making the problem to society much worse. But can drug addiction be overcome? The answer is yes – absolutely.

With the right help and support and a programme of treatment that has been designed around the needs of the individual, it is definitely possible to get drug abuse treated. Here at Addiction.org.uk, we help people to find the right programmes for their needs each and every day.

We know that there are so many options out there for those struggling with drug addiction. Moreover, it is clear that with the right treatment programme, it will be easier to say goodbye to drug abuse and addiction than most people realise.

If drug addiction is a problem for you or someone you love, contact us right now. We will provide all the information you need and can answer any queries you may have about addiction and what treatment is like.

What to Expect from Rehab Treatment

For most, a drug detox will be required before they can begin the process of rehabilitation. We often find that the idea of a drug detox is the one thing that has prevented clients from reaching out for help for so long. They are afraid of what it will be like, and many fear they will not make it through the process without returning to drug abuse.

What we can tell you is that with a supervised programme, a detox does not have to be a painful or uncomfortable experience. Yes, it will not be particularly pleasant, but medical staff can make it easier and safer. They have experience in dealing with the various symptoms that are likely to occur and know what medication and nutritional supplements can help to head off the most severe symptoms.

A detox programme usually lasts for between one and two weeks, and during this time, you will stop taking your drug of choice and then wait for the natural detox to begin. The severity of your symptoms will usually depend on several factors including your age, how long you have been using drugs, the type of drug you use, and your overall health. For most people, the first symptoms begin within a few hours of stopping the drug. Symptoms are typically mild to begin with before reaching a peak and then subsiding.

Once the detox is complete, the individual will be ready to begin his or her treatment for the psychological and emotional issues relating to their illness. Rehabilitation programmes are available from a variety of organisations across the UK, such as the NHS, private clinics, local support groups, and charities. We can help you find the right one to suit you and your circumstances.

During rehab, patients work closely with professional counsellors and therapists. There will also be doctors, psychologists, and other medical staff on hand to treat the individual. With treatments that include individual counselling, group therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, motivational interviewing, 12-step work, and family therapy, the patient will eventually be able to identify the cause of the illness and work on rebuilding his or her life. Relapse prevention is a big part of the rehabilitation programme, and patients often learn life skills that they may never have had before due to drug addiction being such a major part of their lives.

Once the rehabilitation programme has been completed, the patient will return to his or her everyday life, but most will need ongoing support to help with the transition. Aftercare, therefore, becomes a vital part of the recovery process; those who are offered this as part of their rehabilitation programme should definitely avail of it.

If you would like more information about addiction and how to overcome it, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us here at Addiction.org.uk today. The sooner you reach out for help, the sooner you can begin working on getting your life back on track and becoming a valued member of society once more.

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