Facing everyday problemsin these recent years many people turn to drugs as an escape from the existance they hold. Drug use has rapidly increased in the last twenty years and has become a national crises. More people are experementing with different drugs at a younger age. Due to the rapid increase in drug abuse our government has looked to rehab as an alternative to jail.
When a person thinks of a drug abuser one usually pictures a person that looks like thay had just jumped out of a garbage bin. What most people do not realize is that most drug offenders are the people one spends a lot of time with. Everyday humans are abusing drugs without anyone recognizing their illness (Phillips 22). Many symptoms of drug abuse are easily recognisable. Weight loss or malnutrition are the most common, resulting when the drug abuser uses their money to pay for drugs rather than food. Exhaustion is associated with the end f a recent drug binge. Fever is caused when a stimulant or a hallucinogen increases the drug users metabolic rate. A skin flush usually accompanys the fever. Gooseflesh and sweating are associated with withdrawl and rashes, dilated pupils, and a runny nose are usually correlate with any drug use (Cohen 308-309). Along with these symptoms come the various different reprocussions affiliating themselves with each different drug taken. These results range from headaches to death. With all the possible side effects one may wonder why people think drugs are worth all the trouble they are.
Most people start out doing drugs to feel good or to fit in. Early users had easy access to medicine that made them physically dependent on that drug and others used drugs as an only escape from a hopeless existance (Compton’s 275). Teenagers experiment with drugs to find out about the world thay live in for themselves, to prove their self worth, and to experience as much as possible. They want to try something daring to prove their oun fearlessness, to have fun, act older, or to be accepted (Phillips 22). In the 1950’smore people af all classes and occupations began to use mood changing drugs both legally and illegally (Compton’s 275). These drugs were used to induce sleep and relaxation. Other drugs gave the user a feeling on exileration. Whether the drug was used to help the user sleep or the get the person high, they all effect the person’s nervous system and cause an emotional change (275). People experimented with different drugs to gain the good, well-centered feeling that is associted with getting high. The problem presented with this effect is that when the drug wears off the person is left with the same problems concerning their life as when they took the drug. This causes many users to take more of the drug to further escape the harsh reality of thier life. This taking and wearing off of the drug creates in the person a psychological dependancy to the drug which causes that person to want to do anything in their ability to get the drug and make that drug a part of their life (275).
The most common drugs experimented with at the young ages of eight to fifteen are tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana. These drugs are commonly called the gateway drugs and are considered the easiest to obtain. Most young people get started taking drugs with older friends who offered the drugs to them. With their desperete attempt to fit in these adolescent teenagers will take the drug without giving any thought to the effects on the body. Drug abuse has a great impact on the growth rate of an young human being. Because the body and mind of a young person has not reached full maturity, taking drugs will inhibit the natural growth of both. The younger the person the easier it is for them to become addicted. Drug use also stops all mental growth until the drugs are stopped (Phillips 9-11). The body of a young person also builds a tolerence to drugs faster and needs more of the drug to satisfy the cravings more often (Phillips 9). Many drugs are available on today’s drug market that entice teens and young adults to use and escape from reality.
Some commonly abused drugs are: narcotics, barbiturates, stimulants, hallucinogens, and anabolic steriods (Compton’s 276-277). Narcotics are usually used in pain killers but, as in most cases, can be turned into heroin. With the use of this drug pain free people will experience lightheadedness and nausea. Other people will have the impression that all their worries are far away. These fanticies are usually followed by a stupor and then by a sever depression. Heroin is especially dangerous because, unlike other narcotics that are used for medicinal purposes, it is not subject to quality controls. The treatment of a person addicted to narcotics is rehabilitation that includes the use of a synthetic narcotic drug methadone. Though this drug is highly addictive if taken under supervision it will prevent the withdrawal syndrome caused from trying to quit a drug (Compton’s 276).
Barbiturates, commonly called “downers” are medicinally prescribed for insomnia and tension. These drugs loosen muscles and relax the mind. Though having a highly respectable medicinal use if these drugs are abused they will lead to sever depression. In this depression is is easy for the user to forget how much he or she has already taken of the drug therefore making the possibility of an overdose high. The withdrawal symptomns of these particular drugs are so sever that without medication the withdrawal causes convlusions, delirium, and even death (276). Stimulants, commonly called “uppers” or “speed” cause, in direct contrast to barbiturates, a highly sensitized sense of wakefulness and alertness. These drugs can be used medically to cope with sleeping disorders, to control a person’s appetite, and to fight depression (276).
Hallucinogens, LSD and PCP, are under the classification of mind-altering drugs. These drugs when abused cause a distortion of perceptions. This includes hallucinations, inexplainable terror, paranoia, and the feeling that the person is invincible. People who take hallucinogens hope that the hallucinations they will see will be mystical and pleasurable but there is no way of knowing what the visions will be like. When these drugs are repeatedly abused the results can include broken bones from the person thinking of themselves an invinciable to even death. These drugs cloud the users thought and make reality far away and not easily recognisable (277). Though many other drugs are used illegally these are the ones most commonly found to be abused.
After a declination of drug abuse through the 1980’s among teenagers htere was a jump. In the late 1980’s more than fourteen million Americans admitted to using illegal drugs at least once a month (277). According to Sora, “Daily use among eight graders had quadrupled since 1992” (51). Between 1992 and 1995 almost twice as many teenagers had smoked marijuana in the last twelve months. In 1995, almost half of highschool seniors had used an illegal drug at least once and twenty percent of eighth graders admitted to trying inhalants to get high. In a recent study of twelve to seventeen year olds more than half said that heroin and cocaine were easily obtainable (Sora 51-52). Many people contribute this icrease in drug abuse to a slowing of drug prevention advertisement. Between the 1980’s and the 1990’2 there was a decrease of television comercials and ads against drugs and the ones that were aired were aired when teenagers were not likely to watch.
With so many drugs being used illegally the United States declared a War on Drugs. The first federal drug-control law, initiated in 1914, was called the Harrison Narcotic Act. THis act gave the police departments the right to punish people for illegally handling opium and other related drugs. In 1937, a similar law was enacted for drug offenders of marijuana. With further realizations of the harmful effects of drugs on a human body and mind there was a Drug Abuse Control Amendment of 1965 which handed out penalties for the illegal sale, consumption, and possesion of stimulants, sedatives, and hallucinogens. This law started the race against drugs. After the Amendment of 1965 came the Narcotic Addict Rehabilation Act of 1966. This rehabilation act gave drug offenders the choice to go to a treatment center rather than jail. Institutions were started to provide a drug free atmosphere and help drug abusers overcome their illnesses (Compton’s 277). Though many people did choose to go to a rehabilation center rather than spend time in jail others decided that time in a treatment center would be harder than jail. They reasoned that by spending their time in jail that they would only have to bide their time until they were let out. Once out there was the option of going back to thier old life. In rehabilation there were rules that had to be obayed and if they were disobayed, such as bringing drugs into the center, then the person breaking the law was sent to jail. After the Rehabilation Act there was an Anit-Drug Abuse Act propossed in 1988. This act made the penalties for anabolic steroid abuse stronger. In this year there was also the Office of National Drug Control Policy created to watch over the drug problems that seemed to be only escalating (277).
With the solution to drug abuse seen as rehabilation there was a new question presented. The question on how to get people convicted of drug abuse interested in thier programs. What was found was a greater enthusiam than expected. After ordered into either residential or out-patient treatment the drug offender goes through the initial withdrawal symptoms (Woodcook). After the first terrifying part of withdrawal over the drug abuser is able to find out what it is like to be drug free again. A desire to stay abstinant is surpiisingly the main reason for success in rehabilation facilities. During the rehabilation process the drug offender will be tought all there is to know about their drug and all the alternatives to taking the drug. A helping hand to the recovery process is work. Any type of gratifying work that will keep the offender’s mind off their addiction is acceptable. Not only does this oppurtunity give the drug offender an alternative to doing drugs but it also helps the drug offenter lose contact with their drug friends, keep his or her mind off the drugs that, until then, controlled their life, and helps the drug offender make new, clean friends (Cohen 308-309). This also encourages the offender to stay clean. There are times this process does not work. In that case the drug offender is sent back to jail.