The problem of drug addiction affects many people in Australia, as well as the world. According to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey, 15.6% of ages 14 and older had used an illicit substance in the year 2016. This amounts to over 3.7 million Australians identified as using cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy, and amphetamines.
Despite addiction now being recognized and accepted as a chronic brain disease, there are still some misconceptions surrounding this health issue, making it difficult to dispel. This is because the people unaffected by it cannot fully comprehend what addiction is.
A vast majority of people assume that drug dependence is avoidable, that it simply is a question of willpower. This is a common fallacy. Using illicit drugs, even once, will cause a series of biological responses in the body making you just crave it more. This is the beginning of the downward spiral towards drug dependence.
Another misconception surrounding drug addiction is that it only impacts the user’s life. Most people that believe this also think drug addicts are people that make poor life choices and should be left to carry on with their bad behavior. Yet, this is also an excuse that many addicts practice to excuse their behaviour and justify their abuse of illicit substances. They could not wrap their heads around the fact that their abuse of illicit substances also affects other people, especially their loved ones.
Drug addiction is a far-reaching problem and is not solely an issue of the person using them.
The Effects of Drug Addiction on the Individual
Drug addiction has devastating consequences on the lives of the individual, family, and community. It can negatively impact a person’s health and may even lead to premature death.
Not all those afflicted by drug addiction use illegal drugs such as cocaine or ecstasy, contrary to popular belief. In fact, Australia is amid a ballooning opioid crisis. This prescription medication is to treat moderate-to-severe pain. These painkillers were once prescribed for managing pain that was short-term, terminal or cancer-related. However, pharmaceutical companies have begun to push for an opioid prescription for chronic pain. Using opioid medications does not come without risks. Prolonged use of the drug can increase tolerance and promote dependence, requiring stronger and more frequent doses to get the same effect—leading to opioid-use disorder, a form of drug addiction.
Feeding an addiction prevents the person from developing and maintaining healthy social relationships. The effects of illicit drug use are all centred in the brain This may cause them to behave unpredictably. It affects the way they think or react to situations, and it can give them a warped perception of things and influence their judgement.
The mind of a person with a drug addiction constantly gets preoccupied with the thought of their next fix. This impacts their financial situation negatively. Being constantly under the influence of illicit substances will dramatically reduce work productivity. Calling in sick will become the norm until they become non-functional at work because of intoxication. Not to mention, people with addiction will practically do anything to purchase more drugs, draining their accounts and selling their possessions.
The Effects of Drug Addiction on Society
The consequences of drug addiction extend well beyond the individual abuser. Addiction is such a devastating condition that even family and friends get caught in its snares. Close and extended family members may feel constant anxiety, anger, fear, embarrassment, and guilt… they may also cut ties with the person addicted to drugs, others would even seek legal advice for protection. These effects may continue for generations to come. Most children that grow up with parents who abuse drugs develop behavioural problems and are more likely to abuse these substances themselves. Moreover, drug addiction is linked to higher rates of violent crimes and domestic abuse.
Not only does drug addiction put a strain on the criminal justice system, but it also places enormous pressure on our national health system. Substance abuse is linked to a myriad of disease conditions and health-related problems such as HIV-AIDS, congenital defects, cardiovascular conditions, mental health disorders, drug-related criminal activities, and increased risk of motor vehicular accidents.
When drug abuse leads to crime and many health issues, it would impact both the drug abuser and every other taxpayer in the country because it would siphon law enforcement and medical resources. It is therefore beneficial to regard drug addiction as a genuine societal problem and work towards a strategy to help curb the crisis.
Although drug abuse is a product of several variables like co-occurring mental conditions, socio-economic status, educational attainment—regardless of the factors at play, the ultimate goal is a treatment program and not incarceration. Imprisonment would just mean that they’d have access to even more drugs.
Societal effects of drug addiction can be summarized as:
Drug addiction is a complex disease with far-reaching implications for those who know, deal for, or help the drug addict. Even if you don't know someone who specifically abuses drugs, you are likely to be affected in other ways, whether by taxes, paying higher insurance premiums or college tuition, and picking up hours at work.
There is Help
Drug addiction is still quite rampant in Australia. Stuck in the vise-like grip of addiction, it is difficult to escape it. The situation might be dire, and you might feel hopeless, that’s why you should not have to fight it alone. The first step is admitting you have a problem and opening up to people you trust. You will need the support of your beloved family and friends once you undergo treatment.
The program begins with detoxification. This process is best done in a facility with professionals to safely manage the symptoms of withdrawal and to keep the user as comfortable as possible while the illicit substances leave their system. At The Arden Centre, every step of your recovery is supported.
There is a wide range of modalities available, such as:
Our staff will assist you in developing a lifestyle regimen that fits your drug recovery program.
I am an energetic and committed Senior Health Care Manager with a passion for developing staff through education and mentoring.