Reducing Drug Abuse In The United States

3252 words - 13 pages

INTRODUCTION

Drug addiction is a disease of the brain. The initial decision to use drugs is voluntary, however once that decision is made, the decision to become an addict in involuntary. “Addiction affects the brain circuits involved in reward, motivation, memory and inhibitory control. When these circuits are disrupted, so is a person’s capacity to freely choose not to use drugs.” (Addiction Science: From Molecules to Managed Care) Drug addiction and/or abuse is a huge problem in our country today. In order to effectively combat this issue it is important to understand drug addiction; what it is, how it effects people and what our federal government says about it.
CLASSIFICATION
Drugs can be classified in two different ways. One way is based on their description and how they affect the brain; in this way they are classified as either stimulants or depressants. They can also be classified based on their abuse potential and their potential for physical and psychological dependence. This is known as their schedules. (Federal Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences)
Stimulants cause reactions that heighten excitement and arousal and increase alertness as well as speed up brain signals. Examples of stimulants are Amphetamine, Caffeine, and Nicotine. Depressants are also known as sedatives or tranquilizers. They decrease functional and nervous activity. Frequently, these are prescribed by doctors to relieve pain. (Hanes, 2010)
There are five different schedules that drugs can be classified by. They all have different levels of dangerousness, medical use and abuse potential. Below is a chart that will explain the five schedules and the characteristics of each. (Drug Scheduling)
Schedule Description Examples
I -No accepted medical use
-Most dangerous
-High potential for abuse
-Severe psychological and physical dependence -Heroin
-LSD
-Marijuana
-Ecstasy
II -High potential for abuse, but less than schedule I
-Severe psychological and physical dependence -Cocaine
-Methamphetamine
-Oxycodone

III -Moderate potential for abuse
-Moderate psychological and physical dependence -Vicodin
- Tylenol with codeine
-Ketamine
IV -Low abuse potential
-Low psychological and physical dependence -Xanas
-Valium
-Ativan
V -Low abuse potential
-Preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics -Robitussin

STATISTICS
In 2010, an estimated 22.6 million Americans over the age of 12 were current or former
illicit drugs users and has used within the past month of when this survey has been taken. Marijuana was the most popular substance used, with an increase from 14.4 million users in 2007 to 17.4 million users in 2010. An astounding 6 million children were living with at least one parent that suffered from addiction when this survey was done. (Drug Addiction Facts and Statistics) Below is a graph that shows the percentage of drug of choice for addicted Americans. These numbers were gathered together in 2011. (DrugFacts: Nationwide Trends) (DrugFacts:...

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