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The Tipping Point In The War On Drugs

1411 words - 6 pages

Two other major factors that influence the risk for addiction are general and social environment and developmental course (DrugFacts: Understanding drug abuse and addiction, 2012). Substance addiction, which includes drug addiction, has been identified as developmental disorder that has the greatest likelihood of onset during childhood and adolescence (Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of addiction, 2010).
An environmental and developmental factor that plays a large in initial and continued drugs use is stress, especially negative stress or distress. In addition, psychological or physiological stress any point in the addiction cycle appear to be detrimental to the course of the ...view middle of the document...

109 ). In the studies, factors such as race, gender, socioeconomic status, prior drug abuse, and family history of abuse and mental illness were controlled and accounted for.
Intense emotional distress is also associated with the loss of impulse control, the inability to inhibit behavior, and the inability to delay gratification. Neurobiological data supports this association with evidence showing that stress impairs catecholamine modulation of prefrontal circuits, which subsequently impairs self-control and other executive functions. In addition, growing evidence further supports the role of stress in abuse by showing that adolescent populations at risk for substance abuse who have also experience several adverse life events such as the loss of a home to natural disaster are more likely to show decreased emotional, behavioral, and self-control (Sinha, 2009, p.115).
Thus, a large contributing factor of substance abuse and addiction can be concluded to be environmental and developmental stress. From the study over Rastafarian communities, the inference can be made the manner in which substances are handled also has large impact on whether a substance like marijuana is a productive tool or detrimental towards society and individual health. Although, biological propensity towards drugs, genes, evolutionary history, and environmental stress are all factors beyond direct control, something that is controllable is the availability of drugs and the methods of dealing with stress. As demonstrated above, complete drug abstinence and “just saying no” is in large ineffective. Our legal system may be able to control substances such as cocaine. However, legal laws and policies are probably beyond effectively prohibiting behavioral addictions, which are newly recognized by DSM-5 with gambling addiction, or ordinary behaviors like running that under correct circumstances are proven to result in an intense endorphin euphoria known as runner’s high.
Therefore, the other remaining course of action is stress control. Although ideal, it is impossible to have a world without distress. However, how individuals perceive and respond to negative stress is something can be learned. People can learn to adaptively moderate their behaviors and create psychological resiliency. In additional, the developmental and correct application of social rules and specific contexts for substance use i.e., Rastafarianism in rural Jamaica suggests that humanity can live adaptively with even the dangerous drugs known as licit drugs.
New movements portrayed by media and popular culture reflect that ideas and beliefs about drugs have shifted. State level legalization of marijuana in Colorado can be interpreted to reflect major shifts in American drug policy views. On a global scale, daring strides in complete opposition to drug abstinence such as Portugal’s drug decriminalization are being made. In conclusion, in-class discussions and the evidence examined above suggest that our goal...

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