Addictions and Social Connections – Term Paper

Drug and alcohol addiction is part of today’s culture. Many people have engaged in drug addiction due to various factors which include developmental, environmental and biological (Kuhar, 2012). Many people, however, perceive those who use drugs as people who do not have the willpower or moral principles and that they have the option of stopping their behavior by simply making a choice. Such people lack knowledge on how drug abuse is because it is a complex illness and takes up more than the drug user’s strong will or good intentions. They change their brains in various ways thus making them have hard times when trying to quit the act even when one is more than willing to do so. Alcohol is the most addictive substance used all over the world (Goodman, 2013). There are other drugs commonly abused as well and their include marijuana, tobacco, cocaine, and heroin. Social workers have played a huge role in the treatment of drug users and their post-intervention treatment. 

Canada marijuana legalization

There are legalized drugs and those that are considered illegal. Alcohol and tobacco are the main legalized drugs. People who use the drugs are embraced as citizens in good standing however when they cause public inebriation; they could be arrested and incarcerated for their actions (Nasr & Phillips, 2014). Alcoholism has been regarded as a social acceptance in the society, and few people are punished for indulging in alcohol. Tobacco has lost its importance of social acceptance over the recent years, and it has been restricted to indoors or designated smoking area zones in Canada. The tobacco industry has fought the restrictions but the health ministry with the public health administration have argued with the effects tobacco causes to users and passive users as well unlike alcohol. Marijuana has been illegal in most states in America. In Canada, illicit drugs are present in the high-risk population such as street youth, natives, injectors and the inner-city poor. The illegal drugs include marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. Cannabis is however preferred areas such as Canada. It is still used regularly despite it being an illegal drug as there are cartels undertaking illegal drugs trade in the nation. Its usage among adults aged 25+ has been constant from 2004 to 2015 (Leyton, 2016). The government as well as the citizens have argued that it is similar to most drugs especially the legalized ones such as alcohol. Others have argued that it even has better effects to a user than alcohol. 

In a study by Pearson Janz & Ali (2013), alcohol users were 21.6% while cannabis users were 6.8% in Canada. Alcohol has been found to be more addictive than marijuana in the nation. Many marijuana users in Canada are not regular users, and few of them become dependent on the drug. Those taking alcohol, on the other hand, become addicted to it after using it for some time and quite a number end up becoming alcohol users. Alcohol has been found to be more damaging to the body as well than marijuana. Alcohol causes liver disease among various kidney problems while cannabis is only linked to lung cancer when a user smokes it. In the society, alcoholism causes violence and reckless behavior, unlike marijuana. Most marijuana users are conscious after taking it. Hence they can realize when they are acting wrongly in public, unlike a person who has taken alcohol and does not know the acts he or she did after becoming drunk (Payne, 2014). The Canadian government has advocated for regulation and legalization of marijuana for entertaining use. The legislation is in place to allow the drug to be sold in a similar way as alcohol in various shops in Canada using different provincial alcohol control boards’ retail shops. Some of the large pharmaceutical sellers have begun applying for retail licenses to trade medical marijuana also. 

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Drug addiction treatment

Addiction is regarded as a chronic illness described with the drug use and seeking which is difficult to control, compulsive, and with detrimental consequences. Most people begin taking drugs voluntarily. They, however, make it a habit that leads to changes in the brain which make the drug user have difficulty in self-control thus interfering with his or her capability to resist acute urge to depend on the drugs (Romach, Schoedel & Sellers, 2014). When the brain changes become persistent, it leads to addiction. It has been found to be a reversing illness and it evident where people who are rehabilitated from drug use still go back to the behavior some few months or years of not taking the substances. Reverting to drug abuse is common to many previous drug users, and it should not bring a worry to families who have used a lot of finance in the rehabilitation of a loved one, but no change seems to be visible. The treatment process is an ongoing process that may take many years based on how fast the user responds to the treatment (Vaughn & Perron, 2014). The plans of the treatment, therefore, need to be reviewed as the treatment process goes on to fit the user’s changing needs.

Drug addiction effects 

In 2012, 10.1% of the Canadians had substance use disorders (Kuhar, 2012). The reward circuit of the brain is the major part likely to be affected by many drugs. The part controls a person’s power to have the desire and encourage the person to iterate behaviors required to make him or her happy such as visiting new places. When the person overstimulates the reward circuit, it makes him or her extremely pleasurable which can make a person who loves taking drugs as a form of finding satisfaction taken them persistently (Goodman,2013). The brain adapts and adjusts to the high production of dopamine when the person goes on taking the drugs by minimizing the power of the reward circuit’s cells in the response. Tolerance occurs where the high feeling one gets normally reduces compared to the feeling one has when he or she takes drugs making the person to rely on the drug to attain the same high levels of dopamine. Drug intake helps these people to focus on the other activities that made them have pleasure as the drugs offer enough comfort. 

Substance abuse makes the liver function harder which accelerates the rate at which it becomes damaged or suffers from liver failure. Drug users have abdominal pains, vomiting, and nausea (Nasr & Phillips, 2014). They also have a weak immune system which increases one’s susceptibility to contracting infections. Drug and alcohol abuse have led to stroke, seizures and brain damage as well and it leads to memory lapse, decision-making, and attention issues among the drug users. They have encountered permanent brain damage or mental confusion. Other effects include cardiovascular conditions that include heart attacks and abnormal heart rate. Those who use injections may in the long term have collapsed veins, heart valves, and blood vessels infections (Leyton, 2016). users encounter appetite fluctuations and increase of body temperatures. Some have inflamed kidneys while others encounter gastric distress and muscle wasting.