Substance abuse is one of the most disheartening vices facing many regions across the globe. The rate of substance abuse has risen rapidly over the past decades, with more people succumbing to drug addiction as each year passes. Many governments are allocating huge budgetary amounts and resources in an effort to curb substance abuse through preventive measures programs and campaigns across schools and work environments. Despite such preventive efforts in drug control, the situation keeps getting worse with a shift in demographics as more teenagers and children are becoming the latest victims of drug addiction. The impact of substance abuse cannot be over-emphasized no matter what drug is being taken, with drug related deaths becoming a common outcome nowadays.
Nonetheless, substance abuse prevention campaigns have faced a tremendous challenge in implementing their mandate due to the current issue of increased drug accessibility worldwide. The ease of access of nearly all types of drugs from illegal drugs such as cocaine and heroin to prescription drugs such as tranquilizers is becoming a major concern to many people. Keeping this in mind, it is an uphill and equally problematic challenge in instigating preventive measures to help curb drug abuse. The following research paper analyses the issue of accessibility as a current trend in substance abuse prevention, highlighting the impact of this trend in the fight against drug addiction and how effectively its impact can be countered to ensure that prevention measures achieve desired outcomes.
Prevention of substance abuse background
In the past, substance abuse was considered as an engagement among people with low morals and principles, often associated to those considered being ‘low lifers’ in the society. Conversely, with time, the narrative changed as more people from better living conditions including the rich, began engaging in substance abuse mainly as a leisure activity with a need to attain a certain type of excitement (Kolodny et.al 2015). Today, the paradigm of substance abuse has completely changed as every individual is at risk of drug addiction regardless of age, gender, or social status.
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A more worrisome concern is the ease in accessing these drugs among school going children who can access and even afford the cost of drugs whether at school or at home. Statistics indicate that currently, substance abuse is a relevant matter among teenagers and young. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), approximately 5 percent of the entire world population accessed and used an illegal drug in 2010, while 0.6 percent of the world population, which equates to 27 million people, are classified as problem drug addicts (Kolodny et.al 2015). In addition to the high number of deaths associated with substance abuse, the effects of drug use have a substantial negative impact on the life of an individual and the whole society at large. The given alarming statistics are as a result of current ease in accessibility of drugs which has led to increased drug abuse and a major challenge to preventive measures.
Substance abuse prevention strategies
A review of the journal article dubbed ‘’Correlating Drug Accessibility to Drug Abuse on Staten Island’’, provides a comprehensive coverage on the issue of drug accessibility and affordability in relation to substance abuse preventive efforts. In the article, the authors’ primary focus is on the correlation between drug accessibility and drug abuse. A survey carried out in the city of New York, which has the highest number of overprescribing of prescription drugs such as painkillers; the article reveals that a large percentage of people admit that their use of the painkillers is mostly for non-medical purposes.
Additionally, results from the survey indicate the readily availability of illicit drugs such as heroine have become easily accessed and cheap among many city residents. As such, the article’s focus on accessibility of drugs as a significant contributor to drug abuse and largely affecting prevention of drug use. In cases of drug users and non users, the article reveals that both respondents identified ease of drug availability as a main issue in substance abuse prevention and abuse. In conclusion, the need to review accessibility of drugs in terms of physical monitoring and price value assessment of both illegal and legal drugs as a key step in fully implementing preventive awareness in curbing substance abuse (Compitello et.al. 2015)
Drug abuse prevention results
There is a high correlation between substance abuse and ease of accessibility of the drugs among users and non user which is a major setback in preventing drug abuse. There are numerous risks associated with substance abuse that are both intentional and accidental. Death is a high outcome of drug abuse especially among young people aged between 12 to 24 years. Moreover, substance abuse carries other imminent health and social risks that disrupt the common way of life.
Epidemiologic research studies have shown that over a short period of time, there has been a significant change in the use of drugs such as heroin, cocaine and marijuana, citing that increased availability and affordability of these illicit drugs to a higher section of the population has resulted in a nearly equal rise in the number of new drug addicts and continuous use among previous addicts (Kolodny et.al 2015). In comparison to previous years where access to drugs was limited by high costs and geographical barriers, today, it is easy to purchase different amounts of drugs with exclusive privacy. A focus on the area of Gaum, which has a population of roughly 155,000, reveals that drug abuse is a prevailing issue due to the westernization of the Guam culture. This has led to high rates of violence, mental illnesses and suicide. Given the dramatic shift in the socio-cultural structure of the Guam community as a result of substance abuse, prevent efforts have been put in place to create awareness of the diverse effects of drug use and the negative implication o such engagements to not only an individual but the entire society (Twaddle et.al, 2003).
Despite awareness on the need to abstain from drug abuse, availability of illicit substances that are easily peddled around home, work and school environments is a major setback in curbing the menace of drug addiction. Twaddle et.al (2003), highlights that many of the indigenous communities in Guam are gradually being assimilated into the western culture and imitate the abuse of drugs with is a common element in the West. As such, accessing drugs makes it easy for new users to adopt the vice thus, greatly affecting the relevance of substance abuse prevention measures.