How Substance Abuse Affects Society

Growing up, my mom always felt the need to give those who suffer from homelessness or even addiction a place to live or work. It wasn’t an out of the blue, “oh I found someone on the street, they’re moving in with us”, but more that she supplied them with a job, then got to know their personality a little more. It was definitely a hit or miss most of the time, but every once in a while, we got a new roommate in our home. In all, I believe we had about 4 people throughout a span of 3 years come and live with us. I’ve seen those actually beat their addiction and move out, all the way to, those who are still addicted, leave, and steal items from our home. It wasn’t always the easiest sight growing up, but I knew it was always for the good of society and bettering the individuals that lived with us.

We’ll start with the first person my mother decided to bring home. She brought him into her computer office, and got know what type of person he was. He began working with her for a couple months, living and traveling from the mission, an endangered homeless community, and eventually my mother decided to provide him a home. In our home, we had one guest room, we allowed people to stay once in a while. She provided food and housing as long as they decided to continue working at her self employed computer shop. I could always tell when someone is either addicted to drugs or trying to battle an addiction. For me, I could always hear the rustling around in the middle of the night, or going outside for “a smoke”. I think the hardest part about the addiction is knowing that drugs cost the user almost nothing, but costs society, “close to $200 billion in healthcare, criminal justice, legal, and lost workplace production/participation costs in 2007, the Office on National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) reports.” This individual was our first house guest, and he beat all of the odds that society had set up for him. He never stole from us, he worked continuously in his provided job, and beat it. Currently, he does have a low level job currently; however, he has his own apartment, provides for himself, and can create a healthy non-addicted future for himself.

However, not all stories have a happily ever after, but providing individuals with a safe place for a short period of time can change their outlook on society. In this case, a couple certain individuals had been living on the street for a while now, and my mother knew them from the past. She provided them with a place to sleep and food, under certain conditions. She gave the options of working in her office or doing all around housework, and then they could have the back room to themselves. Throughout the time they lived with us, the signs of drugs, homelessness, and alcohol had begun to grow in my eyes. The room they were provided, began to smell, as if they have not utilized the amenities that our home provided. My mother used to tell me that drug or alcohol addiction usually starts as a young child. The data says that, “abusing drugs or alcohol before the brain is fully developed, anytime before a person’s mid-20s, may increase the risk for addiction later in life”. Which was the case, with all of the people who came and lived with us. In our situation, I wouldn’t call what my mother did, a treatment. She didn’t take their drugs, or alcohol, mainly because getting, more would be so easy, but rather she encouraged them to work or do other things to utilize their time in our home. One month later, they decided to get up and leave without any notice. Nothing was stolen, however the room was left a mess and signs of drug and alcohol addiction was clearly visible.

The last individual, had no signs of addiction in the beginning. He was a hard working, had a girlfriend, as well as, a dog. He began working in the office, with previous knowledge of computers. She thought that they just had some issues with getting off the streets. They eventually moved into the spare room, and everything seemed perfectly fine, until the signs of addictions began to show. For example, we would have individuals coming in and out of our home at late times in the night. I would begin to smell drugs and alcohol on their breath and knew the addiction didn’t just begin; however, was just starting up again. I believe that the use of marijuana, prescription drugs, and methamphetamine were being abused in our home. This led to theft, abuse to his girlfriend, and eventually jail. Denial was a main part in this individual’s life, in the aspects of drugs, but mainly about stealing money and personal items. Elite Rehab Placement says that, “Most addicts deny that their substance abuse has devolved into dependence…or realize the true extent of their substance abuse”. I do believe that rehab would be an option; however, the prices are much greater than most people can afford. As previously stated, “close to $200 billion in healthcare, criminal justice, legal, and lost workplace production/participation costs in 2007”, making rehab possible but expensive for society. No further information is known about this individual’s situation.

While beating addiction is possible as explained above, the main way to avoid the problem is talking and informing children, or even young adults about it. Mainly because, “over 90% of those with an addiction began drinking, smoking or using illicit drugs before the age of 18”, and could be caused by the abusive or addicted home they grew up in. For example, 66.6% of the people I referred to began abusing drugs as a child or young adult, or grew up in a drug abusive home. In my home town, Eugene, Oregon, drug addiction is what fills up our jails. From drunk driving to methamphetamine charges. In Eugene, “the abuse of any illicit drug is 99,000 [people], including 13,000 under the age of 18. In my eyes, overcoming the addiction is the hard part because addiction can be genetic, try it one time and you’re addicted or created with rational decisions.

Sources:

http://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/addiction-statistics/

https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/addiction-statistics/

https://www.northpointrecovery.com/blog/surprising-addiction-facts-eugene/

https://www.eliterehabplacement.com/substance-abuse/teen/#Prescription-Drugs

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