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Addiction in Today's Society - Essay Example

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Drug addiction constitutes a social problem of great importance to the contemporary American society. A large proportion of the population in the United States misuses alcohol and illicit drugs to the extent that their use causes significant health…
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Addiction in Todays Society
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Download file to see previous pages Researchers have found that adverse consequences of drug and alcohol use are most common among those who continue use in adulthood (Wisdom 24). The consequences of substance abuse and dependence are numerous and diverse, including health, cognitive, and emotional problems at the individual level as well as economic and criminal problems at the societal level (Wisdom 20). Socioeconomic Status In general, socioeconomic status (SES), usually indicated by income, occupation, and education level, has been found to be inversely related to drug and alcohol use disorders. However, some of the findings have been mixed, especially when SES is examined as an antecedent (i.e., SES in childhood or adolescence) rather than as a correlate of adult substance use disorders (Vega & Seligman, 130). Income Level According to research studies, income is inversely related to current use (past month) of any illicit drug as well as lifetime dependence (NIDA ‘Director's Report to Council’ 1). Further, researchers have found more problems from drug and alcohol use among those who are economically disadvantaged (Nichols 309; Epstein 1). In contrast, researchers have shown that alcohol consumption increases with affluence (Smart & Murray, 297), and studies with adolescents have found that drug use was higher among those with more spending money. (Maddahian et al., 65; Mills & Noyes 231). Similarly, the types of drugs used in adolescence are related to cost. Some research findings suggest that low income may have more of an impact on drug and alcohol abuse among Blacks than Whites (Jones-Webb et al. 625). For example, Jones-Webb and colleagues found that among the less affluent, Black men reported more adverse consequences from drinking alcohol than White men; however, they found that among the affluent, the problems were greater among White men than Black men (Jones-Webb 626). Educational Attainment Education level, a separate indicator of socioeconomic status, has had a more consistent inverse relationship with drug and alcohol abuse. For example, research study found that education was inversely related to drug and alcohol dependence (Crum and Anthony 41). Drug and alcohol disorders have been associated with low educational achievement among both African American and White populations (Crum and Anthony, 46-51). Analyses of NHSDA data found that African Americans who dropped out of high school were an estimated two times more likely to have injected drugs than African American adults with no history of IDU (Injective Drug Users) (Obot et al. 177). Gender As mentioned earlier, several national studies have found that males report more drug and alcohol use and dependence than females (SAMHSA 1). For example, according to 2005 DAWN data males (361.2 per 100,000) are more likely than females ((192.1 per 100,000) to report any lifetime substance abuse or dependence (SAMHSA 1). Even among substance users only, rates of lifetime dependence were higher among males than females. Not only does the prevalence of substance abuse differ by gender, but the trajectory to dependence is different for males and females men (McCabe et al 76-79). In terms of consequences, one study reported that although males report more legal problems and physical violence as a result of alcohol abuse than females, both genders suffer similar levels of occupational, academic, or household impairment due to drinking, and they experience withdrawal and medical symptoms at fairly equal levels. There also do not appear to be differences in reports on disruption to family or marriage (Lex, 121). Although very little ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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