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Alcohol and Drug Use In the United States - Research Paper Example

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The 20th century witnessed an explosion in drug and alcohol use. While alcohol use had long been an aspect of culture, increased scientific methods allowed for the development of a variety of dangerous chemical substances…
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Alcohol and Drug Use In the United States
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Download file to see previous pages While the term can refer to the use or dependency of drugs in a medical context, for the most part it has the connotation of referring to the use of alcohol, or drugs in terms of illicit or street use. This essay examines alcohol and drug use in the United States. Analysis While marijuana is the most use illicit drug in the United States, other common drugs that are abused are amphetamines, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, methaqualone, and opioids (‘Substance Abuse’ 2010, Web). Drug use in the United States has become a major challenge, as the country leads the world in substance abuse ("U.s. leads the," 2008). Today an estimated 19.1 million Americans over the age of 12 years are current users of illegal drugs. When one considers that the number of Americans with past substance abuse problems increases to 22.5 million, there is the recognition that drug use poses a major challenge to functionality. While legal measures have counteracted the problem through prohibitive measures, a major drug challenge the United States faces are design drugs. Designer drugs are drugs that are constructed in an effort to circumvent drug laws by altering the chemical structure of the drug, or by specifically developing new drugs to produce euphoric or mind altering effects in the user (Lyman & Potter 2007). With the advent of the Internet the sale of designer drugs has largely been shifted to the Internet. In great part the challenge for law enforcement is to keep pace with the newfound development of these chemically designed drugs. While law enforcement has been able to receive temporary bans on specific chemicals (this occurred during the 1980s explosion of ecstasy) it is oftentimes not enough and they must wait for the drugs to become a significantly widespread problem for public law-makers and the bureaucratic process to succeed in passing the necessary laws to prohibit their use and construction (Conners 2009). In addition to drug use, alcohol use has posed a major challenge within the United States. A staggering amount of Americans are alcohol drinkers. It’s noted that 50.9% of Americans over the age of 18 are current regular drinkers; 13.6% of Americans over the age of eighteen are infrequent drinkers ("Alcohol use," 2011). The danger of these numbers comes into focus when one recognizes that there are 15,183 alcohol related liver disease deaths per year, and 24,513 alcohol related accidents and homicides ("Alcohol use," 2011). While regular, but controlled drinking poses dangers, binge drinking is recognized as holding the greatest danger. Binge drinking is the consumption of alcoholic beverages in a very short period of time in an efficient means with the main purpose of becoming intoxicate (Lyman & Potter 2007). Binge drinking has often been associated with inexperienced underage drinkers or college drinkers in party atmospheres, but involves many demographics within the United States. For instance, there have been noted recent outbreaks and concerns of binge drinking over Smirnoff Ice called Icing; individuals present another individual with a bottle of Smirnoff Ice and according to the game they are required to chug the entire bottle. From a cultural perspective drug and alcohol use has been dealt with in a variety of ways. In terms of alcohol use, the United States has established stringent legal regulations that prohibit driving with intoxicated. While these regulations are state specific, they have ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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