Drug addiction is an over-use of drugs that causes people to become slaves to the drugs. If an individual does not get an appropriate dose, it will make him experience painful symptoms, and it usually leads to negative effects In the society that we live in today, people have been abusing drugs more than ever.
Effects of Drug Addiction
Drug addiction causes considerable behavior changes, and it corrupts our society. Before addiction, an individual experiences tolerance, which later leads him or her to becoming an addict. This type of behavior should be studied so that we can learn ways of helping addicts to stop using the drugs.
Why Do Some People Experience a Drug Addiction?
People experience drug addiction since they believe that they are deceitful, for example, people with weight problems will subscribe to a drug such as ecstasy with an aim of losing weight. What happens when one uses this drug is that he or she is unable to come out of the behavior and then struggles with addiction problems.
Peer pressure has been noted to be among the leading causes of drug addictions. This is usually amongst people who do most of their things together and would not want to let their friends down by not trying out what their friends do.
In present day, the most popular and the most abused drug is marijuana. According to Myers (2006), marijuana, which has been grown for a long time for the purposes of its fiber, has been abused, and its leaves and flowers used as drugs. The drug produces a greater effect if it is smoked rather than eaten; it has been proven that this kind of drug gets to the brain exceptionally faster. Kids that abuse this drug are in most cases high school students. Teenagers are in a greater risk of experiencing peer pressure.
High schools are usually with more drama, and many teens turn to drugs to get away from that because they cannot cope with difficult situations. Since it is a popular drug, many want to try it out either for curiosity, or to be accepted into the crew. Teenagers that have friends doing drugs feel like they need to do drugs as well in order not to feel left out. In addition, some teens use drugs to show an image that they are the leaders. Other teens may start using drugs when they have to move away to start life afresh at different schools in order to fit in.
Marijuana has an enormous impact on the brain, and the people that consume marijuana at first are in their teens. The brain has not fully developed, and that will make a person slow, which in turn may have an impact on our next generations that will lead to a corrupt society. Everything starts from marijuana, but when the users do not get the same satisfaction from it anymore, they will turn to other drugs to fulfill their needs. However, some drug addicts just like one which makes them high and want to try another because they tend to get bored from the same drug. Marijuana is a mild hallucinogen type.
The pleasurable effects that one gets from smoking marijuana are enhanced feelings, highness, and relaxation. The adverse effects of marijuana include impaired learning, increased risk of mental disorders, and lung damage from smoke (Myers, 2006). Some people just do not have the will to either stay on one drug or try to get out of it. The usual next step would be something higher than marijuana, like ecstasy or cocaine.
Ecstasy and Cocaine
As for example from real life, there was a schoolgirl being one of the victims of drug addiction due to her need to lose weight. The girl weighed about two hundred pounds, and after a few months being on drugs, she lost over eighty pounds. Over time, her behavior changed drastically, her grades started dropping, and she began missing school, became extremely aggressive, and was always in need of money. Stimulants, the likes of caffeine and nicotine, excite neural activity and arouse body functionality. People use these substances to stay awake, lose weight, boost mood, or athletic performance (Myers, 2006).
The drugs she became addicted to and that helped her lose weight were ecstasy and cocaine. Ecstasy is a stimulant, and it causes people to lose their appetite, which makes them eat less and, hence, lose a lot of weight. While people are on ecstasy, their behavior changes dramatically, they become hyper active and tend to feel like they are having a blast. These effects make a person want to experience it over and over again, since the “high” lasts for more than four hours.
Cocaine is another stimulant known to create a rush kind of experience to the consumer. This rush result amounts to euphoria that depletes the brain’s supply of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine (Myers, 2006). Cocaine also suppresses appetite causing a person to eat less and become more addicted. When the effects go away after a short while, a person wants more. Both drugs affect the brain dramatically and cause the user to become a whole different person, in a negative way. The girl’s dreams did come true, but she also got addicted to these drugs; without any help she will not stop taking them because now she is dependent on them.
Some of the effects of drug addictions are school problems, work problems, and family problems. Many people choose drugs to maintain their daily life. Many students use drugs to perform better at school. For example, college students use Adderall, which is known to be “a college student’s best friend”. Some college students take it not knowing the side effects of this drug, and many students do not tend to realize that it damages the brain. Adderall is a type of drug that helps ADHD patients to stay focused. College students abuse this type of drug to pull all-nighters to study a day before a test or to write papers and to help them stay focused on major projects. Some students take Adderall to pay attention in class (Fish, 2005). After a while, these students become dependent on this drug because they feel like they cannot do any type of school work without it. After a while, addiction does creeps in their lives without their notice.
Work problems can be the other reason for drug addiction. Some people may work for more than forty hours a week to support their families, and due to so much work they get stressed and overfilled with anxiety. Since some cannot handle all the stress and the anxiety, they turn to drugs for help and relief. Before coming to the realization of problems that have dawned to them in more cases than not, it is too late, and people do not like their behavior change.
Some people become addicted to drugs and get into a habit of missing work more often than normal. This may lead to them losing their jobs or, in other cases, changing them, and at times they just cannot find a stable job. After the use of drugs, employees tend to become more absent from their jobs, their performance in their jobs changes negatively, and they experience significant mood swings, which cause them to get fired from work. When they lose their jobs they become stressed and use this as an excuse to use more and more drugs to make them feel better (Hanson, 2012).
Another group of people use drugs to overcome their insecurities and to make them feel socially confident with others at work. While a person is high, it leads to feeling that doing anything is as easy as a walk in the park, but that is just an illusion. After getting into so much drug abuse, another problem greater than they have experienced will emerge. For example, family problems become as just part of their lives.
First of all, kids usually repeat their parents’ mistakes. Parents do not hide their drug addictions, and since a child is exposed to those types of behavior and actions, it leads them to thinking it is okay to take drugs. Sometimes, kids feel rejected and not loved, so they turn to the world for relief. Most kids end up using drugs at an early age due to them not having the motherly and fatherly love. When those types of kids are on drugs they do not care what is going on around them. Such kids try out stronger drugs like heroin. Some people use drugs with the aim of getting rid of pain in their lives (Fish, 2005). Drugs give them a chance to temporarily feel better, and they cannot resist that high. A lot of kids, who do not receive love and attention that they crave, try to seek for that in any way possible.
Finally, many people experience drug addiction due to peer pressure and try to fit in some sort of group; others experience drug addiction trying to lose weight or due to problems in their everyday lives. Teenagers are highly endangered to become drug addicts. Because of lack of knowledge, some teens do not realize that there is no end to drug addiction, and that is why they are not scared to try it.
Many students, especially girls, may turn to drugs if they are overweight because they seek for acceptance. Others turn to drugs because of problems, stress, and anxiety in their everyday lives. Many kids search for love, and they do not receive it, so they tend to turn to drugs, which leads to drug addiction in processing. There is an explanation to drug use, but factors like the ones mentioned are most common. If we do not study these types of behavior, our society will be in jeopardy.
Drug Addiction in Healthcare
Elvis Presley, Brittany Murphy, Marilyn Monroe, Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston…What do all these people have in common apart from being famous in the film or music industry? The answer to this question is simple: drug addiction to some extent caused their deaths. But one thing is when you are overusing some medical substances, and you are a star from the fame avenue, and the other thing is when you are working in healthcare and you are being caught red-handed while using drugs.
What do we generally understand by a phrase drug addiction? It means “to have a continuing desire for drugs based on psychic or physical need” (Goldberg, 2010). In reality, it is much more complicated than this plain definition. Drug addiction is actually “a kind of a chronic, relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual. How does this “illness” develop? The thing is that drugs contain the chemicals that tap into the brain’s communication system and disrupt the way nerve cells normally to send, receive and process the information. Two main ways in which drugs cause the disruption are: (1) by imitating brain’s natural chemical messages and (2) by over-stimulating the “reward circuit” of the brain (Goldberg, 2010). So, now it is clear that quitting drugs may be not as easy as it sounds in all these slogans around us. And the inability of a person to do this in the first place is not connected to the lack of his or her willpower or moral principles. Drugs change the brain of an abuser and make a treatment complicated to accomplish.
Why some doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers start to imclude into drugs
Now, when we have figured out how this “disease” develops, we are going to discover why some doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers start to indulge into drugs. As a famous TV character Dr. Gregory House, an excellent diagnostician and Vicodin addict, once said that, “Pills let me do my job and they take away my pain” (House, 2008). It may sound as an excuse, but when it comes to understanding the person living in the constant pain endurance, who are we to judge? Another thing is the fact that this drug addict is a doctor. How does this happen? How do health care providers turn into addicted self-destructors themselves? Can this process of falling into addiction of being reversed? Another thing of a major concern here is that the essential information on health from the time TV shows is easily remembered by the audience. So what do the viewers learn from Dr. House? They come to know that Vicodin is not such a scary drug, as real doctors may state, and that it has no substantial detrimental effects on our health. Another Dr. House, not a TV show character, but a real physician, accentuates in his article on the fact that Vicodin causes the development of a rapidly progressive hearing loss, which leads to the permanent total deafness. He provides an example, a story of his patient, Shannon, who had been prescribed Vicodin for a back trauma by her first doctor. The doctor she was meeting went on giving more Vicodin for a term of more than a year. Finally, the patient was eating 40-50 Vicodin tablets daily. As she described it, she started from never eating any tablets to being a full addict. Moreover, after some period of time she had lost her hearing ability and felt completely isolated (House, 2008). The story of this woman encouraged House MD producers to accentuate on terrific consequences of the drug abuse in one of the subsequent episodes. But did this action help to eradicate the problems to the full? No. Doctors and nurses being indulged into drugs continue to do it.
The current trend in drug addiction among workers of a medical industry
The current trend has not changed sufficiently during the last decade. The cases of abuse, drug stealing, forging prescriptions and testing positive on drug screens, as well as coming to work impaired, are very frequent among nurses in the hospitals of the US and Great Britain. Morphine, Demerol, hydrocodone, phenobarbital and various kinds of benzodiazepines are being stolen by them in large amounts from hospitals. There are numerous cases involving medical workers being tested positive for illegal street drugs like cocaine and marijuana. Narcotic prescriptions from several physicians are not a one-time thing among healthcare providers. Generally, illegally obtaining the narcotic prescriptions is being done through (a) stealing prescription, (b) forging physician’s name and (c) stealing medications. Thus, if this situation will not change sufficiently over the next couple of years, a proper patient care will remain in jeopardy (Leonard, 2008). The irony of the situation lies in the fact that healthcare providers, who are responsible for relieving pain and treating illnesses, are placing their own patients in danger. “In one case, an anesthesiologist in Pennsylvania admitted he stole patient anesthetics, thus subjecting patients to agonizing pain on the operating table. These thefts fed his drug addiction. He pled guilty for felony charges of acquiring drugs under false pretenses, to theft of drugs and burglary, and to 16 counts of assault for his role in operations on 12 patients” (Colling, 2001).
“It is well known among healthcare security administrators that a great number of employees in healthcare facilities have purposely selected the facility with the intent of diverting drugs. The ease with which doctors and nurses can obtain drugs contributes significantly to the problem. In fact, today’s healthcare facilities are a major source of the nation’s drug traffic involving legally manufactured drugs. This is especially a problem in the area of barbiturates and amphetamines” (Colling, 2001).
Judging from the above mentioned facts, it is obvious that healthcare professionals have the substance abuse problems. So, why is it still difficult to imagine that we are treated by possibly affected individuals? The answer is simple: doctors and nurses are good at hiding their problems. In addition to that, they are shielded by their colleagues and co-workers so that we may never know what kind of a healthcare provider we are trusting to the full extent.
Another well-known fact is that substance abuse problems are more frequent with healthcare providers in comparison with a general population of abuse cases. This is preconditioned by: (1) a higher work-related stress, (2) an increased access to controlled substances and (3) the better knowledge of drug effects (Peck, 2009).
“Physicians enjoy the image of ultra-respectability and professional self-assurance. They are accorded to high level of trust and exercise unusual power of professional dominance over the patients. Not everyone agrees that such trust is warranted. One professor of medicine suggested that doctors should be no more trusted than used-car salespeople” (Friedrichs, 2010). If to take into account the possibility of doctor being on drugs during a medical procedure or even operation, or a nurse being on drugs while doing an injection, the feeling of insecurity and mistrust is mounting. Doctors and nurses being the drug addicts and continuing practicing are to be held responsible for a medical crime. But in order for a health care provider to be held responsible, the crime commitment itself should be proven. And this is rarely the case.
One more aspect of drug addiction in the sphere of health care is to be uncovered. According to the medical law is that “nurses have an ethical responsibility to recognize substance abuse” (Butts, 2005). That is totally clear. But how this nurse is going to accuse someone of committing a crime, if she is guilty of the similar illegal activity? It feels unethical and unlawful, even shocking, but this is our everyday reality.
Is drug addiction something, for what a kind of penalty or other form of punishment should be inflicted?
That is a question worth consideration from a legal point of view. But most people are inclined to believe that if there is an addiction, there is no crime. A person indulged in drugs, is not necessarily a violent offender of law. It is on the contrary – he/she needs help, and, in most cases, he/she doesn’t even realize this. “Addiction should never be treated as a crime. It has to be treated as a health problem” (Lundy, 2009).
A belief that if it is a pill, it is safe has been outdated. Even the medications that don’t have some evident side effects may cause an addiction. But no drug addiction is so harmful as its side effects. Psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, malnutrition and sleep deprivation are only few ones of the possible consequences of any drug indulgence. The good news is that an addiction treatment is as successful as every chronic disorder treatment, such as asthma, diabetes and hypertension. The most important thing in it is that “scare tactics” alone is not a way out (Henson, Venturelli, Fleckenstein, 2012).
Drug abuse risks even among medical sphere workers are enhanced because of an abundant choice, a greater accessibility and more misinformation about drugs. The only thing people can do to protect themselves is to be aware of the consequences, possess the up-to-date information about new drugs. So do not hesitate to ask if something is unknown. The resistance to stereotypes about drug abusers is to be developed. The judgmental attitude about addicts is to be eliminated (Falkowski, 2006). And the last one, but not the least: the recognition of abuse symptoms is a life saver. Even if a person behaves normally outside doesn’t mean that he/she is not a drug addict.
Drug addiction in the sphere of healthcare is not a rare thing. It happens every day, with the individuals which you would never have suspected of doing such things, in the places where most of people seek cure. Meanwhile, the addicts search for an inexhaustible source of drugs. The important thing to remember is that even doctors and nurses are human beings, who give a way to temptation. And although they are very often responsible for human lives, they sometimes can’t gain control of their own lives. Drug addiction, as any kind of addiction, is a curable disease. An important factor on the way to recovery is the acknowledgement of this problem’s existence. All the rest depends on a strong effort and desire to recover.