Addiction: A National Crisis

Addiction-A National Crisis-1

Table of Contents

Addiction has become an indirect and widespread national crisis that crosses cultures and geography. This poses serious problems and challenges for governments, healthcare systems, and communities. There are multiple factors which lead to the state of addiction.


Understanding the Anatomy of Drug Addiction


Addiction is a condition wherein the individual disregards the consequences which may arise from it. Addiction can be from substances like alcohol, drugs, and nicotine or non-substance things like gaming, gambling, etc.


These addictive habits or substances affect the brain, which further leads to the inability of an individual to control their impulse.


Drug misuse and addiction: Impacts at Various Levels


There are various factors in how substance addiction affects people. As per the National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019, there is a significant rise in people consuming illegal substances. Out of five people, two are observed to have used illicit drugs in their lifetime, and cocaine consumption has been highest in the last two decades. These statistics on drug misuse and addiction vary in different demographics.


This, impacts the health care systems, economy, communities, and families. Various research in neuroscience has proved how addiction affects a person’s brain. Drugs trigger dopamine, which leads a person to feel euphoria. This, over time, makes the brain get used to the substance or addictive habit, which later leads to addiction.


Drug Addiction and its impact on the economy


Addiction is affecting people who are unable to focus on work and thus unable to join the workforce. The rise in the number of people struggling with addiction in health facilities and psychiatric departments is high compared to others.


The criminal justice system is also struggling to deal with people associated with addiction and substance abuse. The lack of integrated treatment for people with severe substance use disorder and law enforcement procedures leads to crowded prisons. Also, people coming out of prison tend to go back to their old ways due to untreated addiction and lack of proper treatment in prison.


Due to all these reasons, it is taking a significant toll on the country’s economy.


Social Consequences Prevailing to Substance Use Disorder


Addiction has a significant effect on the condition of the individual. The overall state of well-being is seriously affected due to addiction. This affects relationships among peers, family, and even in relationships. The person who is addicted goes through a hard time resisting the craving, finding it hard to get away from the cycle of relapse.


Within families, if a family member is addicted, it affects other members of the family, especially if there are children in that family. Children who have had a difficult upbringing because their family members are going through substance abuse will have a lasting impact on their development and future well-being.


Impact on Health care systems: A National Issue


Rising addiction and lack of physical and mental health help support take a toll on the nation. Addiction treatment support system facilities are less compared to the rising number of people with severe substance use disorder. Also, healthcare costs are high for people dealing with addiction and mental health problems related to substance disorders.


There are fewer facilities in prison for convicted drug addicts. Even after their prison sentence, it is a shame for the condemned to seek help because of the stigma that is associated with ex-convicted individuals. Due to this reason, people with substance use disorder tend to go back to their old routine due to undiagnosed addiction and environmental factors.


Public view on more people becoming addicted to Drugs


Addiction has been stigmatized among the public people. The fact is that it is viewed as something immoral or criminal. Research says that addiction has a much worse effect on an individual’s life compared to any other disease. This is due to a misconception and lack of understanding of the complex nature of addiction. Also, due to a lack of knowledge and awareness, discrimination and poverty can amplify the vulnerabilities of certain people with addiction.


People struggling with addiction are often prejudiced. This also extends to the person’s family member who has to experience the blame and shame from society. This prevents the person from getting help from support services to overcome addiction.


Legal Issues and Substance Use Disorder


The criminal justice system finds itself tangled in the consequences stemming from substance abuse. Individuals caught with substance-related offenses are sent to correction facilities without necessary treatment. An integrated treatment program is not provided, and individuals are imprisoned without understanding the root cause.


This leads to overcrowded prisons with untreated addicts within the facility. When they come out of imprisonment, they return to their old habits due to social and personal issues.

Addiction-A National Crisis
Science of Addiction and Way Towards Treatment and Recovery


Addressing this important crisis is important. Therefore, a comprehensive approach has to be taken, which includes prevention methods, treatment and recovery. Combining these will help to provide the individual with an effective treatment.


Addiction treatment should start with seeking treatment from a good, licensed alcohol and drug counsellor or an addiction psychiatrist. The treatment options and follow-ups change with the type of disorder the patient is going through. The treatment plan may include physiotherapy for behavioural addiction, or it may be a medicine-assisted treatment for withdrawal symptoms. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has multiple support services and treatment programs for various types of addiction.


The state of addiction is a condition wherein the individual with addiction requires a great amount of help and support from family and peers for the process of recovering from addiction.


There are various prevention programs for prevention. They are as follows:

  1. Prevention programs involving families, schools, and communities can equip individuals with the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions regarding drug use. Early education can play an important role in ensuring that use and addiction are preventable to an extent.
  2. Early intervention programs can help recognize the signs of substance misuse and provide proper support can reduce the development of a full-blown substance use disorder.
  3. Creating supportive and drug-free environments is essential in lowering the overall risk of drug use and addiction.

In conclusion, to address addiction as a national crisis, one needs to understand the physical, sociocultural, and psychological aspects to tackle this issue. Prevention has to be the priority, with a collective effort from the individual and society to mitigate the risk factor. Also, getting rid of the stigma and providing help to people in need will give significant help for healing from substance abuse.


Yes, addiction can impact the wiring of the brain. The brain goes through changes when exposed to addictive substances for a long period.

Addiction cannot be considered a mortal sin but is a disorder that a trained professional can treat for de-addiction assistance.

No, addiction and dependence are used in the same concept, but they have different meanings. Addiction is a chronic complex disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, regardless of its negative consequences, thus altering the brain chemistry. Compulsion is a psychological state where the body has adapted to the presence of a substance; withdrawal symptoms occur when the substance is reduced or stopped.

Contributing Editor

Troy Wakelin – Co-Founder and Contributing Editor

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