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December 18, 2014

Homework Help: com220

Posted by wendy on Wednesday, February 3, 2010 at 3:30pm.

Need some feedback or a review of a rough draft essay and full sentence outline. It may appear that I am not referencing sources, but believe me I have full reference page with 7 sources to site thus far in. I just need someone to take a look at the layout and give me some suggestions or comments before I continue.

The Truth about Drug Addiction and Treatment

Drug addiction is an epidemic that is tearing families and communities apart worldwide. “Addiction to drugs or alcohol has, in one way or another, touched every one of us. It knows no race, gender, age or socioeconomic background. It is pervasive, but it also is treatable” (National Association of Drug Court Professionals, 2009.) No matter if one believes it is a disease, or a flaw of character, addiction destroys lives, ruins health and impacts the entire community and treatment is the only answer to this epidemic.
There are many different opinions when it comes to addiction itself. A common belief is that addicts should just be able to stop taking the drugs. They just need to be more willing to change their behavior or lifestyle. Drug addiction is far more complicated than that and years of scientific research provide data that shows the complexity of drug addiction is a disease not a choice. It is a disease that impacts the brain and because of that, stopping is not simply a matter of willpower or choice. Many find this to be contradictory because the initial time a person uses drugs, it is by choice. However, there is a major difference in drug use and drug addiction. Drug addiction compromises the circuits involved in processing punishment and reward which causes the addict to compulsively seek drugs despite any threat of punishment. Overtime this causes changes in the brain and affects a person’s ability to make sound decisions and at the same time sends impulses to take the drugs or to seek that high.
Any illegal drug use, or any use of prescription or non-prescription medication use beyond what is prescribed by a medical professional, or any use of a chemical to get high, is drug abuse. One person can take and abuse drugs, yet never become addicted, while another merely has one experience and is immediately hooked. Scientists estimate that genetic factors account for between 40 and 60 percent of a person's vulnerability to addiction, including the effects of environment on gene expression and function. All drugs of abuse target the reward system in the brain and flood it with what is called dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in the regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, cognition, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. Over stimulation caused by the drugs produces euphoric effects and teaches addicts to repeat the behavior. This is one reason drug abusers become addicts and shows one major difference in an addict and an abuser.
According to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over 20 million people need but do not receive treatment for illicit drug or alcohol use. Whether one thinks of addiction as a disease or as a moral flaw, one has to agree that treatment is necessary to break the cycle. Treatment is as complicated as addiction itself in many ways.
The treatments must be tailored to the type of addiction and to the addict. People who are addicted to drugs often suffer from other problems. Those can include mental health, legal issues, social issues, family alienation or problems, other health risks. All of these problems must be looked at early on when determining the treatment path for each addict. It is not enough to just keep the addict off of the drugs; you must address all underlying causes of the addiction.
There are numerous types of treatment but the best treatments are a combination of therapies and services tailored to meet each patient’s needs. To understand treatment, one must first understand the goals of treatment. Like other chronic diseases, addiction can be managed successfully.
Like all other chronic diseases, relapse is not abnormal. Unfortunately, when relapse occurs many deem treatment a failure. This is not the case: successful treatment for addiction typically requires continual evaluation and modification as appropriate, similar to the approach taken for other chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, or even asthma.
Forced abstinence from incarceration is not treatment and doesn’t work. Abstinence alone doesn’t serve as treatment. It doesn’t serve as a treatment because drug abstinence is a goal not a treatment. Simply removing the addict’s ability to get the drug doesn’t stop or undo the damages that have been done to the brain over time. Forced abstinence will not help an addict face the underlying causes that led to the abuse or addiction and will never be able to help the addict cope with life and how to be a functional part of society.
The criminal justice system can and must play a role in drug addiction. The involvement must go far beyond just incarceration of people that commit criminal acts. It must get more involved into why the individual committed the crime and then punish accordingly. Research has demonstrated that treatment for drug addicted offenders during and after incarceration can have a significant effect on future drug use, criminal behavior, and social functioning. The case for integrating drug addiction treatment approaches with the criminal justice system is compelling. Drug court is one major step in proving how important it is that the criminal justice system be involved in integrating drug addiction and criminal justice. A drug court is defined as a special court given the responsibility to handle cases involving drug-addicted offenders through an extensive supervision and treatment program. In the drug court, all defense counsels, prosecutors, judges, law enforcement and correctional personnel, probation officers, educational and vocational experts, and treatment providers work together to force the offender to deal with his or her addiction.
Family and friends play a huge role in an addict’s life and can help or hurt an addict. Even someone with the best of intentions must be sure that they are not enabling their loved one but that they are truly helping their loved one to be successful in their treatment efforts. People become enablers because we feel sorry for our loved one, or don’t want to hurt them, or we just don’t want to face the problem head on and deal with it. It is not ok to hand them another twenty while telling yourself its just to help them eat, because the reality of it is they will use that twenty to get more drugs. Sometimes an addict has to hit what is known as rock bottom before they realize treatment is what they need. Every time you pick them up with that little bit of cash you have pulled them up a little. Intervention from a third party is usually the best way to deal with a loved one and their addiction to drugs.

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