Are crime, gang violence and theft running rampant in your communities, well many of these result from people trying to fuel their addictions. Addiction is the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity (Google). Addiction is most commonly associated with the abuse of alcohol and or drugs. Many people believe that addiction is brought around because of drugs but that is the common misconception. Addiction’s main cause is feeling detached from people and not being able to create new connections with others. One common problem we face today is the “casting out” of all the people who suffer from addictions from our society and making them feel worse about their situation, when in-fact we should be supporting them and aiding them in their road to recovery.
The American society has been influenced negatively on their view on drugs because of the war on drugs which started in 1941 with president Ronald Reagan declaring drug abuse being a threat to our society. In the 1960s a study was conducted on rats in a solitary cage hooked up to an injection which would pass drugs into their bodies and brains, when the researchers noticed their findings they concluded that yes drugs such as cocaine, heroin, morphine and other drugs were irresistibly addicting. The war on drugs has also lead to many innocent people being sent to prison because of false accusations. Society is now making it difficult for people who do suffer from addiction to break free from it because if they are caught with any sort of illegal drug they will be thrown into jail along with having their jobs, benefits and anything else that may help them stabilize their lives taken away. They will be left to fend for themselves, alone not able to receive any kind of help thus making their situation worse since one of the most effective ways of getting rid of an addiction is creating bonds with people you may care about which in turn destroy the negative bonds with the things that were used to create some sort of relief in the addict’s life.
What I propose we do to end addiction is first redefine the common misconceptions that people may associate with addiction and stop punishing the people who fall victim to addiction. In a study conducted in 2010 by professor Bruce K. Alexander, showed that a rat placed in a barren cage with regular water and water mixed with cocaine chose to drink the cocaine water until it overdosed and died. Professor Alexander stated “the ancestors of laboratory rats in nature are highly social, sexual, and industrious creatures. Putting such a creature in solitary confinement would be the equivalent of doing the same thing to a human being” (brucekalexander.com) which shows how human beings would become if they’re put into solitary confinement. Another test was conducted in which professor Alexander created a cage full of rats, toys and other objects that provided rats with things to do and he noticed that the rats in solitary confinement had consumed a lot more of the water mixed with cocaine than the rats in “Rat Park”.
A human “experiment” that displays this type of behavior would be the Vietnam war, it showed if humans were to be put into situations in which they may be killed at any instance they will take the drugs as a way to gain some relief, and as a result when the Vietnam war had concluded many of the soldiers who had taken heroin during the war had stopped taking it when they returned to their normal lives. Many of the soldiers did not even go to rehab or suffer withdrawal which shows how being in an environment with people that care about you and having productive things to do can help people avoid and get out of addition. Connection to family, friends, even jobs can significantly decrease the chance of someone creating a bond with something that negatively affects their lives and can help addicts sever their connections with a negative addiction as well. The unfortunate outcome of Professor Alexander’s research is that it was not enough to cause people to reconsider what caused addiction.
Now with Professor Alexander’s research we as a society can reform our current society which we punish people who are victims of addiction and change it so that society can be like the “Rat Park” in professor Alexander’s experiment. We need to stop avoiding each other and embrace that being social is only part of who we naturally are. We need to provide outlets, different ways people can go out and meet others to create new healthy bonds that destroy any negative ones with drugs or any kind of addiction. Society needs to redefine its definition of addiction and its ways of dealing with people who already have an addiction, because if we continue with the way we deal with it the situation we will not get better, people will not get better. The more technological advances we continue to achieve the less personal interaction people will have with each other.
If we were to change the way society treats people with addictions we can also reduce crime, violence and other negative things that result from people trying to fuel their addictions. In the 1980’s Switzerland was facing a problem with heroin addiction, so they created a program where people could go to set up medical offices where the heroin addicts would get treated and stabilized to the point where the addicts would be able to obtain jobs and begin to become productive members of society since they did not need to use their earnings for more drug usage. If we follow Switzerland’s ideas and thoughts, we can possibly come up with a good way to aid addicts just as well as Switzerland did. Society as a whole, has a chance to undo all of the wrongs the war on drugs has caused not only for people who are addicted but also for people who may have lost their lives due to their addiction. Society is constantly changing maybe we can change it to better not only society but also ourselves.
Baum, Dan. Smoke and mirrors: the war on drugs and the politics of failure. Back Bay Books, 1997.
The book discusses how after three decades of the United states’ “war on drugs” has been a complete failure due to the countless lives lost during the three decades, and all of the money spent with very little results which have no significant impact in the supply an or demand of drugs. It also discusses how many of the laws that were set into play were many of the presidential servants making their opinions on drugs into national laws. I am using this book as background for my argument to show what laws and former legislative decisions caused the negative views on drugs. The source is reliable because the information is supported by other scholarly outlets.
Lander, Laura, et al. “The Impact of Substance Use Disorders on Families and Children: From Theory to Practice.” Social work in public health, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3725219/.
The article shows how connections to families and people the person cares about can greatly impact whether someone may be more susceptible to addiction or become less likely of falling into addiction. It also shows how if a child is exposed to someone with addiction at a young age they are more likely to become addicts themselves. I’m using it to support my argument, and it is credible because it is a scholarly article reviewed by professors.
Admin52. “Rat Park.” Addiction: The View from Rat Park (2010), www.brucekalexander.com/articles-speeches/rat-park/148-addiction-the-view-from-rat-park.
In the article Professor Bruce K. Alexander and his team of fellow professors from Simon Fraser University conduct a new experiment in which they observed the rat’s overall consumption of drugged water vs. natural water in an environment which provided the rats with other rats, toys, tunnels and sex. They then compared those statistics to the ones they had obtained from also observing another rat’s consumption of drugged water vs. natural water but in a solitary cage.
Robinson, Terry E., and Kent C. Berridge. “The psychology and neurobiology of addiction: an incentive–sensitization view.” Addiction, Carfax Publishing, part of the Taylor & Francis Group, 3 May 2002, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1360-0443.95.8s2.19.x/full.
The article discusses how there are many different factors in which things that can actually influence people to become addicts. I use it to help readers understand how people can create negative bonds with things that provide relief.
watoday.com.au. “Swiss recipe for dealing with drug addiction proves a success.” The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 June 2013, www.smh.com.au/comment/swiss-recipe-for-dealing-with-drug-addiction-proves-a-success-20130622-2opcj.html.
In this news article the author presents how the government of Switzerland had dealt with heroin abuse among its population. Switzerland dealt with the mass heroin abuse by creating treatment centers where addicts can go to seek treatment and betterment which resulted in a high drop in crime. I use this article to help display an idea of a possible solution, and it is credible because many of the things stated in the article were accurate.