On July 23, singer/songwriter, Amy Winehouse lost her battle with drug addiction at the tender age of 27. Her death proved that no matter how rich, poor, or successful a person is an addiction to drugs can destroy lives.
When somebody is addicted to a drug, the ability to quit is not at all simple or easy. Drug addiction is not a case of the user simply being self-indulgent. Nor is it a case of “if they wanted to quit, they would.” It is not that simple because of the changes that occur in the brain, and the body of the addicted person.
When someone has abused drugs, the drugs are stored in the fat tissues of the body and are released into the person’s blood stream even years afterwards. This sustains a certain level of addiction and initiates cravings.
Although all drugs have different effects on the mind, the types of drugs people become addicted to have one thing in common – they can all alter a person’s perception.
Most people become addicted to drugs because they release “feel-good” chemicals in the brain. These chemicals are similar to those that are naturally released by our brain as good things happen in our lives.
There are receptors in our brain that are known as reward censors. Drugs generally become addictive because these censors reward the user every time a drug is consumed. The drug becomes the users greatest source of pleasure, and eventually their only source.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, approximately 570,000 people die annually due to drug use: 440,000 from diseases related to tobacco, 85,000 due to alcohol, 20,000 due to illicit (illegal) drugs, and 20,000 due to prescription drug abuse.
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2006, 8.0% of youths in the United States (that's more than 2 million) between the ages of 12 and 17 met diagnostic criteria for abuse or dependence (addiction) on illicit drugs or alcohol. Of these only, 181,000 received treatment at a specialty facility. That is only about 8.7 percent of the youth who needed treatment.
It is important that we as a society address the problem of drug addiction instead of glorifying it or simply ignoring it. For more information about drug addiction please visit drugabuse.gov.
Source: nsduhweb.rti.org, nida.nih.gov
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