- Drugs, Alcohol and Society
What is substance abuse? Simply put, substance abuse can be defined as the excessive, or in some cases, addictive use of mood altering drugs that are used for a non-medical purpose. In other words, any drug which is used in excess, for too long and for the wrong reasons comes under substance abuse. This mainly involves prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, alcohol and harder drugs like marijuana and heroin.
In general, substance abuse refers to using illegal drugs. Using the word 'drugs' or 'drug addict' these days leaves many people with an unsettled feeling almost immediately. The reason, and rightly so, for this apathy is because of the disturbing and disparaging effects that substance abuse has over its host.
Drug addiction is not, by any means, a new concept and due to its precedent in society, people are finally able to grasp the actual meaning of what it's really like to be addicted to drugs. Like drugs, alcoholism is also a growing concern for many health specialists in the UK.
One sad example of giving in to social pressure is the death of an English singer and songwriter, Amy Winehouse a few years ago, who sang "My destructive side has grown a mile wide" in her 2003 album. Like her, there are countless people who struggle with substance abuse and are either unable or unwilling to seek addiction treatment from drug rehab services. But nobody has ever wondered why people can drink for years and not become an alcoholic, while for others just a tipple can cause them to slide toward dependency.
It is important to understand that we do not live in an environment which our bodies are physiologically adapted to. This is the reason why different people adopt different ways to modify their behavior in order to cope with their surrounding environment.
For some, having a cigarette is enough to get them through the first or the last three hours of the day. In this way, they use the cigarette as a stimulant. But for others, these effects go far beyond the physiological and into the psychological when these people look for something much more than just a way to get through the day. Although using hard drugs offers little return; it does provide them the escape which they crave.
It is agreed that drugs can cause undue damage to any society and need to be controlled. The need of drug rehab services is greater than before and the significance of addiction treatment is being felt more than ever. But there is still a need to define the thin line that differentiates substance abuse and dependence.