Why Do People Abuse Drugs?

Today, the problem of drugs abuse is one of the most dangerous challenges the modern society is facing. In actuality, the problem of drug addiction and drug-related problems, such as crimes, expose the society to serious threats which can undermine the stability of the existing social order. In this respect, it is worth mentioning the growing crime rates related to the drug abuse, because drug addiction is one of the major causes of violent and property crimes. At the same time, the problem of drug abuse cannot be solved if causes and factors that provoke the drugs abuse are not clearly identified. In other words, in order to solve the problem, it is necessary to identify its causes and through their elimination the problem can be solved. Consequently, it is very important to research causes of the drugs abuse and factors that provoke drug consumption and addiction. The understanding of causes and factors provoking the drugs abuse is possible on the condition of a profound research of the problem, which should be based on both quantitative and qualitative analysis. The quantitative analysis will help to identify the extent to which the problem of the drugs abuse is widely spread in the modern society, major risk groups vulnerable to the drugs abuse. At the same time, the qualitative analysis will help to identify major causes and factors that influence the development of the drugs abuse. At the same time, it is important to identify risk groups, i.e. groups of people which are particularly vulnerable to the drugs abuse. At this point, it is necessary to pay a particular attention to the population, where the drug abuse is particularly widely spread, which is the poor and non-white population, where the share of drug abuse is very high compared to the share of this population in the total population of the country. In such a way, it is obvious that the drugs abuse is a complex problem which needs an efficient solution that can be found only in the result of the detailed analysis of the problem and its causes.

In actuality, the problem of the drugs abuse can hardly be underestimated because the drugs abuse provokes a number of problems which affect not only the life of a drug addict, but also his or her social environment. Moreover, many specialists (Haden, 1997) argue that the drug abuse is not a problem of an individual but it is rather a problem of the society. In this respect, it is important to distinguish two dimensions of the problem of the drugs abuse. On the one hand, the drugs abuse may be viewed as a threat to the society because a drug addict can be potentially dangerous, especially when he or she cannot afford buying drugs. As a result, addicts are forced to commit crimes and the number of drug related crimes steadily grows. In such a context, the development of the drugs abuse naturally leads to the rise of crime rates which affect the society dramatically. The rise of the drug-related crimes undermine the stability within the society as people feel unsecure, while the state needs to increase its spending on the maintenance of law enforcement agencies and penitentiary system to prevent drug-related crimes and punish criminals.

On the other hand, the problem of the drugs abuse heavily depends on the social environment of drug addicts. In this respect, many specialists (Koob, 1997) insist that an individual cannot cope with the problem of the drugs abuse independently. Instead, a drug addict needs the assistance of relatives, friends, health care professionals as well as social workers and, what is more, the community at large. In other words, drug addicts need the assistance of the society to solve the problem of the drugs abuse. Consequently, the problem of the drugs abuse does not only affect society but it also needs the assistance of the society to get solved.

In such a context, the understanding of causes and reasons why people abuse drugs is particularly important. Basically, the study of existing researches in the field of the drugs abuse allows identifying major causes and factors that determined the development of the problem of the drugs abuse. First of all, specialists (Nestler and Malenka, 2004) single out the natural desire of individuals to escape from stressful reality and enjoy euphoria after taking drugs. At the same time, specialists (Wilbur, 1997) stress that the euphoria does not always accompany the process of taking drugs. In fact, the longer an individual takes drugs the less is the chance to experience euphoria. Instead, drug addicts grow physiologically dependent on drugs and they cannot stop taking drugs because of consistent physiological changes which cause physical sufferings when addicts stop taking drugs. At this point, it is possible to single out another reason or cause why people abuse drugs, i.e. physiological addiction to drugs.

Furthermore, many specialists (Haden, 1997) stress the negative impact of the environment of drug addicts. To put it more precisely, they argue that a negative social environment, where the drug consumption is a norm or where the drug consumption is widely-spread, can lead to the development of drug addiction in an individual. At this point, it is possible to refer to researches which prove the fact that drug addicts living in the environment, where other people take drugs regularly or where drugs are easily available, are not just more vulnerable to the drugs abuse, but they can face serious difficulties, when they attempt to stop taking drugs. In fact, in such environment, drug addicts cannot recover from their addiction and, even if they stop taking drugs for a short period of time, they renew taking drugs in the course of time.

On the other hand, there is a different view on the problem of the drug addiction and drugs abuse, which is contrasting to the view, according to which the drug consumption and abuse are determined by social factors. In fact, some specialists believe that the problem of the drug addiction and drug abuse is an inherited problem (Leavitt, 2003). However, at this point, it is important to precise that heredity does not necessarily mean that people will become drug addicts because of their heredity or genes. In fact, heredity rather increases the risk of the development of the drug addiction, making people more vulnerable to the development of this problem, when they are put in the specific environment where they can get drugs and take them regularly.

At the same time, the analysis of the existing literature does not provide the full understanding of the problem of the development of the drugs abuse and its causes. In order to obtain reliable results, it is necessary to conduct an independent research based on the qualitative and quantitative analysis. In actuality, it is very important to combine qualitative and quantitative methods of the analysis because they complement each other and provide ample opportunities to analyze the problem of the drugs abuse in complex, i.e. from different angles and taking into consideration different variables, such as age, race, social status or level of income, gender, psychological inclinations and others.

Quantitative methods of the analysis may include the analysis of the statistical information related to the drugs abuse. To put it more precisely, in order to understand the scope of the problem, it is possible to refer to the statistics concerning drug-related crimes. At this point, it is possible to refer to the Table 1, which reveals the basic trends concerning the drug-related arrests. In other words, this statistical information reveals the extent to which the problem of drugs abuse affects the juvenile population of different ethnic groups. With the help of this information, it is possible to identify major risk groups, which are particularly vulnerable not just to the development of drug addiction but also to its negative effects, such as drug-related crimes. In such a way, it is possible to define that the non-white population is more vulnerable to the development of this problem than whites.

In addition, it is possible to take into consideration such variables as gender. The Figures 1 and 2 show that males are more inclined to drug-related crimes as well as drugs abuse. In such a way, gender can be an important factor that influences the development of the drugs abuse. On the other hand, the understanding of such differences implies the qualitative analysis because it is necessary to understand physiological as well as psychological differences which make males more vulnerable to the development of the drugs abuse.

Furthermore, the Figure 3 will help to identify the extent to which socioeconomic factors can influence the development of the drugs abuse. In this respect, it is possible to compared different ethnic groups and the level of drug consumption in these groups and compare it to the level of poverty in these groups. As a result, it will be possible to reveal whether there is any interdependence between the poverty and the drugs abuse. In fact, numerous studies (Leavitt, 2003) show that the poverty is one of the important risk factors that can provoke the development of the drugs abuse or, at any rate, increase the risk of the drugs abuse. In fact, the population living in poverty stricken neighborhoods, including minorities, is particularly vulnerable to the drugs abuse and, simultaneously, they comprise the larger part of the poor in the total population of the country.

At the same time, the analysis of the statistical information should be verified. In this respect, it is possible to use the t-test to test the quantitative information and data obtained in terms of the research. The testing of statistical information is crucial for the reliability and validity of quantitative findings. In addition, the testing can help identify possible weaknesses and limitations of the research.

As for the qualitative methods of the analysis, it is possible to focus on the two major directions: analysis of studies and opinion of specialists, on the one hand, and the analysis of position of drug addicts, on the other. Firstly, it is possible to use interviews and questionnaires involving specialists working on the problem of the drugs abuse. Basically, it can be health care professionals, social workers, psychologists, police officers and other professionals who are regularly working with drug addicts. The opinion of specialists is very important because they are experienced in this field and have extensive knowledge of causes and reasons why people abuse drugs.

On the other hand, in order to obtain truly objective results of the qualitative analysis, it is necessary to interview and use questionnaires among people who have experienced the drugs abuse. In this respect, it is possible to focus on drug addicts or people who were arrested for the commitment of drug-related crimes. This population is particularly important for the research of the problem why people abuse drugs because these people have reached the extreme point in their addiction. To put it more precisely, people commit drug-related crimes when they are either intoxicated or when they need drugs badly. Consequently, these people are accustomed to the drugs abuse and it is hardly possible to find a better population to learn reasons and causes of the development of drug addiction and to understand why people abuse drugs.

While conducting interviews and questionnaires, it is important to focus on anonymity of the research. Otherwise, the subjects will not provide researchers with accurate and reliable results of the study. Instead, the subjects are likely to conceal the truth that will undermine the reliability of the entire study. In contrast, anonymity increases the confidence of the subjects in their own security and they can be certain that the information they provide in the course of interviews and questionnaires will not harm them.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the problem of the drugs abuse exists and it needs to be solved. However, in order to solve this problem, it is necessary to conduct an extensive research of the problem to understand its essence and major factors and reasons which make people abusing drugs. To meet this goal, it is necessary to apply both qualitative and quantitative methods of the analysis which complement each other and provide researchers with reliable and valid results of the study. At the same time, it is possible to use existing researches to get the general information on the problem which is being studied. Finally, it is important to involve drug addicts in the study to obtain information from the primary sources.

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