Drugs: The Basics, Misconceptions, and Resources

Drugs:  The Basics, Misconceptions, and Resources

According to Addiction: A Behavioral Economic Perspective, by Shahram Heshmat, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Springfield, individuals use drugs for seven various reasons.  Genetics mixed with social environment, such as children growing up with parents that use and abuse drugs.  Cultural practices at institutions, for example, students at a school campus where there is a strong use of drugs.  Money is another key factor.  Inexpensive or free access to drugs makes the drug more tempting.  Personality traits also play a factor, specifically individuals that do not delay gratification.  Self-medication is common for those that wish to escape negative emotions, anxiety, and do not choose to acquire coping tools.  Loneliness and lack of socializing is another reason for drug use.  Ultimately, addictions are created over time and repeated indulgences.

Drug use is not liberating, it is not an expression of freedom, it is not living.  Taking drugs damages your physical, mental, and social health.  Most drugs stimulate the brain’s pleasure and reward system.  This fools the brain into thinking it is a good thing.  Marijuana damages the lungs, affects brain development in young people, causes depression, and affects reaction time when driving.  There is also an opportunity cost to drugs, spending money on drugs means that you are not spending money better on yourself or helping others.

Drugs fool the brain, so they are a big business opportunity, as some companies, celebrities, and others want to legalize them and make money off selling drugs. Please share this information on your social networking sites, link to your own blog, and encourage teachers to post resources on their webpages.  Also, encourage celebrities, athletes, companies, ministers, and politicians to join the campaign.  As Professor Barrie Gunter, University of Leicester, examined, celebrities, athletes, politicians, and other elites have social capital.  This social capital, or special influence, makes celebrities and others role models.  Movie stars, politicians, and others have a long tradition of promoting healthy and unhealthy health practices.  Gunter noted in his evidence-based research, "[c]hildren and teenagers can be especially susceptible to role model influences as they pass through stages of their psychological development" (Celebrity Capital: Assessing the Value of Fame).  Consequently, it is essential to choose personal role models with healthy habits and support children in choosing role models with healthy lifestyles.

The Basics

"Taking dangerous drugs can damage your physical, mental, and social health.  Marijuana is one of the most commonly used illegal drugs.  Long-term use of marijuana can damage the lungs.  In fact, five joints  can contain as many cancer-causing chemicals as seven packs of cigarettes do.  The best way to avoid drug addiction is never to start.  Refuse to Abuse:  Planning to avoid drugs ahead of time can help you stay drug free.  Drug-Free Coping:  It is important to find drug-free ways to deal with problems.  Refusing Offers:  Friends that share your ideas about drug abuse can help you avoid drugs." (Holt)

The Misconceptions

1.  The Legalization Lobby claims that the fight against drugs cannot be won.

However, overall drug use is down by more than a third in the last twenty years, while cocaine use has dropped by an astounding 70 percent. Ninety-five percent of Americans do not use drugs. This is success by any standards.

2.  The Legalization Lobby claims that the United States has wasted billions of dollars in its anti-drug efforts.

Compared to the social costs of drug abuse and addiction—whether in taxpayer dollars or in pain and suffering—government spending on drug control is minimal.

3.  The Legalization Lobby claims legalization of drugs would be good.

Legalization has been tried before—and failed miserably. Alaska’s experiment with Legalization in the 1970s led to the state’s teens using marijuana at more than twice the rate of other youths nationally. This led Alaska’s residents to vote to re-criminalize marijuana in 1990.

4.  The Legalization Lobby claims that the “European Model” of the drug problem is successful.

However, since legalization of marijuana in Holland, heroin addiction levels have tripled. And Needle Park seems like a poor model for America.

5.  The Legalization Lobby claims that America’s prisons are filling up with users.

Truth is, only about 5 percent of inmates in federal prison are there because of simple possession. Most drug criminals are in jail—even on possession charges—because they have plea-bargained down from major trafficking offences or more violent drug crimes.

Drug use is bad to the bone.
See the world; don't escape from it with drugs.


National Crime Prevention Council
"Research shows that the main reason that kids don’t use alcohol, tobacco, or drugs is because of their parents -- because of their positive influence and because they know it would disappoint them. That’s why it is so important that parents build a strong relationship with their kids and talk to them about substance abuse -- the earlier the better!"


"NIDA supports research on drug abuse and addiction. NIDA-supported science addresses the most fundamental and essential questions about drug abuse, including tracking emerging drug use trends, understanding how drugs work in the brain, and developing and testing new drug treatment and prevention approaches."


(Drug Abuse Resistance Education)


Just Say No 

"Profiles people whose dependence on drugs and alcohol or other compulsive behavior has brought them to a point of personal crisis or estranged them from their friends and loved ones."


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Credit:  http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/ hrw.com. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/science-choice/201711/7-common-reasons-why-people-use-drugs, Unsplash.com, https://books.google.com/books?id=IzxeBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA188&lpg=PA188&dq=importance+of+celebrities+role+models+campaign+against+drugs&source=bl&ots=EHMzJ1_TDM&sig=xVmL8QS-WPleXycOWG8v8ijBH0g&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi48ujz3sHZAhWb8oMKHdJpB94Q6AEIlgEwDQ#v=onepage&q=importance%20of%20celebrities%20role%20models%20campaign%20against%20drugs&f=false

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