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Substance Abuse Essay


Analyze specified social problems facing contemporary United States. The social problem taken into consideration in contemporary United States is substance abuse. The World Health Organisation (2014) defined substance abuse as the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances including alcohol and other illicit .Psychoactive substance use can lead to a dependence syndrome, that is to say, a cluster of behavioural, cognitive and psychological phenomena that develop after a repeated use and that typically include a strong urge to take the substance and finding difficulties in controlling its use. Substance abuse is a social canker in contemporary US. Examples of substances that are abused are marijuana, inhalants, cocaine, heroin and alcohol. People abuse these substances due to various reasons and the society in which we live has a hand in this social canker.

It is now common to see young people specially adolescents engaging and experimenting with substances such as alcohol, cocaine, morphine and tobacco in the US. Substance abuse actually affects the individuals, the society and the government of the US. Substances abuse has adversarially affected the economy of the US due to the fact that resources which could have been used to further develop the US have been channelled to controlling substance abuse and its associated problems. Many violent crimes have been linked to the mind- altering effects of substances abused. Substance abusers often commit theft to support their drug habits. In contemporary US, more than half of the economic cost of alcohol and drugs is due to crime. Most substance abusers are involved in criminal activities such as gang –rape, assault, armed robbery and these criminal activities really affect US negatively.

Another extent at which substance abuse affects the United States is the incident of diseases. Most of the abused substances have harmful health effects which downsizes the United States. Diseases attributable to substance abuse which affects the US negatively are high blood pressure, stroke, heart damage, and tetanus, HIV/AIDS, diarrhoea and cirrhosis as well as several degrees of cancers. The diseases outlined costs the US billions of dollars in treating them and the monies used in treating these diseases could have been used in other developmental sectors. From my own sociological perspective, a sociological theory is a set of ideas that provides a detailed explanation of any occurrence or happenings in the society.

Based on my perspective of sociological theory, I would say as a fact that peer pressure is one of the main causes of substance abuse in contemporary US.US is a nation where the societal power of peers really exists. In a society, everyone wants to be seen as a member of a group or class and even better still associated with a group. When this happens, those left in a group of substance abusers are left with no option than to use and abuse substances such as cocaine, alcohol and marijuana due to the fear of being left out in that particular group or class.

Pressure from peers is a major causing factor of substance abuse because a peer group is a strong agent of socialization in the society; peer groups are able to influence other individuals in the group to abuse substances because it makes them smart in class, it boosts confidence in them and other persuasive reasons which has the tendency to influence the individual to also abuse such substances.

1. World Health Organization. (2014). Substance abuse. Retrieved 11-11-14 from http://www.who.int/topics/substance abuse/en/

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