Substance Abuse
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Main Purpose of the Topic and Why Substance Abuse Topic is Important
The main purpose of the substance abuse topic is to increase prevention efforts and make advancements to treatment access for substance abuse and disorders that are co-occurring. Research that was conducted in 2005 revealed that approximately 22 million Americans encountered alcohol or drug problems. 95% of this number comprised of people who do not know that they are struggling with a substance abuse problem. The other 5% are aware that they are struggling with substance abuse problem but 273,000 of them have not been successful in accessing treatment services. Substance abuse topic is important because it has a significant impact on individuals, communities, and families. The effects that come with it are increasing and have a significant contribution to costly mental, social, public, and physical health problems. Some of the problems include; crime, teenage pregnancy, child abuse, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), domestic violence, and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), homicide, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), physical fights and, suicide. A survey conducted between 2004 and 2009 by Monitoring the Future (MTF) and National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) to track values and behaviors of America’s youth reported a significant drop in methamphetamine use among 8th graders. The drop was from 2.3% to 1.6%. Another significant drop of cocaine and amphetamines use was also recorded among the 12th graders. Cocaine use had dropped from 4.4% to 3.4% in five years. Substance abuse refers to a set of concomitant conditions that are connected with the use of behavior and mind-altering substances that have negative health and behavioral outcomes. Legal, social attitudes and political responses regarding the use of alcohol and illicit drugs make substance abuse a topic one of the most difficult health issues. Also, substance abuse has been a boiling point in the system of criminal justice and the main focus of attention in discussions concerning social values. People often argue over whether substance abuse is a personal choice matter or a disease with biological and genetic foundations. In recent years, emerging issues have been noted regarding substance abuse. Most adolescents have begun abused prescription drugs. This is according to a survey that was conducted by Monitoring the Future (MTF) which revealed that most adolescents use prescription drugs Oxycodone and Paracetamol pain relievers for nonmedical use. The two major factors that have contributed to the use of these two pain relievers are the ready availability of these drugs from sources such as doctors, family medicine cabinet, and the internet and also, the belief by adolescents that prescription drugs are safer to consume than the street drugs. Apart from adolescents, military officers also suffer from substance abuse. The military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have had a major impact on military officers and their families. Some of the impacts include suicidal thoughts, family disintegration, and mental health disorders. Information provided by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) and National Survey on Drug Use and Health state that from 2004 to 2006, 7.1% of veterans suffered from substance use disorder (HealthyPeople. gov 2020).
Background of Substance Abuse and What is Being Done Currently to Counter Substance Abuse
The origin of substance abuse dates back to 500 BCE. The background research was conducted due to the curiosity about how people consume drugs particularly psychoactive substances that disrupt thought processes, feelings, behavior, perceptions through their action on the nervous system. Reasons for interaction between people of different cultures made some observers record their observations of foreign drug use practices in far-away lands. Once formal social and behavioral science was established, some of the observers embraced highly exacting and systematic standards for the observations. Patterns of drug use started to be described by anthropologists as a section of holistic studies of general ways of life. Later on, ethnography proponents started concentrating on drug use patterns and the identification of important principles for combating effects of drugs on public health. The need for correct drug use ethnography became critical as the United States started experiencing widespread drug use (Page 2019). There exist various reasons as to why people indulge themselves in drug abuse. Some of these reasons include; poor social skills, genetic predisposition to addiction or abuse, childhood traumas such as neglect, peer pressure, and lack of social support structure. Currently, the drug and substance abuse treatment field continues to create crucial strides in advancing the field of evidence-based approaches. The intensity of treatment offered to a substance abuse victim differs from adolescents to adults and is usually based on some of the traits displayed by the victim. These traits include; current and past medical conditions, readiness to change, mental health condition, environmental support for recovery, and lastly, the severity of drug involvement. A good number of adolescent drug treatment programs use an extensive treatment approach that incorporates several therapeutic strategies within their treatment service. All of these therapeutic strategies educate the victims on skills to use in resisting the triggers that are related with the victim’s drug use pattern and also how to deal with issues that lead to the inception and maintenance of substance abuse, for instance, family issues and mental health and also recognize and invest upon the strength of youth. There are thirteen principles associated with adolescent substance abuse treatment. This paper is going to discuss nine of these principles. The first principle is identifying and taking action on substance abuse as early as possible. This will help combat the negative effects that the use of the drugs and substances will have on the brain. It will also help prevent long use until the adult phase. The second principle states that adolescents do not have to necessarily get addicted to the drug and substances so that they can benefit from the treatment. The treatment ranges from problematic use to extreme addiction. The third principle states that medical visits act as suitable opportunities to inquire about the use of drugs and substances. Medical doctors such as dentists, emergency room doctors, and pediatricians can use screenings that are standardized to check if an adolescent is using substances and if an intercession has been undertaken. The fourth principle states that family or legal pressure can be a crucial influence on adolescent’s participation in treatment. This is because most adolescents are usually skeptical concerning the need for treatment thus, they rarely seek treatment services. With the intervention of family and legal bodies, treatment of drug and substance abuse offered to the adolescent can be successful. The fifth principle states that treatment should be customized depending on the individual’s needs. A comprehensive statement needs to be conducted to put into consideration factors such as peer relationships, sex, family, and community environment. The sixth principle states that treatment should not only concentrate on drug and substance abuse. This is because treatment becomes more successful when it pays attention to the whole person. The treatment offered should address social, housing, legal, and medical needs. The seventh principle states that behavioral therapies can efficiently address drug and substance use disorders. This is because they greatly contribute to boosting motivation to change by offering incentives for abstinence, finding rewarding and positive activities, and also teaching skills to deal with cravings. The eighth principle states that community and family support are critical treatment features. The evidence-based approaches that comprise of community and family members greatly contribute to supporting the substance abuse individuals and also boosts family communication. The ninth principle states that mental health conditions need to be investigated to provide efficient treatment to substance abuse individuals. Other than treating substance abuse disorder, doctors also need to focus on the treatment of other conditions such as mental health conditions because they often reoccur and can make substance abuse treatment not to be successful (Ken, Andria & Randy 2018). There also exist eight primary treatment approaches and they include; 12-step therapy, family-based approach, cognitive behavior therapy, electronic and web-based therapy, therapeutic community approach, behavior theory, motivation enhancement therapy, and lastly, pharmacotherapy (Kelly, Humphreys & Ferri 2020).
Information About Substance Abuse in Schools and in the Nation
Substance abuse among school-going youth is a crucial topic of concern because it is associated with their school success both academic wise and socially wise. School counselors are in a good position to educate, counsel, and prevent students from using and getting addicted to substance abuse. Several models such as the ASCA National Model of school counseling have boosted the advancement of competency-based programs that greatly aid students in succeeding both in life and in school. To inform school counselors, ASCA has established position statements that are associated with substance abuse. Some of the challenges that school counselors face when dealing with this substance abuse issue include; identifying students who are victims of substance abuse, working efficiently with the affected students, and establishing a curriculum that will help combat substance abuse among students. School counselors also tend to benefit from substance abuse training and the substance abuse models that put emphasis on students’ success in school and their general well-being (Edward, Mark & Dawn et al).
Despite progress being made in substantially reducing substance abuse rates in the United States, its use continues taking a large toll on individuals’ health, communities, and families countrywide. Substance abuse leads to an annual loss of $600 billion. One-fourth of AIDS cases in the United States are as a result of injecting oneself with drugs. Out of the road accidents that occur on an annual basis, more than 10% of the fatally injured drivers are reported to have tested positive for one drug. The use of amphetamines, cocaine, steroids, and MDMA (ecstasy) is associated with abnormal functioning of the cardiovascular system because they lead to abnormal heart rate and even heart attack. Most of the people arrested in the United States due to reasons such as assault, theft, or homicide are recorded to test positive for prohibited drugs. Substance abuse during pregnancy can result in low birth weight, premature birth, cognitive and behavioral complications, and even miscarriage (National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health 2011).
Weight Management
Weight management refers to the process of getting used to long-term lifestyle modification to ensure a healthy body weight depending on the individual’s sex, height, and age. Weight management practices comprise of intensifying physical activity levels and ensuring a healthy eating habit and diet. Weight management is important to observe because excess weight makes one obese and even puts him or her at a higher risk of getting serious health complications such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, gallstones, certain cancers, high blood pressure and even breathing problems (Kirk & Tarra 2011).

Edward, T., Mark, D., & Dawn, S. et al. Substance Use Disorders: What School Counselors Should Know. Montana State University. (2020). Substance Abuse.
Ken, C., Andria, M., & Randy, S. (2018). Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment: A Review of Evidence-Based Research: Evidence-Based Approaches to Prevention and Treatment. pp 1-32
Kelly, J., Humphreys, K., & Ferri, M. (2020). Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs for alcohol use disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
Kirk, S., & Tarra, M. (2011). Effective Weight Management Practice: A Review of the Lifestyle Intervention evidence. International Journal of Obesity.
National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health. (2011). Understanding drug abuse and addiction. NIDA InfoFacts. Bethesda, MD.
Page, J. (2019). Qualitative Methods in the Study of Psychoactive Substance Use: Origins and Contributions – Implications for Substance Use Prevention.

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