Substance abuse and drug addiction damage lives, often irreparably. Drug addiction may be fatal for the addict. However, this attitude does not take into account how potent marijuana has become over the course of a single generation.
An Addiction Definition
The drugs used today are ever changing: New “designer” drugs hit the streets with alarming regularity. Older drugs have been “fine-tuned” to be more addictive and more potent.
The Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary definition of addiction is: a “compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance (such as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; broadly: persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be physically, psychologically, or socially harmful.”
As the medical definition makes clear, a drug addiction is as much a physical need as a mental one. Will power alone is rarely sufficient to overcome a drug addiction. Many illicit and legal drugs produce physical changes in both the body and the brain. Substance abuse compulsions can become as overwhelming as excessive hunger and thirst.
Substance Abuse Changes Over Time
Substance abuse, and attitudes towards it, change over time. For instance, marijuana is not considered as much of a threat by today’s parents, as many of them experimented with marijuana as teens. This attitude does not take into account how potent marijuana has become over the course of a single generation. Social attitudes towards drug addiction influence how likely young adolescents will experiment with substance abuse.
The drugs used in substance abuse today are ever changing: New “designer” drugs hit the streets with alarming regularity. Older drugs have been “fine-tuned” to be more addictive and potent.
Children must be educated about substance abuse and drug addiction, but many parents are uncomfortable talking about these issues or simply lack the information they need.