Substance to just “Say No”, they should be taught

Substance abuse is controversial topic yet many people have either personally dealt with or know someone who has. It is so common that appromently 137 billion dollars is spent in healthcare expenses yearly (DrugAbuse.org).  Substance abuse is defined by Dictonary.com as “long-term, pathological use of alcohol or drugs, characterized by daily intoxication, inability to reduce consumption and impairment in social or occupational functioning: broadly alcohol or drug addiction” (Dictionary.com). Substance abuse is very prevalent in the modern world. Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps has even battled with substance abuse. In 2014, he was arrested due to a DUI. He had an alcohol level of 0.14. This arrest led him to be suspended from the Olympics for a short period of time. He then enrolled himself in an inpatient alcohol rehab clinic. He had a speedy recovery (Promises). A discouraging amount of middle schoolers are even doing drugs. Illicit drugs are common with “5.8 percent among 8th graders, 9.4 percent among 10th graders, and 13.3 percent among 12th graders” (NIH). Children are doing drugs that not even some adults are using. 23.5 million people, ages 12 or older needed help for substance abuse issues in 2009. But only 11.2 percent got the help they so desperately needed. Substance abuse is a struggles addicts go through daily. Abusers go through good to bad in matter of seconds. They go through the emotions of love and hatred in the matter of minutes. By doing drugs and similar substances, you are digging yourself in a hole that is a very difficult pit to get out of. Drug abuse not only affects the user but their family and other loved ones; They have to witness the pain of watching their loved one hurting him or herself due to their addiction to something so small, yet so big. The solution isn’t as simple as a may sound: although it is accessible. Giving better drug education is one way to help it. Rather than teaching kids to just “Say No”, they should be taught why they are saying no. Even if they are smart enough to know why to say “No”, they should be informed about how not saying “No” could ruin their lives due to addiction. It is also important to teach kids the side effects of drug and alcohol use. This includes, “Euphoria, drowsiness, decreased anxiety, confusion, memory loss, hallucinations, excited and aggressive behavior, nausea, vomiting, unconscious, seizures, slow heart rate and breathing, lower body temperature, coma, death. Nausea, problems with breathing, greatly increased depressant effects” (DEA). Substance abuse is an unfortunately common occurrence in the modern world. Whether the substance is alcohol, tobacco, narcotics or any other addictive, it’s a serious issue that many people face.

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