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Addiction Awareness Essay 2017 2nd Place Winner – Kady Schwartz

1. The ways in which drug and/or alcohol addiction affects society today.

Drug and/or alcohol addiction has negative consequences not only on the individual who abuses drugs but also their families and friends. The most common and obvious effects of addiction are health problems, sickness and, ultimately, death. Addiction has touched me personally, and the debilitating effects have left me reeling with depression, anxiety, and loss. In October of 2017, my boyfriend overdosed, and I was the one who found his lifeless body. The unexplainable pain and grief have left me trying to understand how many people in society are dealing with the unnecessary consequences of the opioid epidemic. The economic impact of drug abuse is also something that many people do not consider. While many people who abuse drugs are unable to attain or hold a full-time job, those who do put others at risk. This doesn’t include the financial strain that drug users put on federal, state, and local government resources. Drug abuse touches all societies and everyone needs to be aware of the risks and consequences that come with addiction. I could write an entire book about how society feels the effects of alcohol and hard drugs, but I just want everyone to know that they are in some way, shape, or form going to be part of the drug epidemic. It is important that people are properly educated on how to handle certain situations and how they can protect themselves and others from that harms of addiction.

2. What can we do to reduce these effects, help people, and lessen the burden of alcoholism on society?

It is hard to lessen the burden of alcoholism on society. People do not see drinking as a negative thing, and it doesn’t have the stigma associated with it like drug abuse. Drinking too much alcohol is just as bad as drug use. Alcoholism not only affects a person’s health but also their relationships with friends and family and work or school performance. Drinking also produces immense cost to society in terms of health care expenses, lost productivity and early death. I think it is important to implement early intervention techniques to help people and lessen the burden that society feels because of alcoholism. Start with our youth. Give young people the tools they need to say no to drinking. Go into schools and correct the misperception that everyone is drinking or that if I don’t drink I won’t fit in. Parents and teachers get involved so kids and young adults will not be afraid to talk to them about difficult subjects like alcohol. Have community activities where alcohol isn’t the focus. Many communities do not have programs that allow kids and young adults to grow up without the influence of alcohol. My generation and older need to create a safe environment for the next generation. Reduce the access that kids have to alcohol. There is no need for alcoholism to be such a burden. Adults and kids shouldn’t be dying because of alcoholism. The methods to help prevent more of an epidemic are out there someone just has to take the steps and care enough to implement them.

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