A Reflective Piece on the Impact of Drugs in Society, Ireland & Globally, and Resources Required To Tackle Drug Problems

Drug trafficking and usage have an effect on practically every aspect of people's life in Ireland. The harm caused by this threat is frequently seen in the overburdened court system, health care system, underemployed and lost work force, disintegration of families, and ecosystem degradation. Due of the widespread effects, this problem affects the entire world and is not only a concern for Ireland. Nearly all nations struggle with a drug problem, but some, like the United States, are worse off than others. The impacts are nonetheless the same everywhere. The costs linked to drug and alcohol abuse present themselves in lost revenue, legal fees as well as damages. Drug abuse is linked to higher rates low and lost productivity together with work-associated injuries. Those abusing drugs will probably engage in risky behaviors, have a high chance of contracting infections such as HIV, hepatitis, mental disorders among other illnesses such as chest complications or thrombosis. They also experience high rates of incarceration. This paper shall delve into the impacts of drug abuse on the society as well as ways of tackling this issue.

Impacts on Families

Drug abuse has a significant impact on family. Often it is associated with family breakdown; those close to these abusers are the most affected. Common trend emerge in the families where maybe one person is addicted to drugs. These trends entail a high level of criticism, negativity, and absence of parental care, sexual, emotional and physical abuse particularly on the children (Hanson, Peter and Annette 15). Children with one or two guardians abusing drugs are likely to be neglected, and often the oldest is tasked with the parental responsibility of caring for the younger siblings. According to US Department of Health and Human Services (84), these children do not have necessities such as food, shelter, clothing, education or health care. The parents use all their finances into feeding their addiction and therefore fail to care for their families, actually, a huge percentage of drug abusers are likely to be wind up homeless or in poverty and lack appropriate health care. This often represents a common hindrance in seeking cure for the addiction.

Apart from absconding their responsibilities and neglecting their families, drug users are likely to cause disputes in families by stealing money from other members or selling household goods to sustain their expensive habits. Drug and alcohol use is the main cause of a large percentage of foster placements over 75 percent and about 80 percent of child abuse and neglect cases (Hanson, Peter and Annette 18). Drug abuse is additionally linked to many incidences of child custody losses. Sadly, the children born to drug abusing parents are likely to be abuse drugs when they grow up thus leading to the continuity of this menace hence further family breakdown.

Impact on Productivity

Untimely death, illnesses, injuries resulting in incapacitation along with incarceration all causes reduction in nationwide productivity. Public resources are directed to the health care costs and criminal justice due to illegal drug peddling and abuse, these resources which would have otherwise been used in other useful areas. There are also health-associated productivity losses. A person who goes into an inhabited drug treatment program or is admitted to a rehabilitation facility or hospital will not be able to contribute to workforce (Elliott and Kyna 131). Health associated productivity losses are even high when there are victims of drug-linked crimes that would results in hospital admissions on the victims.

Another area of lost productivity is related to hangovers, lack of focus and absenteeism at work places. Colleagues of drug-addicted persons are forced to assume extra responsibilities at workplaces to contain reduction in productivity. They also work extra hours to cover for drug abusers who do not show up on their schedules. This results in fatigue and burn out on the non-drug abusing workers and may not be as productive as they are supposed to be. A person who works under the influence of either drugs or alcohol is likely to make mistakes, and it is detrimental especially with those in the financial, logistics and supply and chains departments (Elliott and Kyna 132). Additionally, these people are likely to be involved in work- associated injuries, some might be even fatal, and this raises the insurance premiums which are then passed to employers. These reduced productivities increase the risk of business failures, particularly for small to medium sized business.

Another part of lost productivity and revenue is unemployment and incarceration. Incarceration has two aspects: the cost to keep these people in prison which is wastage of taxes and their unproductivity as a result of being in prison. Also, 20 percent of unemployed youth are drug users (Elliott and Kyna 134). Rather than seeking employment and contribute to the economy, the youth waste their lives away by engaging in drugs, and these are fit individuals who can efficiently be incorporated in work places or in services such as military and navy seal.

Effect on Crime

The results of illicit drug use affect the whole criminal justice system, taking on resources at every phase of the arrest, arbitration, and imprisonment as well as post release supervision procedures. Drug-related imprisonments comprise of over 50 percent of the prison populaces (Hanson, Peter and Annette 25). Data from the criminal and justice systems shows that majority of arrest are directly or indirectly related to drug abuse. Be it driving under the influence, homicides, accidents, assaults or robberies, a majority of the perpetrators are normally under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. According to Drugrehab.Org, Over 80 percent of child abuse and neglect cases involve drug or alcohol abusing guardians.

The lifestyles of drug abusers often result in illegal and criminal activities. Crimes range from small offenses such as stealing to sustain their lifestyles to violent crimes like murders, robberies with violence and assaults. Statistics show that annual data on arrests on drug violations or linked to drugs continues to increase. Unfortunately, it is the taxpayers who bear the burden of keeping these people in prisons as well as other related offenses and also the following release, if not rehabilitated, a majority of formerly imprisoned drug users are likely to continue with their criminal lifestyles (Connolly 45).

Overburdened Health Care System

The most affected sector is the health care industry. Drug abuse results in many health care challenges. First, there is the addiction which would require rehabilitation and treatments in facilities which requires a lot of money. There are mental disorders resulting from long term drug use. Injuries from falls, accidents, drowning, homicides, work-related injuries, physical assaults on users and non-users, overdoses among others are result of drug use. Drug users engage in risky behaviors such as prostitution which lead to sexually transmitted infections (Connolly 45). Majority of injection drugs users get HIV and Hepatitis among other viral infections as a result of sharing needles. Parents who engage in drug production put their children at physical health risk because of the chemical exposures. All these put a strain on the health care system not to mention the costs of millions of dollars, and all these could be avoided.

Gang Deaths

Drug peddling has become a very lucrative business in many countries. This has caused a lot of rivalries between many gangs or factions dealing with drugs. There is a battle for supremacy and to have control over a large region. This normally causes fights which normally entail the use of powerful weapons. Most of the gang members are young people aged 14 to 30 years of age (Hanson, Peter and Annette 15). Even though a majority of gang deaths are among members of different gangs, there are also deaths and fights between the gang members themselves within a particular gang group due to misunderstanding and battle of leadership.

Dealing With the Drug Abuse

Drug abuse has presented a major challenge to the federal government, society and policy makers as a whole. This drug menace has caused adverse in many areas and results in huge losses as well as wastage of billions of revenue in managing its impacts. The first solution would be completely removing drugs from the society however with many loopholes in the system, it is not realistic. Nonetheless, measures should be put in place to curb and reduce the circulation of drugs on the streets (Reno, Holder, and Marcus 17). This implies enacting stricter laws such as death penalty for those found peddling drugs as well as harsher sentences to those in possession. Low drug availability means less usage.

Another solution would be to prevent and reduce usage among the vulnerable groups. The community, school institution, family, health care institution, agencies, local authority and federal government, need to work hand in hand. Education is crucial from a family basis, parents need to educate the vulnerable teenagers on the negative impacts of drugs and reprimand any use if found. Parental care is very crucial, and guardians need to be involved in their children’s lives.

Teachers, peer counselor, and institution additionally ought to educate and avail information on drug use, its impacts, prevention and where to get help. There ought to be programs designed particularly to high school and college students since this is the most vulnerable group (US Department of Health and Human Services 95). These programs include services identifying the vulnerable individuals and those already using it and referring them to services that can support them in school institutions or health care facilities. However, it should be wise if such services would be available in school institutions and also trained peer counselors should be present in schools to help these students. It is vital to prevent drug since it is difficult to tackle addiction. The local authority and federal government ought to help school institutions and provide resources necessary. Information on negative impacts of drug abuse ought to be available everywhere, media, schools, community, hospitals among other necessary places.

The government ought to subsidize the cost of rehabilitation centers so that many drug users would be encouraged to join and be rehabilitated. Additional community programs should be established where people can get support services at free or minimal costs. Many drug users may want to stop but cannot afford to go to rehabilitation facilities or do not know any community support services to seek help. Justice and criminal system ought to have support programs and services for drug offenders so that they get rehabilitated in prison to reduce chances of recidivism. Additionally, the government should create job opportunities for the jobless youth as many turn to drugs as a way of coping with their joblessness and financial woes. The health care professionals have a mandate of reporting those suspected of drug use, refer them to support services or commit them to rehabilitation facilities. Drug abuse is a widespread issue that affects everybody in one way or another, therefore it requires collective participation. It may not be completely eliminated; however, reducing its use goes a long way to healing the society.

Works Cited

"How Does Drug Abuse Affect Society And You?." Drugrehab.Org, 2015, http://www.drugrehab.org/how-does-drug-abuse-affect-society-and-you/.

Connolly, Johnny. Drugs and crime in Ireland. Health Research Board, 2006.

Elliott, Karen, and Kyna Shelley. "Effects of drugs and alcohol on behavior, job performance, and workplace safety." journal of employment counseling 43.3 (2006): 130-134.

Hanson, Glen, Peter Venturelli, and Annette Fleckenstein. Drugs and society. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2011.

Reno, J., E. H. Holder, and D. Marcus. "Promising strategies to reduce substance abuse: An Office of Justice Programs (OJP) Issues and Practices Report." US Department of Justice, Washington, DC (2000).

US Department of Health and Human Services. "Preventing drug use among children and adolescents." Istraživanja u defektologiji 4 (2004): 79-102.

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