ENG 112 Liberty University Factors Behind Drugs and Substance Addiction Research need 1500 words added to this research paper Toombs 1
June 18, 2020
Factors behind Drugs and Substance Addiction
Drugs and substance addiction is one of the major healthcare challenges affecting the
lives of many people in contemporary society. It is reported that the number of people dying out
of drugs and substance abuse has doubled since 2000 (The National Institute on Drug Abuse).
World Health Organization also reports that approximately 5% of the total global population
suffers from drugs and substance addiction (World Health Organization). The effects of drugs
and substance abuse on an individual as well as a society remain very adverse. For instance, it
negatively impacts the social and mental health of the victims. Drug addiction is also emerging
as one of the major killers in contemporary society. Nearly 4 million individuals die in a year
because of drug and substance abuse and related circumstances (World Health Organization).
Additionally, it is estimated that almost 30 Americans lose their lives every day because of
addition (American Addiction Center). While it is evident that drugs and substance addiction is
emerging to be one of the major public healthcare challenges in contemporary society, the reason
behind this problem remains unclear. There are insufficient studies regarding this issue. This
research, therefore, attempts to understand the underlying factor behind drugs and substance
addiction among individuals.
Factors behind Drugs and Substance Addiction
There have been attempts by various scholars to identify the underlying factor behind
drugs and substance addiction. For instance, several scholars identify substance addiction as a
product of the social environment. These scholars hold that substance abuse and subsequent
addiction is behavior that an individual acquires through the process of socialization. For
example, Shaw argues that addiction behavior that someone learns as a result of interaction in
society (4). He argues that socialization occurs through various social institutions and the failure
of these institutions to provide positive learning to young children is likely to lead them into
drugs and substance addiction. Shaw identifies that the most important social institutions in
human life includes family, religious institutions, and the school. These three social intuitions
play an important role in modeling good behavior of an individual and building their resiliency
(Shaw 11). Family is the most basic institution life that determines the likelihood of someone
becoming an addict from childhood. Family plays an important role in molding the behavior of a
child and its failure increases the chances of the child becoming an addict in life. Family is the
first learning institution in life and parents are the first teachers (Shaw 11). According to Shaw,
children learn by observing and imitating what their parents do. The family also trains children to
avoid bad behaviors such as drug abuse that can lead to addiction through effective parenting.
Therefore Shaw argues that the failure of the family as a social institution leads children to drugs
and substance addiction. He argues that in families where parents are using drugs, children are
likely to imitate what they are doing and become addicts in life.
Costello, in his article “Social Media and Substance Use: What Should We Be
Recommending to Teens and Their Parents?”, also identifies that drugs and substance addiction
is a behavior that people acquire by learning through media. He argues that media as an
important channel of social learning through which people acquire certain behavior such as
substance use which eventually results in addiction. According to Costello, social media is a
favorable channel used to market some substances and drugs like alcohol. Companies
manufacturing different brands of alcohol and cigarettes use reputable celebrities to popularize
their products through advertisement. Because, young people look up to these celebrities, they
get motivated to try out the drugs and the process of addiction begins. Costello says, “Substance
use is rampant and often glorified by celebrities and others on social media” (630).
While some scholars have pointed on the likelihood of substance addiction is a product
of the social environment, others feel that substance addiction is a product of the psychological
environment. They argue that psychological issues that psychological challenges that individual
encounters from childhood determine their likelihood of being chronic drug users. According to
Shanmugam, psychological problems that people encounter in life such as stress, anxiety, and
fear are a major cause of drugs and substance addiction. He argues that most people turn to
chromic usage of drugs as a way of coping with psychological problems (Shanmugam 2). For
instance, unable to cope with stress, most people tend to resort to drugs that temporarily appear
to relieve them of the stress and they eventually end up becoming addicts. According to
Shanmugam, “Initial use of substances is associated with feelings of ‘euphoria’ or rewarding
experiences and these emotions along with the reinforcing factor by the brain reward system
creates high dependence” (2). Like Shanmugam, Deena, McMahon also reveals the relationship
between psychological environment and substance addiction. She argues that drugs and
substance addiction result from childhood experiences. She notes, ”the road between substance
abuse and trauma is a two-way path. Trauma increases the risk of developing substance abuse,
and substance abuse increases the likelihood of being re-traumatized” (McMahon).
From the analysis of various articles, it is clear that there is no single factor that leads
to addiction. Based on this study, addiction is a product of several factors that are either, social,
psychological, or biological which either act independently or collaboratively to increase the
vulnerability of an individual becoming drug and substance addict. Proper treatment, therefore,
requires experts to identify the various causes.
American Addiction Center. Statistics on Addiction in America. March 2019,
https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/addiction-statistics/. Accessed June 6, 2020
Costello, Caitlin. “Social Media and Substance Use: What Should We Be Recommending to
Teens and Their Parents?” Journal of adolescent health. vol. 60, no. 5, 2017, pp. 629630
McMahon, Deena. ”When Trauma Slips into Addiction.” December 17, 2018,
https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/child-trauma-2/when-trauma-slips-intoaddiction/32462. Accessed June 6, 2020
National Institute on Drug Abuse. Health Consequences of Drug Misuse. March 2017,
Accessed June 6, 2020
Shanmugam, Kumar. (2017) The Influence of Psychological Factors during Early Years of Life
in the Development of Addiction: A MiniReview. J Alcohol Drug Depend, vol. 5, no. 4,
2017, pp. 13
Shaw, Victor N. Substance Use and Abuse: Sociological Perspectives. Westport, Conn: Praeger,
World Health Organization. Management of substance abuse,
https://www.who.int/substance_abuse/facts/en/. Accessed June 6, 2020
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