We know our culture contributes to addiction. Drug and alcohol addiction is glamorized on TV and in movies, it is encouraged by peers of all ages, and it is even portrayed as a necessity to survive in today’s fast-paced society. Addiction is a difficult disease that controls people’s lives, and the more people that know about the dangers of drug and alcohol addiction, the better.
In order to change the culture that contributes to addiction we need to create awareness of the problem. This can be done in two main ways.
Addiction Prevention Campaigns. The best way to solve the substance addiction problem in America is to prevent it in the first place. Addiction prevention campaigns should focus on high-risk populations – and this does not mean only teens. Yes, teens should be taught to avoid drug and alcohol use, but addiction can also affect adults of all ages, and adults need to hear the message too. Work places can incorporate anti-drug campaigns and promote healthy ways to deal with stress. Medical clinics should emphasize the importance of prescription drug safety, proper disposal techniques, and signs to watch for with prescription drug addiction.
Drug and Alcohol Treatment Programs. The National Institutes of Health estimates that of the 23.2 million Americans affected by addiction, only about 10 percent get the treatment they need. People would rather live with their addiction in secret than bring it out in the open and get help. This has got to change. Individuals and families need to know the signs of addiction, know about drug and alcohol treatment programs and feel comfortable enough to ask for help.
Unfortunately, drug and alcohol addiction is one of those problems that people don’t generally seek out the solution to. They wait for the information to come to them. They will use any excuse possible to avoid getting help. “I don’t know where to go for help.” “I won’t succeed in rehab anyway.” “I can’t afford treatment and don’t understand my insurance benefits.” “I don’t want anyone to find out I have a problem.” It is important to remove as many barriers to treatment as possible. This is done by creating awareness about treatment and reducing the stigma associated with it.