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Prescription Drug Abuse: What it means for our nation’s future

Prescription drug abuse has become an epidemic in the United States that has changed the face of the “war on drugs.” Prescription drugs are now more popular among teens than all other drugs (excluding marijuana) combined, and articles have been popping up almost daily on the consequences of this dangerous type of drug use. R. Bil Kerlikowske, the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, recently wrote an article for the Huffington Post on how the reduction of drug use will help America as a whole in Obama’s new initiative of “Winning the Future.” As Kerlikowske states, “Drug use and its consequences affect every sector of society that is vital to a strong America. They strain our economy, our healthcare and criminal justice systems, and endanger the futures of our young people. Our drug problem impairs our ability to out-compete and out-innovate the rest of the world. Addressing the health and crime consequences of drug use costs our society over $180 billion in resources each year. This includes significant loss of potential productivity from disability, premature death, and withdrawal of people from our workforce.” Undoubtedly, Kerlikowske is presenting a problem that if not tackled soon, could have a drastic effect on the future of our nation’s productivity. Beyond the mental and physical effects associated with prescription drug use, especially from a young age, students are more likely to participate in a variety of other unhealthy behaviors including less emphasis on school, a higher likelihood of engaging in other illegal substances, and are more likely to become addicted to these substances. Luckily, the government is finally taking a stronger stance on drug and alcohol addiction, premeditated in part by the upsurge in the use of prescription narcotics, especially by young people. Some key implementation’s for the Obama Administration’s plan are “community-based drug prevention, integrating evidence-based interventions and treatment into the healthcare system, promoting innovations in the criminal justice system that decrease recidivism, and forging and maintaining strong international partnerships to disrupt drug trafficking organizations.” Overall, it is Obama’s goal to reduce drug use by 15% over the next five years. Although this is a difficult bar to set, he does not expect people to tackle this difficult task alone. He is asking parents to speak to their teens, for community members to join drug-free coalitions, and to garner support for integrating drug treatment programs into the mainstream healthcare system. To combat drug use and its consequences, the support, dedication, and help of an entire nation at the most basic level are needed. Drug and alcohol abuse can affect anyone regardless of age, sex, or social status. Many people know someone in recovery or are in recovery themselves, which is why it is so important that everyone become a part of the solution. Currently, drug treatment programs exist all throughout the United States to help combat this serious illness. The Ranch PA is one such place and as an in-patient rehab providing a holistic and balanced outlook to help you best tackle your recovery. Although this is important, more still needs to be done. National involvement is the first step in moving towards a healthier nation, and hopefully, the strength of this program will help to ultimately create a better and more resilient network of support for anyone struggling with addiction. (photo via)

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