Drugs and Drug Addiction as a Social Problem


Illegal drugs are a problem not just in America and other first world countries but all over the world. The issue of legalization of drugs continues to spark many debates and arguments across the globe. Drugs affect not only the user but also the people around them. They have both physical and psychological effects. They have negative effects on the user’s health, their finances, careers, relationships and their emotional development. Drugs make users more vulnerable and susceptible to many needle borne diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. In extreme conditions, drugs are responsible for many premature deaths as many addicts tend to be suicidal.

The big question today is how are drugs a social problem? Negative consequences of drugs are not just felt on a personal level but are also at a family, community, and national levels. According to the government of the United States of America, drugs related problems cost the government more than $180.9 billion each year (Office of National Drug Control Policy 3). This money is spent on rehabilitation, campaigns against drugs, educational programs and treatment of illnesses resulting from substance abuse. This research paper seeks to address the issue of drugs as a social problem by analyzing the impacts of drugs on society. The research is triggered by a realization that drugs are a big problem today. Recent statistics reveal that over 3 million Americans are drug addicts, 13 million people will use drugs each month and over 40 million Americans will use drugs in a year (Office of National Drug Control Policy 3).

Literature review

As part of gathering statistics and information for the paper, several scholarly articles were studied. Humphreys and Julian in their research paper discuss drug abuse as a social problem. In their article, focus is on social policy and community. Drugs affect the way people relate and how they abide to different social structures in their communities (Humphreys and Julian 892). Addicts are not able to abide by simple society rules and will engage in any activities which can help them raise money for more. The authors therefore argue that drug abusers are more likely to engage in illegal activities such as crime.

Peter Cohen, in his article social rehabilitation of drug addicts, introduces drugs as a problem which present many complex community concerns. Alcohol abusing parents are more likely to end up in divorce, a situation which results in many single parents in the society. Substance abusing parents are also most likely to be uncaring and have bad communication skills between them and their children. As a result, children grow with bad communication skills and have a problem socializing or even establishing relationships (Cohen 2).

Wright James, in his book drugs as a social problem, points out that before the world can be precise about what the drug problem is, we must spell out very clearly what the social consequences of drug use are (Wright 11). The author argues that we must be able to differentiate between what we consider objectionable and what we consider problematic. According to Wright, drugs slow down development in a society and breaks down communication channels in societies. Societies with high drug prevalence will easily judged and many people will be afraid to relate with them. This is as a result of the security concerns that drug abuse raises.

Drugs as a social problem

Discussions about drugs and their effects in the society have been going on for a long time. In recent times, the problem seems more urgent as the number of substance abusers continue to rise. The number of deaths resulting from drugs related complications are also on the rise. Several scholars have conducted research and written articles arguing the social effects of drugs. All agree that drugs have economical, social, environmental, physical and social effects.

Drugs pose as a problem to public order. Since drugs are illegal, many substance abusers have to constantly hide from the law. Many people are easily hurt during drug operations and in drug related transactions. Drugs cause health problems such as infections. As a result, many families’ social operations are halted as they have to take care of their sick family members. In the case where the infections are terminal such as AIDS, it disrupts the family’s social and psychological peace.

Many drug users are marginalized. They are discriminated and looked down upon. They have no chance to freely interact with the rest of the society and many times grow up us loners and lonely. Drug abuse also brings about criminality and prostitution. Most drug users are involved in reckless and irresponsible sexual and social behaviors. Many are involved in such activities to raise money and sustain their costly habits. It is also notable that drug use blocks institutions of justice which affects different social institutions. Drug abuse distracts peaceful co-existence in the society as it triggers violence during transactions and government operations.


Many researchers, governments and individuals agree that drugs pose as a challenge to social developments. Arguments on whether drugs should be legalized or not have taken center stage, leaving few focused on the social effects. From research, it is clear that drug abuse has the potential to demolish social structures in a country. Drug abuse interferes with justice is social structures, affects the way people relate, lowers self esteem levels and leads to marginalization of a certain group of people. Parents are not able to take their responsibilities seriously and people become unproductive. Peaceful co-existence is interfered with as drug addicts engage in unlawful activities to raise money for more drugs. It is therefore clear that drugs are a major social problem.

Works cited

Cohen, Peter. Social Rehabilitation of Drug Addicts, 2008. Web.

Humphreys, Keith and Julian Rappaport. “From the community mental health movement to the war on drugs: A study in the definition of social problems.” American Psychologist 48.8 (2003) : 892-901. Print.

Office of National Drug Control Policy. Drug Facts, 2010. Web.

Wright, James. Drugs as a Social Problem. New York: Harper Collins College Publishers, 2006. Print.

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