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Addiction to Drugs and Alcohol Essay

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There are many affects that drugs and alcohol can have on the body, and on the life of a person. Thousands of jobs, homes, and families are lost annually through the addictions of drugs and alcohol. Children grow up without parents, spouses are forced to raise their children as single parents, and grandparents become legal guardians for a second time, due to the effects of substance abuse and dependence. Exactly how addiction is defined and diagnosed is an on-going issue and one that will be discussed in this paper. While there are eleven different categories that substances are arranged, this paper will be focusing specifically on alcohol and cannabis.
An estimated 126 million Americans over the age of 12 reported being ongoing alcohol drinkers in 2005 (Smith & Stevens, 2009). According to the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS), over 42 thousand homeless adults over the age of 50 were admitted to substance abuse treatment in 2008, and sixty five percent were being treated for alcohol abuse (TEDS, 2010). Excessive alcohol consumption may have been accepted in the beginning of the twentieth century, but currently, a male who consumes more than 14 drinks in a week or more than four drinks day, and a woman who has more than 13 drinks a week 3 drinks on a day, is considered “at risk” of being an alcoholic (Burge & Schneider, 1999).
Cannabis, better known as marijuana, is the most abused illegal drug in America (Smith & Stevens, 2009). It also had the highest level of abuse and dependence in 2005 with over 4.1 million people affected (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2006). Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette, known also as a joint or blunt, and is also used in a pipe or bong. There is a more potent and unpoll...


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Mendelson, J., & Mello, N. (Eds.). (1985). The diagnosis and treatment of alcoholism. New York: McGraw-Hill.
National Institute on Drug Abuse, (2006). Marijuana. Bethesda, MD: Author. Retrieved August 11, 2010, from http://drugabuse.gov/infofacts/marijuana.html
Smith, R.L. & Stevens, P. (2009). Substance abuse and counseling. Theory and Practice. (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2007). The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/alcoholdrug/index.htm
US Department of Justice (1988). Drug Enforcement Administration, "In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition" (Docket #86-22). Retrieved from http://drugwarfacts.org/cms/?q=node/30


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