Today, more than ever before, civilizations in nearly all parts of the world are increasingly finding it hard to deal with a myriad of social problems that seem to affect all major facets of life. Some social problems that were thought to be of no great significance a couple of decades ago have finally entrenched themselves into the fabric of society in ways that have left governments and other stakeholders with no viable alternatives other than to watch as populations gets devoured by the social issues (Kornbblum et al, 2000).
The problem of drug trafficking and use have particularly affected the U.S. for sometimes now, with devastating effects on users, especially the experimenting adolescents (Goode, 2004).
Many analysts, however, feel that the government and other stakeholders are using the wrong methodologies to tackle the problem such as pursuing the drug traffickers while totally ignoring the multiplicity of factors that leads people to drugs. This paper purposes to demonstrate an action plan that can be used effectively to deal with drug use by specifically targeting the domestic social issues that generate the demand for drugs.
According to NIDA (2010), drug use and addiction among the youth is a major burden to the American society. According to this source, “…estimates of the total overall costs of substance abuse in the United States, including health and crime-related costs as well as losses in productivity exceed half a trillion dollars annually” (para. 2).
This is a staggering figure by any standards, but it does not entirely depict the extensiveness of deleterious public health, safety, and other social implications necessitated by drug use, including family breakdowns, loss of meaningful employment, lack of success in educational ventures, psychological and emotional problems, and domestic violence, among others.
The government continues to allocate a significant proportion of the national budget towards meeting the healthcare costs of reforming drug users as well as waging war on drug cartels, but an amicable solution to the social problem is nowhere in sight (Goode, 2004).
Many people do not comprehend why individuals, especially the youth, turn to drugs and how these drugs alter their brain capacities to promote compulsive drug abuse (NIDA, 2010). People the world over are known to underrate the complexity of the drug problem largely because they fail to comprehend the social problems that occasion drug dependence.
On its part, the U.S. government is busy implementing its multi-thronged frameworks of dealing with drug abuse by pursuing drug traffickers, tightening regulations on cross-border trade, and coming up with tougher penalties for drug dealers (Goode, 2004). Consequently, few, if any of the commitments demonstrated by the government deals with the real social problems that fuel the demand for drug use among the American youth.
Consecutive studies reveal that a more encompassing influence-reduction approach needs to be adopted if the government and other stakeholders are to win the war against drug use (Kornbblum et al, 2000). First and foremost is to actively engage all the domestic social problems that make the youth gravitate towards a life of drugs.
Towards this objective, the government and other concerned stakeholders must always ensure the creation of employment opportunities for the youth to be productively engaged since lack of productive engagement has been citied as one of the major triggers for drug use (Goode, 2004).
Second, it should be the function of concerned stakeholders, including the government, educational institutions, parents and religious bodies to develop frameworks that will ensure the youth receive a positive experience during the most tumultuous phase of life, also known as adolescence (Goode, 2004).
It is a well known fact that many youths experiment with drugs for lack of knowledge on the side-effects. The mentioned stakeholders must therefore work in unison to develop strategies and programs that will add value to the life of the youth such as socialization and mentoring programs.
The family is a major source of conflict for the youth mainly because of lack of knowledge on the part of parents on how to deal with the youth. Researchers have been successful in correlating drug dependence with family conflicts and domestic violence (Goode, 2004). As such, the influence-reduction approach towards curtailing drug use must take into account family-related issues and how parents could be assisted to deal with the youths as they wade through the adolescence phase of life.
Towards this objective, stakeholders, including the government, should consider setting some funds aside to facilitate parenting programs at a community level with a bias on effective ways to handle and communicate with the youth. It is important to note that open communication channels in a family setting more often act to hinder the youth from engaging in drugs since they have a way to deal with their problems rather than falling into escapism (Kornbblum et al, 2000).
Lastly, the influence-reduction approach must entail developing the youth to their fullest potential, not only academically but also in extracurricular activities (Goode, 2004). According to the author, the major objective of such a program will be to keep the youth as busy as possible in the process of realizing their full potential.
The fact that the U.S. governments uses immense financial and material resources to keep drug traffickers at bay is understandable, but such resources should be channeled in projects and strategies that increase the potential for the youth, thereby curtailing any chance of falling prey to the drug cartels.
In this regard, it is important for the government and other stakeholders to contribute towards the development of sports academies and other youth programs at a society level to engage the youth and keep them away from boredom. This way, the problem of drug use will be solved
In conclusion, it is imperative to note that systematic U.S. administrations have continued to give a wide berth to the social problems that seem to generate the demand for drugs especially among the youth.
However, recent developments in the challenges facing the youth in the 21st century demands that these factors be critically evaluated and dealt with if any headway is to be made concerning drug use. According to Kornbblum et al (2000), chances are that most hardcore drug addicts started engaging in drugs while they were in their youth.
It therefore follows that most interventions should be channeled towards this group as it serves as the initiation point to drugs (Goode, 2004). The social, financial, and personal costs for engaging in drugs is immense for any government regardless of its riches or standing in the world. As such, the influence-reduction approach needs to be incorporated by the U.S. government as the first step towards curtailing drug use among the youth.
Goode, E. (2004). Drug use as a global social problem. In: G. Ritzer (Ed) Handbook of social problems: A comparative international perspective. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc
Kornbblum, W., Julian, J., & Smith, C.D. (2000). Social problems, 10th Ed. London: Prentice Hall
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2010). NIDA InfoFacts: Understanding drug abuse and addiction. Retrieved May 25 2010