A Look at the Problem of Addiction

Usually, when I start brainstorming for projects, the first thought that comes to my mind is, “how can I make this about my life, specifically?” That really wasn’t the case with this project. I’m not addicted to drugs, I don’t struggle with alcoholism, but I was surrounded by these types of addictions in my family and in my city, I believe I’m quite familiar with the issue.

Home to opioid users in Philadelphia

I believe that educating more people about it will create a safer environment for people who genuinely need help, and it will also better us as a society, moving forward into the future. But first things first, communication and comprehension are key when it comes to understanding something you’ve never been through personally. Don’t enter your opinions anywhere they’re not needed.

The first thing that comes to mind when discussing this topic is the harmful assumptions our society has created involving drug addicts. The main assumption about drug addicts made by people who are totally uneducated on the topic—they have no self control or willpower. This is so far from the truth. Addiction is a relapsing disease, it’s literally a mental illness. People in society tend to respect people with mental illnesses more than people who suffer with addiction specifically. It’s literally the same thing.

Anyone with the slightest bit of knowledge will know it’s not as easy as simply choosing not to take a drug anymore. The brain has something called the “reward circuit”, which is commonly discussed while exploring the topic of addiction because it interferes with the way someone lives, making them believe they are incapable of living without this drug or substance.

Visual representation and deeper explanation of “Reward Circuit”

To dig a bit deeper, I researched about the way addiction affects an individual’s personal life, their relationships with their family, friends, and/or job. Becoming addicted to a drug or substance affects the people around you, which is why many addicts don’t have many people there to support them, making it harder to confront their addiction. There’s only so much people can do for family or friends that struggle with addiction, and they get tired of it, causing them to give up on a person entirely. From someone who has family members with a past of addiction—no one wants to see or be around someone who is clearly not sober.

Addiction is directly related to things like crime, family problems, abuse, mental health issues, and financial struggles. When someone is intoxicated/on some type of drug, they’re more likely to commit some type of abuse, which relates to family/friends/partners, of course because they’ll be the ones dealing with it. Family and financial problems caused by addiction are sorta tied together, so they affect each other. Overspending on drugs/alcohol creates financial problems, which eventually leads to family problems.

Alcohol’s relationship to violent crimes

Addiction is linked to so many things that we’re blind to. It affects everything, every aspect of your life, sometimes without you noticing. I’ve already learned so much about addiction just with the little research I’ve done so far. I used to be quite ignorant to the issue, but this project has opened my eyes wider than I expected.

Annotated Bibliography