The Impacts on Society

Drug addiction has become a very destructive element in our society. The widespread use of drugs and the inefficiency of certain drug rehabilitation programs to rehabilitate drug addicts in the past has puzzled city and law officials. Some suggested solutions include needle exchange programs, where drug users can have a clean needle, thus preventing to some degree the spreading of infectious diseases and having specific places available so that the drug addict can go and shoot up.

Below are quick facts on the impacts drug addiction has on our lives:

- Recently in a report, the United Nation's International Narcotics Control Board said governments that provide drug addicts with clean needles and a safe place to shoot up may violate international law.

- The acceleration and widespread use of drugs such as LSD, heroin, cocaine, "angel dust," marijuana and a long list of others has contributed heavily to a debilitated society.

- The importation of drugs into Canada, according to information on seizures and other sources, was nearly ten times greater in the mid-nineties than it was in the late 1980's.

- In a study done in British Columbia, almost 50 per cent of those drivers involved in motor vehicle crashes who tested positive for drugs, tested positive for marijuana use.

Marijuana use increases the risk of a motor vehicle accident by at least 2 to 4 times.

With its ever-increasing potency levels - from an average of 6 to 25 per cent Tetrahydrocannabolin (THC), compared to 1 to 3 per cent in the late 60s and 70s - marijuana can no longer be considered as a "soft" drug. It can be as much as 25 times more powerful that what was commonly in circulation in the 60's and early 70's.

That is why major world health organizations include marijuana on their list of addictive substances.

- In the work place, drugs account for a high rate of absenteeism, theft and accidents-proneness.

It has been shown that a close connection exists between crime and drug use. Researches such as the one conducted by the United States National Institute of Justice prove this.

Recently arrested individuals were monitored for drug use. Urine tests were conducted on male individuals that were charged with serious, but non-drug-related offenses. With nearly 3,000 tests, results were drug positive for cocaine in 76% of the arrestees in New York, 74% in Philadelphia, 65% in the district of Columbia. In smaller cities the % was below 30. The test they used detected drugs taken up to 2 or 3 days prior to the arrests, so drug use is probably higher than the results obtained.

Furthermore, there has been an increasing trend in new heroin use since 1992. The estimated number of heroin users increased from 68,000 in 1993 to 216,000 in 1996. And from 1999 to 2000 the use of heroin has almost doubled. A large portion of these recent new users were smoking, snorting, or sniffing heroin. Most were under age 26. There is increasing incidence of new users (snorters) in the younger age groups and often among women. Purity remains high, as does intranasal use. With this strong demand, the supplies remain abundant. Aggressive marketing and price cutting for the drug has intensified in some cities, such as Boston, Detroit, and New York.

Drugs also account for environmental pollution. For example, experts, relying on United States government studies, have concluded that cocaine processors in the Andean region dump 10 million liters of sulfuric acid, 16 million liters of ethyl ether, 8 million liters of acetone, and from 40 to 77 million liters of kerosene in the environment each year, depending on how much is recycled. Illegal drugs are manufactured by criminals; they have little attention on salmon streams when they dump their poisons down the drain.

The impact on the addicted individual is, of course, tremendously devastating and can ultimately be seen on many street corners in the inner city. The impact on their family and the people that care about them is no less extreme, and causes severe stresses many families never recover from, including family break-ups, estrangements, job losses, financial ruin, business failure, bankruptcies, physical violence and worse. The effects of addiction spiral outwards to include the danger of drivers under the influence being ever increasingly under the effect of drugs, and creating havoc on our roads and highways.

The spiraling costs of policing, the justice system, and the penetentiaries, with over 80% of criminal cases related to drugs and/or drug use. The stress on society from this wave of crime and violence, the damage to our social institutions from drug related crime and corruption. The rise of in numbers, power and threat from criminal organisations. Even the international terrorism that is increasingly funded by drug sales, all take their toll.

In addition, there is the loss of the next generation of leaders, and the loss of contribution to society, of those addicted, and of those they are in contact with that become so immersed in coping with the problem of addiction that they have little time for anything else.

Drug addiction is everyone's problem: with one in every eight Canadians suffering from drug and alcohol abuse, there is hardly a family that has not been impacted directly, and every community pays the price in social, economic and level of threat and crime costs.

It is Narconon's mission to reduce the number of people starting or continuing the abuse of drugs and alcohol, through drug education for all, and through effective rehabilitation for those who have already become too enmeshed to quit on their own.