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Reducing Substance Abuse

By Expert Author: Nate Rodney

Substance abuse is a public health concern across the United States. People using illicit substances are increasing. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in 2011 there were 22.5 million people in the aged 12 or older in the United States using any illicit substance. This constitutes 8.75% of the population of the country. This needs to be addressed at multiple levels to minimize its evil effects.

Cost of drug abuse
Illicit substance abuse costs the country a lot. According to NIDA estimates, the total cost of illicit drug abuse is a decline of productivity worth $193 billion.

Apart from the cost, substance abuse negatively affects the society. This is because, drug abusers tend to be criminal in attitude and commit anti-social activities. This poses a difficult challenge to the police and other law enforcing agencies. As time passes, it will have a negative influence on all - kids, parents, community, etc.

Things to do
To minimize the negative effects of drug abuse, measures such as compulsory drug testing should be enforced.

At workplace and educational institutions
At workplace, employers should consider for mandatory drug testing. They could do it for those who join workplace newly as well as for the existing employees.

It is also important to note that employers can resort to mandatory or scheduled drug testing or combination of both depending on circumstances and according to the policy framed for the purpose under relevant law.

Educational institutions should also consider drug testing on their students. Scheduled drug testing or random testing or a combination of these could be used thoroughly.

All sections should play an active role
Substance abuse is a shared issue among all the sections of the society. Therefore, all these sections need to help authorities stem this abuse.

Parents
Parents need to stay vigilant on kids' daily activities. Keeping a good relationship with them will help parents to keep an eye on their activities. Parents need to make sure that they actively encourage kids to participate in co-curricular and extracurricular activities. Even if there is a slight change in kids' behavior, it is suspicious.

Educational institutions
Educational institutions need to make sure that their premises stay free from influence of illicit substances. For this, educational institutions should take constructive measures that can be used as a deterrent to abuse.

Community
Community can be an influential factor in spreading a message against the destructive effects of substance abuse. Multiple community groups within a location could help authorities address the issue by making people aware of the harmful consequences of substance abuse.

Government
Government needs to enforce relevant laws effectively, and formulate anti-drug strategies to minimize the evil effects of substance abuse. Government needs to research in this area and should modify public health policies to suit the needs of drug abusers. Timely framing policies and implementing the same is the area government needs to take care of.

Substance abuse in the United States is a growing concern among all the sections of the society. It needs a combined effort from all the sections to fight its evil effects.

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