Nursing Essay Drug Overdose in America: Who is to Blame?

Drug Overdose in America – Whose Fault Is It?

Drug overdose in America is a collective fault that we all must share. In this paper, I will be taking a different approach by looking at the fundamental problems of substance use disorders (SUDs). As individuals, nature has created us in a way that makes us reliant on each other. our environment. As technological advancement increased, we as individuals unabatedly loose the constant interaction and communal relationship that has helped humans since time immemorial. We all are now busy with our gadgets and have taken human interaction to the barest minimal of all times. In a situation where we have little or no communication and association as required, certain lapses will be evident in the society. Substance use disorders as will be discussed here, includes people with alcohol abuse and drug abuse or dependence. About 9.4% (22.5million) people in the U.S are within this group9.  Between 199 and 2004, there was a 68% increase in drug overdose mortality10. For every individual undergoing substance abuse, we expect to see a link with socio-cultural matrix from which it stems. This behavior is an interplay between drugs themselves and environmental, genetic, behavioral, psychosocial and cultural determinants1. The basic truth is that, many young individuals presenting with these problems, are struggling with other issues that transcend social needs, crime, health or education. Ranging from lack of trust in people, to inability to judge or weigh alternative courses of action, to inability to hold normal relationships. It has been established that, children born to mothers with some form of SUD have higher levels of psychological disturbance11 and are found with higher behavioral problems12 and a heterogenous group of learning problems when compared to children born to non-drug abusing mothers. A lot of stimuli and experiences can impact development of the brain all through a lot of sensitive periods that are yet to be discovered. Example is as seen in the impairment of brain especially in areas responsible for learning, memory, anxiety and impulse control as a result of persistent neglect and ill treatment during early childhood. Children that experienced ill treatment and neglect in their early years have been seen to have higher likelihood of substance use4. A host of young people partaking in substance abuse have experienced generational adversity and are brought up in areas with feeling of loss of hopes and sense of hopelessness hanging in the air.

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Studies have shown that throughout adulthood, new neurons are born3and these cell births can be impacted by lots of environmental factors and stimuli. Encounters ranging from physical to psychosocial stress can subdue the formation of these cells across a variety of mammalian species5. Evidence have shown treatment with antidepressants increasing formation of these cells through its boost of brain growth factors6. With all this information, one will wonder what the way forward is? Well, it is not far-fetched. A more constructive approach will have to be implemented. The readiness to lift each other up and not tear down. I call this the “community factor”. We need to go back to living as a community that look out for each other. We need to encourage a proper family system. We can start by collectively looking out for mothers in this blanket, helping them get out of it to reduce the likelihood of them producing children that will be at risk. This we can do, by  using appreciation to encourage a new perception of ordinary life. Instead of the use of evaluating stance that looks at deficiency, appreciation has to do with consenting to experience base on trust, conviction and belief. According to Cooperrider and srivastva, appreciation calls our attention to enlivening components of our environment, generating a mixture of passion and curiosity and gives inspiration to the photographic mind. In this instance, the eventual generative power that generates new values and images is the that with value, Appreciation7. Overtime, there have been a numerous report of controlled randomized trials that implicates Family/systemic therapies with best outcomes for the young generation involved in drug and alcohol abuse8. No matter the intensity of multi-dimensional family therapy observed, we might not still have enduring changes until we fix problems of poverty and marginalization. We need to all identify these group of people and intervene collectively as a society to help clear up this mess from the world. Until we see it as a collective duty, and rise to tackle it constructively, we might never feel the impact as we should.


  1. Mirza.K.A. (2008). Adolescent substance misuse. Psychiatry, 357– 362.
  2. Teicher, M. H., Tomoda, A. and Anderson, S. L. (2006). Neurobiological consequences of early stress and childhood maltreatment: are results from human and animal studies comparable? Annals of New York Academy of Sciences, 1071: 313– 323
  3. Eriksson, P. S. (1998). Neurogenesis in the adult human hippocampus. Nature Medicine, 4:1313– 1317.
  4. De Bellis, M. (2005). The psychobiology of neglect. Child Maltreatment, 10: 150– 172.
  5. Gould, E. (2000). Regulation of hippocampal neurogenesis in adulthood. Biological Psychiatry,48: 715– 720.
  6. Carlson, P. al., (2006). Neural circuitry and neuroplasticity in mood disorders: insights for novel therapeutic targets. Journal of the American Society for Experimental Neuro-therapeutics, 3: 22– 41.
  7. Cooperrider, D. and Srivastva, S. (1987). Appreciative inquiry into organizational life. In W. A. Pasmore and R. W. Woodman (eds)Research in Organizational Change and Development (pp. 129– 169). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
  8. Stanton, M. D. and Shadish, W. R. (1997). Outcome, attrition, and family – couples’ treatment for drug abuse: a meta-analysis and review of the controlled, comparative studies. Psychological Bulletin, 122: 170– 191.
  9. Overview of findings from the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.SAMHSA; 2005.
  10. Paulozzi LJ, Annest JL. (2007). Unintentional poisoning deaths: United States, 1999–2004. MMWR.; 56:93–96.
  11. Kolar AF. (1994). Children of substance abusers: the life experiences ofchildren of opiate addicts in methadone maintenance. Am J   Drug Abuse;20 :159 (71).
  12. Juliana P and Goodman C. (1997). Children of substance abusing parents. In: Lowinson J, Ruiz P, Millman R,Langrood J, eds. Substance abuse. Williams andWilkins: Baltimore, 665 (71)

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