Drug abuse is rife in many countries. Every society, every age and ethnic group, every social class, and every family has been touched by the devastating effects of drug addiction. Billions of dollars are spent regulating drug use, treating addicts and their families, and fighting drug-related crime. Although drugs threaten many homes and societies, their effects can be combated more effectively. Drug abuse causes multiple problems for families and communities. Addicts are often too sick, physically and mentally, to function as normal, responsible members of a family or of society.

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For example, they often neglect or abuse their families and strain these relationships and resources, especially if they eventually require expensive treatment or hospitalization. Adult addicts may lose their jobs and, therefore, their means of supporting themselves and any dependents. Children and teens who abuse drugs become more rebellious and distant from their families, who despair over coping with their loved ones’ drug problems. A second problematic effect of drug abuse is the crimes committed by those profiting from selling illegal drugs and by the addicts who look for more and more desperate ways to support their habits.

Increased police resources are needed to fight smuggling and dealing illicit drugs and the criminals who profit from them. Communities continue to struggle to find ways to deter drug abuse and to rehabilitate addicts. Combating drug problems strains the police departments as well as the communties’ resources. Since many cities and communities are financially strapped, adding more police protection, mainly through taxes, puts a strain on the citizens. Despite these problems, the menace of drugs can be fought. Education is the first line of attack.

Children need to be taught at home and in school about the dangers of drug abuse. For example, discussions around the dinner table and during family outings and school programs and activities in health classes can give children information to help them deal with temptations and questions about drug use. Families and counselors need to talk to those at risk and help them resist experimenting with illicit drugs. Another approach to the problem of drug abuse is to increase police manpower and resources to stop dealers and to enforce the law.

Statistics show the bigger the drug problem in a community, the bigger its crime rate and the bigger its need for police protection. Even though the cost of adding more police may strain a community and its citizens financially, protecting its children from the dangers of drug abuse and cutting down on drug-related crimes are worth the price. In conclusion, although the problems of drug abuse may seem impossible to eliminate or to even control, there are concrete steps that can be taken to weaken the hold of drugs on families and on society.

Parents, teachers, and communities must take steps to educate children about the dangers of drug abuse and must offer safe, appealing alternative for restless, inquisitive young people and programs and for those who are at- risk. In addition, police departments must be provided with more manpower, resources, and community support to combat drug-related crimes. If the war on drugs is to be won, everyone must realize that he or she has a stake in the battle and in its outcome.

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