PSY 6110 Assignment Examine Personal Beliefs Related to Substance Abuse

PSY 6110 Assignment Examine Personal Beliefs Related to Substance Abuse

PSY 6110 Assignment Examine Personal Beliefs Related to Substance Abuse

Personal Beliefs Related to Substance Abuse

            Substance abuse is a crucial public health problem that disproportionately affects American population in the modern world. Substance abuse affects the population’s health, wellbeing, and productivity. Nurses and other healthcare providers play crucial roles in treating and implementing evidence-based interventions to minimize the burden of substance abuse in their communities. The government collaborates with different public health stakeholders to ensure population empowerment to overcome the issue of substance abuse. Therefore, this blog examines different topics related to substance abuse and my view of the problem.

Substance Abuse Continuum

            Substance abuse continuum is a term utilized to refer to the phases that individuals undergo from substance use to abuse. The continuum helps determine the individual’s use of drugs and the possible treatments that can be adopted to facilitate their recovery. Policy makers adopt the term to make informed decisions on issues such as harm minimization, public education, and developing policies on substance abuse and use. The stages of substance abuse continuum include non-use, experimental use, recreational use, regular, and dependent or compulsive use. Non-use stage is characterized by an individual making a decision not to use or take substances because of their associated health, cultural or personal reasons. An individual explores the use of substances with limited use in the experimental stage. There is the casual or social use of drugs in the recreational stage. There is the transition to weekly use of the drugs in the regular stage (Stanojlović & Davidson, 2021). Lastly, individuals compulsively use the drugs in the dependent stage where they suffer from the negative effects of the drugs.

            I do not accept the concept of substance abuse continuum. Accordingly, a person can be using substances and fail to progress to the later stages in the continuum model. Factors within and outside individual control of substance abuse affect their progression in the continuum model. For example, life stressors such as loss of a loved one may predispose individuals to substance abuse. In some cases, these individuals may not follow the stages in the continuum model based on their experiences with a drug. In addition, the social structures within one’s setting influences their progression in the substance abuse continuum. For example, people brought up in a community characterized by increased abuse of drugs are likely to demonstrate behaviors aligning with the continuum model as compared to those raised in drug free families or environment (Paquette et al., 2022). Based on the above, it can be concluded that there are fundamental characteristics that separate substance use from substance addiction.

Cost of Substance Abuse

            Substance abuse is associated with enormous costs to the government, communities, healthcare systems, communities, families, and individuals. According to Peterson et al., (2021), deaths due to drug overdose in the USA has more than trilled over the last two decades. In 2019, 70000 deaths were reported due to drug overdose. These mortalities have significant implications to the country and community’s productivity. Substance abuse is associated with increased hospital visits and hospitalizations. Often, substance abusers suffer from the side and adverse effects of the abused drugs such as withdrawal symptoms and depressed central nervous and respiratory systems. For example, a study conducted in Pennsylvania by Liu et al., (2019) found that of 2853499 hospitalizations in primary and secondary hospitals, 1.5% of them were associated with opioid abuse. The predictors of opioid abuse included ethnicity, being female, and concurrent use of other substances by the population (Liu et al., 2019). Frequent hospital visits and hospitalizations for substance abusers is costly for them, their families, healthcare system, and state as a whole. For example, the United States government spent $1.021 billion in opioid epidemic in 2017, including $471 billion for opioid use disorder, and $550 billion for managing opioid overdose (Luo et al., 2021).

PSY 6110 Assignment Examine Personal Beliefs Related to Substance Abuse
PSY 6110 Assignment Examine Personal Beliefs Related to Substance Abuse

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            The cost of substance abuse is also high because of its high rate of relapse following treatment. According to Andersson et al., (2019), relapse to substance abuse is a highly prevalent problem among patients that undergo treatment for the disorder. Studies evaluated by the authors showed that the relapse rate in European nations range between 40 and 75% for heroin and other illicit drugs. The relapse often results in unending cycle of treatment and substance abuse, increasing substance abuse-related costs (Andersson et al., 2019).

Substance abuse costs are also high because of the increased need for the adoption of population-centered interventions by the government. Accordingly, the government continually supports programs such as those aiming at increasing the availability of naloxone to avert fatal opioid overdoses and preventable mortalities. Such programs are associated with high costs by the government, which could be used for other areas of development. In addition, the increasing rates of substance abuse heightens the government spending on prevention and treatment programs, hence, affecting socioeconomic growth of the country (Adams et al., 2022).

Substance abuse is associated with other comorbid conditions. According to Serota et al., (2021), substance abuse such as injection of opioids is linked to diseases such as hepatitis C, HIV, and invasive bacterial infections of the skin, osteomyelitis, endocarditis, and septic arthritis. The risk of substance abusers developing mental health disorders such as depression is also high. Evidence shows that about 50% of people with mental disorders are substance abusers. Furthermore, 53% of drug abusers and 37% of alcohol abusers suffer from at least one mental illness, with 29% of people with mental illness being abusers of either alcohol or other drugs (Mohamed et al., 2020). Treating substance abuse and these associated comorbidities is a challenge to most patients and families, hence, the high cost of substance abuse. For example, Florence et al., (2021) found that the estimated cost of substance use disorders, their comorbidities and complications is about $1.02 trillion in the USA. Most of the economic burden is attributable to reduced quality of life for the affected populations and value of life lost due to substance abuse.

Perception of Substance Abuse Problem

            The problem of substance abuse is underreported in the modern American society. First, the underreporting can be deduced from the substance abuse continuum model that shows that individuals undergo different stages for them to become substance dependent. Most of the statistics reported in studies rely on evidence obtained from hospital and population-based programs. The data is of people who seek help for their drug addiction problems. The statistics represent a small percentage of substance users in the population. For instance, a large percentage of the population are either in the early stages of substance abuse continuum such as the experimental use, recreational use, and regular use stages. Therefore, the data reported in the media and researchers represent an iceberg of the real picture of substance abuse and use in America.

            The study by Palamar et al., (2021) is an example of a study that provides insights into the underreporting of substance abuse by media and studies. The research investigated the underreporting of drug abuse among the attendants of electronic dance parties. The researchers acknowledged that electronic dance music party are highly vulnerable to drug use. However, there is limited evidence on their exposure to drugs. The researchers found that the prevalence of drug use was high among the attendees with 43.8% of them testing positive for at least a drug. Those who tested positive never reported drug use. Furthermore, the research showed that the prevalence of cocaine use by the attendees was 51.1%, which increased by a factor of 1.6 when hair test results were added to self-report. The surprising part of the study was that most of the drug users were young adults aged 18-25 years, blacks and other mixed races, and those having a college degree (Palamar et al., 2021). The findings from this study support the assertion that substance abuse problem remains underreported by media and studies in the USA. Therefore, measures to obtain population-specific data should be adopted.


            In summary, substance abuse is a crucial problem in the USA. Substance abuse is associated with high costs. The substance abuse continuum does not predict substance use and dependence for all the populations. The problem of substance abuse is underreported in the USA. Most of the statistics represent the populations that seek help for substance abuse problems. Population-specific data should be obtained to understand the true burden of substance abuse in the country.


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