Resource Analysis on Substance Use and Abuse
Resource Analysis on Substance Use and Abuse
Drug and substance abuse has developed into an issue of global concern. It has effects on not only the individual users and drug addicts, but also their immediate families, communities, and the economy. While drugs can treat individuals of diseases, its misuse can also contribute to street violence, generation of crime, and other social harms. Substance use and abuse contributes to increased incidences of emergency room (ER) visits, which adversely affects the economy. Similarly, substance use and abuse leads to lost income when people do not participate in the labor force because they are indisposed or have to undergo drug rehabilitation and related therapies. For these reasons, the government and other non-governmental organizations and health care facilities have provided significant volumes of resources intended to raise awareness regarding substance use and abuse. Among the most popular resources are from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, the United States National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, among others. It is essential to analyze the sources of information to assess their authenticity, credibility, and effectiveness in addressing the needs of individuals who abuse substances.
A pattern of recurrent alcohol or drug use that tends to interfere with social relationships, work, or health is described as “abuse” (World Health Organization, 2019). Psychoactive substance abuse can contribute to dependence syndrome, which represents a cluster of behavioral, physiological, and cognitive phenomena that manifest following repeated substance use. The phenomena typically involves a strong wish to use the drug, inability to control its usage, higher priority placed on the substance use over other obligations and activities, persistent use of the substance despite its detrimental consequences, increased tolerance of the substance, and often, a physical state of withdrawal (World Health Organization, 2019). Hence, researchers and health professionals have called for measures to prevent and mitigate the situation. Policies that influence the patterns and levels of substance use and associated harm can considerably decrease public health challenges attributable to substance abuse, and intercessions at the health care structure level can contribute to the restoration of health among affected people. One way of remedying the situation is availing pertinent information to the public and professionals on the topic. Here, it is important to analyze the authenticity, credibility, originality, and relevance of informational resources from various sources.
Substance abuse is an important theme because it directly affects the social and health wellbeing of individuals, their families, their communities, and by extension, their entire communities. Mostly, the effects of substance abuse and subsequent addiction pose challenges for the immediate family members (Appel et al., 2014). However, it is noteworthy to point out that the problems emanating from substance abuse are of cumulative, diverse proportions. It is never easy to ascertain or predict the precise effects that a repercussion of drug abuse or addiction could cause. There might be issues, which include suicides, crimes, homicides, child abuse, domestic violence, teenage pregnancies, physical fights, sexually transmitted diseases, and AIDS. While the sphere of nursing and abuse of illegal substances has made a significant, positive stride in handling matters associated with substance abuse, especially among the youth, it is clear that the issue has not been dealt with appropriately, thereby requiring heightened efforts. NIDA has data that demonstrates that, between 2004 and 2009, there was a significant decline in the utilization of methamphetamine among all grades from approximately 2.3 percent to1.6 percent (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2019). Simultaneously, the behavior of the groups under investigation changed positively, with regard to substance abuse and interventions. NIDA, as a federal government agency, is tasked with researching the requirements of the afflicted groups’ needs and recommending applicable solutions.
One of the most important sources of information on substance use is the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The institute, a United States (U.S.) federal-government research body was founded in 1974 and is tasked with leading the nation in “the Nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction” (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2019). The source is credible because it was instituted by the government and has a team of professional health researchers who produce reports on drug use consistently. The researchers comprise a multi-disciplinary team whose members are experts in their relative fields. Being a trusted institution, the information from the source can be utilized by both experts and laypersons in a variety of ways, including for general knowledge, deterrence, and acquisition of knowledge of novel and creative ways of deterring and addressing substance abuse.
The federal government, from taxpayers’ money, sponsors the NIDA website. Its parent organization is the National Institutes of Health and it has a yearly budget of 1.05 billion USD. The government supports NIDA through training and research grants, which are made available to individual or group researchers who study interventions to treat drug and substance abuse among different groups of people. The capacity to maintain information on substance use and treatment is important for various reasons. In the United States, family structures have become increasingly complex. They have advanced from the conventional nuclear family structure to foster families, single-parent families, multigenerational families, and stepfamilies (Appel et al., 2014). Consequently, when a family member utilizes substances, there is a ripple effect on the family, which could differ based on what particular form of family it is. Thus, it is pertinent that all members of society possess pertinent information regarding substance abuse and treatment, which is expensive. Treatment matters such as economic repercussions of substance abuse are essential, including studies on the psychological consequences that parents, spouses, children, and other relatives experience.
In terms of retrieving information from the website, the resources are on open access basis. Here, the implication is that any user can visit the website at any time to download, copy, read, and distribute resources. The resources are free and are accessible subject to the availability of internet connection. Besides, the website offers detailed information on the services that it offers. More specifically, the content of the website is quite diverse. The information ranges from statistics on substance abuse, including demographics, drug prevalence, areas most affected, and intervention measures being undertaken (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2019). Besides, the information is available in both digital and print forms; it is possible to download a report and print it for future reference or simply save a digital copy in a computer or mobile phone. The information is extensive, depending on the theme. Besides, the website has various links that lead to different information types when opened. However, the website does not have specific information regarding the types of people served and their numbers, which is something they ought to resolve.
NIDA offers various services to the population. It has supported various treatment interventions for drug and substance addiction (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2019). NIDA-supported investigations have contributed to the utilization of nicotine gums and patches for nicotine addiction therapy. Similarly, NIDA scientists have developed Levacetylmethadol (LAAM), which is applicable in the treatment of heroin addiction. The other treatments that have been made available because of NIDA-supported studies include bupreneorpine and naltrexone. Besides, NIDA has undertaken research into conditions linked to substance use, such as Hepatitis and AIDS. The body perceives drug therapy as a way of adjusting risky behavior like sharing of needles and unprotected sex. In addition, NIDA has funded research that address harm reduction. For example, a NIDA-supported research on pregnant substance abusers concluded that professionals in treatment and research ought to learn to settle for less since insisting on total abstinence might only exacerbate the issue.
To make the services more effective and accessible, various other professionals have to be included. First, social community workers are an integral component of the rehabilitation process (Appel et al., 2014). Often, when the government intervenes in matters of crisis, it does so through policies. Alterations of policies tend to contribute to different or new initiatives and programs being introduced at local levels. Therefore, changes in policy possess a flow-on upshot to all members of the community. Some examples of professionals whose input could be of importance include law enforcement, advocates, general practitioners, pharmacists, and schoolteachers. In particular, law enforcement officers are an important component because they help to deter the problem in communities through apprehending cartels that sell outlawed substances to the youth.
NIDA also offers another service that is quite controversial in the United States, which is the production of medical marijuana. NIDA possesses the monopoly of the production for research purposes (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2019). NIDA has been criticized for refusing to supply cannabis to medical marijuana researchers who had received all the mandatory federal clearances and permits (Pacula & Smart, 2017). Medical marijuana activists then alleged that NIDA is not a regulatory agency and therefore does not have the legal disposition to effectively determine or regulate who obtains and who does not obtain research rights to study medical marijuana. However, NIDA continues to be the supplier of medical marijuana for research. Besides, NIDA collaborates with other bodies and institutions to grow the country’s sole legal marijuana crop for clinical and investigation services. For example, NIDA has collaborated with the University of Mississippi to cultivate the crop. Similarly, NIDA provides anti-cannabis ad campaigns as one of its core services. The body contracted a research organization, Westat in 2005 with funding from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which conducted a five-year investigation of federal government ad promotions intended to dissuade teenagers from abusing cannabis (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2019). The campaigns between 1998 and 2004 had cost the taxpayers over $ 1 billion USD. The study established that the ad campaigns were not effective and that the most significant way to deter teenagers from marijuana use was through stronger anti-drug customs. Finally, NIDA publishes approximately 85 percent of the total global research on substance use and interventions (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2019). The implication is that the organization provides quality resources for industry stakeholders to use in innovating interventions for substance use.
From a personal opinion, the website source offers sufficient information for managing substance abuse. NIDA notes updates the readers regarding research progress in the root causes, prevention, consequences, and treatment available to drug addiction, abuse, and HIV/AIDS. Similarly, the website makes it possible for individuals to subscribe and subsequently, receive periodic updates on the same (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2019). Interest areas include prevention, public health, basic science, and treatment. Overall, the researchers try to utilize simple language that even laypersons can comprehend easily. Similarly, the use of colorful images appeals to curious people who might have visited the website unintentionally. The website has addressed various target groups as per demographics. For example, there is a section on the incident rate of substance abuse among teenagers, women, and men in different states and cities in the United States. The website draws attention to services such as treatment, rehabilitation, and social re-integration that are essential for remedying the situation.
Another website resource is the Journal of Food and Drug Analysis (JFDA), which is a database of peer-reviewed articles by researchers and experts in different disciplines associated with foods and drugs. Specifically, the JFDA is the certified peer-reviewed periodical of the Taiwanese Food and Drug Administration. It is an international journal committed to publishing original studies and review publications on analyses of drugs, food, cosmetics, and medical devices. The government, through the Department of Health, sponsors the website. Given that the products are innately involved in individuals’ daily lives, medical welfare, and health, the government has been endeavoring to facilitate organizational reform through concentrating on consumer health with regard to food and drug safety (Journal of Food and Drug Analysis, 2019). The journal accepts publication contributions in the form of case reports, original articles, and research notes, which are not being considered elsewhere for publication.
Consequently, the source is an accredited authority on the topic because of its insistence on originality from scholars in various fields. The journal is part of Elsevier, Inc. publications, which is globally renowned for groundbreaking research articles on many disciplines. The information is very detailed. The website applies a catalogue format where it classifies journals by topics and release dates. Using the search feature, it is easy to locate any relevant information as required. However, the website fails to provide statistics regarding the type and number of people who visit to acquire information. Thus, it is impossible to recognize such essential information. Despite this, the website offers relevant resources on substance abuse, including examples from research and current trends of intervention. The information is open access, which means that anyone can retrieve it from the website at no cost, at download, distribute, or copy at any time. Besides, the information is in both digital and print formats, which means that it can be retrieved and read later by experts and laypersons.
In my opinion, the website’s services are too technical and therefore do not satisfy the needs of individuals and institutions. In other words, the study resources on the website are targeted at people with advanced knowledge on food, drugs, and substances. Often, the groups to be served do not possess advanced knowledge and competencies, which is a shortcoming. It would be prudent for the website managers to consider accepting publications that are easier to understand. Besides, the website contains minimal images and diagrams, which further complicates matters.
For the services to be applicable, it is essential that it involve other professionals. Such professionals include pharmacists, who deal directly with drug dispensation, general practitioners who diagnose and prescribe medication therapies, and social workers who help in the rehabilitation initiatives. Similarly, because of the technical nature of the resources on the website, it is important to have reviewers who can assist the readers to authenticate the information provided by researchers.
The other resource is United States National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health (NLM NIH). The NLM started with a few books in the early 19th century and has grown into a massive library that serves the resources needs of the entire country’s professionals (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2019). The website has many databases that serve different disciplines, for example, LocatorPlus, ClinicalTrials, MEDLINE, and MeSH, among others. The library collaborates with over 20 countries to maintain an impressive collection of material on various health topics, of which substance abuse and interventions is critical. The resources are from acknowledged authority, which include researchers and academicians.
In terms of sponsorship, the website gets its funding from research grants by the federal government, as well as from institutions of research, training, and learning. The information regarding services provided is quite detailed. It is segmented into categories of services, such as population groups, environmental health and toxicology, public health, nursing, and drugs and supplements, among others. The use of filters makes it easy for readers to select the specific product or service they want to learn about. However, the site does not contain information regarding the type and number of people who have visited it.
Substance abuse is a serious global concern that requires innovative solutions, which are derived from research. Researchers have studied how substance use affects the society and economy, but have not obtained a definitive solution that can eradicate the problem. Instead, most of the studies have tended to focus on the prevalence of substance use and addiction, as well as ramifications for society, but have not achieved much success in proposing interventions. Therefore, various online resources have attempted to offer detailed information and services to be used by relevant stakeholders, for instance, pharmacists, general practitioners, community social workers, and law enforcement. One prominent online resource with detailed information on substance abuse is the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The resource offers credible information on substance use, statistics, intervention services, and other pertinent information for readers. The information is free to everyone and can be retrieved, copied, downloaded, or distributed. The information is useful for people who desire to know more about substance abuse in the United States and those who will use the information to address the issue.
Appel, P., Ellison, A. A., Jansky, H. K., & Oldak, R. (2014). Barriers to enrollment in drug abuse treatment and suggestions for reducing them: Opinions of drug injecting street outreach clients and other system stakeholders. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 30(1), 129-53.
Journal of Food and Drug Analysis. (2019). Current issue. Retrieved from https://www.jfda-online.com/
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). The latest in NIDA drug abuse research. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/
Pacula, R. L., & Smart, R. (2017). Medical marijuana and marijuana legalization. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 13, 397–419. Doi: 10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-032816-045128.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2019). News and Highlights. Retrieved from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/
World Health Organization. (2019). Substance abuse. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/topics/substance_abuse/en/