Discuss about the Contemporary Health Issues and Policies.
Policy for Advocacy for Narcotic Abuse by the Teenagers in the USA
Health care is one of the most important sectors which play a very significant role in the USA. For a very long time, the federal government has been spending a substantial portion of its revenue in the healthcare sector. The resources have been utilized in the training, hiring, and remuneration of health practitioners; construction of health facilities; paying for healthcare services to the citizens; and acquisition of essential supplies and consumables. However, despite all these efforts, the country still faces a myriad of challenges in its healthcare sector. One of the major challenges facing the country’s healthcare system is narcotic abuse. Many people have been engaging in the use of narcotic drugs because of different reasons. Surprisingly, the drugs are not only abused by the adult, but by the younger population as well. This can still be resolved if appropriate measures are taken. The purpose of this paper is to present a critical analysis of the efforts of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in addressing the practice of narcotic abuse by the teenagers across the country.
Narcotic Abuse by the Teenagers
A teenager, as its name suggests, is an adolescent who is falling between the ages of 12 to 19 years old. Teenage is one of the most challenging stages in the process of human growth. During adolescence stage, individuals (both boys and girls) undergo lots of changes which influence their physical, psychological, and biological growth. The changes experienced make the adolescents to behave differently because they tend to engage in peer pressure and succumb to influences from their age mates. This makes the adolescents to be curious and defiant people who want to engage in unacceptable behaviors such as drug abuse. Research has established that the teenagers are in a vulnerable stage which exposes them to unwanted behaviors such as sexual intercourse, alcoholism, smoking, and the use of narcotic drugs.
Today, the American teenagers are engaging in the use of different narcotic drugs such as fentanyl, morphine, hydromorphine, methadone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, cocaine, mandrax, and heroine. These are some of the most abused narcotic drugs which are available in the market. There are different reasons why the teenagers engage in the abuse of these drugs. First, there is a peer pressure. Meaning, the teenagers are influenced to start using these drugs by their peers who have become familiar with them. Secondly, there is availability of these drugs in the community. This makes it easier for the teenagers to get access to and use them. Last, but not least, the adolescents have been using these narcotic drugs because of the loopholes in the legal and judicial system which has made it quite easier for them to possess and use the drugs (Kavanagh, et al 2013). However, one thing that should be known is that the problem of narcotic amongst the teenagers is not an American problem. Research has established that it is a global problem which affects so many countries across the world.
Roles of National Institute on Drug Abuse in the Fight Against Narcotic Abuse by the Teenagers
The USA is a world superpower that should be used as model by all the other countries across the globe. As a national, the USA should be very much concerned about the abuse of narcotic drugs by its population especially the teenagers. The adolescents are sensitive people who should be treated with lots of caution. The government should be ready to protect its youthful population because it is what will determine its future. The adolescents should be protected from any activity or behavior that might interfere with their growth and development. Therefore, as the overall authority, the government should not sit down and watch as its teenage population engages in dangerous behaviors such as narcotic abuse (Béland & Waddan 2015). It has no benefit at all both to the individual teenagers, their parents, family members, friends, community, and the nation at large. In fact, if the government allows its youthful population to engage in such behaviors, it is doing a serious mistake which will cost it in the future.
In order to address the problem of narcotic abuse in the country, the government has been relying on its agencies such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). NIDA is an institute which was established by the federal government in 1935 to help in conducting research that can be relied upon to address the problem of drug use, abuse, and addiction in the country. Its mission is to "lead the Nation in bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction." This is a clear indication that the federal government has considered drug abuse to be an issue of national priority. Meaning, drug abuse should be considered as a very serious public health issue which should be addressed using the most appropriate strategies (Barlow 2012). To discharge its responsibilities, the institute has been engaging in research activities. The researches so far conducted have been of great contribution because they have been providing evidence-based reliable data that can be used to understand the real picture of drug use by different segments of the population across the country.
Role of NIDA in Addressing Narcotic Abuse by the Teenagers
NIDA has been directly involved in the fight against the abuse of narcotic drugs in the country. As a federal body, the institute has been engaging in research to find out more information on the usage of narcotics in the country. NIDA has been playing a significant role in disseminating useful information to the policy-makers and the public in general. Through its research initiatives, NIDA has enabled people to have a deeper understanding of the narcotic drugs, their effects, and dangers of abuse by the people (Pearson & Lipton 2013). This kind of information is important because it has been creating awareness which is needed by everyone in the country. Some people are using the drug without appreciating that they are dangerous and can negatively impact on their health. Information is a very powerful tool which can help in changing the society and making it to be a better place for everyone to live in.
Aims and Objectives for the Advocacy for Policy
The major goal of this advocacy for policy is to appeal to NIDA to fight narcotic drug abuse by the teenagers so as to create a narcotic-free society which is safe for everyone including the adults, youth, children, and the future generations. NIDA should be actively involved in the fight against narcotic drug abuse. As a federally-funded organization, NIDA has a capacity to deal with the issue because it was established to help in such like issues. The government has been empowering the organization and providing it with all the support that it requires. As it is today, NIDA is capable of transforming the teenage population because it has money, personnel, and all the necessary support that it requires (Canvin, Rugkåsa, Sinclair & Burns 2014).
It has reached a time when the USA should not be troubled by narcotic drug abuse any more. The country has all the mechanisms and instruments which can be used to regulate the usage of the drugs. The teenager should not be allowed to use heroine or any other narcotic drug for recreational purposes. NIDA should be actively involved in the fight because it will help in creating a desirable behavior change in the teenagers (Baehr 2016). A large number of adolescents end up using the drug without having a substantial reason for doing so. The reason might be an influence from their peers or other members of the society who have been addicted to the narcotic drugs. However, all these are expected to come to an end should NIDA adopt the policy and becomes actively involved in the regulation of the accessibility to and the usage of narcotic drugs particularly for recreational purposes.
How the Policy can Promote Health of the Teenagers
The policy is aimed at eradicating the abuse of narcotic drugs by the adolescents across the country. It will accomplish this goal by taking a number of measures. First, NIDA will have to come up with new regulations to control the usage and accessibility of the adolescents to the narcotic drugs. The regulations should be stringently enforced to ensure that any violation is detected and punished appropriately. When this is done, the adolescents will not be able to abuse narcotic drugs because it can result into a severe punishment before the court of law (Lippman 2016). In case one is convicted of abusing the narcotic drugs, the teenagers should be ready to face the full wrath of the law. No one will be spared or escape justice simply because of their tender age. Strict legislation can be of great contribution when addressing such matters of public health concern.
The other strategy which can be adopted to address the problem of narcotic drug abuse by the American adolescents is engagement in health promotion campaigns. Although this has been an on-going process, it has not been seriously done as it ought to. Therefore, in its capacity as a federal organization, NIDA should be actively involved in the creation of awareness and sensitizing the adolescents. The sensitization should be done by organizing for health promotion campaigns which are exclusively targeting the adolescents and providing them with all the information that they need to know about narcotic drugs such as peer pressure, addiction, abuse, and the dangers associated with its abuse (Cullen & Jonson 2012). The promotional campaigns should be conducted in collaboration with the school administration, parents and religious leaders who spend most of their time with the teenagers.
NIDA has been at the fore front of dealing with narcotic drug-related cases in the country. Apart from carrying out research and disseminating information to the public, the institute has been engaging in health promotion campaigns which are aimed at creating the desired behavior change in the members of the community. Therefore, in order to accomplish the goal of creating a narcotic-free society, NIDA should consider adopting the following recommendations.
NIDA should form a close partnership with all the stakeholders who, in one way or the other, are involved in the narcotic drugs. These include the public health sector, the parliament, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), foreign governments, the UNICEF, and other international organizations (Slade, et al 2014). By forming a strong partnership with these stakeholders, NIDA will definitely manage to eradicate the practice of narcotic drug abuse amongst its teenage population. The partnership will enable the organization to successfully engage in the rehabilitation of the addicted teenagers, roll-out nation-wide health promotional campaigns; enact and enforce anti-narcotic drug abuse laws to be used in the country.
NIDA should intensify its rehabilitation efforts. As a matter of fact, the fight against drug abuse cannot be successful without engaging in rehabilitation exercises. This is what NIDA is supposed to do to the teenagers who are addicted to narcotic drugs. The institute should not only concentrate on the prevention of the usage of narcotic drugs without addressing the needs of the people who are already addicted (Rogers & Pilgrim 2014). Therefore, to accomplish its goals of creating a narcotic-free society, NIDA should intensify its rehabilitation efforts and extend the service to the teenagers. If this is properly done, the teenagers will have to reform and refrain from the abuse of narcotic drugs.
The abuse of narcotic drugs by the teenagers is not only troubling the USA. Today, the practice has become a major issue of concern across the world. Nearly all the countries face a similar problem because the adolescents have been engaging in the abuse of narcotic drugs such as heroin, cocaine, mandrax, and morphine. In its capacity as a federally-financed organization, NIDA should lead the war against the abuse of narcotic drugs by the teenagers in the USA. The institute should embrace the new policy because it will enhance its efforts and enable it to fully-eradicate the practice because it is harmful for everyone.
Baehr, P., 2016, Human rights: universality in practice New York: Springer.
Barlow, D., 2012, The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.
Béland, D., & Waddan, A., 2015, Breaking down ideas and institutions: the politics of tax policy in the USA and the UK. Policy Studies, 36(2), 176-195.
Canvin, K., Rugkåsa, J., Sinclair, J. & Burns, T., 2014, Patient, psychiatrist and family carer experiences of community treatment orders: qualitative study. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 49(12), pp.1873-1882.
Cullen, F. & Jonson, C.L., 2012, From Theory to Policy: Evidence-Based Corrections. In Correctional theory: Context and consequences (pp. 1-22). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Kavanagh, A.M., et al, 2013, Time trends in socio-economic inequalities for women and men with disabilities in Australia: evidence of persisting inequalities. International journal for equity in health, 12(1), 1.
Lippman, M., 2016, Contemporary Criminal Law (4th Ed). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications.
Rogers, A. & Pilgrim, D., 2014, A sociology of mental health and illness. London: McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
Slade, M., et al., 2014, Uses and abuses of recovery: implementing recovery?oriented practices in mental health systems. World Psychiatry, 13(1), 12-20.
Pearson, F.S., & Lipton, D.S., 2013, A meta-analytic review of the effectiveness of corrections-based treatments for drug abuse. The Prison Journal, 79(4), 384-410.