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Solving Americas Drug Problem 1

Solving Americas Drug Problem Among a Younger Demographic

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Solving Americas Drug Problem 2

Here is an idea you could imagine or have quite possibly experienced yourself,
but picture an average day at school and all of sudden news about a certain peer is
spreading across the school like a wild fire. That something is that they have just
overdosed on some sort of drug or more specifically opiates or heroin. Across America
this has become something that has touched countless high schools. As a community
usually come together and try to put an end to this sort of thing but its already too late.
We should try and put an end to this before it happens.
It is almost impossible to avoid the influence of drugs through media but this
influence could easily be overlooked if children had the mental strength to ignore it.
Times have changed and keeping kids away from this technology that leads to influence
is hard. Throughout this paper I will be researching several cases and studies on drug
abuse and how it is negatively affecting our country, also I will introduce my plan to stop
The focus of my research will focus on opiate and heroin abuse among a younger
demographic, how it is approached, and how it has failed. A major problem that has led
up to this drug problem is that we havent done anything to prevent it. It is obvious that

Adolfo Martinez 3/30/2016 11:47 PM

Comment [1]: I like the idea you are
trying to create through your introduction
but I feel the wording of the first sentence
can be improved. I feel you can make
either two sentences out of the sentence
or create a better organized sentence. It is
a great way to grab a readers attention but
rewording it will allow for it to occur.
Adolfo Martinez 3/30/2016 11:53 PM
Comment [2]: I think if you add more
information to back up the sentence a bit
would make statement more important
than it already is. You can include why
putting an end before it happens is
important. Another thing could do is add
this sentence to your thesis statement if
you find that being a good idea since your
intro was about the consequences of drug

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kids need more than just a one-year course on how drugs are bad to get a hold of the
actual horror of drug use. Most kids take a course in elementary school and go on
summer break and forget all about it, terrible, right? I will be giving my plan that stops
this problem and gives America a better and healthier future.
Before you read any further I must explain my relationship to the research.
Throughout high school I have seen more than a handful of live drastically touched by
opiate and heroin abuse. I have seen two kids overdose, two kids be sent off to detox
rehab, and I have seen kids trying to mask their addiction because they dont have
they can talk to about it. Having such a close experience to these drug problems has
me a strong view on it and a passion to put an end to it. This could come off as bias but
considering the research it is factual that this is happening all over America. Having said
this some people or parents may take offense to my plan and say it is too harsh.
Literature Review
Opioids have been around and used for thousands of years. They have a euphoric
effect on humans and can cause serious addiction. Over the last few years the U.S. has
seen a rise in use and a change in the profile of who uses it. Research has suggested
the users are usually young white males within the middle class. (Brooks, 2004) This
change in profile gives the use of heroin a new home, whether it is in a school or at a
school party. Recently in a small town in Pennsylvania several overdoses have
on school grounds leading to death. This has caused uproar in the town and it is only
town out of hundreds that face heroin addiction. This uproar was not only caused by
heroin addiction but by the profile of the heroin users, young, white, middle class kids.

Samuel Johnson 4/2/2016 11:41 PM

Comment [3]: Even though you list it
among your biases like a negative, your
passion for this subject is clearly the most
powerful component of this
paper.Throughout the paper it is clearly
evident that you care about the subject,
and most of the time this seems to add
merit to you argument. Which makes it
more impressive that the majority of your
argument is made without appealing to
emotion, but rather with evidence.
Samuel Johnson 4/2/2016 10:46 PM
Comment [4]: I would consider removing
statements like this. It seems like you're
being confrontational with tan audience
that may not even exist. It's off-putting to
the reader. but doesn't add much to the
conversation to make up for it.
Samuel Johnson 4/2/2016 10:51 PM
Comment [5]: I would strongly consider
either going into further detail about the
profile, or not commenting on it at all.
What was the profile for opiate abuse prior
to its outbreak in the middle-class? Is this
change relevant to the problem beyond
the outrage factor? Because if that's the
only factor, it kinda makes it look like
you're implying opiate abuse only really
matters when it's effecting either your own
group or people of means, which
undercuts an otherwise passionate

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(Block, 2016) As this addiction among Americans grows, health officials are looking for
answers. They have found that people who use heroin have most likely abused opiate
painkiller prescriptions. This use of painkillers medication has primed people for their
new heroin addiction. They concluded these observations by trying to crack down on
heroin sales, making sure prescriptions are necessary, and providing treatment. (Harris,
According to research done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,
painkiller prescriptions and abuse are among the top reasons for heroin abuse. This
correlation has seen a dramatic increase over the past six years and is continuing to
Research has also said that most prescriptions are legitimate and they cannot be
and if they were people would turn to the black market for heroin or other painkillers.
(NPR, 2013) Another step in stopping heroin addiction is enforcing the law to get rid of
the drug. In one town, the police changed their tactics on stopping heroin use and
trafficking. When it came to heroin trafficking they began to investigate deeper into
smaller heroin crimes that could lead them to bigger bust. They also devised ways to
the sell of heroin by parking outside of certain homes, which would cause any buyer
walking near that home. When it came to finding simple heroin addicts and not dealers
they stopped throwing them in jail and instead put them in a rehabilitation clinic to get
them clean. (Keck, 2016) Recently, getting their town clean isnt easy as a few small
organizations getting together. They are reaching out to the government for funding and
for patients to receive insurance coverage for their treatments. Some states still dont
allow Medicaid to cover the expenses of addiction treatment. The people that are for

Solving Americas Drug Problem 5

insurance coverage claim that it is a mental illness just like other mental illnesses that
insurance companies cover. (McLellan, 2000)
The conversation of coverage for addiction treatment still lingers today and is
argued all the time. Illinois, one of the remaining states that didnt cover addiction
treatment with Medicaid has allowed for after strong opposition. Illinois is leading the
country with heroin overdoses and that shows a strong correlation with the fact that they
didnt have insurance coverage. (Schaper, 2015) The government plays a major role in
funding for rehabs and therefore has a huge say in what gets done. With the current
economic state of some major cities and in this example Chicago sever budget cuts
taken place. One of the major cuts is the government funding for opioid addiction. This
cut has happened at an all time high for opioid and heroin overdoses as well. The
argument they are putting forth to government so the funding will return is that heroin
users are spending more public money with out treatment than with it by being in jail.
(Schaper, 2015) These accusations that they should be put in treatment centers is also
backed by several organizations claiming that users are thrown in jail due to their
addiction which also happens to be breaking the law. They see their addiction as the
reason for the crimes committed and that if they stop the addiction they can stop the
crime resulting in a long-term resolution. This is exemplified by the hypothetical
situation stated in a proposal document called TASC. (Mecca, 2010)
Entering the Conversation
After reviewing several sources, hearing personal stories, and seeing it with my
own eyes, heroin and opiate abuse are a huge problem among the youth of America. It
seems that the communities especially affected by the abuse tend to start working

Adolfo Martinez 3/31/2016 12:01 AM

Comment [6]: Around this area when
talking about the government, I believe
you should add your own opinion about
the government cutting funds for
rehabilitation. This would be a great a spot
to add why you think it is good or bad how
the government gets involved when it
comes down to funding rehab centers.
Treatment centers are said to be helpful,
but what do you think about what the
better decision is between jail or rehab.

Solving Americas Drug Problem 6

towards solutions after the incidents occur. (Block, 2016) Its great that these
communities are coming together to stop any more abuse but why did they ever let it
happen. Programs across the nation target elementary students very early to educate
on the harmful affects of drugs, but I believe this is too early for the children to get a
grasp of what drugs can really do. These programs also stop after they enter middle
school, does a elementary kid really remember everything they were taught before 5th
grade? Obviously not considering the tremendous rise in drug abuse. I believe that
programs should be provided for the students all the way to their high school
giving the students true and visual facts on what drug
s can do and giving them tools to

Samuel Johnson 4/2/2016 11:00 PM

Comment [7]: This is a fairly important
point if true. I would suggest finding a
source that can verify that most anti-drug
programs stop around that age. If it's true,
I'd consider going into detail as to why
they stop. Without a source however, it
leaves room for doubt in the mind of the
reader, which undercuts your argument.

stray their minds away from drugs.

People seem to argue that the children should know better and they should be
taught the consequences at home, but how can they do that when a major cause of the
drug abuse starts in their home. One problem that occurs in the household is that their
parents prescriptions are the main reasons the kids can get their hands on the opiates.
Another reason is media. Media almost controls and shapes the minds of our youth and
can set a huge negative impact on how our youth thinks. This media includes; reality tv,
music, and fictional shows. In every one of those categories you can find some source
that glamorizes drug abuse. To get rid of these influences I have put together a plan of
action called S.M.A.R.T..
S.M.A.R.T. or Smart is defined as Support, Mission, Achieve, Retain, and Talk.
These five words are a major factor in keeping kids away form drugs and giving them a
reason to. By supporting them, we show that we care, and for many children they may
not have someone in their life that truly cares about them. Mission, this is the biggest

Adolfo Martinez 3/31/2016 12:06 AM

Comment [8]: This is a great point that
you added here. I can see that this is
either a filling in the space or a self opinion
sentence but it definitely kept my attention
as it is a bold statement. This sentence is
than backed up perfectly so the argument
you are trying to prove is clearly backed
Samuel Johnson 4/2/2016 11:05 PM
Comment [9]: I would strongly consider
avoiding placing blame at the feet of"the
media." Even if it were true, claims like this
can rapidly make the readers opinion of
you turn from one of respect to a newmillenium version of Tipper Gore. It hurts
your argument more than it helps. If you
were to keep it, I would suggest at least
finding a credible study supporting your

Solving Americas Drug Problem 7

of Smart that will help kids say no to drugs. Mission is the idea that kids will set goals,
not goals that they forget about after a day, but goals that they actually keep track of
have reviewed by their support. Achieve, achieving their goals is huge and to achieve
goals, drugs are never a good mix. Retain, they need to retain their knowledge of drugs
and of they can negatively affect their life from elementary school all the way to
graduation. This will ensure a strong knowledge of drugs. Summing up the acronym is
talk, talking through problems and thoughts of drug use can be huge. Being able to talk
to someone can be the fine line of becoming an addict or keeping sober.
I believe that this will not only support kids from using drugs but also give them
the opportunity to strive for success. This type of engagement will help kids look past
reality TV shows and music that continuously talks about drug use. Giving kids the
knowledge of drug abuse is one thing but giving them reason not to use the drugs is a
totally different area that present drug awareness organizations dont offer.
Here a platform on how I would go about executing this plan.
Support: Every school should have at the least five professionals per grade that can go
each of their students and talk about their goals and how they can reach them. These
professionals will stick with their specific class throughout the remainder of grade
This support should be taken very seriously by the staff and should truly benefit the
children. This should take place every other week and if support is needed within those
gaps it will be offered.
Mission: This is the part where students set their goals. These arent goals they come
with off the top of their head and write down a piece of notebook paper that gets thrown
into the depths of their book bag. These are goals that the children set, stick to, review,

Solving Americas Drug Problem 8

and follow through with. Goals are set as long term and short term, having the same
support every year also helps with the long term goals.
Achieve: One of the best feelings a person can have is achieving a goal. It should be
stressed to the children how goals can be interrupted by drug use and can lead them
the opposite road. Achieving multiple goals throughout grade school can easily turn into
a habit and set them up for success in college and their future.
Retain: One of the biggest problems in todays drug awareness programs is that the
arent retaining the information. By having this program offered to them for several years

Samuel Johnson 4/2/2016 11:36 PM

Comment [10]: For such a critical part of
your proposal, this seems like it could
really benefit from more detail. As it
currently reads, it seems marginally better
than a platitude, lacking enough to operate
on. What goals are we talking about?
Athletics? Academics? Developing a craft
or hobby? What kind of goals to you
propose they set that are meaningful
enough to provide a sense of achievement
and not fall by the wayside, yet not so
complex that they are outside the scope of
what a child can do?

they have a way higher chance of retaining information about drug abuse and always
know what the consequences can be.
Talk: Each session, the idea of talking has to have a huge presence. Students should
willing to talk about their goals and thoughts. Talking is taught as a tool for the students.
They should talk about their goals and ideas with their parents as well and keep an
conversation. Maybe at a younger age, an optional tool could be that Support can have
contact with the parents to keep track of home life and how things are going.
In contrast to my proposal I could see where parents may take offense to this type
of program, feeling that they are being out parented. I would like the program to be very
open with the parents and have continuous contact, giving the parent the right to raise
their children with the right ideas as well. For most kids, especially the demographic that
has been shown abusing drugs, have hard working parents who cant always stir their
down the right path. (Brooks, 2004) In this type of situation it would be very beneficial
for the parents to buy into the program and allow it to teach their children.

Adolfo Martinez 3/31/2016 12:12 AM

Comment [11]: I love how in this
paragraph not only do you include your
own personal solution but you also criticize
your solution to evaluate other peoples
solution. You view the flaws of your own
solution which shows the reality that over
the past years, no perfect solution has
been produced to effectively work. Maybe
one day the government creates a
program that is reliable for the prevention
of abuse but your research shows the
difficulty of finding a solution to such an

Solving Americas Drug Problem 9

Another issue that will most definitely arise is funding. Funding seems to run
most school programs or rather shut them down, but before this interrupts the program
lets take into consideration the cost of rehabilitation and violence that occurs from drugs
aforementioned in the article TASC (Mecca, 2010) This article explained that it would be
cheaper to give the addicts rehab instead of throwing them in jail. What im proposing is
that we never let our children get to the point of needing rehabilitation, overall saving
tons of money.
Overall, after reviewing numerous sources, having several conversations, and
experiencing this issue, I believe that my program would best suit the problem we are
facing. This drug addiction is overwhelming and unproductive, we need our children to
be in the best physical and mental states they can be in to keep our nation strong. Our
youth is going to one day be the leaders of America and we need them to choose the
path by avoiding drugs and eliminating them from their minds.
Conclusion/So What?
Throughout this paper I researched the struggle America is having with its drug
addiction. More specifically, I researched the new addiction of opiates and heroin
younger demographic and how towns individually tackle the matter. I realized several
issues that have led to these outbreaks of addiction which wraps around one subject,
Drug education has been lacking throughout the younger generation. Right now is
one of the most important times in history to inform our children of drugs. I say this
because it is obvious to me that children have more of influence now. This influence
comes from drug prescriptions, which have gone through the roof with our new

Solving Americas Drug Problem 10

technologies, but this isnt the only influence. y. Having young minds mold around this
influence has caused this. Another influence is media, this day and
age thrives off media and it can be accessed almost anywhere at anytime. More
specifically, this media depicts drug use among celebrities we look up too and TV
we watch daily.
addiction spike. This is why I have specifically proposed a plan to put an end to negative
influence and focus on leading them down a successful path.
I believe that my plan will work because of it attacks the issue. The issue is that
kids are getting addicted and then people step in to stop it. My plan proposes the idea
we get the positive influence to them before they get the negative one. If something as
powerful as my plan doesnt take affect, I think it is safe to say that we will see drug
abuse and addiction keep rising. This path wouldnt lead America in the right direction; I
mean these kids are the future of America. Giving them a path, support, and education
will not only let them shake off negative influence, but give them something to work
There is no permanent end to drug use or addiction in America and that is how it
will always be. But there is a way we can severely cut addiction number in half
among our youth. Our youth is our future and for numbers of them to continuously get
addicted to drugs and go down the wrong path is heartbreaking. I want to see America
grow into a better country and rid this drug addiction away. I hope that other Americans
are as passionate as I am about this and that continuous support and ideas are taken
affect to stop drug addiction.

Adolfo Martinez 3/31/2016 12:17 AM

Comment [12]: After reading your work,
this to me is the most influential for drug
addiction/abuse in the young generation.
The media to me has the ability to
conditionally attract us towards drugs
which come from watching things such as
the news, internet, movies, etc... You
proved the biggest point to me right here
when you speak of the media as Ii have
personally seen and experienced how the
media can actually provoke actions of drug

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Brooks, A. (2004, February 23). Heroin in America. Retrieved March 13, 2016, from
Harris, R. (2015, July 7). Heroin Use Surges, Especially Among Women And Whites.
Retrieved March 13, 2016, from
Keck, N. (2016, January 30). Tragedy Moves A Community To Combat Drug Addiction.
Retrieved March 13, 2016, from
McLellan, T., PhD. (2000, October 4). Drug Dependence, a Chronic Medical Illness.
Retrieved March 13, 2016, from
Mecca, A., MPH. (2010, February 24). TASC (Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime).
Retrieved March 14, 2016, from
Rodolico, J. (2016, January 11). Anatomy Of Addiction: How Heroin And Opioids
Hijack The Brain. Retrieved March 13, 2016, from
Schaper, D. (2015, September 2). Illinois House Leaders Override Governor's Veto On
Heroin Addiction Bill. Retrieved March 13, 2016, from

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Schaper, D. (2015, August 18). Heroin Crisis Ups Demand For Treatment As Program
Funding Is Cut. Retrieved March 13, 2016, from
Staff, N. (2013, November 2). With Rise Of Painkiller Abuse, A Closer Look At Heroin.
Retrieved March 13, 2016, from