Regardless of which statistics you read, the overall image of common addictions tends to be the same. The world over, drug addiction is increasing year by year – and it has been as long as we have been recording the data relevant to it. This in itself may come as no surprise. What might be enlightening to some readers is the matter of which drugs are the most common suspects when it comes to addiction rates. There is often an automatic assumption that drug addiction is a matter of illegal or illicit drug-taking. However, the statistics show time and again that the substances causing the most problems are the legal ones. Whether or not this is a case for legalisation is an interesting question. Is it that legalisation causes addiction – or have we legalised the most addictive substances in folly? Let’s take a look at the most addictive substances known to humankind, and what can be done to try and reverse those statistics.
Nicotine is, by far, the most addicting substances on the planet. It is probably therefore no surprise that it is also the drug which most people are addicted to. 440,000 Americans are killed as a result of cigarette smoking each year – and that is just in the USA. Worldwide, nicotine addiction is the second leading cause of death. How did we get to this point – and what can we do to change things?
In the early twentieth century, tobacco started gaining a popular following. It is often said that at this time the full effects of smoking were not known. While this was true among the general population, there is evidence now that the tobacco companies were aware of some of the dangers. It is unlikely that even they knew the full effects of the drug. However, we now know that they did hide many of the known effects from the general public. It soon became general knowledge that smoking was ultimately harmless. Of course, everybody today knows that this is not the case. So how is it that nicotine addiction is still so prevalent?
Some psychologists claim that the reason for this is because the emerging generations look to their parents. That generation, of course, was sold false information. As such, today’s have taken on the bad habits – even while having the benefit of new knowledge. So what can we do to try and curb nicotine addiction?
There is good news here. It does seem that, despite its high death rates, nicotine addiction is actually on the way out. There has been a significant drive in recent years to reduce the amount of smokers there are. And many of the new methods have been successful. One major turning point has been the change in cultural attitude towards the smoker. In the last decade, smoking has gone from being a seemingly harmless social behaviour to a disgusting and ridiculed one. This, it would seem, is a necessary step on the journey to ridding the world of nicotine addiction.
Alcohol is the next among most common addictions and most common addictive substance. It is also – as you will have noticed – another one which is legal almost everywhere in the world. The truth is, alcohol has a long relationship to humans, and unpicking it can be a difficult and complex task. Most cultures that we know of in the history of the world have taken alcohol in some form or another. However, this does not mean that it is a worthwhile or necessary drug. We all know just how destructive alcohol can be. So what is the solution to this legal intoxicant and its dangers?
On a personal level, recovering from alcohol addiction can be a very difficult process indeed. Anyone who has done so themselves will be ready to tell you that an alcoholic is always an alcoholic, regardless of any change in circumstances. However, there are many people who successfully stay off alcohol for their entire lives. The methods for achieving this are various and vary in effectiveness. One of the more successful techniques available is to stay at an Alcohol Recovery Centre. These centres offer everything that the recovering alcoholic needs to get through that period in their life. These centres are useful, in part because alcohol is so prevalent in our society that avoiding it can be difficult.
It is possible that, at some point in the future, alcohol will not be such a common drug in our modern cultures. When this day comes, we will see a dramatic improvement in the quality of life for all people. Alcohol is the cause of a huge number of deaths every year. Not to mention the many other problems which it can cause – such as interrelational issues and violence.
As for the illegal and illicit drugs, there are none more damaging or addictive than heroin. Heroin use is the one on this list which has actually decreased somewhat over the last decade. However, alcohol use has increased to a much larger degree over the same period. This has led some experts to conclude that many ex-heroin addicts have simply switched to alcohol. While this is not ideal, it may well prove to be an improvement over time. The important question, however, is this: is there a method for reducing heroin addiction in the coming years?