Free Drug Abuse And The Community Health Essay Example
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The issue of drug abuse has become more significant over time, and nowadays happens to be one of the most decisive factors in determining the key parameters of any given residual unit, be it in terms of investment attractiveness or general criminal situation. Drug addiction of certain residents has a serious impact on the overall performance of the group in several ways. This justifies the significance of the topic and provides an enormous field for further research.
In order to assess the issue in a strict academic and impartial manner, several scientific findings were identified and picked from peer-reviewed professional editions. They are described in detail within the section of the work which is dedicated to the literature review.
The results that happen to be most comprehensive and universally applicable are then analyzed in depth in a separate part of the work. It is worth noticing that the topic of analysis does not include merely what is commonly known as heavy drugs, but also various substances that may have a considerable impact on human behavior and force them to act under influence in economic, social and psychological aspects of life.
All the findings are then summarized in the conclusion section that is the end of the main body of the work and is then followed by references.
Literature review and detection of primary challenges
Despite the fact that the list of research papers regarding drug abuse and its impact on the life of the community and its overall health condition, only several most prominent and comprehensive papers have been picked.
The paper to begin with is titled “Relative Effectiveness of Comprehensive Community Programming for Drug Abuse Prevention With High-Risk and Low-Risk Adolescents”. Composed by a group of researchers from the University of Southern California as early as in 1990, it nevertheless provides several actual findings not only in the topic itself, but also in the methodology of research. The paper reflects a 3-year long experiment conducted in 8 communities of the Kansas city area and involving a profound research of the factors contributing to the spread or diminishing drug abuse not only among the adult population of the area, but also among school students.
The efforts and possible strategies that may be used by the members of communities in order to resist the spread of drug abuse are described in detail by the work of S.T. Roussos and S.B. Fawcett in their work “The Review of Collaborative Partnerships as a Strategy for Improving the Community Health”. This article is significant from the methodological point of view, as it offers a clear strategy for elimination and further prevention of the issue of drug abuse. The named strategy – the collaborative partnership is somewhat different from what was manifested in the previous article. The meaning here is the joint activities by the community members “from below” as opposed to the official drug preventions programs implemented “from above”. The study specifies three major areas of assessment for collaborative partnerships (p. 379) – amount of change, duration of change and penetration of change. It is clear that the transformation of the values of the community in order to eliminate traces of drug abuse require a diverse approach involving peer-based programs of social, cultural and behavioral nature – the quantitative extent of the spread of such methods is defined as the amount of change. Duration of change is the length of the active phase of the collaborative partnership (which is basically perceived as permanent) which is required to achieve the perceived goal. The depth of change determines the qualitative extent of penetration of the program into the life of the community in order to diminish drug abuse – be it on the general level, within particular neighborhoods or even separate households and families. The article depicts collaborative partnerships within communities as an effective tool of self-control and health enhancement.
There are several research articles that manage to combine the two methods described above into a unified theory. One of the most advanced examples would be the ecological principles of health promotion and drug prevention within communities, as described in “Translating Social Ecological Theory into Guidelines for Community Health Promotion” by D. Stokols. As assessed by the author, the issue of drug abuse within community lies within a much wider field of the general social ecology and has to be taken in a context of the overall health condition of the community from various points of view (p.288). The latter include the relevance of the personal perception of well-being with the overall community goals in the field of sustainable and healthy development, necessity to bear personal responsibility for maintaining and enhancement of the entire community health instead of following purely individual goals, realizing the significance of the practice of personal example in formation of behavioral patterns within the community relevant to drug use and possible abuse. The responsibility of the governing body, on the other hand, lies in detecting and promoting such patterns originating from individuals of small groups of people.
The necessity of the combination of individual initiatives and public efforts is further analyzed in “Review of Community-Based Research: Assessing Partnership Approaches to Improve Public Health” by B.A. Israel et al. Having the different approach in comparison to the previously mentioned researchers, the authors tend to concentrate on the factors that may preclude such partnerships from effective functioning, therefore jeopardizing the very idea of drug abuse prevention (p. 183). One of the most serious potential barriers may be defined as lack of trust and respect among members of a given community. In a diverse group of people the social risk factor, as described above, tends to be a substantial threat to implementation of anti-drug policies and initiatives. Inequality in distribution of power and control among members of the same community also imposes a threat, as it does not guaranty an equal amount of participation and general involvement of all members of a community into resistance to drug abuse. One of consequences of such inequality may be internal community conflicts originating from diversity of cultural, ethnical, confessional and other nature (p. 184). Such conflicts in a non-homogenous community may lead to clusterization of the population and respective initiatives. Finally, even if the concensus has been reached and the common anti-drug policy has been agreed on, the barriers of a more practical nature may emerge – the issue of funding (e.g. whether to impose new taxes in order to sponsor anti-drug activities), defining the value of particular elements of the program relatively to others (e.g. whether it is more important to run a drug-prevention program in schools or among adults) etc. Proper and early addressing these issues within a community may result in a successful implementation of various drug prevention initiatives.
Finally, the issue of drug abuse within communities has a direct impact on the health of the future generations. The extent of such negative influence is described in detail by K. Kellecher in “Alcohol and Drug Disorders Among Physically Abusive and Neglectful Parents in a Community-Based Sample”. It is proved by the author that there is a direct correlation and causation between the extent of drug abuse by adult members of the community and child abuse in the same area, and the quofficient of correlation may reach as much as 78% (p. 1586). It is stated that from the age 15 children are capable of not only identifying abusive patterns as normal within community, but also accepting them as standards for themselves, after which they are extremely difficult to be altered (p. 1589). The article stresses the importance of an early action of drug-related initiatives in a community and the considerable damage their absence may make to the community health.
Analysis and strategy implementation
Community is a fragile system of persons and interpersonal relations, imposed to various internal and external risks. The factors that may impact the degree of drug abuse and its damage to the community health derive from possible inequalities related to demographic, social and economic distribution, the degree of unity and self-governance of the community as well as self-awareness of every given member. The possibility of the successful anti-drug initiatives has to be monitored not only by the active citizens and groups, but also by the opinion leaders and self-governing institutions of a given community. The help from above in an institutionalized manner is also possible and may be offered and exercised through public education, healthcare and social facilities, yet it is important that such assistance is not being implemented mechanically regardless to the particular situation and complications within the community. It is also correct that anti-drug incentive may not necessarily provide an immediate effect, especially in communities with long history and traditions of drug abuse. The most sensitive group of influence happens to be attendants of public education facilities, especially before the age of fifteen, while later on it is much more difficult to reach the target audience, partially, due to a higher extent of mobility of the adult population. Another difficulty in reaching adult members of the community with anti-drug initiatives if their conscious unwillingness to alter their lifestyle and values. In order to break this vicious circle and secure the future generation from the negative behavioral impact of drug abuse, it may be also reasonable to increase their independent reasoning, especially in regard of their strategic health plan. The overall health of any given community starts from the individual efforts of all its reasonable members in order to improve their health and avoid factors of destruction, of which drug abuse is one of the strongest.
Conclusion an justification of findings
The issue of drug abuse and its impact on community health is indeed a complex one, and in each particular case has a variety of unique factors. Due to this complexity and ambiguity there may be no universal strategy for communities to fight drug abuse, yet it was possible to distinguish certain common issues that need to be addressed. The most important factor is that the members of the community need to share a common understanding of the issue of drug abuse and realize the importance of the common effort as well as an individual initiative in order to fight and prevent the further spread of drugs within a community.
Johnson, A. S., et al (1990). Relative Effectiveness of Comprehensive Community Programming for Drug Abuse Prevention With High-Risk and Low-Risk Adolescents. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 58(4): 447-456
Roussos, S. T. et al. (2000). The Review of Collaborative Partnerships as a Strategy for Improving the Community Health. Annual Review of Public Health 21: 369-402
Stokols, D. (1996). Translating Social Ecological Theory into Guidelines for Community Health Promotion. American Journal of Health Promotion 10(4): 282-298
Israel, B. A. et al. (1998). Review of Community-Based Research: Assessing Partnership Approaches to Improve Public Health. Annual Review of Public Health 19: 173-202
Kelleher, K., et al. (1994). Alcohol and Drug Disorders Among Physically Abusive and Neglectful Parents in a Community-Based Sample. American Journal of Public Health 84(10): 1586-1590
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