Unit 1 Discussion Board

DB 1.2

The whole society’s impact of alcohol and drug abuse extends far beyond financial costs to social and health problems. Examples of the effects of alcohol and drug abuse in our society include increased mortalities. For instance, a study shows that about 3.8% of the global deaths in 2004 were caused by alcohol abuse (Rehm et al., 2009). Drugs and alcohol abuse is a factor for various chronic diseases and other health conditions. They both play a significant role in psychiatric disorders and cardiovascular diseases. Alcohol increases the risks of stroke, diabetes, and heart disease, which are killer conditions in our societies (Ohannessian et al., 2015). Approximately 4·6% of the world’s burden of diseases and injuries in 2004 were attributed to alcohol (Rehm et al. 2009). The impact of drugs and alcohol abuse on families shows that addiction to drugs and alcohol has a direct role in domestic violence, impairs decision-making, and contributes to child abuse and neglect (Ohannessian et al., 2015). United States ranks second in alcohol consumption after Russia and Western Europe with 8·7 L per adult annually and among the leading countries with alcohol use disorders, mostly in men according to WHO report (Rehm et al. 2009).

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DB 1.3

            Before the 1800s, clinicians treated pain as an existential phenomenon resulting from aging. Opioid use was not regulated, leading to extensive marketing and prescribing for varieties of ailments ranging from a toothache, joint pain, and even diarrhea. The “Harrison Narcotic Control Act of 1914” changed the perception about opioids. The Act was a counter to the sudden emergence of iatrogenic dependence and street heroin abuse, influencing clinicians and patients alike to avoid opioids. In the 1950s, all patients with cancer were discouraged from using opioids until advised by the clinicians. The attitude persisted in the 20th century but changed when researchers faulted chronic pain under-treatment with adequate opioid dose (Jones et al. 2018). Some researchers advised that therapeutic use of opioid analgesics rarely translates into addiction, which makes opioid use more interesting. Interesting facts are a) that physicians continue to prescribe opioids for chronic pain treatment; b) sometimes opioid is prescribed in overdose; c) the US is faced with opioid overdose crisis, including deaths while physicians continue to focus on its use for chronic pain treatment (Ostling et al. 2018).    


Jones, M. R., Viswanath, O., Peck, J., Kaye, A. D., Gill, J. S., & Simopoulos, T. T. (2018). A brief history of the opioid epidemic and strategies for pain medicine. Pain and therapy, 7(1), 13-21.

Ohannessian, C. M., Finan, L. J., Schulz, J., & Hesselbrock, V. (2015). A long-term longitudinal examination of the effect of early onset of alcohol and drug use on later alcohol abuse. Substance abuse, 36(4), 440-444.

Ostling, P. S., Davidson, K. S., Anyama, B. O., Helander, E. M., Wyche, M. Q., & Kaye, A. D. (2018). America’s opioid epidemic: a comprehensive review and look into the rising crisis. Current pain and headache reports, 22(5), 1-7.

Rehm, J., Mathers, C., Popova, S., Thavorncharoensap, M., Teerawattananon, Y., & Patra, J. (2009). Global burden of disease and injury and economic cost attributable to alcohol use and alcohol-use disorders. The lancet, 373(9682), 2223-2233.