We’ve been taught in school about the usage of drugs and that people who use drugs are breaking the law and want to cause problems. D.A.R.E taught us that if we say no, we can avoid being addicted to drugs, and that drug addiction is a crime that can hurt people like a robbery can to a bank. For a while, we thought that expelling students from high school or college campuses is the solution. However, many studies have proven that sending people to jail and expelling kids for possession of drugs doesn’t reduce drug addiction. The problem isn’t that we aren’t trying, rather we’re looking at the problem in a wrong light.

First, we should note that drug addiction is a disease not a choice. Many who suffer from drug addiction don’t want to do drugs; it’s so addictive that it’s impossible for them to quit. We should also note that drugs aren’t the cause of addiction. When a person suffers a problem, they look to something to cope with their issues—whether it’s video games, scrolling through your phone, or eating excessive junk food. Addiction is a symptom of a bigger problem, and the way we’ve been handling addiction is ineffective and results in more addiction.

As mentioned, the solution I believe that would work best at the University of Massachusetts Boston is gentle intervention. Research on a study called CRAFT found that this approach is twice as effective at getting people into treatment. This project teaches family members to reduce conflict and positively motivate loved ones who suffer to begin and sustain recovery by teaching self-care skills and avoiding relapse. This doesn’t mean we should be okay with continued drug abuse, but using the system of punishment and fear by bringing in the legal system helps no one. Prisons and jails aren’t considered safe nor drug-free, and this prevents people from getting the best treatment.

The next thing that should be done is to get this person a maintenance medication, since opioid addiction doesn’t come on its own. People have the misconception that this treatment encourages addiction. In reality, these drugs create a high tolerance level that prevents the high from happening. When the person takes a stable dosage, it doesn’t cause any impairment; the person can still work, love and drive. One drug called Probuphine could be used to help anyone who is addicted to drugs, and it can also prevent them form influencing others.

The last step in dealing with drug addiction is knowing that relapse doesn’t mean that you’re failing. It should be noted that it takes months or years to unlearn addictive behavior patterns and it should be treated as an indicator of a disease. Relapse can interpreted as a learning opportunity and we should teach people what they can do to prevent it from happening. It should be noted that treatment of people with opioid addiction found that out of 500 people, half of the addictions lasted five years or less. The chances of recovery is 96 percent with 80 percent of the addicts recovering in 10 years or less.

This goes to show that expulsion in dealing with students who bring drugs to campuses have been shown not to reduce rates in addiction. As a matter of fact, it worsens the issue, and we should know that if we follow the steps as listed above, we can fight addiction and make the world a better place. Punishment not only increases drug addiction, but also makes it harder for the person to recover, since they have a criminal record. The main thing we should learn is that the steps of treatment prevent addiction. These reasons I listed are why treatment is better than expulsion if a university finds that a student is in possession of drugs.

Sources

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/what-science-says-to-do-if-your-loved-one-has-an-opioid-addiction/

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