I am writing to you to address the current drug use issue within America. I am not by any means trying to degrade you because I am sure you know much more about the prominent issue at hand. I may not be a drug user myself, but I have been personally affected by this epidemic in more ways than one.
Nearly a year ago, a close friend of mine that I grew up with, died from an accidental overdose. Even though she had no idea she was taking drugs, she was in with the wrong crowd. She was taken at such a young age with so much of life she had yet to experience. As we grew up, year by year, we all began to see a change. A change in behavior, a change in friends, and a change in priorities. She started going to places without telling anyone, ditching friends and family, and even disrespecting elders. This was not the girl I knew. Then one day, I heard the news that she had overdosed. My heart sank. All of a sudden, her radical behavior was explained. I never expected this to happen to such a bright and loving soul.
According to the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, “From 2000 to 2014, nearly half a million Americans died from drug overdoses.” Death by opioids increased a whopping 14 percent, setting a record high in 2014. The CDC director, Tom Frieden’s views, “The increasing number of deaths from opioid overdose is alarming. The opioid epidemic is devastating American families and communities.” Not only do drugs affect the drug user themselves, but it also affects everyone around them. To have someone watch a family member go through something as horrible as this is such a tragedy. Family is always there for each other no matter what, which is why they will be the first to try to get some treatment sorted out.
Some of the main causes and effects of drug use are general to everyone, while others are specific to the person. The leading cause for beginning drug use is peer pressure. When you are young, the pressure to fit in and seem “cool” are unbearable. This is why most people crack under the pressure and give in to their so called friends. Some effects from drug use in these types of situations include the following: brain damage, financial issues, paranoia, and other physical and mental health problems. Drug use can cause severe brain damage in teens and young adults because the brain is not fully developed and can halt the process of doing so. Next, users spend all their money on drugs to get high. How will they ever go to college to make a future for themselves?
Americans need to realize there are things that can be done to help prevent the epidemic from growing out of control. Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli himself writes, “We need to expand access to treatment and we need to do it now. Because, like every other disease, people who want treatment should be able to get it. And it should not be dependent on where they live or how much money they have.” Basically, Botticelli is saying that no one should be declined treatment because they cannot afford to pay for it. Everyone is entitled to treatment and it should be expanded for those who can’t get, or fund it, because of where they reside.
So President, would you really just sit back and watch millions of Americans die because of a problem that you can take control of? Could you live knowing that you did not try to help save them? We are all counting on you to save our country.
By Telling Their Stories, They Can Pass on What They Have Learned so Others Avoid Going down the Same Path. "REAL LIFE DRUG STORY VIDEOS – Drug Addiction Experiences – Teenage Drugs Stories." Foundation for a Drug-Free World. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.
"Drug Overdose Deaths Hit Record Numbers in 2014." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Dec. 2015. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.
Harris, Richard. "Half of Americans Take Prescription Drugs That Could Lead to Addiction | State of Health KQED News." State of Health. NPR Shots, 08 Sept. 2016. Web. 24 Oct. 2016.