Drug Abuse, HIV/AIDS, and Songs on Social Issues

The Current State of Addiction in America

Addiction is a major problem in American society. The use of various substances like tobacco and illicit substances like cocaine and alcoholic drinks results in a huge financial burden to the American government due to the rising consequences related to the financial, social, criminal, and therapeutic costs of addiction. More than 100,000 individuals lose their lives every year due to medical complications that arise from addictive substances and accidents from the use of alcohol. Thus, drug addiction is a major problem in American society today (Falkowski 47).

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The youth is easily influenced to use and abuse drugs and other illegal substances. Various risks, including illnesses, unplanned pregnancies, and bodily harm are linked to the high state of drug misuse. Pre-adult drug addicts have more issues because many of them find it hard to control their drug use due to peer influence. Thus, analyzing the impact of drugs within this age group is important because the use of drugs for non-medicinal purposes has been on the increase among young people. Moreover, the use of illegal pills like ecstasy has also been high among teens in comparison to adults. Prior scholarly research works have given less attention to illegal pills, particularly ecstasy, yet ecstasy is amongst the most well known and ordinarily utilized illegal medications among adolescents in the United States. Statistics show that cocaine use stood at four percent in 2001 but afterward dropped from 4 percent to 3 percent by the end of 2008 (Falkowski 11).

There has been an assumption that the current drug problems affecting American society are unique. This becomes a challenge when it comes to finding a lasting solution to the problem. Many other countries are also faced with the same problems related to drugs. The only difference is that higher numbers of Americans are affected. Statistics conducted by the US Drug Enforcement Administration showed that over 80% of Americans have used marijuana, one of the most common drugs that are abused. Moreover, marijuana has been considered as the gateway drug, thus many people who have smoked marijuana have gone further and used other substances like cocaine, meth, and ecstasy, among other drugs (Falkowski 47).

Problems arising from substance abuse and addiction are varied, painful and persistent. This means that drug abuse among individuals affects the entire society in the end. This only proves that addiction is its social problem. The problem is not caused by other problems within society, like poverty and mental illnesses. The problems that arise from drug abuse are hard to measure because different people are affected differently and the definition of addiction cannot be relied upon when different substances are considered (Falkowski 102). Addiction is its social problem because it is harder to determine how individuals are affected by the problem.

The Internet has made access to drugs broader when it comes to the issue of drug availability and misinformation. This has raised the risks involved. The increasing usage of drugs is also attributed to the media. Many films that are shown in the media, as well as the music consumed by the public, encourage the use of drugs. People are easily influenced to do what they see celebrities doing. Consumers of media content are, therefore, considered as the main culprits in the increasing vice of drug use. The apparent inability of politicians to resist the ‘drug war’ has also affected information regarding the extent of the problem. The issue of drug addiction has been reduced from a complex issue to a war on crime. Those who deal with the substances are considered criminals and the government puts all the efforts in trying to incriminate those who sell the substances while forgetting those affected by the menace. Moreover, the divisive national debate on drug policy only slows down the development of a consensus that can constitute success and progress in dealing with drug problems. The country has also increasingly been polarized on the issue, yet most people agree that prevention and treatment are the long-term solutions to the problem (Falkowski 103).

Addiction can also be seen as its social problem due to the stigma that arises from addiction. An addicted individual is viewed differently once other people are aware that someone is addicted. The social stigma continues to persist even after the individual has stopped using the drugs for several years. Thus, such people find it hard to identify themselves as recovering addicts. This hurts their social behavior and interaction with other people. There is also a lack of people who are organized and can identify themselves as recovered addicts. This important group can provide social support to encourage other addicts to stop their habits. The issue of drug addiction, therefore, becomes a social problem because few people become aware that there are people who have survived the addiction. Currently, special groups like those dealing with former cancer patients exist, but none for recovering addicts and alcoholics is in place. Without such a group, funding is also not availed (Falkowski 33).

Many groups that deal with problems that have affected society easily gain funding as a way of financing them to further solve the problems and encourage positive developments. Thus, drug addiction is harder to solve because there are no organizations that have decided to engage all their efforts in trying to solve the problem. When it comes to drug addiction, funding usually arises from the government to conduct treatment and research. This is usually done to relax public opinion, especially when drug addiction is viewed as a major problem by parents and other important stakeholders like teachers (Falkowski 64). Consequently, the response to the problem of addiction does not compare to the magnitude of the problem.

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My drug treatment program would entail a two-month regime where the addict is taken through various steps to deal with their addiction. The program in question would depend on which drugs the patient is using. In the case of marijuana, my strategy would involve daily meetings to provide social support during the treatment regime. Thus, I would provide an incentive that would make the addict feel better and fulfilled for not using drugs for a particular number of days. This would involve giving them physical rewards like medals with dates on them showing the days they have been clean. The treatment regime would also involve detoxification to reduce the levels of chemicals in their system, thus making it easier for them to beat the addiction.

In conclusion, drug addiction is a major problem facing American society. The current state of addiction in America is high based on statistics, whereby over 80% of Americans have used or tried an addictive drug. Drug addiction has created its social problems, making it harder to treat and assist those affected. It is, therefore, important to look at the underlying causes of addiction and deal with them to avoid an increase in the number of drug users.

History of HIV/AIDS, Impact and Differences in Response to the Epidemic

HIV/AIDS is a major epidemic in the world. The virus affects many people, including those who have relatives or close family members suffering from the virus. The virus has continued to spread over the years since its discovery in 1981. The rates of transmission have been high, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. The rate of spread has been slow in India and China, although India has the highest number of those infected because it has 4 million infections. The spread is much faster in poorer nations where it results in loss of lives due to a lack of knowledge and medical facilities to control the virus. The virus has grown to be an epidemic that affects many people in the world (Gillett 132).

The virus was first identified among drug users who depended on injections and homosexual men in New York and California. Later on, HIV was identified among men, women, and children in Africa. The origin of the virus is always surrounded by controversy, although it is strongly believed that it originated from Central Africa after it was passed to humans from primates. Two types of the virus exist; HIV -1, the main cause of AIDS worldwide and HIV-2, which is commonly found in West Africa. The number of those living with the virus has also continued to grow because of better treatments for control the effects of the virus in the body (Gillett 132). The virus has been reported in all parts of the world, although it is affecting certain regions more in comparison to others. The burden of HIV/AIDS is highest in sub-Saharan Africa where two-thirds of all infected individuals live. The health systems have also been affected adversely, especially in cases where children are also infected. This has led to an increase in orphans because many lose their parents to the virus.

Organizational decisions resulted in a variety of effects on the spread of HIV in the early years of the virus. Many people during the early days were scared and uninformed about the virus. The medical field also lacked sufficient information about the virus and many of them were uncertain about its effects. Moreover, this was the development of a new incurable virus, thus many people were scared about its effect. In many cases, organizational decisions were quite harsh towards the virus and those infected. Many organizations began to reconsider the requirements of employment to ensure that they did not have any infected person in their workforce. This resulted from the fear of being infected with the virus because few people were aware of how the virus spread. Consequently, such decisions affected the strategies used to control the virus negatively. There were few health policies established to deal with the epidemic. Many organizations did not consider the severity of the epidemic (Gillett, 14). This affected the spread of correct information about the virus. According to a UN program on HIV, the number of new infections per year was at a peak in 1990, where 3 million people were infected by the virus.

The response towards the epidemic in 2013 would be very different in comparison to how people responded to the epidemic in the 1980s. This would mainly be a result of the increased ease with which information can be spread. Many people would be informed about the epidemic before it has become severe. Many people were scared of the epidemic during the 1980s once the media covered it. Moreover, it was harder to control its spread because few people were aware of the virus. Those who were infected also suffered greatly, especially in cases where the infected individual was known. Thus, many of the victims faced social stigma. Many people were scared of the disease.

This led to the development of theories on how the virus spreads. People feared that even a simple action like shaking hands or hugging an infected person could result in the spread of the virus. This only led to increased stigma for those who were infected. For instance, a case in mention is the case of the Ray children who were refused admission in a school because of their HIV status. The lack of information in the 1980s resulted in many dangers facing those who were infected. This increased fears about the spread of HIV because many people were not aware of its existence. This could be attributed to the rapid spread of the virus in sub-Saharan Africa where most people lacked vital knowledge of the disease (Gillett 76).

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The response in 2013 would be less severe and contribute to a reduction in the spread of the disease. Many people in 2013 have access to various media like social media that would facilitate the flow of information. Significant medical developments have also occurred during the early 21st century, thus scientists would be able to inform people about the virus before people develop misconceptions. Also, as a worldwide epidemic, HIV has been characterized by constant social activism. Social activists can be described as a group of people who try to pressure the government to solve an existing social issue. An example is the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) founded in 1986 in the US (Gillett 12).

This group sought to pressure the government to come up with public policies that would be beneficial for infected individuals. The group believed that HIV infected individuals should not be considered different; instead, they should be treated equally. Individuals had suffered greatly because the policies in place were disadvantageous. For instance, it was harder for an individual who was infected with the virus to travel to foreign countries. Such groups also pressured the government to increase research efforts in coming up with a drug to assist those suffering from HIV/AIDS. Thus, such groups are attributed to have influenced the increased research on HIV/AIDS cure. Such groups have arisen over the years and have proven influential in trying to find a solution to the AIDS epidemic. Moreover, the groups have played an important role in raising awareness of the disease and dealing with misconceptions (Gillett 65).

In conclusion, the AIDS epidemic has had a significant impact on society. The epidemic has led to increased pressure on health systems due to high costs in the control of the virus. Many people were initially uninformed about the disease, leading to many problems especially among those who were infected. The decisions made during the 1980s were disadvantageous because they only resulted in an increasing rate of infection. Developments, especially in the technology field, in the twenty-first century have proven important in dealing with the problem. People would respond differently to HIV/AIDS discovery in 2013 in comparison to the 1980s mainly because of the social media that educates and encourages the sharing of important information. Consequently, the spread of HIV infections would be lower in 2013 in comparison to the 1980s.

Social Impact of Songs

Songs are a popular form of entertainment in many societies. They play many roles that influence social interactions. Songs can serve a socializing role during the development of an individual and educate a person on what is expected of them in society. Moreover, songs can also inform the person about what is going on in the larger society. There are many genres of songs in the world. Each genre also enjoys different audiences. Amidst the differences, songs also contain messages. The lyrics within a song contain many messages that can be understood or interpreted differently by the different listeners.

Songs are a common occurrence within many social avenues where people meet. Thus, songs tend to describe social issues that arise to be in touch and attract listeners. An example is a song, “We are the world” by Michael Jackson. The song was sung with the help of other musicians to raise awareness and finance the famine that had affected Ethiopia, among other social issues that affected the African continent during that time. The song was written within twenty-four hours with the help of a few famous musicians like Lionel Richie, Quincy Jones, and both the late Michael Jackson and Ray Charles. The project had been titled, “The USA for Africa” and was compiled as an album to be sold as a fundraiser where the proceeds would be donated to Africa for relief efforts towards hunger and AIDS. The song was intended for a charitable organization called, “the United Support of Artists for Africa (the USA for Africa)” where the proceeds from the sale of albums and contributions would go to Africa to assist in relief efforts. Moreover, some proceeds were specifically intended for Ethiopia, which had suffered a devastating famine that led to the death of over a million people.

The song was recorded for an entire night after the America Music Awards, thus more than forty-five people performed in the production. The song was able to sell more than 4 million copies and was able to reach the top positions in many global music charts. This song was released in 1985 and enjoyed airplay in many media houses around the world. The response from the song was positive because many people ended up contributing to the cause. The famine was a social issue as many people had lost their lives. Moreover, few people had come in to assist those who needed food. Ethiopia is a country that has constantly been faced with famine and drought over the years. The 1985 case was severe as many people had lost their lives and their sources of livelihood due to the famine. The song provided an accurate description of the issue because the lyrics described the problems that people were going through in Ethiopia. It raised awareness of the need to offer humanitarian assistance to the people of Ethiopia.

Music is seen as a primary tool that is used in the storage of social issues. In the case of Jackson’s song, the record can be listened to by a person many years later and the person will be aware of the problems that existed in the society during that time. It is, therefore, important for a song to be accurate and able to describe the current problems within the society in detail. People can then listen to the song in the future and understand what the intention of the song was and the message contained in it. Moreover, such a song serves an entertaining role because most of the people involved during its production were entertainers who enjoyed a wide following. Many people, therefore, got attracted to listen to the song, thereby increasing the chances of gaining more contribution to the social issue.

Jackson’s song resulted in many people contributing to finding a solution to the problem of famine. It can, therefore, be said that the song gave an accurate description of the problems going on in Ethiopia at the time. The song described the issue of the drought affecting children and women in Ethiopia in detail. It also used images and videos to show the problems that were occurring. Thus, providing an accurate description was important in encouraging people to provide financial assistance in aid of those facing the drought. The international community was easily influenced to take part in the cause, thus facilitating the song in achieving its goals.

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The song was also important because it made many people aware of the problems that were occurring. It played an educational function by exposing the problems that people in Ethiopia were facing because of the drought through the lyrics that appealed to people and advised them on what action to take. Within its lyrics, the song encouraged people to contribute because it would be beneficial to everyone in the world. The song encouraged people to live in harmony and help one another during the time of need. This played a unifying role as people became aware of the need to come together to offer help and support one another in many issues that affect society. For instance, the lyrics mention, “We are the world, we are the children…’ showing the need for everyone to work together to achieve a common goal as everyone shares a common characteristic, which is being a child in this case

The song was streamed live when it was released. Thus, it was able to enjoy a global audience. This increased the worth and importance of the song. This song has been considered as educational technology. Reaching a wide audience using modern telecommunication means was important in guaranteeing the effectiveness of the song. The song, therefore, served an educational purpose by educating listeners and viewers about the problems that went around them, but they were not aware of. It also showed that there was an opportunity for everyone to be part of a solution to the problem (Leon-Guerrero 38).

In conclusion, the song, “We are the world” by Michael Jackson was an important tool in exposing social issues around the world. Jackson was also a famous and talented musician, thus he enjoyed a huge following of fans. His production reached a wide audience and easily led to positive developments based on the social issues he sang about. The song was able to provide an accurate description of the famine that had hit Ethiopia, thus it made it easier to achieve its goal of gaining financial contribution towards the drought in Ethiopia and other issues affecting Africa as a whole at the time.

Works Cited

Falkowski, Carol L. Dangerous Drugs: An Easy-To-Use Reference For Parents And Professionals. 2nd edn. Minnesota: Hazelden, 2003. Print.

Gillett, James. A Grassroots History Of The HIV/AIDS Epidemic in North America. Washington, D.C.: Marquette Books LLC, 2011. Print.

Leon-Guerrero, Anna. Social Problems: Community, Policy, And Social Action. 3rd edn. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Pine Forge Press, 2011. Print.

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StudyCorgi. (2020, November 25). Drug Abuse, HIV/AIDS, and Songs on Social Issues. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/drug-abuse-hiv-aids-and-songs-on-social-issues/

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