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Substance Abuse Experience and Treatment

Substance abuse is a major issue that can affect an addicted person’s life profoundly. Furthermore, it has a strong impact on those around this individual and who are forced to watch them suffer. In this regard, substance abuse is a life-changing experience, but the exact outcome of this change may vary. In many cases, it ends with horrendous consequences for one’s personal relationships, quality of life, health, well-being, and career. However, if the person finds the resources to combat the addiction, they may find a new meaning in life, spreading positive messages around the community. Such an outcome was experienced by the presenter whose name is Michael Prichard.

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As per his own story, Michael embarked on his substance abuse counselling journey in the year 2010. At that point, he began to spread the message regarding his experience with overcoming this disorder among the people who were affected by it. Following years of participation in residential treatment and narcotic replacement treatment, Michael earned a reputation and certain credentials. He is currently the CCAPP Membership Board and the CCAPP Legislative Chair. Furthermore, Michael Prichard teaches at the California State University Fresno’s Criminology Department as an adjunct professor.

In this particular segment, Michael reflects upon his experience with addiction and the way, in which he was able to overcome it. At the same time, a large portion of the discussion is devoted to the history of Prichard’s addiction, as well as the damage it inflicted on his life. Social predisposition to developing such a lifestyle is one of the key points that dominated the discussion. Michael’s childhood involved a considerable degree of indeterminacy related to the confusion surrounding family affairs and trauma. As a teenager, he obtained an easy access to prescribed medicine that shortly transformed into an addiction.

The most serious hazard of substance abuse disorder is that there is not a well-defined line that a person willingly crosses. Instead, there is a gradual transition from a normal state, as the individual becomes consumed by abused substances, increasing their quantity and strength along the path. As a result, it becomes highly difficult to stop the regression and return to a normal condition. In Michael’s case, he was able to perceive the actual damage done by his addiction to him and to his family. Moreover, he received a unique opportunity to see the suffering of the others and help them. Ultimately, he remained loyal to this new path, spreading the truth behind addiction to the young generation.

This presentation is extremely relevant to the content of the course, as it reveals the actual origin, development, and impact of the substance abuse disorder. In today’s society, the perception of this condition often remains far from the truth. From one perspective, addiction is heavily stigmatized as a manifestation of a person’s weakness. As per certain conservative individuals, people with this disorder merely succumb to the addiction, being unable to resist the temptation. In other words, they remain in pursuit of their own pleasure and do not know when to stop. Consequently, they are marginalized by their own communities, losing access to education and career opportunities (McGinty et al., 2018). On an individual level, they are repelled by their own peers and friends, which only makes their condition deteriorate. Instead of support and an opportunity to return on the normal path, they are pushed toward an even worse state.

On the other hand, Michael’s presentation highlights the complexity that surrounds addiction from the early stages of its development. His childhood and adolescence exhibited several concerning situations, but there was no evident threshold, beyond which the addiction was an imminent outcome. Instead, it was a series of smaller steps that prompted him to engage with such unhealthy practices. The development of the disorder possesses strong similarities with multiple physical conditions that slowly affect the body of a patient. Their onset may easily pass unnoticed, affecting the living tissue until the point when the mental impact causes serious damage that cannot be simply reversed. As a result, these people begin to exhibit anti-social behavior, committing crimes and going to prisons (McGinty et al., 2018). The presence of substance abuse becomes a stigma in this case, prompting society and law enforcement to make premature judgments.

Such a situation only inflicts further damage on society, in general, when people with substance abuse disorder are deemed beyond repair and are thus denied an opportunity for recovery. In Michael’s case, he willingly accepted a prison term, because the alternative was too daunting for him. This part was particularly impactful, as it serves to show the actual mental struggle of a person with addiction. Their own lives may be a poorer outcome than incarceration, which reflects the lack of actual recovery opportunities proposed by society.

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In criminology, it is imperative to deduct the motive behind certain actions. In the case of the people with the substance abuse disorder, most of them are driven not by malicious, anti-social intentions but by fear and despair. Therefore, society’s objective is to perceive them as human being who need objective recovery opportunities instead of a stigma. This point of view is supported by the medical community, as Marchand et al. (2019) insist on a patient-centered approach to the treatment of this disorder. This model implies that the patient is treated as a person with full agency, their needs being acknowledged. This way, people with addiction and society can work in sync, eradicating the root of the problem in each individual case.


Marchand, K., Beaumont, S., Westfall, J., MacDonald, S., Harrison, S., Marsh, D. C., Schechter, M. T., & Oviedo-Joekes, E. (2019). Conceptualizing patient-centered care for substance use disorder treatment: Findings from a systematic scoping review. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 14, 37. Web.

McGinty, E., Pescosolido, B., Kennedy-Hendricks, A., & Barry, C. L. (2018). Communication strategies to counter stigma and improve mental illness and substance use disorder policy. Psychiatric Service, 69(2), 136–146. Web.

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