Illegal drug use has been growing in this country since World War II. In the 1950s and early 1960s, if addiction treatment was spoken of, it was presumed that drug addiction was something that only happened to the poor in the city slums.
The Vietnam War escalated in the mid-1960s, and it was mostly fought by draftees who came from middle class and working class families. During that war many of those young soldiers were introduced to illegal drugs for the first time. This usually happened while on patrol, in remote base camps and in the city of Saigon, which was home to a pervasive black market.
As those soldiers were discharged from the service, many introduced drugs to their circle of friends. So, it is no surprise that a few years into that war, illegal drug use obtained a foothold in mainstream youth culture. Returning soldiers who were addicted to drugs found that their habit was much more expensive at home. Many of these soldiers were forced to kick the habit and enter addiction treatment programs.
Eventually the Veterans Administration was forced to deal with the problem and sponsored many addiction treatment activities with follow-up therapy and support groups. Ever since that time, the nation has struggled to deal with the epidemic of drug use which has crept into every part of our culture.
Getting Into Treatment
Desperation does play a role because the individual seeking treatment has to enter an addiction treatment program to avoid what would most likely be a slow but certain death. Addiction is a disease that is ultimately fatal if it is allowed to progress unchecked. Like any disease, it can be treated with some success if the patient goes through detoxification in a treatment center.
Drug addiction treatment rarely goes smoothly. Once the initial withdrawal symptoms have subsided, there may be a long period where the patient undergoes a number of difficulties such as depression, panic attacks, impaired cognitive abilities as well as a long list of other problems. This is what is known as Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, which requires a prolonged course of treatment and therapy. These therapies may include group counseling, individual counseling or experimental treatments. Regardless of the methods used, the person that is undergoing the addiction treatment has a much better chance of success if they are kept informed and understand the process.
Religious and other charitable organizations provide resources to help addicts see that they need treatment. Government at every level, from the city or town level to the Federal level subsidizes the efforts of these organizations.
The Problem is Getting Worse
To make a troubling situation a bit more serious, synthetic narcotics are now on the street. These new drugs can be much more powerful and more addictive than many of the older drugs. The dealers have taken a page from the pharmaceutical industry and have started to distribute their product in pill form. This makes the illegal drugs easier to distribute and store.