This I Believe

Kayla - Hickory, North Carolina
Entered on May 15, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: addiction

The Selfishness of Substance Abuse

Selfishness is defined as a concern excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantages, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others. Substance abuse is not only destructive to oneself but is also a selfish habit that affects families, friends and society. After watching an addicted family member and friend slowly lose everything important in their lives, my attitude towards this issue has become much stronger.

Substance abuse affects the mood and performance of an individual. With that being said numerous problems occur in the household, work and basically anywhere the individual goes. My uncle was not always an addict; at one point in his life he had a loving wife, two children and a prosperous business. But that all came to an end when he discovered he enjoyed using crack cocaine. Now because of his selfish actions he is divorced from his wife, cannot under any circumstance visit his children, and has no form of employment. His actions have caused little girls to witness their mother being beaten, verbally abused, and now have to grow up with no father figure. This man, for the pleasure of a quick high, has lost everything and punished his innocent family and friends.

Another important affect on family is that pregnant substance abusers pass the addiction on to their unborn child. Bringing a child into life addicted to crack or heroin is one of the most selfish acts one can do. The children soon after being born experience withdrawal symptoms and can do as little as scream bloody murder or as big as knawel their fingers down to the bone. I don’t think these children wanted to be born into addiction, but I do think that the mothers of these children that have knowingly put them in this situation are selfish.

Not only is substance abuse selfish to family and friends but also to society. In the employment area it is costly in terms of lost work time and inefficiency. Occupational accidents that endanger themselves and those around are more likely to happen to substance abusers than those nonusers. Speaking of endangering others, over half of highway deaths in the US involve one of the drivers being under the influence. In 1998 the federal government spent 9.9 billion on drug control, that number nearly doubled in the next year when in 1999 they spent 17.9 billion. The fact that so much money is being spent on prosecution, treatment, prevention and law enforcement; substance abusers are selfishly denying money to better causes such as education, disease research and a lot more important issues.

One may think I should take a more neutral view on this issue, but it’s hard to feel sorry for someone who was given the choice to use drugs or alcohol and selfishly thought nothing of how it would affect everyone else.