Discussing The Drug Addictions Among Lesbians Criminology

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The concepts of substance abuse designate drug abuse, which refers to the maladaptive form of use of a substance that is not dependent (Jordan, 2000, p.201). Addiction refers to a recurrently deteriorating disorder that originates in the recreational routine and worsens into a fixated taking as well as seeking of drugs (DiFranza, 2008). Thus, this research project discusses the issue of substance abuse specifically in the Utah region. It further goes ahead to investigating on the effect of substance abuse on the lesbian community with a view of discovering the vulnerability of lesbians to substance abuse. The issue of substance abuse among different categories of people exhibits an overwhelming level of concern in the United States. According to studies that have been conducted, the youths are the main targets of exploitation as regards this menace; most especially among the lesbians, gays, bisexual, questioning youth, as well as transgender (Jordan, 2000, p.201). According to these discoveries, the main underlying reason for youth involvement is associated with the emotional state of those who decide to be engaged in substance abuse. For instance, some of these people somewhat feel marginalized in the society. As such, they incline towards achieving some sort of relief from the increased level of depression as well as isolation. Substance abuse could also stem from the desire to alleviate oneself from the chronic stress linked with stigmatization both in the intrapersonal and in the interpersonal levels (Jordan, 2000, p.201). Thus, in the case of lesbians, because their orientation has not received privileged support from majority of Americans, implies that whoever is involved in lesbianism undergoes emotional depression and isolation, hence the need for substance abuse.

Moreover, and increasingly, there have been widespread levels of illicit as well as licit substance addiction and abuse in the American society and in the world generally, with an overwhelming number resting on those experiencing suffering in various aspects (Rehm, et al., 2009). The reason behind this overwhelming number lies in the fact that this people under consideration, tend to look for ways of suppressing their pain by resorting to drugs. Consequently, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has asserted its inclination towards the understanding of addiction (Leshner, 2000), a position that has received support from various researchers, through their interest towards neuroadaptations, a process that links with vagaries that comprise substance abuse (Everitt & Wolf, 2002; Nestler, 2001). Moreover, substance abuse carries with it enormous consequences, which have been outlined by the Unite States' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as follows: reduced productivity in jobs, frivolous earnings, skyrocketing costs in healthcare, criminal activity costs, investigations, incarcerations, road accidents, violence associated with both the domestic and the non-domestic issues, premature deaths, family unit breakdowns (SAMHSA, 2006).

Consequently, therefore, drug substance abuse affects various sections of the nation either societally and economically. This assertion will recur throughout the course of this research project. However, due to the reduced levels of lesbianism or those who openly express lesbianism, as well as increased stigmatism attributed to lesbians, there is need to realize that increased acceptance coupled with genetic consideration could lead to reduced substance abuse among the lesbians. The reason for this conclusion results from the fact that some drug substances are used as tranquilizers, stimulants, sedatives, as well as painkillers. This implies that the prerequisite for these substance usages relates to the pre-existing psychological state of individuals, such as stigma, and lack of societal acceptance of individual lifestyle.

National Prevalence

Both substance abuse and addiction either can directly or indirectly yield economic as well as societal repercussions. For instance in 2000 the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), during its 10th Special Report on Alcohol and Health to Congress, determined that around 15.3 million U.S. citizens were evaluated as being involved in substance abuse or addiction (Shalala, Kirschstein & Gordis, 2000). In addition, the overt costs that were connected to alcohol abuse were ranging up to $184.6 billion U.S. citizens on a yearly basis. Further still, in line with the report, there was a 25% increase since 1992 in terms of economic costs. In addition, in the due course of time there has been seen further increase in costs linked with legal abuse of substance (Caliifan Jr., 2007; Hays, Ebbert, & Sood, 2009) to almost $1 trillion. Besides, illegal costs associated with substance abuse were seen to have concealed this increasing figure.

Therefore, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA, 2006) has keenly sponsored the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). This organization acknowledges that there are nine classifications of illegal drug usage, including cocaine, marijuana, heroin, inhalants, as well as hallucinogens; other categories include the non-medically prescribed painkillers, tranquilizers, stimulants as well as sedatives. Within these classifications, crack falls under the cocaine classification, whereas under the classification of hallucinogens, there is the following, LSD, peyote, PCP, mescaline, Ecstasy, as well as mushrooms. Further, inhalants include, but not limited to, nitrous oxide, amyl nitrite, cleaning fluids, gasoline, spray paint, and glue among others. Moreover, drugs that fall under the category of painkillers, stimulus, sedatives, and tranquilizers are covered by the various pharmaceutical drugs that could either be prescribed or illegally produced like methamphetamine. The NSDUH research required that respondents to point out the non-medical usage of the aforementioned drugs, as well as the resultant feelings that the user acquired upon taking the drugs under consideration; the exercise was not to include drugs that were used over-the-counter, or drugs that were legitimate in their usage.

In accordance with the NSDUH reports, the four prescription-type substance groups are categorized into 'psychotherapeutics'; and illegal drug usage as obtained in the NSDUH report indicate that the nine categories of drugs are used, even though alcohol as well as tobacco usage among youths is not taken into consideration in the estimates (SAMHSA, 2006, p.15). Therefore, using these guidelines, the NSDUH survey report of 2006 indicated that an estimated 20.4 million Americans that were above 12 years old (comprising of 8.3%) where found to be engaged in drug abuse (SAMHSA, 2006).

Consequently, according to the aforementioned report, from 2002, there was stable illicit drug usage excluding the usage of heroin. In addition, there was no significant rise in the level of marijuana usage even though it was common with an estimated 14.8 million users in the previous month. Additionally, 2.4 million users of cocaine were above 12 years; 1 million individuals were reported to have used hallucinogen. Furthermore, seven million people above twelve years, comprising 2.8% were reported to be using prescription-type psychotherapeutic drugs though in a non-medical manner; nevertheless, there was an increase in the heroin users from 136,000 in the 2005 up to 338,000 in the year 2006, with a corresponding increase in rates from 0.06% - 0.14%. Therefore, it is in the interest of this research to address the use of opiate throughout the nation and in particular in the Utah state

Prevalence of Substance Abuse and Addiction in Utah

Utah, compared with the other parts of the U.S. has a lower rate of substance abuse, most especially in tobacco as well as alcohol usage. This therefore puts Utah in a somehow different rate of alcohol abuse. However, in line with the 2007 Utah State Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Annual Report, most clients under 18 have been known to use mainly marijuana. However, for those above 18 years up to 34 years, they have been observed to incline towards methamphetamine usage. Clients above 35 years up to 44 years, have been considered to be taking in similar rates, methamphetamine, and alcohol, even though above 44 years, clients tend to take more of alcohol compared to other drugs (Payne, 2007). In addition, there has been a constant rate of usage of heroin as well as cocaine in the Utah region for a period of 10 years; but the use of heroin seemingly increased in 2008 (Duda, 2008). However, since 2003 to 2007, there was seen an increase in the usage of narcotic, but heroin took fourth position after alcohol, cocaine as well as marijuana in the 2007 survey regarding clients who were admitted to public centers of treatment.

Moreover, in Utah as of 2007, 32 Drug Courts were operating with a mission of transforming non-violent drug abusers. This was done as an alternative method to prison or jail. Additionally, 11% of the observed cases in the Drug Courts represented clients that were engaged in heroin as their basic drug. However, according to the 2008 report, assisting drug offenders in their initial stages was more costly (Israelsen-Hartley, 2008). In addition, the results that were obtained from other states indicated that drug courts were supposed to assist individuals bearing high needs as well as high risks in order for the transformation model to be successful (Israelsen-Hartley, 2008, p.A6). Furthermore, , there was an indicated $4,500.00 drug courts costs per annum, contrary to the $27,000.00 yearly incarceration costs.

However, according to Stryker, while comparing between drug abuse and car accidents in Utah, it was observed that deaths resulting from prescription drugs were higher compared to those that resulted from car accidents. Moreover, 6.5% were estimated to have been using prescription painkillers even though not for medical purposes. One out of seven individuals was estimated to be between 18 - 25 years of age (Stryker, 2008). Further, substance abuse comprised a great number of crimes that occurred in Utah, and about 70% of those in jail were linked to problems of drug usage. The Utah Governor's office founded public education campaigns that were aimed at addressing the painkiller prescription abuse issues (Berridge, 2009, Carise, et al. 2007). It was surprising that 95% of the individuals that completed the Drug Court were considered to have engaged in alcohol abstinence, while 82 % of the cases reported indicated to have abstained from drugs at the time of discharge. However, in line with the report as outlined in the 2007 Utah Department of Human Services: Substance Abuse Services, out of the discharged individuals, 71% were discovered to have seized using or to have reduced significantly their drug usage. However, in Utah, 84,325 adults were in need of treatment from substance abuse, but there were only 16,745 available slots. Moreover, above 16,000 youths in Utah were in need of treatment from substance abuse, but there were only 2,907 slots available.

Treatment in Addiction

Treatment for drug substance abuse has been of immense significance the world over. Of great focus, have been issues of intervening on the behavior patterns of individuals in order to bring back the lost lucidity in these people's lives. There has been an indescribable search for a better treatment for clients involved in substance abuse as well as addiction (Biederman & Vessel, 2006). Dole and Nyswander (1965) were the initiators of very fundamental studies used in the treatment in opiate fanatics who have experienced intoxication and substance abuse (Fishbein, et al., 2007; Gonzalez, et al., 2004). The use of substitution therapies was expected to yield a stable as well as never ending lifestyle characterized by absence of drugs. However, the failure to achieve this goal has led to increased apprehension over the matter (Fischer, Jenkins, Bloor, Neale, & Berney, 2007).

Conversely, some alternatives that mandate medical support relate to clients that experience problems associated with lifestyle as well as health problems or matters associated with legal constraints that link with the addictions of opium (Gonzalez, et al., 2004). Yet, there arises a need to discover the main reason behind the failure to find out the operations of these medications. Maybe, this could be attributed to lack of proper understanding of the biological constitutions within the pre-morbid situation as well as the subsequent inadequate recognition of neuroadaptations, which accompany the substance abuse of drugs (Elkashef & Vocci, 2003).

Moreover, this poor response towards the medications prescribed might be attributed to population heterogeneity (Hyman, et al., 2006). Overtly, there is a high level of substance abuse in addition to addiction in the state of Utah. Unfortunately, there has been a lack of proper treatment, which implies the need for cheaper methods of identifying risk factors for individuals with genetic susceptibility towards substance addiction or abuse. Furthermore, there is a call to discover ways through which one could recognize risk regarding imaginable setback among those individuals that have gone through the treatment process (Biederman & Vessel, DiFranza, 2008; Field & Cox, 2008; Hays, et al.,2009; Hyman, Malenka, & Nestler, 2006; P. W. Kalivas & Volkow, 2005).

Genetic indications of addiction

Over the years, there has been seen a need to investigate on the extent to which either the environmental or genetic factors influence peoples' addiction; a need arises as to the mode of interaction between the environmental factors as well as genetic factors (Bennett, et al., 2002; Caspi, et al., 2002; 2003). In addition, in one extreme one can conclude that individual addiction patterns are solely determined by the environmental factors, while on the other extreme one could argue that these substance abuse addictive behaviors are influenced by the genetic constitutions. Therefore, it is in the light of understanding this inquiry, that professionals can device-refined therapies as well as drugs with a view of making customized remedies depending on the individuals under treatment. Moreover, if the resultant theories emerge successful, it could be easier to predict risk as well as outcome. Hence, this could finally lead to a provision of resources that are aimed at treating more individuals. Furthermore, ever since genes were discovered to play a crucial role in influencing the addictive disorders in unique situations, there has been increased focus on pharmacogenetics, which is a novel area that looks at medical treatment in line with the background of genotype. Additionally, for instance there is an effective result from Naltrexone, when individuals bearing the genotypes of opiate which alter the mu opiate receptor, which is considered a fundamental spot for substance abuse (Anton, et al., 2008; Ray & Hutchison, 2007).

Mesolimbic dopamine (DA) system implicated in addiction

By conducting studies on animals relating to the circulatory self-administration of the substances of abuse, scientists have been able to point out the neural substrates, which facilitate the accentuating activities of the opiates (Sim-Selley, Selley, Vogt, Childers, & Martin, 2000). Opiates work by depressing the central nervous system (CNS); moreover, the narcotic analgesics which originate from opium, and which contain phemanthrene alkaloids are considered to be extremely addiction. This addictive pattern has thus made them regulated by law in both the international as well as national arenas. Furthermore, another set of substances that originates from alkaloids include codeine, as well as thebaine. These drugs have been found to affect the brain reward system severely, which has been seen to influence the normal motivated comportments; that is, the mesocorticolimbic dopamine (DA) system that stems from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the midbrain (Dayan, & Montague, 1997). The concern over the effect of the VTA is of great significance in the prevalent inquiry. Whereby, VTA system has been signified in the activities that comprise habits towards addictive drugs (Wise, 2004). In this case, there is a belief that any drug substance or individual behavior that leads to increased VTA DA neuron actions will be taken to be rewarding as well as hypothetically addictive (Kalivas & Volkow, 2005; Nestler, 2001). However, the neurobiology that constitutes the process of addiction encompasses numerous neural courses (Diana, et al., 2008; Olsson, et al., 2009; Steffensen, et al., 2008; 2009).

However, a crucial aspect relating to addiction that could aid in the treatment process could involve the identification of the specific biological vagaries, which could help in the treatment monitoring process in an impartial manner (Hyman, et al., 2006). Furthermore, there is need for an unswerving biological indication of addiction in order to focus on precise pharmacological proxies for subcategory of fanatics. Additionally, the biological indicators could be useful in the determination of the treatment duration of an individual. Such indicators could as well aid in the prevention of any reversion on the addicted clients. Finally, by understanding the biological indicators, professionals are able to device means that could aid in predicting the possibility of certain people ending up being addicted.


The addictive patterns of lesbians in relation to substance abuse have been addressed in this research with a view of developing a means to be used to evaluate individuals and thus lead to treatment of affected individuals. It has been observed in the due course of this research that there are huge costs associated with drug abuse and addictive behaviors. These costs have offered a negative effect on the economic situation of the nation. Furthermore, other consequences result from drug substance abuse classified as societal impacts. These impacts lead to broken relationships between individuals in society, hence there is need to minimize the addictive behaviors of individuals towards illegal use of substance. As a result, there should be continued research and development in this field with a view of refining the tools that are used for diagnosing these cases to offer better treatment. Conclusively, once treated, there should be methods aimed at maintaining the recovery process to avoid relapse that could possibly ensue. However, in order for the continued progress to be effective, all the parties involved - ranging from counselors, pharmaceutical companies, families, as well as the legal systems- are expected to offer dedicated support towards a common goal of reducing the addictive as well as illegal substance abuse to individuals. Finally, there is need for a comprehensive grasp of the concepts of addiction to substance abuse and the constituents that make up this process so that one is able to grasp and treat the prevalence and pervasiveness of these illegal substances that derail the human cognitive process. However, based on the current statistics, there remains a lot to be done in order to deal with the problems of illicit as well as licit substance abuse or use, in addition to its treatment in the present world.


Substance abuse among lesbians has been deeply addressed within this research project, and particularly, in the Utah region. The research therefore, first begun by acknowledging the critical need to address the issues of substance abuse due to their prevalent impact on the society both in influencing the interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. Consequently, it proceeded to identifying the underlying reasons for the pervasiveness of the drug substance abuse among the lesbians, including, feelings of alienation from the rest of the members of society; stigmatization resulting from society's disapproval of their orientation; the inclination to suppress their habits due to the fear of others' reactions upon the realization of their behaviors. Therefore in view of this, the research proceeds to identify the statistical figures that comprise the illicit and licit substance abuse nationwide as well as within the Utah region. Further still, the research goes ahead to postulate that some drugs are prescribed in order to offer various treatment outcomes, but some individuals end up taking wrong dosages which if prolonged could lead to addictive behaviors. Finally, and most importantly, is the process of treating individuals from this menace which has been addressed at length through the considerations of the genetic factors and their influence on drug substance abuse, as well as the environmental factors such as the society's responses, stigmatization, and stress in general. It is in the light of this that the research comes to a conclusion that reduced stigmatization, and increased acceptance from societal members, coupled with improved treatment procedures, are the most significant factors that can promote the reduction in the level of drug substance abuse. The main intention of the research is to ensure that the level of drug substance abuse is tremendously reduced to promote psychological stability of people.

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