Addiction and regular use of pharmaceuticals, light and hard drugs among all ages and sexes, especially adolescents has become a real dilemma
Addiction to harmful substances hurts the body that uses the drug, the family that loves the addict, and the person’s ability to make positive changes in the future.
(Audit of Humankind, chapter 2.3)
Addiction and abuse drugs are sadly common across all cultures and countries. Different substances have different effects and side effects and have been more or less popular than others.
The Cycle of Abuse and Addiction
Delivered primarily via tobacco use or products meant to help curb tobacco addiction, nicotine is a stimulant that has been probably connected with insomnia, digestive problems and symptoms similar to the flu. Smoking, by far the most common form of taking nicotine, has been definitively shown to be a chief cause of lung cancer.
According to 2012 estimates, over 1.1 billion use nicotine regularly. If we collected them all in one place, their numbers would exceed the population of India and rival that of China.
The most commonly used and abused drug in the world, caffeine is taken most often in beverage form with the coffee or tea people worldwide drink to begin their mornings or in many forms of carbonated soft drinks. Negative effects of caffeine use include increased blood pressure, sleep problems, and mood swings. Can we call this an addiction?
Humans worldwide consume approximately 120,000 tons of caffeine annually. Though people get their caffeine in a variety of forms, we can understand that amount best by knowing it’s enough to make one trillion 8-oz cups of coffee. Every year, humans consume enough caffeine to make two and a half cups of Joe for every star in the Milky Way galaxy.
People addicted to alcohol — approximately 140 million people worldwide, according to the WHO — ruin their lives, lose their families, face legal problems including arrest and lawsuits, and are at serious risk of a host of illnesses that harm the body and reduce the quality of their lives even after they recover from uncontrolled addiction.
Marijuana, opiates and opioids, cocaine and hallucinogens like LSD, Ecstasy and Psylocibin, can have devastating effects on the mind, body and social context of a user — not to mention the legal risks associated with using an illegal substance. Despite this risk, approximately 300 million people — twice the population of Japan — regularly use these drugs.
In our audit of the body, it’s worth looking at how whether we use the harmful and addictive substances, how often and under what circumstances. ‘Pills’ take many forms like using “wonder drugs” to cure illnesses, vitamin supplements to improve our health–and addictive poisons for recreation and escape.
On this Audit of the Universe Hashtags page that corroborates The Explanation there are some up-to-date articles about addiction (#AuditDrugs). Below is a list of recent headlines with shortlinks to peruse these eye-opening articles.
- Microdosers say tiny hits of LSD make your work and life better http://buff.ly/2t0jcUu
- Fish on Drugs May Help Cure Opioid Addiction
- Can Repairing Your Brain’s Wiring Help You Fight Addiction?
- Opioid Addiction: Is This a War We Can Win?
- Performance Enhancing #Drugs in Everyday Life
- Olympics: Evidence found in Sochi drugs probe to charge athletes
- Opiate deaths demand serious action
Longer Lives, Healthier Communities
“Just as the glasses of your environment and life on earth are filling or emptying, decisions about our bodies empty or fill the glass of health,” Galacti says. “What might be a fair judge of whether it is filling or emptying?”
“Our lifespans,” I say. “It’s not a perfect measure, but it’s a metric we can examine.”
Early man had a life expectancy of 26-30 years by science’s best estimates, and that expectancy has grown steadily beginning in the late 19th century. By 1900, people in the developed world could expect to see their 48th birthday and modern man lives well into their 80s.
Those longer lives often come with the benefit of a longer time when a person is active and engaged in life. Fifty years ago, most men died within five years of retiring. Today, seniors provide a wealth of benefits to a community, society or the world as a whole. In the developed world, the phenomenon of retiree volunteers now comprises an estimated 30 to 50 percent of hours provided for aid organizations at home and abroad.
“Talk about a net benefit for peace and prosperity,” Galacti opines. “Seniors stay active and continue to have new experiences — which increases both life and health. Their work benefits less fortunate people all over the world.”
“Everybody wins,” I agree.
Nearly every community has a story of how active seniors benefit the whole.
- In Paris, France, the university population is so high that student housing is overfull. Seniors are letting out spare rooms to students. This benefits both since the senior has company and more variety in her life and the student has the benefit of an experienced mentor.
- Programs throughout the United States allow single mothers in school to visit retirement centers several times per week. The senior residents get “lap time” with the babies while the moms get a needed break to finish homework or simply relax.
- Seniors also help seniors in the US and Europe by volunteering to drive their peers to appointments, run errands, or simply perform house visits.
- So many retirees are still active and interested in engaging with the world that service tourism for seniors is a multibillion-dollar industry, bringing retirees from the North America and Europe world to help with service projects throughout Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
In eastern countries like Japan, China, and India, senior service travel is less of a trend. This isn’t because seniors from these nations don’t benefit their societies. On the contrary, participating is already a strong part of their culture.
- In India, retired grandparents often come and live with new parents to help change diapers and stay up at night during that intensive and exhausting first year of life.
- Chinese elders are held in respect, and play a role in decisions for the family ranging from financial matters to arranging marriages.
- In Japan, seniors volunteered to participate in the cleanup for the Fukushima nuclear disaster because they would not live long enough to suffer the long-term health problems that would come from that work.
“Longer lives, when healthy and engaged, are indeed a benefit to the individual and her community… but is so much life an entirely unmixed blessing?” Galacti wonders aloud.
The social support systems in most developed nations are based on taxing the working-aged population and using the money to provide for those above retirement age. If lifespans increase substantially, those systems as they exist will not be sustainable.
Governments in the United States and Europe are already proposing and passing laws to avert the disaster that will come if the number of seniors who need social support exceeds the resources available to support them. Without major changes to those systems, seniors might live without sufficient food and medications.
Weighing the Balance
“The glass of your lifespan seems to be filling with each new medical advance,” Galacti says. “That’s probably a good thing on the whole. Now how about the rest of man’s relationship with their bodies? Does humanity make decisions that fill the glass, or empty it? Will your trend toward longer healthier lives continue, or has it seen a high water mark? Overall, what does this answer say about our overall quest for peace and prosperity throughout the universe?”
We’re going to take a much deeper look as to how humans view the human body. I have to say it is an ongoing controversy that highly impacts the direction of our inquiry as to how to bring peace and prosperity to Earth. Along with that we are going to discuss the role of the human hand–it’s a unique member of our body.
The blog post is an excerpt from chapter 2.3 of the book Audit of Humankind.
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