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Pages 5 (1255 words)
The use of physical and mind-altering substances in the United States is widespread. How society responds, however, is inconsistent and controversial. In the public mind, the term drug and heroin usually implies an illegal substance. Medically speaking, though, a drug is any introduced agent that changes the way the human body or psyche responds on its own accord.
Drug policy within the United States is rife with instability, injustice, and intolerance. The very definition of an "illicit" drug is an example. From a medical and sociological standpoint the most-abused drugs in the United States are alcohol and tobacco, both of which are regulated only for minors. Mortality studies for the 1980s show that more than 5 million Americans died of tobacco related problems during the decade, 1 million more from alcohol abuse, and just 350,000 from all other addictions combined. Alcohol is, by far, the most serious drug in terms of its link to social problems. Throughout the 1990s, approximately half of all fatal auto accidents and homicides were alcohol related. Alcohol abuse also correlates highly with rape, domestic violence, and a host of illnesses including heart disease and cirrhosis. Alcoholics are seven times more likely to divorce and twice as likely to miss work as non-abusers. ...
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