the presence of social safety nets

the presence of social safety nets Assignment Questions Write up at least 250 words response for:
 

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Our lecture, readings and videos from this week challenge us to think about the roles that poverty, inequality and other forms of social suffering play in the production of illness and especially in addiction. Singer argues that we often think about addiction as leading to social suffering rather than thinking about social suffering leading to addiction – that is, he argues that we tend to get our causation backwards. What do you think about this? How should we approach addiction as a society? Rehabilitation? Incarceration? Prevention? Is there a way to focus on systems-level change that still creates a space for acknowledging individual level responsibility that does not simply blame the victim?
 
Comment on these two responses with minimum of 100 words for each:
 
Response: “I think for one that social suffering would lead to addiction. If it is said the other way it is placing blame on the victim. I say this because people will often seek drugs and alcohol when they are unhappy with their lives. It brings them this feeling they are not able to get other wise which then leads to addiction. Most people who turn to drugs or alcohol are usually not willing to admit they are upset with how their lives or social surroundings are. One way we could approach addiction is by not blaming the victim. The biggest thing in my opinion is labeling. If our society could just stop labeling people; whether it’s in race or social standings, it puts people in a place of questioning themselves because of who they are or where they stand on the social pole. I also think instead of sending people straight to jail for having drugs they should go to rehab instead as a first offence and if that doesn’t work then jail for a few months. We shouldn’t incarcerate someone for 20 years for having 8 oz of weed. In the chapter 14, there was a section about how sending all of these people to jail does nobody any good. It affects society more by putting away fathers, mothers, etc. This last question I find a bit hard to answer. For one if you’re willing to admit you have a drug problem and are willing to turn in what you have you shouldnt be punished. You should be able to go to a police station and say, “hey, I have a problem and I need help, here is everything I have can you please help me?”  Then the police station could get them into contact with a rehab place and offer to take them there. In theory that sounds pretty great and it would decrease crime rate a lot. However, the odds of that actually happening are slim to nothing. People are either to scare of the consequences to ask for help or not willing to admit they need it. “
 
Response: “It is very clear that social disadvantages are associated with drug use.  Socioeconomic status, access to care, and the presence of social safety nets are all crucial to decreasing risk of drug use and abuse and are equally important when considering treatment for addicts.  Incarceration is an expensive and ineffective way to discourage drug use.  Focusing on diverting individuals before they become addicts or on helping those who are addicted recover seems to be a much more useful allocation of resources.  As we have already seen from states such as Oregon who have decriminalized the usage of marijuana, there has not been a corresponding increase in use amongst individuals.  This indicates that criminalizing drug use does not act as a deterrent.  So if punishing individuals for their use isn’t helping, wouldn’t it be more efficacious to instead route those resources into treatment and prevention programs that could decrease the detrimental effects of addiction?
One of the things that could most easily be changed about the way we address drugs and drug addiction in our nation would be to change the way we approach the treatment of drug addiction.  The most common way that addiction is treated in the United States uses the 12 step model in programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. The faith based system alienates many and the group’s belief that any failures in adhering to the program are due to the shortcomings of an individual, and their program guide (The Big Book) states “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way.”  This terms addiction as a personal failing instead of a medical condition.  Lance Dodes, Harvard psychiatry professor estimated that the success rate of AA is somewhere between 5-8%.  Clearly this leaves significant room for improvement. “

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