Is There an End In Sight? What Will it Take to End Addiction in America?

Toothache drops
Advertisement ca. 1885,—Courtesy of the US National Library of Medicine

Addiction has affected the lives of Americans since before the founding of the country. Addiction, in one form or another, has always been a problem for the American people and for humanity as a whole.

But just because addiction has always been present does not mean it always will be. Its existence does not suggest its permanence.

What would it take to end addiction in America?

Suppose all Americans worked together, particularly on drug education, prevention, and treatment. If we did, we could build a nation that did not face the hardships of drug and alcohol addiction.


Parents talking to daughter
Photo by nd3000/

Prevention is a critical aspect of creating a drug-free America. Prevention refers to any effort taken to stop drug-related problems from occurring before they occur. Some examples of prevention include:  

  • Law enforcement efforts to crack down on drug manufacturing, trafficking, and dealing.
  • Community efforts to raise awareness of the drug problem. That can include rallies, marches, meetings, fundraising, school activities, church efforts, etc.
  • Parents taking a more active role in making sure their kids know about the dangers of drug use and making sure their kids do not experiment with drugs and alcohol.
  • States working together to tackle drug problems that cross state borders.
  • Lawmakers passing laws that direct addicts to treatment, not jail. (A jail cell is not likely to be something that is ever going to halt the dwindling spiral of addiction.)
  • Efforts that seek to utilize non-drug-related solutions for physical pain. Since much of addiction begins with legitimate prescription painkiller use, one way to prevent pain drug addiction would be to utilize non-drug-related pain therapies.
  • Programs and efforts that seek to address the underlying reasons why people turn to drugs and alcohol in the first place. Such programs could include financial guidance programs, marriage and relationship counseling, family support programs, support in the workplace, etc.

The goal has to be one of preventing people from ever using drugs in the first place. It’s much easier to prevent someone from ever using drugs than it is to get them off of drugs once they are hooked. Sadly, more people become addicted to drugs and alcohol every year than get off of substances each year. With an increased effort towards prevention, we can change that.


Education is technically a part of prevention, but it is such a critical aspect of ending addiction in America that it deserves its own placement. Education refers to teaching people about drugs and alcohol.

The brutal truth is that most people do not know enough about drugs and alcohol. For example, if people knew just what alcohol consumption does to the human body, far fewer people would likely consume it. Many might even wonder why it is legal and so easily accessible.

People, especially young people, are more susceptible to peer pressure when they do not have a sufficient understanding of the dangers of drug and alcohol use. When young people understand the risks inherent in using drugs and alcohol, they are far less likely to experiment with such substances.

Education on drugs and alcohol must be implemented, but it has to be implemented in the right way. For example, education on drugs must be carried out in an age-appropriate manner. How a school, church, community group, or a father and mother would talk to a very young child about drugs will differ greatly from how the above would discuss drug abuse with a teenager.

It’s time to institute nationwide drug and alcohol education programs into every school. It’s time to demand that parents teach their kids about drugs and alcohol and show them why substance abuse is harmful. Ending addiction in America will come about in part by every American getting adequately informed about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.


Education and prevention help slow down the spread of addiction across America. But this country’s drug problem will never be adequately dealt with until those addicted to drugs and alcohol receive the help they need to get off of drugs. As long as people are addicted to substances, the addiction crisis will perpetuate and continue to cause untold misery for the American people.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, approximately 19.7 million people are addicted to drugs and alcohol. That represents a significant percentage of the American population. The drug crisis in this country is not going anywhere until those individuals are helped into treatment and off of drugs.

Drug and alcohol treatment stands as a critical resource for helping to end addiction in America. To completely free our nation from the toxic vice grips of addiction, it’s imperative that those who need treatment get it.

Narconon center
 Narconon Arrowhead of Oklahoma

Narconon uses proven rehabilitation technology to tackle addiction at its source. For over 50 years, Narconon has saved people who were thought lost to this world. Through unique treatment approaches found nowhere else on Earth, Narconon can help addicts overcome the physical, behavioral, and spiritual aspects of their addiction for good.

The goal is a drug-free life for all Americans. And it is an attainable goal.

In closing, the following quote from CDC acting director Dr. Anne Schuchat is particularly relevant here. “The bottom line is that no area of the United States is exempt from this epidemic. We have an emergency on our hands. The fast-moving opioid overdose epidemic continues and is accelerating.

 “The bottom line is that no area of the United States is exempt from this epidemic. We have an emergency on our hands. The fast-moving opioid overdose epidemic continues and is accelerating.”  

Dr. Schuchat is referring to just one substance abuse problem, opioids. The United States has a significant drug crisis on its hands, and it’s comprised of multiple drugs. It’s beneficial to take a moment and envision a better world, but we cannot forget just how dangerous the drug problem is and how critical it is to address it.

And Dr. Schuchat is right. This is an epidemic for all of us. If you know someone addicted to drugs and alcohol, please do everything you can to help them get into a rehab center. Please contact Narconon today to get started.


Reviewed and Edited by Claire Pinelli, ICAADC, CCS, LADC, RAS, MCAP



After working in addiction treatment for several years, Ren now travels the country, studying drug trends and writing about addiction in our society. Ren is focused on using his skill as an author and counselor to promote recovery and effective solutions to the drug crisis. Connect with Ren on LinkedIn.