Drug education, a synthesis of old and new ideas

Millions of Americans are users and abusers of legal and illegal drugs. The use of drugs is well integrated into the social, political, economic, and religious aspects of the American culture (79:35) (18:109). Historically, legal penalties against the possession or use of drugs has not dramatically discouraged people from using drugs (10:521). Traditional drug education efforts have also not been successful in decreasing drug use in this country (79:110-111, 119) (10:523). Most people use drugs as an attempt to either solve their personal problems or to structure their recreational time. Through the use of drugs some users also seek meaning and fulfillment in their life (79:19-20). There are many concepts in psychology that may be applicable in the prevention and treatment of drug abuse. Reality Therapy, Self Concept Psychology, Self Actualization, and Transactional Analysis have been used in the prevention and treatment of drug abuse. There are many possible causes and solutions to the problems created by the misuse of drugs. The problems attendant on drug use involve the drug user, the family, society, the mass media, pharmaceutical companies, the alcohol industry, and health professionals (43:102). Every segment of society can be involved in an effort to prevent and control the abuse of drugs. Churches, schools, businesses, government agencies, and ‘the citizenry’ have great potential for changing the individual's pattern of drug use (79:32-33).