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For over three decades, we all have been hearing about the war on drugs. In 1982, President Ronald Regan declared this “war” in an effort to raise awareness regarding the surge in crack
cocaine use within communities around the country – as well as other illicit drug use that had been increasing since the Nixon administration.

This campaign instilled within everyone a specific idea of what a “drug addict” looked like and where they could be found. The stereotypical addict, or the thought that came to mind, was a destitute or homeless individual, possibly living in an urban area where it was assumed that crime was prevalent and drug dealers lurked around every corner, peddling their wares to shifty, unkempt users.

This impression that permeated everyone’s idea of what an addict looked like dominated everything we saw from movies to television to the nightly news. It made the problem seem distant to most, something that was taking place in a far-off region of the country and in areas most people never ventured.

Then, with the rise of prescription painkiller abuse, the face of addiction began to shift into something more familiar, something closer to home. All of the sudden, the face of addiction changed, and nobody knew what to do.

What Does an Addict Look Like?

Gone are the days where addiction only affected inner cities and urban areas. The increase in alcohol consumption around the country, combined with the opioid epidemic impacting our nation, has expanded the scope of addiction into areas such as suburban communities, rural homesteads and quiet neighborhoods.

This has resulted in an increased number of working professionals being diagnosed with substance use disorders with no sign of slowing down. From lawyers to police officers to teachers, the face of addiction has changed to encompass people who live in our communities and attend our churches.

This is why understanding the disease of addiction is so important, as well as taking the time to learn how to best support those in your community possibly struggling with their own substance addiction.

Reasons Why People Become Addicted to Drugs

While the demographics surrounding addiction have shifted, the reason for this evolution can be traced to a few key points impacting substance abuse and the ever-expanding number of people struggling with addiction.

  • The over prescription of pain medication to those requiring medicinal intervention. In fact, when American doctors give their patients narcotic painkillers, 99 percent of them hand out prescriptions that exceed the federally recommended three-day dosage limit, new research suggests.
  • Poor oversight from prescribing physicians who prescribe opioid-based medications. Nearly one-quarter of participating doctors admitted to giving out month-long dosages, despite the fact that research has shown that a month’s use of prescription narcotic painkillers can cause brain changes, the National Safety Council survey found.
  • Lack of information provided to individuals prior to ingesting prescribed opioids. While almost 85 percent of doctor’s screen for signs of prior narcotic painkiller abuse, just one-third ask about a family history of addiction. In addition, only 5 percent offer direct help to patients when signs of abuse are uncovered, and less than 40 percent refer such patients for treatment elsewhere, research has found.

These factors have been directly linked to the surge in substance use disorders plaguing smaller communities and working professionals. Minor injuries, routine surgical procedures and various other scenarios resulting in prescription painkillers being prescribed have been at the forefront of the changing face of addiction and the reason that our country continues to experience an ever-expanding demographic of new addicts.

Anyone Can Become Addicted to Drugs

The fact of the matter is that anyone can become addicted to drugs at any time. This is why establishing healthy habits and surrounding yourself with socially supportive individuals can aid
in avoiding the pitfalls attributed to addictive patterns and unforeseen substance abuse triggers.

Understanding that we are all vulnerable to temptation allows us to approach each scenario with foresight and thoughtfulness. This enables us all to make healthy decisions based on personal needs to actively avoid becoming another face lost in the sea of addiction.

Individualized, Christian-Based Addiction Treatment at Covenant Hills

Addiction is a self-perpetuating cycle that doesn’t have to rule your life forever. If you or a loved one contend with a substance use disorder, there is life-changing support to break the cycle and get your life back on track.

The professional help and individualized support that is available at Covenant Hills is unmatched. Through our Christian-based addiction treatment programs, your mind, body and soul will be given the complete attention they need to fully heal. You can reclaim control over your health and life.

Learn about our gender-specific, Christian-based addiction treatment programs, or contact us for a free and confidential assessment.


WebMD. Most Doctors ‘Overprescribe’ Narcotic Painkillers. Accessed September 29, 2018.

WebMD. Substance Abuse and Addiction Health Center. Accessed September 29, 2018.