Drug Addiction Speech

Sarah Long, 10th Grader at BCECHS

In 2017 there were 192 deaths per day due to drug overdoses. In 2018, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attributed 47,761 deaths to opioid overdoses, and there may have been as many as 632,000 overdose deaths between 1999 and 2016. Drugs aren’t necessarily a bad thing in fact they are vital to many people. However, these drugs can be abused which can lead to dependence on the drug and possibly even drug overdose. Drugs can creep into your life and take over before you even realize it. Drug addiction in America is an epidemic and we need to do something about it. I’ve had firsthand experience with drug addiction. I’ve personally known people who struggle with drug addiction. It’s a very scary and painful thing to have to witness someone you know and love who is truly a great person lose themselves to drugs. It can completely change who they are and has negative effects on everyone involved. To combat drug addiction, we should provide mental health help for those who may be more prone to later develop drug addiction, decriminalize drug possession, spread awareness, and educate others on the topic. 


We need to implement better treatment and prevention for drug addiction. Better mental health resources should be available to everyone, especially those more prone to developing substance abuse. People who struggle with mental illness such as depression or anxiety are much more susceptible to depend on drugs to cope. As someone who struggles with mental health, I know it can feel increasingly discouraging with feeling like there’s nothing you can do to feel relief. This can give you a sense of hopelessness and makes depending on drugs much more likely. According to the Public Library of Science, drug addiction and major depression are mental health problems associated with stressful events in life with high relapse and reoccurrence even after treatment. 


Despite drugs being a serious problem, drug possession should still be decriminalized. When someone is arrested for a drug possession charge it only makes the problem worse. Like I previously stated, rather than arresting people struggling with drug addiction we should make mental health resources available to them and implement them for those with a serious problem. According to the Pew Research Center, four in ten arrests are for marijuana charges. As a share of all marijuana arrests an incredibly intense 92% are just for the possession of marijuana and only 8% are for the sale or manufacture of marijuana.  

Lastly, we need to spread awareness on this topic and better educate ourselves. Many are misinformed on the unfortunate process of drug addiction and how it should be responded to. When someone is struggling with addiction many are quick to judge and shun them rather than feeling empathy for what they are going through. According to Aspen Ridge, knowing how drugs impact the body, the long and short-term effects of substance abuse, and the possible risk factors involved are all key in the prevention strategy. 


This brings me to the conclusion of my speech. To summarize my primary points, we must effectively execute the prevention and treatment of drug addiction by the means of prioritizing mental health, decriminalize drug possession charges, spread awareness, and better educate ourselves and others on this issue. If we don’t do something to stop this problem it will only continue to get worse and the effects will be destructive. We can and must put a halt to the drug addiction problem in America as it is damaging and even killing our people. What if it was someone you love struggling with addiction? What if it was someone you love incarcerated for something rather than getting the help they need? What if it was someone you love dying from this detrimental issue?