Why is heroin use such an epidemic?


Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs available today and more than 27,000 people die from it every year.  The reason that heroin is so popular is because it is an opiate, like painkillers, but it is much cheaper and stronger.  Because of this, many painkiller addicts move from painkillers to heroin.

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A big drug that started the painkiller problem was Oxycontin. According to advertisements when the drug came out, “Oxycontin is one of America’s new prescription wonder drugs” (Cohen & Gaviria, 2016).  The advertisements strategically pushed the drug which would make people want the drug for their pain and for doctors to prescribe it.  “We went from a country who used almost no opiate painkillers (like in the 50s and 60s) to being a country where we used 83% of the world’s Oxycodone and almost 98% of the world’s Hydrocodone” said Sam Quinones (Cohen & Gaviria, 2016).

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Doctor Nora Volkow used a metaphor of drug abuse as “Driving a car without brakes.  You may very well want to stop.  If you do not have brakes, you will not be able to do it” (Cohen & Gaviria, 2016).  It also damages the frontal cortex of the brain the more a person abuses drugs.

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I agree with what Mikel Kowalcyk said on the video about drug use.  She said “People are going to use drugs.  Let’s make it safe for them to use drugs until they’re ready to do something different”  (Cohen & Gaviria, 2016).  I believe that reverse psychology has a big effect on people doing drugs.  The more you tell someone “No”, the more they have an inner inclination to want to do things.  If there are treatments to avoid drug withdrawals, such as Methadone clinics, it is easier for drug users to get off their drug of choice.

Methadone clinic

In my opinion, people probably use drugs to have an escape from reality since living in the world today is very rough.  The people with rough family lives seem to be more prone to drug addiction.  Even so, there are also people who had wonderful childhoods and high potential that get addicted to drugs.  This is such a pity.  Drug addiction is an epidemic in the United States and I think the best way to treat it is with kindness and understanding.  The more a person is punished, the harder it will be for them to stop abusing drugs.

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Reference

Cohen, W. (Producer), & Gaviria, M. (Director). (2016, February 23).  Frontline “Chasing Heroin” [Video file].  United States: Public Broadcasting Service.  Retrieved March 19, 2018, from https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/chasing-heroin/

How Is Personality Developed?


There is not a clear answer as to why people act, behave, or do what they do.  However, there are different views of which factors have the most effect on a human being’s development.  View A is “People are formed the most by their parents, relationships, and values”, view B is “People are formed the most by their own genetics and personality and personal decisions”, and view C is “People are formed the most by the current influences of their time:  peers, spouse/significant others, and media”.  View A seems to be the most accurate because most of a child’s brain is formed when he or she is living with their parents.

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View A which is “People are formed the most by their parents, relationships, and values” is the most accurate based on when the child’s brain takes in the most information.  By the time a child reaches five years of age, 90% of their brain growth is already developed.  Children’s brains are adapting to life extremely rapidly when they are living with their parents and siblings.  They do start school towards the end of this rapid brain development phase, but they are towards the end of it.

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Based on a study by Kwalombota Mahalihali called “Families Influences on the development of a Child’s Behavior”, he states “Families, especially parents, play a fundamental role in forming the values of children. The ability to cope with and adjust to life’s problems and demands is based upon the psychological foundations of early family experiences.”  A person’s family has the tendency to predict who the child will be in the future.  What the family values and how parents teach children to teach others helps predict how the child will act with others when they are older.  Unfortunately, if a family is abusive or unhappy, the child’s emotions can become out of whack.  Thus, he or she will become an abnormal individual.

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View B is that “People are formed the most by their own genetics and personality and personal decisions.”  Genetics do have a big factor in determining who a person will be.  Like I stated previously, part of the way I am is because my genetics are a mix of my mother’s and father’s.  More than that, though, I believe growing up with them and acquiring their characteristics caused me to be the way I am.  Genetics probably had something to do with it, also though.  The best research to figure out the relationship of genes to personality are twin studies.  In a twin study entitled “Self-Efficacy Is Mainly Genetic, Not Learned: A Multiple-Rater Twin Study on the Causal Structure of General Self-Efficacy in Young People”, the results found “that additive genetic factors explained 75% of the variation in the common psychometric general self-efficacy factor. The remaining 25% of the variation in this factor was explained by unique, non-shared environmental effects. The impact of shared environmental sources on the common factor was non-significant. There were no significant sex differences in the estimates of the model” (Waaktaar & Torgersen 657).  Genetics accounted for 75% of the twins’ personalities while 25% were explained by their individual environments growing up.  This concludes that genetics do have a large influence on people, but not the whole person.

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View C is that “People are formed the most by the current influences of their time:  peers, spouse/significant others, and media.”  This holds a big factor on who a human becomes personality-wise because people learn by imitation just like primates.  There was a book written in 1950 by a sociologist named David Riesman.  It was entitled Lonely Crowd: A Study of the Changing American Character.  It was about different personality types affected by their surroundings and what was going on in the media.

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The three types of personalities that Riesman discussed were tradition-oriented, inner-directed, and other-directed personalities.  People that are very set in their ways and are reluctant to change have tradition-oriented personalities.  They also tend to believe that everything they do is right.  People who feel guilty for everything (even things completely out of their control) have inner-directed personalities.  Their consciences are huge.  They self-depreciate themselves because they always want to help situations that would be impossible for them to help.  The last type of personality discussed by Riesman was the other-directed personality.  They are on the fence about what is right and what is wrong in this world.  They sometimes follow the crowd and they sometimes don’t.  They sometimes feel guilty if they do something wrong.  They sometimes don’t feel guilty.  A good word that I would describe this personality as is “wishy-washy”.  Wishy-washy means that they don’t know what they want, and their responses are always up in the air.

Conscience

In conclusion, View A of “People are formed the most by their parents, relationships, and values” is correct because people learn the most when they are aged zero to six.  This is when they live with their families.  This has been proven throughout the scientific world an abundant amount of times.  View B of “People are formed the most by their own genetics and personality and personal decisions” is semi-accurate due to the twin study by  Waaktaar & Torgersen, but only 75% of the personality traits stayed with the twins that were separated.  So, view B is not 100% accurate.  View C is that “People are formed the most by the current influences of their time:  peers, spouse/significant others, and media”.  People do learn by imitation, but at this point, their personalities have already formed.  They may copy off their friends, but they still have the personalities they obtained from when they were infants to age 6.

Why God Does Not Exist


[Premise 1] If God existed, there would not be pointless evil and suffering placed upon people.
[Premise 2]  There is pointless evil and suffering all over the world.
[Conclusion] Therefore, God does not exist.

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Introduction to the Argument:

            Many people strongly believe and pray to their understanding of God every day.  This gives them a sense of hope and belonging to the world that we live in.  It provides a sense of community to the people who believe in the same God.  These people like to look past or make excuses for all of the bad things that have happened to them, their loved ones, animals, and human beings in general.  In the article The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism, William L. Rowe explains that a supposed omnipotent God would prevent pointless evil, he lets the audience know what pointless evil is, and he explains why he thinks there is pointless evil in general.

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Explain the Argument About the Lack of God:

            If there were a benevolent God overlooking the world, there would not be constant pain, suffering, and killing going on every day.  These things constitute pointless evil.  A holy and all-powerful being would be able to prevent suffering and evil on all levels.  He would not just sit by and watch a massive amount of people and animals endure both emotional and physical pain due to the evil permeating the world.  Why is this evil occurring in the first place if there is an omnipotent and all-good God?

Rowe states that “if the intense suffering leads to some greater good, a good we could not have obtained without undergoing the suffering in question, we might conclude that the suffering is justified, but it remains an evil nevertheless”.  Pointless evil is the evil in which we cannot figure out the greater good of it.  Rowe gives an example of pointless evil occurring and that example is:  “In the fire a fawn is trapped, horribly burned, and lies in terrible agony for several days before death relieves its suffering. So far as we can see, the fawn’s intense suffering is pointless”.  The suffering of the fawn will never lead to the greater good of living creatures.

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No one really knows for sure why there is so much evil that leads nowhere.  “The theist may point out that some suffering leads to moral and spiritual development impossible without suffering. But it’s reasonably clear that suffering often occurs in a degree far beyond what is required for character development” (Rowe).  Even if some suffering is “required” according to a believer of God, why is the suffering so intense?  If suffering was needed for moral and spiritual development according to God, he would make the suffering as short and painless as it could possibly be.

Assessing the Argument About God’s Nonexistence and Permeating Evil: 

            It seems as if there are more instances of evil in this world as there are instances of good.  This evil is not justified and it has no point to it.  There are no sins that can lead to the intense amount of suffering that human beings and other living creatures endure.  There is a theory that people are born innately good and there is a theory that people are born innately evil.  I believe that people are born innately evil.  There are natural urges in every human being that cause them to do things that are ungodly.  A human being that is born innately good would have no bad inclinations.  Bad inclinations lead to sinning according to theists.  If everyone has bad inclinations, then every person has sinned.  Thus, they were not born innately good.  It takes a lot for a person to ignore their bad inclinations.

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Animals endure suffering everyday because of human beings.  The evil that is placed on animals has absolutely no point.  The animals that endure the most constant suffering are the animals in slaughterhouses.  If there were an omnipotent God and he believed that human beings need to eat other living creatures, he would make them endure the least amount of suffering possible in their deaths.  These animals should just be put to sleep.  In reality, they are cut open while they are alive and they are trapped in small spaces.  This is more than just animal abuse.  This is animal torture.  The people who kill these animals mercilessly are incomprehensible.  No one should be okay with torturing other living things for their own benefit.

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Every species of living creatures seems to get abused by human beings in general.  There are many pets that get abused daily.  People have pets to keep them company.  This company should be cherished.  If an animal does something that a human does not like, they should not be punished because animals have natural urges and instincts just as humans do.  They should not be treated as lower beings.

There are people who kill and are in gangs and there are people that are always purposely doing wrong and evil things to others, but they sometimes never get caught or punished.  They may even prosper from their wrongdoings.  On the other hand, there are people that do very good deeds and are kind to others, but these people have awful things happen to them or they suffer with terrible illnesses.

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Natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis kill and cause pain and suffering to the people who survive.  Also, wars are abounding constantly all over the world and millions of people die or get majorly injured physically and emotionally due to the evil doings of others.  If there were a God, natural disasters and wars would not occur because they are pointless evil due to the wreckage they cause.

Reactions to Possible Objections about the Nonexistence of an Omnipotent God:

            The majority of people believe in some sort of God.  A lot of people would object to an atheist’s point of view because they would make excuses for the suffering.  The biggest argument that a theist may submit is “pointing out goods, for example, to which suffering may well be connected, goods which an omnipotent, omniscient being could not achieve without permitting suffering” (Rowe).  A response to this belief would be that if there was a God, he would let it be known why the suffering was occurring.  If a person has suffered or is currently suffering, they are never told why this is occurring by this omnipotent God.  They cannot change their ways for God if they do not know why God was punishing them.  Hiding things from someone is ungodly so God should not be permitted to hide things either.  Everything should be out in the open to ensure understanding.

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Conclusion:

In summation, there are arguments for and against a God that is all-powerful.  Because of the evil constantly seen in this world, there are more plausible arguments that are against an omnipotent God.  An omnipotent God would not allow any living being to endure the amount of suffering that every living thing has to endure in their lifetime.