All Humans are Human: Environmental Humanization and Its Positive Impacts on People Struggling with Substance Abuse

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Sands, Briana
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University Honors College Middle Tennessee State University
The Opiate Epidemic began in three waves, each wave getting gradually worse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Health, and the Department of Health and Human Services changed the guidelines for how prescription opiates were being prescribed and began helping people who have already become addicted. With these changes, the amount of opiate related deaths dropped 5.1% (CDC, 2018). The question then is, why have the trends not changes so much? There must be an underlying factor that is not being taken in account. A study conducted by a Canadian researcher, Bruce Alexander (1978), shows through a series of rat experiments that the environment can be just as impactful as the chemical makeups of addictive drugs. The methods of this procedure included recruiting participants from Facebook support groups to complete a survey asking qualitative questions about the environment they were raised in, the environment their addiction began, and their environment after completing a rehabilitation program. As a result with 23 responses, it was concluded through multiple things that the environment positively impacts sobriety because of confidence, family relationships, and mental health. The negative impacts of environmental dehumanization included abused trust, physical or mental abuse, normalized substance abuse, and poor mental health.
College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, Dehumanization, Substance Abuse, Environmental Humanization