Addiction is, without a doubt, the biggest health issue our world is facing today.
And it is so widespread and ordinary that we often don’t even notice it, and sometimes we even consider addict behavior as being normal. Think of it like this: when you see a person drink a cup of coffee or light a cigarette in the street, you think of these as something normal – yet most of the times, both persons are addicts, one to caffeine, the other to nicotine. Addictions, in turn, are not created equal. Some of them make the headlines more often and are discussed by the media and the communities, both online and offline, on a daily basis. Others are lurking in the dark, hardly ever catching the eye – and these are the ones that are the least likely to be faced in the near future. Let’s see which addictions are the most and the least discussed today and if this has anything to do with their spread and severity.
The Most Discussed: Tobacco
Tobacco is one of the biggest businesses ever. According to the WHO, there are around 1 billion smokers in the world – a crowd big enough to build an insanely profitable business on. Surprising as it may sound, there is no centralized report regarding the size of the global tobacco business on the internet – let it be enough that China’s Imperial Tobacco Group has posted revenues worth over $39 billion in 2016.
Perhaps it’s a large number of addicts and the deathly effect of the product that attracts so much attention to this addiction worldwide – anti-smoking campaigns, groups, laws, and regulations keep popping up each year, all over the place, on most levels (from individuals to federal governments).
In the Middle: Gambling
Gambling addiction has been in the center of the public opinion several times since the first online casino opened its virtual gates in the mid-1990s. This hasn’t stopped the business to grow exponentially ever since. Today, things have mostly settled down, most bad actors have been eliminated from the market, and comprehensive regulations have been introduced in most countries of the world. Even today, thousands play the games of Wild Jack casino in Canada, Australia, and Europe, protected by the preventive measures imposed by the authorities on the Wild Jack and its likes. Yet the discussions about pathological gambling are still widespread, especially in the countries where governments consider regulating the business (like in many US states). Science has proven in the meantime that online gambling has not led to the predicted boost in the number of gambling addicts – playing a few games at the Wild Jack doesn’t have that effect on the people who are not prone to addiction, to begin with. What it provides, in turn, is casual real money entertainment for those who seek this type of online fun – a niche product, if you like, and in a strictly regulated manner.
Even though science has proven that only a small percentage of online gamblers in general show ‘excessive gambling behavior’, the voices opposing online gambling in the US keep calling it a society destroyer. So, if you dream about playing games at the Wild Jack while on campus, keep dreaming – it’s not going to happen anytime soon.
The Least Discussed: Prescription Opiates
According to a report issued by the US Surgeon General last year, drug abuse affects half again as many people in America than cancer. Prescription opioids are part of the problem – the same report states that more people use them than use tobacco. The proportion of opioid abuse is massive, and sometimes pharma companies are to blame. Last Week Tonight host John Oliver has perfectly put a finger on this topic: