Regardless of the level of affluence in any cities, people could be vunerable to different forms of addictions. Although addictions may not necessarily be a crime, but the harm they bring to the society will be just as appalling as an explosion of an atomic bomb — long-lasting and permeable at different levels of the society. Three common addictions which are bringing serious damaging effects to our city are internet addiction, gambling and drug abuse.
In Hong Kong, the prevalence use of computers contributes to the internet addiction. Internet users create and indulge in their own virtual identity, which can be completely different from their real self, and forget about the real world they are living in. People with poor communication skill and low self-esteem will always resort to online tools like MSN, Facebook, forums, etc. to gain other users‘ recognition. The taste of gaining attention and being “liked” will tempt them to linger in the virtual world without distinguishing “which world” they actually belong to. The addiction adversely affects our youngsters who are still building their self-identity at the stage of adolescence.
Gambling, some may argue, is only a form of entertainment that is like many other leisure activities which help relieve the players’ pressure. Unfortunately, this so-called past-time does not serve the aim mentioned above as gambling itself lures gamblers to develop the misconception that they must win in the games they join. Thus, they may treat betting as a way to earn “quick money“. But in principle, gambling is a game of luck in the end. But with the gamblers‘ eagerness to get back their bets, they will not leave the casino even when they have already lost more money than they can afford to lose. They become pathological gamblers and cannot reject the inner impulsion for gambling and have their daily lives ended in chaos.
Drug addiction ranks the top among the three for its devastating effects are not only harming the drug users but the people around them. Unquestionably, the addictive chemicals in drugs cause detrimental harm to people’s health — but what brings people to get access to drugs is the reason behind addiction which is the root of the problem: peer influence. Most compulsive addicts first take drugs when they are very young. In most cases, youngsters would become addicts if their peers are. They simply imitate their behavior to get themselves affiliated with their friends. Also, under the pressure of conformity, teenagers would not dare to say no to their peers who instigate them to try drugs. Surprisingly, they are instilled with the misconception that drugs are not addictive that they could minimize or even control the impact of drugs with their own determination. Nonetheless, where people realize the irreversible harm brought by drugs, it is already too late. They have become addicts who have to rely on drugs to sustain their lives. In order to get money to buy drugs which they cannot live without, they may steal from their family or get involved in the illegal drug trade, which is bringing drastic harm to the society.
Although the three are independent addictions, their negative effects are similar and they share the common ground that addicts’ indulgence has spinned out of control. What is different is the degree of seriousness only. Addiction to the internet, gambling and drugs all break the addicts’ social network, including the relationship with family. No only would most addicts spend less time accompanying their family, but their reluctance to get rid of the bad habits would also depress their loved ones and even causes nuisance to their daily lives. For example, it is often heard that some gamblers are chased after by loan sharks and their family members’ lives are also seriously disturbed. The addicts’ social ties may be torn into parts because of addiction.
Added to this, addicts aggravate the burden of the society. Addiction would exhaust one‘s energy mentally and physically. Thus, addicts usually lack the ability to earn a living and resort to applying for subsidies like CSSA, increasing the financial burden of the government. More than that, addictions jeopardize the harmony of a society. Compulsive addicts would quarrel with their family and many cases end up in domestic violence. This is not news and is a cause for concern.
Even though it seems difficult to alter the addicts’ minds, it is always easier to alter ours first. Once we are a member of the society, we should show our care and support for people suffering from addictions. We should never look down upon how powerful our support which could be their greatest reserve of determination to quit and escaping from addictions.