There are a lot of falsified comments, opinions and downright lies—which are spewed as facts—about drug addiction and addicts. It’s downright baffling. Here are several misconceptions about drug addiction that have infected our society.
One of the most popular myths permeating peoples’ heads is that prescription drugs aren’t addictive. The fact is any drug, whether it’s given to us by a doctor or a street dealer can be abused. Of course, you could make the argument that the pharmaceutical industry is full of legal drug dealers. This is doubly so when prescribed drugs are taken by people they weren’t intended for.
2. Drug Addiction Is A Choice
Because my mom smoked two packs of cigarettes a day for 9 months, I was born an asthmatic – and I loved cigarettes. Without knowing it, I was born addicted to cigarettes. It wasn’t my choice to be addicted to them, but it was my choice to start smoking cigarettes with my cousin when we were 11. Although nicotine isn’t considered a drug like cocaine, heroin, etc., the fact is that prolonged use of any drug does change our brain chemistry. Addiction is an illness; diabetics or asthmatics don’t choose whether or not to have their illness. Neither do drug or alcohol addicts.
3. You Can Spot Them
Addicts look like you and me. One of the most popular “images” of drug/alcohol addiction is a scruffy-looking homeless human, stinking like they haven’t showered for days and are missing all their teeth. My neighbour across the hall works a 9-5 as an administrative assistant at a convention center during the day. After work she almost always has an 8-ball of cocaine across her table.
4. Natural Drugs Are Safe
Marijuana and mushrooms are two drugs (out of many) that are considered natural; there are no chemicals involved. It’s a wide misconception that nature-grown highs aren’t addictive and dangerous when taken by the wrong person. While the plants themselves aren’t to blame, the danger of abuse lies in the user’s personality and neurology.
5. Quitting Is Easy
Drug addiction isn’t simple. As addicts, our bodies literally need the drug in order to function properly. This is why withdrawal is sometimes so life-curdling painful – like a nightmare that never stops. Quitting is more than putting the drugs down – as William Mercado said, “Abstinence and recovery are two different things.”
6. Heroin and Crack Are Gone
While their popularity has diminished in recent times—as Oxycontin and Fentanyl became the abused drug of choice—crack and heroin are still prevalent. Drugs don’t simply vanish over time. In fact, Dilaudid (a narcotic painkiller) is a legal form of heroin. Even if “old drugs” themselves aren’t as abused, derivatives of them still are – and share similarities to crack symptoms.
7. Addicts Are Horrible
Because of horrible experiences with addicts, people tend to think that they are worthless, vile, self-centered scum. Addicts are not part of the “dark side” trying to join the light. We are sick people, with an illness, trying to get well enough to enjoy life naturally. Drug addiction does not care about financial history, race, gender or culture or what our role in society is. We are lawyers, doctors, administrative assistants, writers and teachers.
Despite these misconceptions surrounding drug and alcohol addiction, recovery is always achievable. Rehab is always available to those who have the courage and determination to seek help. Think about this the next time you hear a story about drug addiction or meet someone who is unfortunately an addict.
We are happy to present this collaborative post to offer valuable information to our readers.