You may have heard a certain cartoon character repeat endlessly, “Drugs are bad,” but what exactly are the reasons for such a statement? Why is there such a social stigma attached to using drugs, and why do people use them in the first place?
People use drugs recreationally, meaning that they do it for fun. Often it is because using a drug is more pleasurable then their real life activities, which can sometimes be boring. Unless you are extremely rich or extremely enlightened, real life is boring. Full of the same tasks over and over again, mundane to the extreme. Why not spice it up a bit? That surely makes sense. Unfortunately, while this sort of drug use can start off as a rather innocent attempt to get more excitement in life, tolerance both emotionally and physically can quickly set in, leaving the user with a dependence – a serious problem.
The other reason people use drugs is for escapism. They may not do it for fun; rather, it is seen as a way to escape the pain of their lives. Sometimes a person can be so down and out that it seems impossible that they will ever come back to live a happy life, so they drown their sorrows in drugs. Heroin, in particular, can often make it seem as if life is a dream, an alternate reality where things are not so bad. Yet it is the most dangerous recreational drug on the planet.
The stigma of being addicted to drugs stems from a lack of control; whether you started using it for fun, or whether you started using it to self-medicate, once you are addicted you have no control over your life. It is true that if people had the choice, they would choose a happy, exciting life over a miserable existence of drug addiction, but addicts just can’t see that as a possibility for them. The negativity takes over and they are seen by themselves and by the entire outside world, as a person who has lost at life. However, instead of stigmatizing such people, it is surely our duty to help them and not make their situation worse for them.
Drugs are bad, true, but just as bad is stigmatizing people who are addicted to them. Perhaps some people are beyond help, but there is always a significant proportion who would accept help if it were offered in the most genuine spirit. Many drug addicts don’t have anyone to lean on and that can make it difficult to get the motivation every day to stay away from their chemical security blanket.