Being a drug addict is not easy, not for the addicts and certainly not for the society as a whole. Addiction is typically perceived as a somewhat dangerous word that draws a lot of fear as well as caution. It grants a basis for people to pass judgment on a person's behavior and question their morality and tags along with it a sense of criminality. Drug addicts are subjected to social stigma which in extreme cases pushes them to go to the extent of taking their lives. Most people view addiction as a distant thing that only affects a given group of people and in most cases tend to shy away from mingling with them. Drug addiction thus acts as a means that distances the reality from the real problem that the addicts face (Nelson et al. 2001).
The belief that moral people are not susceptible to drug use and that it is a preserve of the people who are considered immoral makes the society view addicts and addiction in a rather negative light. The addicts are seen as people with questionable behaviors and criminals who do not deserve to be shown compassion. They are considered to be responsible for their misery as they chose the path that they are currently on. The society usually leaves them to suffer the consequences since most people believe that the decision to engage in drug abuse is a personal decision that primarily lies on the discretion of an individual. Most people argue that it is more meaningful to concentrate and give more attention to those suffering from cancer and AIDS rather than attending to people whose misfortunes are self-inflicted (Leshner, 1997).
Some people, on the other hand, think of addicts as people whose ways can only be corrected through the administration of more radical punishments for them to reconsider their behavior. They are of the idea that only through adequate punishment would these addicts perceptions be shaken and change instilled. This is because the addicts are seen as thieves who steal because of the need to satisfy their addiction. Punishment thus becomes the only hope left for the perceived behaviors of these addicts to be rectified (Nelson et al. 1995).
The belief of the society that drug addiction cannot be treated using drugs adds on to the plight of the addicts. In fact, addicts are treated as people with no hope for a future. The general view is that they are not worthy of being cared for as there are limited ways, if any, to help them out. The addicts are as a result left depressed with no one willing to address their predicament. In this situation, such addicts end up sinking more into depression which eventually turns out to be suicide attempts that in most cases result in deaths of most addicts (Miller et al. 2001).
The general perception regarding addicts being weak and of no moral standings cuts across the society with most people viewing them as individuals who do not possess the necessary psychological "strength" to differentiate right from wrong. They are thought of having come from unstable family backgrounds that were full of violence which acted as a precursor to the addiction menace that they come to experience later in life. The addicts are thus treated as outcasts who should be left to suffer their fate (Miller et al. 2001).
The idea that addicts are entitled to treatment after hitting the rock bottom had led to the demise of most addicts who did not receive the attention they required when they needed it the most. The belief that someone is not an addict until such a time when he/she cannot be able to function without using the drugs and who in this state is usually on the verge of taking their last breath depicts the ugly experiences of those addicted to the drugs. In some cases, some addicts may be willing to change and fight their way out of their addiction but lack people to help them through the process. It gets even worse when they openly seek for help only to be turned down with excuses of irresponsibility being directed to them (Leshner, 1997).
Most addicts are thus left in a world of despair; the world where nobody cares for them and where their lives are only important to themselves and meaningless to every other person. Most people shy away from addicts for fear of the consequences that they might face later, be it the addicts stealing from them or the possibility of them influencing others to indulge in drug abuse. The cost of rehabilitating the addicts are also not that affordable to many, and this tends to scare away those who may have the heart to help but lack the mean and ability to make it happen. Addicts are thus left to experience the pain, rejection, and stigma whose end results are often not that pleasant. Some of them try to work it out on their own, but soon realize how difficult it is and go back to the same place they were before, or even worse.
Leshner, Alan I. "Addiction is a brain disease, and it matters." Science 278.5335 (1997): 45-47.
Miller, Norman S., et al. "Why physicians are unprepared to treat patients who have alcoholand drugrelated disorders." Academic Medicine 76.5 (2001): 410-418.
Nelson-Zlupko, Lani, Eda Kauffman, and Martha Morrison Dore. "Gender differences in drug addiction and treatment: Implications for social work intervention with substance-abusing women." Social work 40.1 (1995): 45-54.
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