Common Misconceptions about Drug Abuse

Drug abuse is a dangerous problem that affects not only the addict but also his/her family and the wider community. It undermines health, ruins the social connections, and destroys relationships. Drug abuse is associated with high mortality and health risks, so innovative treatment methods are introduced to help people fight this addiction (Edelfield & Moosa, 2011). However, contrary to the common misconception, it is extremely difficult to stop using drugs, and it requires much emotional strength, support, and quality treatment to overcome this powerful dependence on drugs (Rowe, 2013). In this essay, I argue that addiction is far more complicated than it is usually believed and prove that drug addicts should be provided with medical and emotional support without which it is practically impossible to survive.

Let me begin with one of the most popular misconceptions about drug abuse. Most people believe that addicts can stop using drugs whenever they want, that is, it is their conscious choice to keep poisoning themselves (Petterson, 2017). It is difficult for relatives and friends to understand why a person keeps using drugs and constantly chooses them over healthy life and quality relationships. The problem is that drug addicts cannot fight the uncontrolled desire to consume a drug, no matter how unwanted and disgusting it may feel. Their bodies are used to it and desperately need the regular portion of a drug to keep functioning (Edelfield & Moosa, 2011). If the person does not receive this drug, he/she feels extreme physical and mental distress that is practically impossible to endure without professional help.

Another common misconception is that addiction is a moral choice, so drug addicts should blame only themselves for living such a miserable life. As noted by Petterson (2017), there is some level of truth to it, but one should not forget that there are many reasons and problems that may induce a person to start using drugs and prevent them from ending this torture. Sometimes, people may consume drugs for a long time without getting addicted, while others become dependent after only one taste. It all depends on genetics, family issues, past traumas, and psychological problems, as well as individual factors such as character, stress tolerance, etc. (Petterson, 2017). In essence, the main point that I am trying to prove is that addiction is more a disease than a conscious choice, although I admit that people choose to try a drug for the first time.

Furthermore, many people think that only strong drugs such as cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, etc. are dangerous, while the rest do not lead to the life-threatening addiction. In reality, people can become addicted even to the prescribed drugs if they consume them excessively and uncontrollably (Petterson, 2017). Many painkillers and sleep aids are highly addictive and should be consumed wisely to avoid side effects and dependence. Besides, empirical studies prove that alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana are also extremely dangerous. The fact that they do not lead to the immediate and powerful addiction does not mean that they will not do it in the future. On the contrary, alcohol and nicotine addiction is the most common type of addiction that affects millions of people worldwide (Rowe, 2013).

To summarize, there are many myths and misconceptions regarding drug addiction that prevent people from detecting its first signs or providing adequate support to their family members and friends. It is wrong to think that addiction is a conscious choice and that addicts deserve to suffer. I am sure that drug dependence is a serious disease that requires professional support (therapy, medication, etc.) and immense love and care of the closest people because people using drugs lose control over their body, thoughts, and actions and desperately need our help.



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Edelfield, B., & Moosa, T. J. (2011). Drug abuse. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group.

Petterson, E. (2017). Top 10 myths (and realities) about drug addiction. Retrieved from

Rowe, T. C. (2013). Federal narcotics laws and the war on drugs: Money down a rat hole. London: Routledge.

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