Are Addicts Bad People? I Don’t Think So
I found myself part of a pretty interesting conversation tonight. My friends and I were discussing addiction and discrimination. The American War on Drugs isn’t a new one. It’s been going on for decades. There’s been little reform in the grand scope of things. Particularly, there’s been little reform in public policy and the idea of who an addict is.
Most people believe addicts have a choice over whether to get high or not. This isn’t the case. Yes, addicts have a choice about whether they pick up the substance in the first place. That’s where choice ends. Us addicts don’t have any choice about whether to keep on using or not. Our brains and bodies are different. Don’t believe me? Ask a doctor, they’ll tell you. Once we start using, we can’t stop. Simple as that.
If addiction is a disease (and just about everyone agrees it is!), than aren’t addicts being discriminated against? Would society at large say a diabetic should just make their body produce insulin? Then why do they tell addicts to stop using? As for addicts themselves, are we divided into separate classes based on socio-economic status? Are more and more people being jailed and imprisoned? Are we wasting more and more taxpayer money? Is this fair?
Are the conceptions that society holds about addiction realistic? If everyone just took a deep breath, we’d see that we ALL know someone dealing with addiction. It could be a friend, a family member, or a business associate. It could even be you.
The idea that us addicts are bad people and deserve the punishment we receive? That’s just a tad bit harsh, don’t you think? Especially considering how much society now knows about addiction. How long should we be punished for suffering from a mental illness? How long should the stigma of being an addict be a bad one?
The questions are here and they ain’t going anywhere. It’s time to look at the War on Drugs from a different perspective, from the eyes of an addict.