Drugs and addiction

A lot of people who try illegal drugs do so briefly and then decide it's not something they want to do again. They just stop.

Other people find that taking drugs helps - helps them feel confident, helps them talk to people, helps them stay awake, helps them go to sleep, helps them get through a difficult time, helps them forget about things they'd rather not think about.

So what's wrong with that?

What's wrong with taking drugs?

You will get different answers to that question, according to who you ask.

Doctors can give you very specific information about the risks to health of different drugs and how they affect particular bodily organs and functions. This might concern the substance - amphetamines, for example, have an especially aggressive effect on the central nervous system. Or it might concern the method of use - inhaling deeply to absorb crack or cannabis will impact on the lungs.

Psychiatrists will explain how drug use can trigger mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and paranoia, or lead to impairment or partial destruction of brain functioning.

Social workers will describe how long term drug use and the activities that go with it can lead to the break up of families.

Solicitors might comment on how illegal drug use provides pathways for otherwise law abiding people to become caught up in a criminal sub-culture with the attendant risks of arrest and imprisonment.

Employers may relate how trusted and valued members of staff became liabilities instead.

Families may remember how someone special and important became lost to them. They may feel passionately about the distress felt at each particular milestone in that person's descent into addiction.

The most informative stories may be told by drug users themselves. They may be stories of good times, perhaps followed by hardship, or maybe there were never any good times in the first place.

But wherever the starting point, the various roads drug addiction may take you all tend to lead towards the same place - a place of loneliness and desperation.

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