A growing libertarian mindset in the United States is contributing to a greater acceptance of recreational drug use. That mindset, however, also ignores the danger created by certain recreational drugs and the personal and societal problems that can result from recreational drug use. Your political views and your opinions of how the country’s criminal justice system treats users and dealers of recreational drugs are separate considerations from the myths and realities of recreational drug use. In formulating your opinions, you should be careful not to let your attitudes toward recreational drugs to be colored by the common myths associated with them.
The most common myth about recreational drug or alcohol use and abuse is that addiction is a matter of personal choice. Libertarian leanings and a strong belief in personal choice might lead you to endorse the myth that a person allows himself to become addicted to alcohol or drugs. The reality is that alcoholism and addiction to other substances are chronic diseases. Intoxicating substances alter a person’s brain chemistry in such a way that he no longer controls his actions, but answers only to his cravings for alcohol or drugs. An addict who tells himself that he can quit whenever he wants to is lying to himself and to the people around him. Addiction diseases can be controlled and corrected with proper treatment, but once a person has become addicted to alcohol or drugs, he will not be able to consume those substances after going through a period of rehabilitation and recovery without succumbing once again to his addiction.
Recreational drugs that are touted as natural or legal are no less dangerous or addictive than illegal substances. The growth in physician-issued prescriptions for opiate painkillers, such as Oxycontin, is one of the greatest causes of increasing heroin addiction in the United States. Physicians use legal drugs and natural substances under carefully controlled conditions to treat specific medical problems. Natural hallucinogens like psilocybin are no less harmful just because they are produced naturally in certain plants. Natural or legal substances can still get you addicted or kill you.
You might read stories about celebrities or sports figures who claim to have defeated their addictions on their own with an iron will and fortitude. The reality is that beating alcoholism or drug addiction is rarely, if ever, a solo act. Further, an addict never fully defeats his addiction, and recovery requires more than just a month-long stay at an addiction treatment center. Your chances of successfully overcoming your addictions will depend on the therapy and counseling you receive and your lifelong commitment to continue to stay away from the substances that first got you addicted.
Your friends might think nothing of your recreational drug use, but drugs will preclude your chances to get and hold many jobs. Drug arrests can ruin your chances of qualifying for financial aid for higher education, and felony convictions for possession or distribution of recreational drugs will give you a criminal record that will stay with you forever. Recreational drugs will affect your physical and mental health, which will increase your medical costs and expenses over time. Over an extended period of time, your recreational drug use will likely shorten your lifespan, ruin your finances, and interfere with your relationships with your spouse, family and friends.
People who propagate myths about recreational drug use will not have your best interests in mind. They are only concerned with holding you in their own world for their own benefit. If you have questions about any myths you may hear about recreational drugs or you want help in separating the myths from the realities, please contact the Last Resort Recovery Center near Austin at 512-360-3600. We will help you to understand the truth and to make wise decisions about your continued use of recreational drugs.