Drug addiction is not a problem but a personal decision

By Dr. J. Theodore Brown Jr.

"She had already lost her left leg and arm; upon entering her room the morning after the amputation of her right leg, I discovered her injecting heroin into the remaining right stump."

Some drug abuse experts argue that addiction is the result of a medical disease, others assert that it is psychological, or social problem. Although there are exceptions, fundamentally, the decision to start and continue to use drugs is a personal decision. Being poor, ugly, crippled, in bad health, having mean parents, being abused as a child or adult are excuses for having made a bad personal decision.

First time drug use may be motivated by immaturity, ignorance or curiosity about the drug's effect; continued use may be to obtain pleasure or avoid pain, in either case it represents a person's decision that continuing to use the drug makes them feel better than not using it.

No one should ever rely upon the government, police, school or their doctor to stop using drugs. It is not possible to talk, medicate, legislate or intimidate a person to stop using drugs. Only when the addicted person decides that they no longer want to continue drug use can drug detox and treatment be helpful.

If you want to help someone to stop using drugs, it is recommended that you:
  1. Determine the person's sincerity to quit,
  2. Educate yourself about drug abuse, consider drug testing and other self-help resources on line or at your drug store.
  3. Determine if your drug use is complicated by physical and/or mental problems, if so seek professional assistance.

There is no evidence that quitting drug use is associated with expensive treatment. Before you spend your life savings, retirement and mortgage your home to save someone you love, do as much as you can on your own since any effort to quit using drugs is a personal decision.

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