Changing The Face Of Addiction: The Stigma
How Society Views Drug Addicts
Drug Addiction is an ever-present threat in our society today. It is viewed, however, in a very specific context by society and the majority of people are not aware of it’s existence outside of the homeless, the teenage rebels, and the criminals. The reality of how society views drug addicts versus what a drug addict really looks like is not so black and white.
There are common misconceptions that only the homeless are alcoholics, only the no-good teenagers are doing drugs at parties, and cocaine is something only drug cartel criminals deal with. This is an image perpetuated by movies and TV but like most things on the screen, it’s a far cry from reality.
What is the Reality of Drug Addiction?
The fact of the matter is that anyone can fall victim to a drug addiction. In fact, most people have a caffeine addiction and don’t even know it. Everyone knows how irritable somebody can get if they don’t get their fix of coffee in the morning and can even suffer headaches and other symptoms.
More often than not, alcohol and drug addicts come from all walks of life, not just the narrow path of bad decisions and poor character. People suffer injuries and are prescribed powerful painkillers with instructions to take as needed for pain. Nobody likes being in pain, so they take more to get rid of their pain and before they know it, they’ve become addicted. The most commonly abused substance today is prescription painkillers.
People in high-stress careers can have trouble sleeping and develop dependencies on sleep aids. Sometimes they’ll smoke a little pot or have a few drinks to unwind after a long day. Long days happen more and more often and soon a little becomes a lot. Before they know it, it’s an every day activity that they can’t function without.
Knowledge is Power
Most people are familiar with the phrase “perception is reality” and addiction is no different. When we learn to see addiction differently, as it truly is instead of the Hollywood portrayal of it, only then will true change begin to happen.
Only through understanding can we truly fight addiction, help those who have fallen prey to it’s clutches, and prevent future generations from making the same mistakes. In order to bring about real change to the way addiction is treated by society, we must first change how it is perceived by society, and that change can only happen through knowledge.