Drug addiction stereotypes have been in existence for as long as drug addiction itself. We all have preconceived notions that only these certain types of people can be hooked on drugs. We all were sure that people who looked a certain way are drug addicts. We often assume that a person is a drug addict because of a certain background. We could never be more wrong, especially in these days when drug addiction has weaved itself into the very fabric of society. All we have now are drug addiction stereotypes that no longer apply in general. Here are 9 of them, with one drug addiction stereotype that is just so wrong no matter how you look at it.
1. Drug addiction could not happen if you have a stable job.
While it’s true that there are more jobless drug addicts than working ones, the fact that more and more people with stable jobs and careers are getting hooked on drugs should blow that preconceived notion out of the water. Workers across all industries have been found to be abusing drugs. This is why a growing number of companies are now working hard to establish a drug and alcohol policy and implementing drug testing at work.
2. A drug addict can only come from poor, underprivileged and troubled families.
This is another drug addiction stereotype that rings hollow today. Drug addicts can come from all types of families, even the rich, privileged and loving ones. We simply can no longer equate a bad childhood with an unloving home or a non-supportive family with drug addiction. Drug addiction is indiscriminate. Far too many privileged kids have become drug addicts, and far too many people with traumatic childhoods have turned out quite well and have become positive contributors to society.
3. Punishing drug addicts is the best way to cure drug addiction.
Drug addiction is a disease. A brain disease, to be exact. Throwing them into prison or, in the case of some countries, putting them to death just for being addicted to drugs is like punishing someone for having high blood pressure or diabetes. What drug addicts need is treatment, something which so many people are not too keen about. We live in a time where many treatments are available to help them counter the most adverse effects of their drugs of choice. Denying them that is simply cruel.
4. Addiction to drugs is a choice.
When you first use an addictive substance, that is a choice. However, the subsequent hits you take is the drug addiction process in action. These addictive drugs change your body and brain chemistry over time. These neurological changes affect a person’s ability to control oneself, among other things. Soon enough, a person becomes addicted to drugs, whether he or she likes it or not.
5. People with tattoos and piercings are certainly addicted to drugs.
Of all drug addiction stereotypes in existence, this is perhaps one of the most nonsensical. There has never been any correlation between body art and drug addiction. Sure, there are many tattooed and pierced people who are hooked on drugs. However, there are countless drug addicts who are not into body art at all. It bears repeating that drug addiction does not discriminate between sex, race, creed or body art. Anyone can become addicted to drugs.
6. All rock stars are hooked on addicting drugs.
Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, right? We’ve all had this long-held preconception that anyone who plays an electric guitar, drums and sings for a rock band is a drug addict. If you still hold on to that stereotype, you’ve obviously never heard of the Straight Edge movement. Adherents of this subculture of hardcore punk swear off alcohol, tobacco and other recreational drugs. Some even extend this to not engaging in promiscuous sex. For a Straight Edge musician, all that is left of the previously mentioned rock n’ roll cliché is rock n’ roll, and that is all that really matters.
7. Being hooked on addictive drugs means you’re a bad person.
Assuming that a drug addict is a bad person is simply unfair. As expressly stated above, drug addiction is a disease. It does not have anything to do with our morality. While there are drug addicts who are actually bad people long before they got hooked on drugs, many are just regular, law-abiding citizens who made the mistake of choosing to give addictive substances a try.
8. Drugs addiction by ethnicity
Ice addicts are mostly Caucasian. Crack is for black people. Few drug addiction stereotypes are as offensive as this one. This is no doubt perpetuated by characterizations in the media and popular entertainment in general. We could never state enough that drug addicts come in all skin colours, shapes and sizes. It is so wrong to categorise drug use to a specific ethnicity or sub-set of the general population.
9. Those with drug addictions can never completely recover.
Once a drug addict, always a drug addict. There has never been a drug addiction stereotype that is more wrong than this one. There is always hope for a drug addict. It doesn’t matter how deep the addiction hole is. With the right treatment combined with the love and care of friends and family, a drug addict can always recover. Just ask Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr. He is living proof that any individual can return from drug addiction hell and completely turn his life around.
Let’s do away with drug addiction stereotypes
We all live in a world where anyone can become a drug addict. It doesn’t matter what your skin colour is. Your family background does not really count. Being into rock and roll doesn’t mean you have to be addicted to drugs. You could be the most pampered and loved person in your family, and you could still end up hooked on drugs with one wrong decision. Drugs don’t play favourites, not in today’s world where they have penetrated practically every facet of human society. In today’s world, drug addiction stereotypes no longer apply, and we all must realise that.