Misconceptions about Drug Addiction

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fact-vs-myth-cropped-small Only poor uneducated people use heroin.
Although the poor are more than twice as likely to be addicted as those above the median household income. There is a societal phenomenon that appears when many people in a culture experience dislocation, the loss of belonging, connection and meaning that are essential to a fulfilled human life. Such dislocation, though it burdens minority populations especially, knows no racial or class boundaries. (Huffington Post, 2015)

Narcan encourages more drug use.
According to an evaluation of an overdose prevention and response training program for injection drug users in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles, CA, training programs may be associated with improved overdose response behavior, with few adverse consequences and some unforeseen benefits, such as reductions in personal drug use. (Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V.)

In another study, it was found that if provided naloxone, only 35% IDUs predicted that they might feel comfortable using greater amounts of heroin. (J Urban Health, 2003)

People need to hit rock bottom to seek treatment.
There are many things that can motivate a person to enter and complete substance abuse treatment before they hit “rock bottom.” Pressure from family members and employers, as well as personal recognition that they have a problem, and law enforcement can be powerful motivating factors for individuals to seek treatment. For teens, parents and school administrators are often driving forces in getting them into treatment once problems at home or in school develop, but before situations become dire.

Addiction is not a front line health problem in the US.
Heroin takes the lives of more than 135,000 people annually, making it the third largest cause of death in the United States, after heart disease and cancer. (Shatterproof, 2015)

With more than 22 million Americans suffering from addiction, it is the nation’s fourth most prevalent disease. (Shatterproof, 2015)

Addiction is not a disease like Diabetes or Cancer.
Drug addiction shares many features with other chronic illnesses, including a tendency to run in families (heritability), an onset and course that is influenced by environmental conditions and behavior, and the ability to respond to appropriate treatment, which may include long-term lifestyle modification. Addiction is a chronic disease similar to other chronic diseases such as type II diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. (National Institute on Drug Addiction, NIDA)

More jails and stricter laws will solve the drug epidemic.
The core assumption of the war on drugs that addicts freely “choose” their habits and could “just say no” is a cruel mockery of the reality, as is the belief that imposing negative consequences on traumatized people will somehow force them to give up their addiction. (Dr. Gabor Mate, 2015)
“Drug addiction has to be de-vilified,” child psychiatrist and brain researcher Bruce Perry has said. “If we create environments that are safe and predictable and relationally enriched, then all of the other factors involved in substance abuse and dependence will be so much easier to dissolve away. Our challenge is to figure out how to create these environments.” (Dr. Bruce Perry, 2015)

 

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