For the Lakeside Leader
Who are they? How did they get started? Why did they start?
First of all, let’s be honest here and get rid of many myths and acknowledge that there is a big list of “they are not.” They are not derelicts, not criminals, not jailbirds, not hopeless, not helpless, they are not necessarily people who came from unhealthy homes, nor should they automatically be assumed to be slow learners, bi-polar, schizophrenic, etc.
So who are they? They are someone’s daughter, son, mother, father, wife, husband, sister, brother or other relative. They may also be a close friend or co-worker.
Every single addict has a negative effect on one or more members of their family. That is why the disease is often referred to as a family disease.
Today we regularly read about fentanyl. I don’t think anyone wakes up one morning and says to themselves, “I think I’ll take fentanyl today” unless they have already and for some time been taking one or more of the other mood-altering drugs. The addict most often starts with alcohol and/or marijuana and progresses to others, always with the expectation of a rewarding experience. Fentanyl is not our problem; addiction is.
Addicts are people who choose to ingest mood-altering chemicals for whatever reason, and if they continue they stand the chance of dying from the addiction – in fact they will die if it never stops.
Now this does not mean it has a sudden start but, again, once the drug has become a part of their regular life style, powers are no longer normal.
Narcotics are drugs that depress the central nervous system and once ingested they travel through the blood stream to a cell receptor in the brain where the drug action takes place, and the person becomes lost. He/she just isn’t the same anymore.
Let me tell you about a boy I know. His story is typical of “how they get started.” He had been having a “down week”; nothing seemed to have turned out the way it was supposed to. One of the guys from school phoned and asked him if he would like to go to a bush party. He went and when someone offered him a beer – or was it marijuana – he said yes, thanks. He had never had either of these before.
When he went home that night he realized he hadn’t worried about his problems all evening, instead he had fun.
He forgot about the whole episode until a few weeks later he was feeling down again and remembered how that bush party experience had made him forget his problems, and he had fun. He phoned one of the guys he met, and away he went.
Why do some people become addicted and others not? Statistics say that one out of 10 people who use drugs to get ‘rewarding experiences’ will become addicted.
Would that my second oldest boy had not continued to use drugs once he had got started.
His introduction to that world was alcohol and marijuana. When he was killed, at age 25, in a truck accident, drugs were the primary reason.
Next week’s article: Meet the co-dependent.