Category Archives: Health

Why do Some People Become Addicted to Drugs While Others do Not?

Believe it or not, there are some individuals out there that will never have to worry about serious addiction issues linked to recreational and prescription drugs.

For a variety of different reasons (some of which we will get into just a moment), some individuals are seemingly impervious to the addictive tendencies that recreational and prescription drugs bring to the table. Obviously, addiction is a serious and significant issue that we as a society have to fight, but understanding why some people are more likely to become addicted to drugs ban others is going to help unlock a number of solutions to addiction that we may never have considered before.

Understanding drug abuse and addiction today

There are an almost untold amount of reasons as to why people experiment with different drugs, almost too many to count. The overwhelming majority of people that experiment with drugs (prescription and recreational alike) do so out of curiosity, and no small amount of those individuals do so because they know friends or family members that have experimented with the same kind of substances.

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Others get into drug habits because of medical problems that required specific prescription medicines to be recommended, and others still are looking to boost athletic performance, eliminate stress and anxiety, or better manage their depression.

The reasoning behind drug use is almost impossible to pin down without speaking to an individual and understanding their specific motivations, but it’s important to realize that the overwhelming majority of people use drugs because of what it can do for them and not because of the consequences that long term drug use or abuse can bring to the table.

Drug addiction is an entirely different animal than drug use or even drug abuse, and needs to be treated as such. Drug addiction is a compulsive and almost autopilot response to using drugs even when the pleasure of using them has fallen by the wayside, and is more closely linked to a smaller amount of factors than drug use or abuse.

Most people become addicted to drugs because they:

  • Have a family history of addictive personalities
  • Have struggled with abuse, neglect, or some kind of trauma (especially in their formative years)
  • Are currently or have in the past had to fight through emotional disorders and depression/anxiety
  • Experimented with drugs at an early age before their brain chemistry was able to inoculate them against addictive tendencies
  • Have created habits that require them to continue their drug abuse long after the “positive of facts” ceased to work

Drug addiction has a tendency to sneak up on you

Even though we have clearly illustrated that there is a world of difference between drug abuse and drug addiction, the truth of the matter is a significant amount of drug addicts out there aren’t going to realize that they are addicts at all – mostly because of the “slow creep” that addiction has on their lives.

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Maybe they begin with a “gateway drug”, recreationally using it whenever they go out to party and have a good time. Soon enough though they are using drugs on a regular basis or even a daily basis, and before they know it, they are caught in the middle of a downward spiral that they cannot see a way out of.

On top of that, because of all the negative consequences and side effects of drug abuse, they may begin to look at the drug itself as the only way to fulfill a very specific and important need. This reinforces the drug addiction habit and a self-perpetuating circle begins to turn things into a very, very nasty situation.

Myths about drug addiction that need to be addressed

Drug addiction isn’t simply a choice or decision in many cases. Sure, willpower is going to be necessary to fight back against this terrible habit, but in many circumstances you’re going to be dealing with a biochemical issue that creates a chemical dependency in the body. This requires a medical approach to resolving the addiction, rather than just trying to “push through it”.

Conversely, it’s important to realize that whether you believe addiction is a disease or not– there is a lot that you can do to destroy addiction and addictive habits if you have fallen victim to this kind of lifestyle. You have to realize that you aren’t a helpless victim, that brain changes linked to addiction can be reversed, and that there are treatment options available to help you get back on your feet.

Finally, you have to realize that even if you have tried to defeat addiction in the past and failed, that is no rock solid predictor of future behavior. You simply need to try a different and distinct approach to alleviate your addiction issues, and before you know it you’ll be able to lead a happy and healthy lifestyle free from drug use or abuse. Most experts agree that the odds of recovery increase each additional time spent in rehab. So don’t allow past failures to discourage future attempts at recovery.

Penalties for Substance Abuse in California

Millions people in California are struggle with drug addiction and/or drug abuse, and millions more are teetering on the edge of a serious drug habit and need as much help as they can possibly get.

Legislators and voters in the state of California recognize the very real and serious threat that drug abuse and drug addiction poses to this great state and all of her citizens, which is why California has recently approved Proposition 47.

Proposition 47 is new legislation that aims to change a variety of lower level nonviolent drug and property offenses from the current status of a felony, bumping them down to much less severe misdemeanors. There are a number of different reasons as to why legislators have decided to initiate Proposition 47 in the first place, and there are a variety of reasons as to why the overwhelming majority of voters supported this change. We are going to break down some of those reasons right now.

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The “Three Strikes Law” in California was a major motivator for the changes

California long ago decided to try and get out in front of major issues stemming from repeat crime in their great state, and made a major leap forward in eliminating long time or career criminal enterprises by instituting the “Three Strikes Law”. This law, at least as sold to the voters, essentially gave everyone in California the opportunity to have three strikes against them before they started to get incredibly severe and significant punishments – sometimes including life in prison, even if the three strikes against a particular individual were relatively minor in comparison to the punishment. The reality was that non-violent drug offense were being used to send someone with a criminal record away for 25 to life, according to Sacramento Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Rehm.

And although supporters of the Three Strikes Law argue the law has definitely served California well (repeat crime numbers are down across the board throughout the state ever since this initiative was passed), many in the state were uncomfortable with the harsh punitive measures levied on those convicted of drug offenses that were classified as felonies, and thus used in the Three Strikes Law.

Instead of throwing the book at people charged with possession of most illegal drugs (including cocaine, heroin, and other Schedule I and II substances), these felony charges were dropped down to misdemeanor charges. Other felonies linked to drug habits and drug abuse including shoplifting, grand theft, forgery, fraud, and bad check bouncing have all been dropped down to misdemeanors as well (provided that the crime involves less than $950 in damages).

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These changes not only allow the California legal arm to keep millions and millions of people out of prison for significant sentences (including long-term sentences) that probably don’t deserve them, but it also allows the state to save upwards of $700 million each year – all while freeing up a considerable amount of space in public prisons as well.

What kind of changes will this have on the drug abuse/addiction community?

It is impossible to know exactly what kind of impact to keep Proposition 47 changes are going to have on the drug abuse and addiction community, but so far early indications are pretty positive.

More people in the last three years have elected to seek out medical assistance and therapy to help them destroy their addiction, and several thousand inmates from state prisons have already put in a petition for resentencing that allows them to rebuild their lives after they are released from prison.

On top of that, a lot of the money that has been saved (some of the $700 million each year we mentioned above) has been redirected and funneled to help support mental health treatment and substance abuse clinics throughout the state, including educational programs for younger people in the junior high and high school levels.

All of these initiatives should help to better educate individuals at the earliest possible time, giving them the information and the ammunition they need to avoid serious life altering consequences that can result from lengthy incarceration time.

58% of voters were responsible for casting a vote for Proposition 47, and even though and earlier legislative action was shot down and vetoed by Gov. Brown last year that would have made many of the same changes he has already committed to affirming and moving forward with these alterations.

It will still probably be a few years before we know exactly what kind of impact Proposition 47 has on the Californian community, but so far all early indications are rather positive in nature. This gives individuals an opportunity to avoid significant long-term jail sentences for relatively minor crimes, all while improving the support structure that is already in place throughout California to help those battling addiction or drug abuse habits.

Things are definitely looking better today than they were before Proposition 47 was affirmed.