posted by Anonymous on 17 June, 2019
i don't have any sympathy for addicts. that might sound harsh, but i don't give a f***,"if they're in pain because of drugs, it's self-inflicted. you know what you're doing when you take it.
this post is is very much against the spirit of the forum, but i'll leave it up because i see it as a teachable moment. i work in an addiction clinic, i do research on addiction, and i'm a neuroscience and psychology student so i have a bit of an alternative perspective on this issue. i agree, at first it may seem counterintuitive to view people who've taken drugs and become addicted to them as deserving all the respect that people in general deserve given their circumstance. however, it's important to remember that all people should see empathy just by the nature of being fellow conscious beings who feel fear and pain and love and happiness. to label them all as "addicts" who don't require our sympathies is extremely dehumanizing and dismissive of the very real problems they face. while taking the drug may be a choice, stopping is very much out of their hands. there are fundamental brain changes which occur as a result of taking a drug like cocaine or heroin that make it increasingly difficult to taper off. as a person takes a drug like this, their reward centers are thrown so far from baseline that the only craving their brain sees as a reasonable goal is pursuing more of the drug. and of course, as someone takes more of the drug this reward pathway (dopaminergic if you're curious) becomes even more likely to convince a person the best way forward is to take the drug, forming a vicious cycle that is extremely difficult to break out of. but you might say that this might all be true, however it is on the person who is struggling with substance abuse problems because they're the one who decided to take the drug anyway. and sure, this is a valid thought, but often times it's not as straightforward as all that. many substance abuse users live in poverty, some in abject poverty, and nearly all have comorbid mental health issues. they have poor education on the effects of these drugs and took them without the help or resources to get off them all while in a culture conducive and enabling of their use. it's an incredibly hard situation to be in and drugs seem like the easy answer to their problems in the short term. wealthier people who take them and get addicted to them who know the possible ramifications show similar symptomologies as poorer people. many start on prescription drugs and develop a dependence. some use alcohol first and add on opiate use as they progress. either way, they are also using it because of extreme circumstances whether that be to escape the real world due to mental health issues or simply because a doctor prescribed one too many pills. even if the person if fully educated and seeked out the drugs themselves out of curiosity and had no comorbidities or mental health issues (this is type of case is so rare is almost doesn't happen), they still deserve our sympathy because they're a person and people deserve kindness. nobody is "above" drug abuse. in the right circumstances it could happen to anyone. it could happen to you too. nobody starts out with the intention of getting addicted. it just happens and then you can't stop. and i can assure you, nobody wants to be dependant on a drug. all the people in mental hospitals and detox clinics don't check in seven separate times because they're degenerates that don't know good from bad. it's because they've developed a mental health disorder that is extremely hard to kick. not to mention the resources for substance abuse victims are so abysmal it's difficult to get them help in the first place. i only hope that the next time you see someone sleeping on concrete or see a news report on opiate deaths in the united states that your first thought isn't "these people are losers." maybe instead try "i wish i could do something to help." because even those who've hit rock bottom are entitled to the respect that all humans deserve.