Drug addiction should be treated as a health matter…says Russell Brand…

There are many reasons why people take drugs. Lets not forget that this word “drugs” also includes things like alcohol, cigarettes and legal prescribed medications too.

So why does someone begin to take a drug?

This can depend on a persons age and circumstances. Many young people do not usually get involved with drugs conciously to escape life or numb pain, it is often peer pressure, friends and wanting to fit in and appear cool that leads many to try drugs, and these trials sadly often result in habits being formed. Recreationally, drugs are available at every corner be they legal or illegal highs.

An “addict” or regular drug user, with a habit they can afford can often also afford to check themselves in and out of rehab centres to deal with the problem or have more qualified and better support systems surrounding them, hence avoid the long arm of the law and their habit is never criminalised.

However, an addict on the lower rungs of financial security with a habit will usually spend his/her last pennies on their habit, even before food. Availablity and how desperate an addict is will determine their behaviour to obtain more of their preferred drug. The type of drug dependency will also determine urgency and hence whether crime as an option will be resorted to, to obtain said drug.

Once an addiction has set in, that person will be experiencing a multitude of issues that come with the experience of addition. Frequently behind the addiction is an underlying life story or experience that is being suppressed and it is only when that can be faced in the cold light of day either through self help or therapies, treatment, that an addict has more of a chance of kicking their habit. Life skills and rehabilitation through cognitive behavioural therapies, art and creative expression have proven success for people suffering with addictions.

It is not to say that crime committed whilst feeding a habit is at all permissable in society, but how it is dealt with for the better long term prospects of the individual and subsequently the benefits to the society he or she is part of. A holistic approach is key.

Only people that have lived through or with drug addictions in their close friends and family can surmise the best way forward. Current methods are obviously not working, so maybe it is about time people like Russell Brand were listened to…

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