Society must support, not shun, ex-drug users

Arifa Aziz

Those who want to quit should be fully backed by the people around them

“I had learned not to care. I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though.”

Bloodshot eyes, trembling hands, seeming out of it, a man drowning his misery, and hopelessness in drugs and alcohol is most often looked down upon in our society. We don’t want to associate with the “druggies” and alcoholics; they’re pathetic, dangerous, unstable. But the same man who used cocaine when he could afford it, may seem very familiar to the eyes of the nation.

In our society, we ostracize those who choose to abuse drugs and alcohol, looking down upon their choices and labeling them as “stupid druggies.” We often forget that substance abuse can be related to some sort of underlying problem, whether in the home or within oneself. And many times, those who  choose to use alcohol and drugs can, contribute to society. President Barack Obama, who admittedly abused drugs during his college years, proved that with guidance and determination, those who make the wrong choices early on can change their paths. And it is not within our right to make assumptions about the character of others just because of their choices, however “bad” or “wrong” they may seem to be.

Though drugs and alcohol are not the best or most effective way to deal with oneís problems, they seem like easy solutions and, for many students, have become the easy way out. As indicated by the 2010 California Healthy Kids Survey, which is taken every two years, there was a 15 percent increase in the number of students who admitted to have tried drugs or alcohol from freshman to junior year.

Though the reasons may vary, it seems that as students get older, they feel the need to be more adventurous, daring to try illegal activities and avoid the consequences, or even curious to experience the thrill of being drunk or “high.”

It may be easy to punish and look down on these students for their poor choices, but these measures do not provide any long term benefits. In fact, it may lead to further abuse of addictive substances. Rather, we should strive to find effective ways to help them to overcome these problems and avoid further abuse of alcohol and drugs. Being open minded and unbiased when addressing these problems the most effective way in opening conversation and allowing those who do abuse drugs to express their own issues with the subject.

It is our responsibility as a community to address the problems that the members of this community face, including drug and alcohol abuse. Making mistakes is a part of human nature and the mistakes that those in our community make, do not only reflect upon their situation, but also reflect the inner problems of our community.

So let’s stop judging and start doing something more productive and help make it so that kids won’t feel the need to do drugs.