Drug user

The term drug user refers to a person who consumes a drug, either by swallowing, smoking, injecting, or any other method of introducing the drug into the blood stream.[1]

What is an addict?

According to most clinicians and researchers, an addict is someone for whom sobriety is a tenuous and temporary state. Addicts almost always resume drug use, even if they have been free of drugs for years.[2] Addiction researchers Charles P. O’Brien and Thomas McLellan note that most addicts relapse and for them, becoming sober is an unrealistic hope. They also view that addictive disorders should be considered in the category with other disorders that require long- term treatments and group addiction with other conditions like arthritis, asthma, and diabetes.[3] Others view that addiction is a choice and largely depends on the general principle of choice. They view the unique behavioral effects of addictive drugs. They view that the individual and their surroundings can affect their decision making. In this view the researchers think that humans largely depend on actions that are shaped more by their experiences and less with their DNA.[4] Others believe that people who use drugs do not actually become addicted to them. They argue that only a small portion of people actually become addicted to drug because drugs act on our neurons and everyone’s neurons functions the same way. For example, heroin binds to opioid receptor sites in humans and if experimenting with heroin can lead to heroin addiction in one person, why doesn't everyone become a heroin addict?[5] These observations reveal a well-established psychopharmacological principle and the researchers ultimately view that behavioral effects of drugs vary in function of the setting and the individual. The discussion of tolerance and physical dependence may share some mechanism, because there appears to be significant differences between the processes. Not all individuals who exhibit tolerance to a drug are physically depended on it and some individuals who are physically depended on a drug may not display tolerance. Physical dependence on drugs occurs when central nervous system cells require the presence of that drug to function normally.[6]

The term "user" is typically employed to refer to someone who is a drug user, abuser, or addict.[7] Drug users are sometimes referred to as "heads," depending on the drug used, i.e., pothead, hophead, crackhead, etc.[8]


People have used drugs for thousands of years. Evidence of human use of opium has been found in neolithic and Bronze Age archeological sites in Europe, and an opium pipe from 1200 years ago has been unearthed on the island of Cyprus. The psychoactive use of cannabis has been dated as far back as 10,000 years ago in present-day Taiwan.[9] The earliest use of coca has been documented to 8,000 years ago from a site in Peru.[10]

Sociological perceptive

Social conflict theory views society as a constant struggle for power and resources. Many people view substance abuse as a problem of socioeconomic inequality and class conflict. Many people also believe that minorities are charged higher penalties for drug possession. The power struggle is evident in which powder cocaine is a lesser charge then being caught with having street cocaine. In this situation the higher class would be able to buy the powder cocaine and if caught would not get as harsh of a punishment. In cases like this the minority or poor social class would receive the harsher punishment. Since many jails are privately owned the state has to arrest a certain amount of individuals and fill in beds in the prisons. This perceptive illustrates the power struggle individuals face with social economic inequality and how minorities do not have the same power and economic stability that those of the higher class have. The symbolic interaction perceptive views society as the sum of all personal interactions based on their interpretation of meaning. Native Americans use psilocybin mushrooms, which are commonly known as magic mushrooms. Native Americans use them for religious and spiritual purposes. In this case the drug has religious and therapeutic meaning. The Native American meaning to this drug differs to those of other drugs like marijuana because the drug has spiritual meaning to them. Many countries use drugs like these for purposes that is important to their culture and religion. Symbolic interaction is evident in labeling theory and how individuals subconsciously notice how others see or label them, and their reactions to those labels, and over time this forms the basis of their self-identity and it is through the social process of labeling that we create deviance by assigning shared meanings to other acts.[11] To show the process of becoming deviant a study was taken by Howard Beck called "Becoming a Marihuanna User" and began his study with a simple question: are marijuana users different from nonusers? Becker argues that chronic marijuana use results from a process of social learning and before people light up, they must first learn how to smoke.[12] For some, smoking marijuana is fun and enjoyable. The shared meaning is different for everyone. The structural functionalist theory views society as a machine whose parts must be working together. In this case the way the criminal system works with the privately owned jail system. The state has to arrest and incarcerate a certain amount of people in order to fill the space in prisons.

Health problems

Many health problems may occur from frequent drug use. Because drugs are chemicals and all have different chemical structures they will affect the body and the brain in many different ways. Drugs can cause heart attacks, seizures, adnominal pain, and even death. Many health problems may occur from extensive drug use. Drug users may also experience behavioral problems and experience paranoia, hallucinate, and even lose-self control. Drug use may also spread HIV with sharing of syringes. There was evidence that HIV infection in the UK was spread through transmission by the shared syringes of drug users. Hepatitis B can be also spread through sharing equipment, which carries the risk that the disease might be transmitted to the non-drug using population.[13] Economic and social costs to society are also problems of drug use. These include costs to the health service, work related costs, state benefits, and the costs of community care.[14]


Drugs have been used for centuries. The use of drugs began to rise again in the 1980s among youth when they began to experiment with drugs like tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana. The increase has appeared since 1991, and has been attributed to poor implementation of prevention programs, a decrease in perceived risk and consequences of use, high demand for use, and increases in perceived social norms and acceptance of use, with access to drugs remaining high and unchanged.[15] The drug prevention programs were aimed to alter individuals opinion on drugs and change their drug use behavior. The most effective prevention programs aimed at individuals are those that focused on counteracting social influences to use drugs and these programs addressed person level factors of resistance skills, appraisal of drug use situations and models and situation level factors of perceived social norms and avoidance of drug-using groups and drug use opportunities.[16] The magnitude and longevity of program effectiveness is depend upon the extent to which intervention acknowledges and involves the interaction of intrapersonal, interpersonal and environmental change.[17]


In 1914 the United States Congress passed a law that authorized the federal government to regulate the distribution of opiates and cocaine. The US policy regarding addictive drugs and addiction has involved both the judicial system and the country’s health institutes.[18] The judicial system prosecutes drug users and dealers, and often sends them to jail. The medical system treats drug users and send them to clinics and hospitals. The National Institute on Drug Abuse is considered by many to be highly respected. Some Americans typically do not advocate incarceration and medical care for the addicts, and addiction is the only psychiatric syndrome whose symptoms are considered an illegal activity and addictive drug use is the only illegal activity that is also focuses on highly ambitious research and treatment programs.[19] There are many programs and rehab centers that are centered around helping the individual become clean. Programs include twelve step programs and rehab facilities that are throughout the country. A major debate in America is the legalization of marijuana. Those who are pro legalization view the economic benefits that it could be taxed and regulated in an efficient way. Those who oppose the legalization of marijuana view that it may be harmful and may cause further use of drugs.


Ideas of self-ownership and cognitive liberty affirm rights to use drugs, whether for self-medicational use[20][21][22] or recreational use.[23][24][25] People who use illegal drugs risk imprisonment, loss of voting rights, and face discrimination in areas of employment, housing, and child custody.[26][27][28][29] A 2011 report issued by the Global Commission on Drug Policy criticized the global war on drugs and specifically stated: "End the criminalization, marginalization, and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others."[30]

Notable drug users

See also


  1. Holloway, Kathy (2005). Crime and Justice : Understanding Drugs, Alcohol and Crime. McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing.
  2. Heyman, Gene (2009). Addiction: A Disorder of Choice. Harvard University Press.
  3. O’Brien and McLellan, Charles and Thomas (2005). "Myths about the treatment of addiction" (PDF). The Lacent.
  4. Heymen, Gene (2009). Addiction: A Disorder of Choice. Harvard University Press.
  5. Heyman, Gene (2009). Addiction: A Disorder of Choice. Harvard University Press.
  6. Heyman, Gene (2009). Addiction: A Disorder of Choice. Harvard University Press.
  7. "user". dictionary.com.
  8. "head". dictionary.com.
  9. Merlin, M.D (2003). "Archaeological Evidence for the Tradition of Psychoactive Plant Use in the Old World". Economic Botany. 57 (3): 295–323. doi:10.1663/0013-0001(2003)057[0295:aeftto]2.0.co;2.
  10. Palmer, Jason (2010-12-01). "Coca leaves first chewed 8,000 years ago, says research". BBC. Retrieved 2013-11-04.
  11. Conley, Dalton (2011). You May Ask Yourself. Norton Publishing.
  12. Conley, Dalton. You May Ask Yourself. Norton.
  13. Bennet, Trevor (2009). Understanding Drugs, Alcohol and Crime. Harvard University Press.
  14. Trevor, Bennet (2005). Crime and Justice : Understanding Drugs, Alcohol and Crime. McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing.
  15. Trevor, Bennet (2005). Crime and Justice : Understanding Drugs, Alcohol and Crime. McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing.
  16. Trevor, Bennet (2005). Crime and Justice : Understanding Drugs, Alcohol and Crime. McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing.
  17. Trevor, Bennet (2005). Crime and Justice : Understanding Drugs, Alcohol and Crime. McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing.
  18. Heyman, Gene. Addiction: A Disorder of Choice. Harvard University Press.
  19. Heymen, Gene (2009). Addiction: A Disorder of Choice. Harvard University Press.
  20. Flanigan J (October 2012). "Three arguments against prescription requirements". Journal of Medical Ethics. 38 (10): 579–86. doi:10.1136/medethics-2011-100240. PMID 22844026.
  21. Kerry Howley (August 1, 2005). "Self-Medicating in Burma: Pharmaceutical freedom in an outpost of tyranny". Reason. Retrieved 14 September 2013.
  22. Daniel Schorn (February 11, 2009). "Prisoner Of Pain". 60 Minutes. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
  23. Emily Dufton (Mar 28, 2012). "The War on Drugs: Should It Be Your Right to Use Narcotics?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 13 September 2013.
  24. Doug Bandow (2012). "From Fighting the Drug War to Protecting the Right to Use Drugs - Recognizing a Forgotten Liberty". Towards a Worldwide Index of Human Freedom (PDF). Chapter 10. Fraser Institute. pp. 253–280.
  25. Thomas Szasz (1992). Our Right to Drugs: The Case for a Free Market. Praeger.
  26. Knafo, Saki (2013-07-25). "Voting Rights Of Black Americans Trampled By 'New Jim Crow,' Civil Rights Advocates Say". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  27. Korkki, Phyllis (2009-12-12). "Workers May Lie About Drug Use, but Hair Doesn't". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  28. Greenhouse, Linda (2002-03-27). "Justices Rule Drug-Eviction Law Is Fair". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  29. Riggs, Mike (2013-05-08). "Even in 2013, Parents Who Use Marijuana Risk Losing Their Kids". Reason. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  30. Benjamin, Mark (2011-06-02). "Commission: Drugs Win War on Drugs". Time. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  31. "Armstrong biographer interview". NPR Online. National Public Radio. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  32. Steinhauer, Jennifer (2002-04-10). "Bloomberg Says He Regrets Marijuana Remarks". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  33. Bourdain, Anthony (2000). Kitchen Confidential. New York: Bloomsbury. p. 123. ISBN 1-58234-082-X.
  34. Fox, Margalit (2005-09-20). "Honey Bruce Friedman Dies at 78; Entertainer and 'Lenny's Shady Lady'". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  35. "Clinton Tried Marijuana as a Student, He Says". New York Times. 1992-03-30. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  36. Wade, Nicholas (2006-07-11). "A Peek Into the Remarkable Mind Behind the Genetic Code". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  37. Feynman, Richard (1997). Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman!. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-393-31604-9.
  38. Gleick, James (1992). Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman. Pantheon Books. p. 406. ISBN 0-679-40836-3. External link in |title= (help)
  39. Nuland, Sherwin (2011-07-21). "Sigmund Freud's Cocaine Years". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  40. Stephen Manes, Paul Andrews (1994). Gates: how Microsoft's mogul reinvented an industry and made himself the richest man in America. Simon & Schuster.
  41. "Bill Gates Interview". Playboy. 1994.
  42. Graves, Lucia (2011-12-13). "Newt Gingrich A Hypocrite For Supporting Death Penalty For Marijuana Smugglers, Gary Johnson Says". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  43. Ellison, Michael (2000-02-06). "Gore was avid pot smoker - book". Guardian. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  44. Bakalar, James and Lester Grinspoon (1997). Marihuana, the Forbidden Medicine. New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 39–41.
  45. Zuger, A (April 26, 2010). "Traveling a Primeval Medical Landscape". The New York Times.
  46. Smith, Craig S. (2008-04-30). "Albert Hofmann, the Father of LSD, Dies at 102". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  47. Greenfield, Rebecca (2012-02-09). "Steve Jobs FBI File Confirms He Was a Jerk, Drug User, and Poor Student". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  48. "John Kerry on Drugs". On the Issues. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  49. Whoriskey, Peter (2006-04-29). "Rush Limbaugh Turns Himself In On Fraud Charge In Rx Drug Probe". Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  50. Terisi, Dick (1998-10-11). "Weird Science - Review of Dancing Naked in the Mind Field". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  51. Seelye, Katherine Q. (2006-10-24). "Barack Obama, asked about drug history, admits he inhaled". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-19.
  52. P.J.O'Rourke (1995). Republican Party Reptile. Atlantic Monthly Press.
  53. Juliet Macur (February 5, 2009). "Phelps Disciplined Over Marijuana Pipe Incident". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-05.
  54. "de Quincey". dictionary.com.
  55. Wing, Nick (2013-05-31). "Carl Sagan, Marijuana Advocate, Explains what it's like to be High While Carl Sagan". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  56. Garofoli, Joe (2012-11-01). "Rick Steves endorses legalizing pot". SFGate. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  57. Labaton, Stephen (1991-07-11). "Thomas Smoked Marijuana But Retains Bush Support". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  58. Jason, Hughes (2013-08-16). "Oprah Winfrey Talks Smoking Weed, Rocky OWN Launch On 'WWHL' (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  59. "Winfrey admits to cocaine abuse". Observer-Reporter. 1995-01-14. Retrieved 2013-10-20.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 12/3/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.