Drug addiction

Drug addiction is a very controversial topic with many diverse definitions and opinions. Stanton Peele discusses the numerous sections of drug addiction in “Addiction Is Not a Disease.” Peele strongly argues the fact that drug addiction is not a disease and that the prevalent drug problem transpires in the ghetto. Peele also states that celebrities are not real addicts in the fact that they can and do get treatment by attending rehabilitation. Peele also discusses the importance of psychological movies of drug addiction, stating what addicts think and how they feel. However, Peele incessantly reminds the reader that drug addicts suffer from a self-inflicted compulsion. Drug addiction is not a disease; rather, it derives not only from the individual addict’s need to feel euphoric or to cope with a sense of helplessness, but also from the pressures of socioeconomic group disadvantage.
Stanton Peele reasons that addiction is not a disease in the most comprehensible sense of the word: a disease has a biological cause and often a cure, while an addiction has neither. Peele explains that “Addiction is not, however, something people are born with. Nor is it a biological imperative, one that means the addicted individual is not able to consider or choose alternatives” (Elements of Argument 127). Generally, people are not “born with” addiction in the same way that babies are born with hereditary diabetes. A child who suffers from diabetes has not dileberately encouraged the disease, while a drug addict makes the choice to disrupt his or her own body by altering the central nervous system through drugs. While addiction can be as caustic as a lethal ailment, it is important to discern that no individual can contract drug addiction analogous to the way one can hereditary diabetes.
The psychological motives for addicts comprise of the need to cope with a sense of defenselessness and the need to feel happy and satisfied. Stanton Peele states that addicts “see in the substance the ability to accomplish what they need or want but can’t do it on their own. The double edge to this sword is that the person is easily convinced that he or she cannot function without the substance or addiction, that he or she requires to survive” (Elements of Argument 133). A drug addict feels helpless and thinks that life has become too hard to conduct. Certain life situations cause a person to look for a way to escape reality and solve predicaments, which leads to addictive behaviors. Joe, for example, is a seventeen-year-old boy who lives with his mother and six sisters in a two-bedroom apartment. His father, a drug seller, deserted the family ten years ago with another woman. Since that day, Joe took the responsibility to take care of his sisters while his mother strives to keep the family alive. Joe lives in a corrupted neighborhood where violence and drugs are normal in everyday life. School has no emphasis on Joe and he is coerced to take on a life filled with crime, drugs, and hardship. Falling deeper and deeper into depression, Joe begins to feel hopeless and thought fill his mind making him believe that life has no purpose and is useless. His responsibilities overwhelm him and he can no longer take control of his life. Joe begins to wish and fantasize for a better life and for happiness. He begins to look for a way to become happy and to forget about all his problems, so he turns to drugs. Slowly, Joe’s mind tells him that he needs drugs to survive, to help him deal with his tribulations, to make him happy. Joe does not recognize that he has become physically addicted to drugs as well as mentally in the sense that his body needs drugs and his mind needs drugs to cope with his feelings of helplessness.
Finally, addiction is the result of a life stricken with poverty and surrounded by antisocial peer groups and deprivation. The atmosphere a person inhabits influences certain aspects of his or her life such as morals, stress levels, and acquaintances. Hence, if one lives in an upper-class environment, he or she is likely to be surrounded by people who have positive values, while a person who lives is poverty is likely to be encircled by drugs, violence, and no role models. Therefore, a person who lives in the city slums has a bigger chance of becoming a drug addict than one that living in a middle-class neighborhood. Stanton Peele explains “that the farther down the social and economic scale a person is, the more likely the person is to become addicted to alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes, to be obese, or to be a victim or perpetrator of family or sexual abuse” (Elements of Argument 128). The inner city is surrounded by corruption and crime, where gangs roam the streets and drugs are common to life. The inner-city population is also deprived of good education and police protection. If a person lives in a society where poverty is everywhere and his or her friends use or sell drugs, he or she will adapt to this lifestyle. A person’s friends and family influence him or her significantly, and in a world where these people are drug addicts, a person will end up acclimatizing to the same lifestyle.
Addiction originates from an individual who seeks the need to feel satisfied with life and to cope with the hardships he or she faces. Drug addiction is simply a course of action that allows a person an easy way out of life’s difficulties. Addiction is not however a disease in any way, shape, or form. In our society drug addiction has grown to be a massive problem. To stop drugs from being widespread one must understand the causes and definition of addiction to cease the problems our civilization faces today.