Social Question

Demosthenes's avatar

Is drug addiction a moral failing or a medical condition (or both)?

Asked by Demosthenes (13002points) November 21st, 2020

How should it be viewed by society to best combat it?

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4 Answers

jca2's avatar

If it were a moral failing, the answer would be lectures on morality, which of course is not the case. A drug addict doesn’t need a lecture on morality.

JLeslie's avatar

Physical and psychological addiction. I guess you could say the addiction can lead some people to do immoral things, like lie, steal, and even endanger their loved ones and others, but I’m loathe to say it is a moral failing.

seawulf575's avatar

Having dealt (successfully) with a serious addiction in my immediate family, I found a few things out. The addicts don’t start out life thinking that doing drugs is what they want to do for a living. They start doing drugs for a reason. Maybe it is a person they like that starts doing them or they believe it will help them fit in better with a given crowd. This is all started by something missing in their emotional development. In our example, it was low self-esteem. The drug usage started when the person started latching onto the worst sort of people they could find. The pattern showed they were trying to “fix” the damaged goods and that if they could “fix” them, it would show their own worth. The problem is you can’t fix other people. You can only influence them, not really change them. Change, real change, in each of us can only come from within.
I believe that addiction is all based on emotional issues. Alcoholism, drug abuse, sex addictions….all come back to something lacking emotionally in the person.
HOWEVER…I think there is more to drug addiction than just how the person acts/feels/reacts/. We have taken away the responsibility of the drug addicts by calling it a medical condition. They have the ready made excuse that they are incapable of dealing with it. I know several of the counties around me have taken to dealing with drug abuse in the courts as a medical condition. The addict is arrested on a drug charge, goes to court, gets released or sentenced to drug rehab, and they are turned back out onto the street. Many of these people are arrested over and over again until they die of an overdose.
Drug rehabilitation can be a big help with one huge string attached…the person has to WANT to get better. If they don’t see what they are doing as a problem or as a life threatening problem, they will not get better.

zenvelo's avatar

Addiction is a medical issue, not a criminal issue. Jails don’t get people clean.

@seawulf575 gives a opinion on it that I partially agree with: the addict needs to be confronted with consequences. But those consequences can be presented in a way to break denial without incarceration.

Had an interesting discussion ona zoom 12 step meeting yesterday about the first step, breaking through denial. While I agree with the above they tha addict needs to want to get clean, forced rehab does awaken the addict to to the alternative of getting their life back in order. As said in the rooms, “a little bit of AA will ruin your drinking for life.”

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