The Drug Experience
The drug experience usually fits a pattern among users. The first use of a drug, a critical occurrence, is often influenced by various factors that include curiosity, friends who may apply pressure to try a drug, availability of a drug, or even a permissive home where parents and siblings are users. Reactions to a drug can vary among individuals. Some people enjoy them and some don't. Perhaps someone begins taking a medication for a medical problem such as pain and then continues using.
The next phase is persistent drug use, in which there is more individual initiative and drive to find and take drugs. This can result in problems such as chronic intoxication, missing work or school, and perhaps stealing. There might be other missed obligations, arrests, or irresponsible behaviors such as unprotected sex. If drug taking continues, a state of addiction can result. Also, more and more of a drug may be taken to get the same effect, and efforts to stop drug use may fail. Other drug-related problems can occur in life, and good health can be threatened. Although some people can stop using drugs, others drift in and out of drug use for decades or for a lifetime. Someone might someday find that his or her life is gone, wasted by a brain disorder that he or she failed to understand and cope with.
Some drug abusers are lucky; they can quit by themselves or find a family member, friend, or counselor who can help them stop. They might get into treatment on their own or they might be forced into treatment by a judge. However it happens, treatment is effective, even for people forced into it. Sadly, because of ignorance, poverty, denial, or fear of the stigma of being labeled an addict, some never find treatment.