With the recent heartbreaking news of the sudden death of actor Cory Monteith, people are outpouring their condolences and opinions regarding the star’s battle with addiction. Some reactions are more startling than others, such as the Westboro Baptist Church trying to picket this poor young man’s funeral. I think what people have the most trouble with upon hearing this news is that the common stigma surrounding addiction implies that the condition stems from a lack of moral righteousness mixed with a lack of willpower. The truth about the matter is that addiction is a disease and should be treated as such.
The addiction is a disease and will cause a person to do things they normally wouldn’t, such as stealing money from a family member. An addict will likely burn bridges with loved ones throughout their addiction. Previous relationships become insignificant next to finding the drug, using it, and doing whatever they have to do in order to obtain it again. The condition is chronic, and sometimes an addict will relapse throughout their recovery and addiction is a disease . This, once again, does not mean that the person is “bad” in any way. One may argue that the initial decision to try the drug was of their own free will, which is true. However, prolonged drug use will change the brain’s chemistry, thus hindering the addict’s ability to control their impulses to use drugs.
Not everybody who uses narcotics becomes addicted to them. Just as some people enjoy bungee jumping off of a bridge to feel an adrenaline rush, there are many fully functioning members of society who enjoy the occasional recreational use of drugs. There isn’t a set way to determine whether or not somebody will suffer from addiction after trying drugs, but there are certain aspects that contribute to the possibility. Genetics, for example, have a large part to play. Influencing factors include sexuality, gender identity, ethnicity, co-occurring mental disorders, and whether or not the individual has other family members who struggle with addiction. Environment can also have a hand, including friends, quality of life, and socioeconomic status. The last contributing aspect lies in growth and development. If the first time an individual uses drugs is at a young age, their risk of addiction is far greater. Cory Monteith admitted to having struggled with addiction since the age of 13.
People make poor decisions all the time, and the consequence is really what defines an action. Unfortunately for substance abusers, the end of the road can lead to a grave death. There are two options for someone who is addicted to drugs; one would be for the person to die along with their addiction, and the other would be for the person to get treatment and live a more fulfilling life.