Should we show more compassion to drug addicts?

The UK Drug Policy Commission is currently investigating the causes and effects of the stigmatisation of drug users, addicts and those in rehabilitation. It has been suggested in this study that referring to drug users as "junkies" and other such terms directly impedes the emotional and psychological recovery of addicts, exacerbating the situation and causing many to continue to use. But does this mean that we should offer our sympathy to those who continue to use illegal substances? Surely in refraining from such terms and treating users with more sympathy, we are undermining the social status of drug addiction?

Should we show more compassion to drug addicts?
Yes because...

Social stigma makes their condition worse.

Drug addiction causes and is caused by mental health problems that are exacerbated by the constant stress of being harrassed, stigmatised, denied facilities and treated as an underclass. Such treatment makes them more likely to want to take drugs to cope with the situation and also more likely to commit drug-related crimes against a system that hates them.

What drug addicts really need is a place to get help, not incarceration or anything as harsh
No because...
If we attach a stigma to drug users, yes, we may worsen the condition of those who are already avid drug users. However, if we begin to accept dealing in drugs, if we release the stigma, then there will be more likely a chance of our children becoming drug users. The stigma is a large factor in preventing people from using drugs. They do not want society to reject them. This is a far worse effect than if we drop the stigma and make a few pre-existing drug users worse.

Should we show more compassion to drug addicts?
Yes because...

Drug addiction isn't the addict's fault.

While it is their decision to start taking drugs (although there will often have been a lot of social pressure from availability, drug taking in their peer groups and the stress of living in a poor area) it is not their decision to become addicted to a drug once it has already chemically re-wired their brain to take the drug. Addiction isn't poor willpower, it is neural inability to stop using a drug or unbearable pain if they do stop using it.
No because...
It is not an 'inability'. Inability makes coming off drugs sound like an impossibility. However, this is clearly not true. People do cure their addiction. The same can be seen with smoking. It can be done and it has been done. These drug users have chosen to continue with their addiction and so they are to blame. They may have to make effort in order for them to release themselves from the addiction, but it is indeed possible.

Should we show more compassion to drug addicts?
Yes because...

We shouldn't be stigmatisng any group.

There is never a reason to allow a group to be targeted by hate and suspicion. If we suspect drug addicts of committing more crimes than usual, this doesn't give us a right to stigmatise drug addicts. If a drug addict commits a crime, they will be punished for them the same as anyone else who commits a crime, but this is different to automatically singling them out as a person who will commit crimes.
No because...
We need to have a sense of realism about this. In order to help drug addicts we need to recognise that because of their addiction, they will be more likely to steal again. They still have the need to steal. Because they have a reason to steel again, because they have an urge to pay for their addiction, we need to issue them with more radical punishments in order to shake their perception and in order to make them reconsider. This is more so in the case of drug users than for ordinary criminals.

Should we show more compassion to drug addicts?
Yes because...

We should obviously not like drug users

Sinning and Sinned Against: the Stigmatisation of Problem Drug Users
The report finds that many people don't like drug users

Is this not shocking that a report had to be commissioned in order to find out that people do not like drug users. This should not be surprising news. Drug users are breaking the law merely by taking the drugs. Surely we should scorn any one who breaks the laws of society. By breaking the laws of society you are acting against society. Society should not then feel obliged to treat these drug users with respect. When they show society no respect, they do not deserve any respect back.
No because...
Not respecting the laws of a society does not automatically harm the society, if the laws are oppressive, ineffective, meaningless ritual or needlessly biased against outsiders. Societies themselves are also not automatically good - the community of a poor area may be dependent on thieves to hold it together by providing cheaper neccessary goods, so they may shelter the thieves. This is for the greater good of the community, but it is still unlawful.

Should we show more compassion to drug addicts?
Yes because...

Drug addicts suffer from a disease.

People should have a health oriented approach to drug dependence, because it offers a better scene for the future life of those affected and to society in general. If we feel bad for people who are suffering from cancer or AIDS, why shouldn’t we feel the same way for someone who became a drug addict? This problem is considered a disease and it must be treated as such. According to article 38 of the UN Single Convention of narcotic drugs (1961), “the Parties shall give special attention to and take all practicable measures… for the early identification, treatment, education, after-care, rehabilitation and social reintegration of the persons involved”. [[]]

Drug addicts can fall in such state by diverse causes, but in most cases, it happens because of the person’s environment, curiosity, miseducation, low self esteem, no tolerance to frustration, among others. We must understand the complexity of drug addiction, because it directly affects the central nervous system and thus stopping drug abuse is not simply a matter of willpower.

Some of the consequences of this disease are failure in school, family disintegration, violence and loss of employment. Therefore, we should definitely feel compassion for drug addicts and if we know someone with this problem, try to support them while they’re on rehabilitation and then help them go through their social reintegration.
No because...
Drug dealers don't need our compassion.
They are criminals, and they decided to enter in such state. People with Cancer are not responsible of their disease and those who suffer from AIDS did not do it on purpose. Drug addicts decided to try them and then suffered the consequences.

Should we show more compassion to drug addicts?
No because...

The proposed changes are meaningless.

So we're supposed to use different words for drug addiction? How is that supposed to help them? It will only make people resentful of their loss of freedom of speech and suspicious of the Government for using euphemisms, they will still feel the same way about drug addicts but will just mask it better, it will hinder people who want to help drug addicts but need to be completely honest with them, such as doctors and psychiatrists, and the Government will spend time and money inventing new language and putting managers on awareness courses instead of developing more and better addiction treatment.
Yes because...
In our current culture, we can thank the media and politicians for amping up the stigma attached within the drug culture. This is not to say that many forms of drugs are not or can not be lethal, it's just that when the government wants to make something seem worse than it is or could be, leaking a few well placed words to the media, and you have a feeding frenzy.

Drugs and alcohol have been around since the dawn of time, and will remain here long after we all are dead, buried and decomposed. We have our sports heroes, and celebrities doing all of the things that many could only dream of, and we get so engrossed in their "fairy-tail" lives, that we forget that we have our own heroes and true celebs right in our own towns.

We got here because, for many, a blind eye was turned up as long as the illegal drug trade stayed in impoverished ares of the nation, then all was just great; but, when the secluded segment of society began seeing their own kids involved in drugs, then it (the drug trade) became their worse nightmare.

Now as their offspring became addicted, you saw many more drug treatment facilities erected in the better parts of towns, but where the help really is needed got the shaft. Not only that, but, the reporting of who are on drugs is so skewed because in the upper-middle neighborhoods, or the Midwestern towns , it is easier to keep the families business out of the limelight, but in the poorer areas of America, well, we see all the horrors associated with drugs and alcohol abuse as it unfolds and is reported everyday in the mass media. Faces of those on the lower end of the SES, are plastered all over the screen.
If it was not for some of the "upper-crust" getting themselves caught up in all of this mess, things would be pretty quiet.

We all know about Nixon's wife, and her bouts with substance abuse, and I can go on and on, but in the meantime, there will be another drug or alcohol induced death in the inner cities, or in the poorer areas of America, and who will help them get straight again.

Addiction, is someone else problem. It is only the downtrodden who become addicted, while I consume 3-5 drinks at happy hour everyday, and then sit at home and enjoy some fine dinner wine, and a nightcap of some expensive liquor, but no, you do not have an addiction.

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Drug addiction is NOT a disease, it is a choice made by someone that chose to do something stupid with their life. It is not even a close comparison. Before you accuse me of acting as if I’m better than anyone else, I’m not, but I knew better than to let myself be deceived. I am not a drug addict and never have been. Each addict I have known became one one because they chose to become involved in their drug of choice. I feel sorry for the people they hurt. Drug addicts make me angry. Compassion is not something I have for them because they did it to themselves, contempt would be a better choice. They don’t need someone coddling or enabling them, they need a good smack to the back of the head to knock some sense back into their thought process before their lives are destroyed.


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I believe that compassion should be shown towards drug addicts because it is not all of them that wanted to use drugs. some were influenced by their friends. For instance, if your friend invites you to his house and you go there. the friend serves you Cassava flakes not knowing what had been mixed with it. All of a sudden you find out that you are craving for more of that particular Cassava flakes.