Wow! Fourth round already...this year is going by so fast! I can't believe this cycle is already coming to an end. For those who don't know, my inquiry question right now is...
Does socially accepting drug addiction affect its usage among consumers positively or negatively?
In this round, I will be focusing mainly on summing up my research in-depth; so, for my metamorphosis, I can give a briefer answer.
So, let's get started!
Here are some of the positive effects that are very probable if drug addiction is socially accepted:
Those who have a drug addiction, and many times their family as well, can be very negatively affected by the stigma that surrounds drug use. The social acceptance of drug addiction will almost certainly open the door for safe discussions which will accordingly reduce this stigma significantly. Those affected by this stigma may feel shame, isolation, and even anger. Without the stigma, stronger relationships are able to form based on compassion and trust. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest/most important results of social acceptance because this leads to the next result: receiving help. (1)
Many times, those who use drugs or have an addiction feel as if they must hide their actions because of the stigma surrounding it. With the social acceptance of drug addiction, people can ask for help without the fear of being judged or shamed. Therefore, people are much more likely to seek help or to be open about their actions instead of feeling as if they must self-isolate or lie. Because of this, people are encouraged to seek help sooner which in itself, will have very positive effects. (1)(2)
Like I mentioned in my previous post, a big challenge I've had with this inquiry is finding information as this is all speculation! There is no true way of knowing the effects since social acceptance has not yet happened. However, Portugal's decriminalization of drugs is something I've referenced several times as it is one of the only instances that provides viable statistics and facts.
I know this section might be a little repetitive for those of you who have been following my cycle. Nevertheless, I feel like it deserves a mention - especially for those of you who have not read my previous research.
Basically, in 2001, Portugal became the first country to decriminalize "the possession and consumption of all illicit substances." What this means is that instead of being arrested, those caught with drugs on hand will be given a small fine, a warning, and/or will have to check in with a doctor or social worker to talk about support and treatment options. Portugal saw great improvement fairly quickly. HIV rates dropped from 104.2 new cases per million (2002) to 4.2 cases per million (2015). In addition, the stigma of drug users has also begun to change. "Drogados" (junkies) was a term used often in Portugal but has since been replaced with “people who use drugs” or “people with addiction disorders” which is also a very important change. (3)(4)
Here are some of the negative effects that are very probable if drug addiction is socially accepted:
Acceptance vs Glorification:
While effectuating research, a came across a lot of sites that wanted to stop the social acceptance of drug use. This was really confusing for me as in my mind, social acceptance was a good thing! What I came to realize is that these sites want to stop the glorification of drug use while I am focusing on the social acceptance of drug addiction. There is a monumental difference between these two ideas, but the wording is very similar so I wanted to clarify this to avoid any confusion.
Because of pop culture and social media, children and teens are already facing the glorification of drug use and its effects can be severe in youth. Because of glorification, children may not understand the full extent of the consequences of drug use. Music has a big influence on children/teens and with the very common theme of glorification within lyrics, drugs and addiction may be misrepresented. A study conducted by the University of Albany gathered that "40% [of youth] had viewed pictures on social media depicting teens and adolescents drinking, passed out, or using drugs." The study also concluded that "teens who viewed pictures on social media depicting substance abuse were at a higher risk to abuse substances." It can be possible for the social acceptance of drug addiction to blur the lines of right and wrong when it comes to drugs. (5)
Well, I can't spill everything on this post! I would like you guys to share your opinions in the comments - do the positives outweigh the negatives or not? Let me know before I tell you what I think in my next post: the metamorphosis!
I hope you all learned something new from my research and enjoyed reading. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments. Thank you for reading!