Drug use and abuse

Chasing the Scream, The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari published in 2015. I don’t do drugs and know no one (I think) who does. I have often wondered why some people use drugs and become addicts and why drug use seems so common these days. This book presents some answers.

Drug use in the tropics is common as people without air conditioning try to beat the heat. Europeans who worked in hot climates turned to alcohol to make life endurable. Other drugs were available and differed from one part of the world to another.

One common reason for drug use is childhood abuse. Abused children grow up to be adults suffering much pain and drug use is a way to make the pain go away. Another common reason to use drugs is loneliness.

“So Bruce came to believe, as he put it, that ‘today’s flood of addiction is occurring because our hyperindividualistic, frantic, crisis-ridden society makes most people feel social[ly] or culturally isolated. Chronic isolation causes people to look for relief. They find temporary relief in addiction…because [it] allows them to escape their feelings, to deaden their senses–and to experience an addictive lifestyle as a substitute for a full life.’

“One recovering heroin and crack addict on the Downtown Eastside, Dean Wilson, put it to me simply, ‘Addiction,’ he said, ‘is a disease of loneliness.'”