Should Drug Users Be Enabled?
Should we enable drug users? Yes! In fact, we should enable them in every facet of life possible.
For generations, the common prescription among American families who encounter illicit substance use has been a heaping dose of ‘tough love’. Whether it’s legally or socially, we’re told that condoning substance use, or otherwise failing to punish such behavior ‘enables’ individuals to spiral out of control with their habits.
In reality, enabling a substance user is the best way you can support them. Enable them to take control. Enable them to alleviate their struggle and free the emotional and mental energy they need to address their deeper root problems, which will likely lead them to lessen their substance use or completely abstaining altogether.
Many substance users feel as if they are trapped inside a recess in life and powerless to resolve their underlying issues. In essence, using “tough love” with the average substance user is like giving them a shovel to dig the hole deeper instead of a ladder to pull themselves out.
Why would a drug user need a shovel? To hit rock bottom of course! The entire premise behind tough love is that a user must get to a ‘breaking point’, an event where they become so depraved & depressed that they are left with no other choice but to end their addiction there on the spot, once and forever.
The problem with that theory? Even though the drug use may have ceased… our poor ex substance user is still left at the bottom of a very deep & dark pit.
In short, ‘tough love’ makes an substance users life more unmanageable… when the reason they started using to begin with was that their life seemed unmanageable.
The best way to <a href=”https://heightsharmreduction.com/addiction-treatment-houston/” target=”_blank”>treat drug use</a> is not with punishment, but understanding. Not with judgment, but with compassion. Not to ruin a habitual drug users life, but to improve it.
What About The Law?
It’s no secret that even today in the 21st century, our legal system enforces a draconian approach to drug use. Substance users are often incarcerated for years or decades for possessing illegal drugs, even on a personal scale. These charges often follow individuals once they are released, sabotaging their careers and future interactions with law enforcement.
With millions in jail and no indicators of reduced rates of drug use, the ‘war on drugs’ has been the elephant in the room for quite some time. If one required conclusive data to see if ‘tough love’ is an effective treatment for drug addiction, our legal system has provided that answer on a national scale.
If the United States of America, land of the free is struggling with drug & addiction issues, then who can we turn to? Is there a beacon of hope? The answer may come from an unexpected place. Cue Portugal.
In the late 1990’s Portugal was having an opioid epidemic, not unlike the one currently afflicting the United States. Realizing a change was needed, they issued a radical change in their drug policies. In 2001 they decriminalized personal drug possession and adopted a Harm Reduction approach, putting resources into health and rehabilitation centers.
As an almost immediate result drug-induced deaths went down to less than half of what they had been the previous year.
If authorities were to discover narcotics on an individual, instead of going to jail they would merely be required to interview with a panel of state-sanctioned experts who ultimately offer consensual Harm Reduction Style Therapy if the individual requires it.
In direct correlation with the decriminalization of drugs and the implementation of Harm Reduction Style Therapy, Portugal’s drug-induced deaths are currently sitting at less than 25% of what they were in 2001. Within 4 years Portugal went from being the ‘heroin capital of Europe’ to having one of the lowest drug mortality rates in the entire continent.
We know that countries consist of people and that human nature transcends national borders. Portugal can be looked at not only as an advocate for national policy but also for Harm Reduction Style Treatment on an individual scale. It’s clear that approaches often condemned as “enabling drug users” are actually saving lives.
On a moral and scientific level, it seems that the answers reveal themselves. Can drug use be harmful? Absolutely. Is the solution to further harm the drug user? Absolutely not.
Get To Know Us Today
If you or a loved one is seeking treatment that isn’t predicated on judgement or rigid rules, but rather individual care through a communication-based approach that gives YOU control over your life, contact Dr. Kelli L Wright today.
Her private practice, Heights Harm Reduction, specializes in Integrative Harm Reduction: a treatment style that offers the latest methods modern psychology has to offer, with an emphasis on tackling the core issues that underlie the substance use.
What do you get when you combine compassionate therapy, effective tools to break habits, and proven strategies to handle your deeper problems? Control over your own future.
While we have a wealth of information between posts on the blogs of Heights Harm Reduction and it’s cousin Wellness Collaborative, we encourage you to reach out with any specific questions via a phone call at (713) 249-5838, or our just send a note our way!