Providing straightforward information pertaining to drugs, drug use & drug policy. The Grey Pages promotes drug-related literacy and advocates a system of viable and tolerant drug policies. This is my personal collection of commentaries, essays, tid-bits, and other such writings on everything ranging from drug use, drug policy and drug-myths, to drug-science, addiction, human behavior, and the workings of the human brain. I started this blog with a particular focus on opioids, and over the past year have found my interest gravitate toward the intriguing, ever-changing world of designer intoxicants (i.e. "research chemicals" or "designer drugs").

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Why Do People Use Drugs?

Most anti-drug fundamentalists espouse a moralistic view of drug use. They are adamant in their belief that the desire to alter ones consciousness is by no means a normal component of the human condition, and that such desires indicate ungodliness and immorality. Meanwhile, most of those in the treatment, prevention, and recovery world are just as passionate in their own belief that the desire to alter ones mind is pathologically abnormal, supposedly indicative of a brain disease.

Both the moralistic anti-drug fanatic, and the paternalistic treatment-official, are misguided in their conclusions. We cannot and should not continue to categorize the use of drugs by the reductionistic dichotomy of "use" vs "abuse"; nor can we rightfully make judgements as to which use of a drug is right and which use of a drug is wrong.

The symbolic divide often drawn between therapeutic use and non-therapeutic use (i.e. "abuse"), is not nearly as fine a line as it's made out to be. In fact, one could argue that no such line actually exists. In terms of the motivational context (i.e. ones reason for taking drugs), drug use exists on a continuum. 

There are likely as many reasonable motives for non-sanctioned (illicit) drug use as there is for legal, medically advised drug use. For the sake of easing the indoctrinated mind into what may be an unsettling reality, here are simply a few...

To cure and self treat illness and disease (outside of a sanctioned clinical setting)

To palliate pain.

To temporarily improve our physical and mental performance in order to meet the demands of life, family, & career

To palliate undesireable states of being, and to avoid aversive symptoms of the human condition (pain, anxiety, dysphoria).

To suppress painful realities and to blunt the affective state caused by traumatic memories.

To recover repressed memories of the past.

To temporarily alter our point of view, think outside of the box, and facilitate creativity or abstract thought.

To explore the unused portions of our mind or "spirit", to discover unique dimensions of consciousness.

To experience euphoric states of well being and excitement; to enhance our mood.

To promote sociability, affection, and empathy, or to distort our perception of others in a way which mimicks the sense of empathy.

To induce hypnosis, and sleep, and to induce a sense of physical and mental relaxation.

To create a temporary surge of motivation and fuel productivity in our everyday lives.

To satisfy curiosity.

To experience exciting distortions of consciousness, and perception - i.e. hallucinations, dissociation, or lucid dream-like states; as a recreational activity (much like a mountain climer seeks to experience new and exciting terrain, or as the skydiver seeks the thrill of falling from the sky).

To facilitate spiritual and religious experiences. To facilitate meditation.

To unthinkingly fall in line or conform with religious and cultural tradition.

To alter self perception and induce a sense of self confidence in ones appearance, performance or abilities.

To produce a behavioral state in which one may portray to others a sense of calm, collected, self confidence.

To inhibit cognition and to slow ones thought flow.

To enhance attentiveness and interest in otherwise boring activities.

To induce a temporary state of wakefulness, alertness, and energy.

To cope with social, familial, or romantic struggles, to suppress the emotional manifestation of interpersonal conflict, friction, and turmoil.

To immerse ones self in the culture of others, in an adventurous or experimental sense (much like a traveler might eat the food of an ethnic tribe during his visit).

To satisfy boredom and occupy idle time.

To conform with peer pressures and to seek the acceptance and approval of ones peers.

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