Marijuana Addiction Treatment Doubled in the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom recently reported that the number of people admitted to treatment for cannabis addiction doubled since marijuana was downgraded from a “C status” drug to a “B status” drug. Most doctors, anti-drug campaigners, and law enforcement officials believe that this was due to the fact that people began to see the drug as less harmful since it was legal. As the legality of marijuana is beginning to be questioned again in states across the US, I believe that it is imperative that we continue to take this drug seriously. Many teens don’t think of marijuana as a big deal, but the effects of this drug can have devastating effects on a teenager’s life. When I was in my addiction, I sometimes rationalized my drug use by saying, “It’s just weed,” or, “It’s just alcohol.” Since the prevailing attitude in society is that marijuana and alcohol are socially acceptable, I didn’t think that my addiction was “bad enough” to ask for help. When you hear about addicts in school, they often highlight the heroin addict living on the street, or the PCP user who jumps out of a window because they think they can fly. They don’t talk about the teenage marijuana addict, who scrapes together enough lunch money for marijuana. They don’t talk about the feelings of desperation, isolation, and loneliness that every addict at some point feels. They don’t talk about what an oppressive force drugs- any drug- can be in your life.
Because of the attitude I had about marijuana when I was an adolescent, it took me a long time to feel like I deserved help. I made increasingly worse choices and got myself into more and more pain, and into more and more trouble. I didn’t think anyone would take me seriously because I was a teenager and I couldn’t stop smoking pot. In treatment, I learned that it doesn’t matter what kind of drugs we did. Addiction isn’t as much about the substance as it is about the feelings that drive us to use. It didn’t matter what substance I used or how long I used it. The issue was that I was using an ineffective tool to help me cope with the world and I needed help learning new tools. I think that if society had taken marijuana abuse more seriously, I might have too, and I might have asked for help sooner. Today I know that no matter what substance someone abuses, they’re right to help and treatment is equal. The pain of addiction doesn’t discriminate between drugs. I am so glad that I finally reached out for help.