The Inherent Dangers and Hazards of Recreational Drug Use
It may start with smoking a marijuana cigarette with friends on the last day of high school. It could be the casual experiment with ecstasy or cocaine at a music festival that leads to another, more severe abuse of these dangerous chemicals. Or maybe it’s the chance meeting of an artist or musician who then offers to share their habit, with the feeling of rush from the needle being like nothing you’ve ever felt. Whichever of these scenarios – among countless other possibilities – leads to an addiction to drugs, they all begin with the same idea that innocent, recreational drug use is not harmful. This is almost always, and sometimes fatally, proven to be false. Recreational drug use is like tip-toeing on train tracks with a blindfold and earplugs – you never know when the locomotive’s coming until it’s too late.
To simplify the circumstances surrounding addiction, for most people it is the discovery of artificial or chemical stimulation that is able to activate pleasure centers in the brain. With cocaine, the experimentation process is actively engaging the dopamine centers, commonly associated with feelings of romantic love. In essence, the cocaine is stimulating the dopamine receivers and convincing your body it is physically loving something – thus, the feelings of intense euphoria and bliss usually described by people who experiment with drugs like cocaine, ecstasy, or heroin. Your body is convinced – as we might learn when initial feelings of love flood our bodies – that it is receiving something it truly needs and desires. Herein lies the true hazard and potentially fatal danger of recreational drug use. The body becomes addicted, and the filters we use to screen abusive or destructive behaviors are clouded, distorted, or even dysfunctional. And that train starts rolling down the tracks.
It is an honest idea, that we can control our decisions, our behaviors, and our lives, but the circumstances of addiction are such that a recreational drug user’s body and mind begin to betray their perceptions. Some drugs, like crack cocaine, are so powerful that one or two experiences can “turn on” the activators in a person’s brain. With some speed addicts, they are so rapidly absorbed into the drug and its addiction that they later can’t recall how they ever began. To say that recreational drug use is not dangerous is to say that the train won’t hit you. Some people are lucky enough to survive. Others aren’t so lucky.