Here they are, not necessarily in order of importance
- Drug addiction is a choice. While at first drug abuse may be a choice, it quickly develops into an addiction that alters the way in which the chemistry of the brain and body function. This change in functionality leaves individuals with intense cravings for their drug of choice and the urge to seek more extreme highs as their tolerance builds. Addiction is a side effect of substance abuse and is an illness that requires treatment.
- Marijuana is not bad for you. Although marijuana has recently been legalized in multiple states, the drug still possesses the ability to cause cancer and other health complications. Marijuana is known to be the cause of poor memory, the inability to concentrate, and lack of coordination. It is relatively easy to develop a dependence on the drug, especially among adolescents and young adults whose brains are still undergoing major developmental changes.
- Legal drugs are safer than illegal drugs. When taken exactly as prescribed by the to whom they are prescribed, prescription medication can be safe and beneficial. When taken in any other way, or taken for a period longer than prescribed, prescription medication can produce many of the same dangerous side effects associated with illicit substances. Since these drugs are prescribed by doctors, many falsely believe that there are little to no consequences associated with misuse; however, prescription drug addiction is just as dangerous and deadly as addiction to illegal drugs.
- “Natural” drugs are safer than synthetic drugs. Many believe drugs like marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms, and other “natural” drugs are not dangerous because they are not chemically altered and grow from the ground. These drugs still alter brain chemistry and can produce dangerous side effects. These drugs have the ability to cause hallucinations and psychosis, especially if they are mixed with other substances. Cyanide, arsenic, and anthrax are all found in nature, but are harmful and potentially deadly to humans.
- Drug addicts fit a stereotype. The face of addiction is changing. While many might characterize an addict as a dirty, young “lowlife” with no motivation, the reality is that many substance abusers have “well-maintained” addictions. They may have healthy relationships with others, no criminal record, and can be highly respected individuals who range from young adults to the elderly. The misconception about what an addict looks like makes it easier for people to hide their addiction from loved ones, who can think that because they do not fit the stereotype, they do not have a problem.
- Drug addiction is more serious than alcohol addiction. This misconception stems from the fact that alcohol can be legally obtained. Many assume that it is safer than illegal drugs; however, alcohol can be just as damaging as many illicit drugs. Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances in the United States and can negatively impact an individual’s health, relationships, career, and academic performance.