C. Should society treat drug addicts with mental illness differently than other drug addicts?

I believe that drug addicts, with or without mental illness, require society’s compassion. No matter the situation, society should not be quick to judge the individual, especially if the addict has a mental illness. Drug addicts do not need to be judged harshly and looked down upon by society; they need psychological and medical help. It has been concluded that drug addiction is not only a personal choice. Though it is ultimately the individual’s choice to take the drugs, there are other factors that influence their decision. For instance, some people have a genetic predisposition to drug addiction, meaning it is not one hundred percent their fault that they became addicted. There are also social factors that can compel someone to abuse drugs, such as peer pressure or troubling family situations. The debilitating social factors could be a major contributing factor in a mentally ill person’s decision to take drugs. First of all, some mental illness thrives in poor social conditions, such as in broken families and poor financial situations. Similar circumstances also breed drug addiction. Therefore, people who have to deal with these unfortunate situations have two battle against two evils- mental illness and the possibility of drug addiction, meaning mentally ill drug addicts truly deserve our sympathy and support because it is clear that they most likely had a rough life. Furthermore, mentally ill people may be drug addicts because they want to escape the problems of their normal lives in which they have to live with their potentially debilitating psychological disease and most likely other problems as well. The only difference that mentally ill drug addicts deserve is possibly a different rehabilitation treatment, including more therapy and counseling sessions. A larger focus on the psychological aspect of drug addiction could be beneficial to mentally ill addicts because it would be helpful to tackle their mental disease as well as the addiction. In brief, mentally ill drug addicts should not be treated an differently than normal drug addicts, expect during treatment.-JM

Everyone in society has the belief that if another human does something wrong, they should be punished for it. When dealing with drug addicts who have full and complete knowledge of what they are doing, this is true. However, society should learn to understand that drug addicts with mental illnesses are not thinking the same way as people without one. Even though drug addiction is a horrible and terrifying experience for the person and their families, addicts with a mental illness should have some sympathy from the people around them. Their brain is already stressed and confused with their illness and can barely understand which way is up or down. They may not know the difference from right and wrong. Drug addicts who choose to get high with their friends know very well that it is affecting their brain and other organs, but continue to do it anyway. While addiction is an extremely difficult thing to overcome, there are ways to stop a person from using drugs. It may take months or even years, but it is very well possible. Someone with a mental illness and also a drug problem is already in a weird state of mind. The mental illness is attacking their brain along with the drugs. Most of the time, a person with a mental illness will develop a drug problem because of the drugs taken to alleviate the pain they are experiencing. With that occurring, their brain gets addicted to that drug and needs more. In some cases, people with a mental illness must have that drug because they have taken it for so long and can not "live" without it. Also, a mentally ill patient does not choose to take those certain drugs, they are given them by a doctor and do not realize the side effects it will have. On the opposite end, a regular drug addict chose to use drugs on their own and infect their body. Drug addiction is a hard and tough thing to deal with but it is unfair to place the blame on a mentally ill patient when they really are not thinking the same way as others in their society. They did not choose their illness and they did not choose the drugs; however drug addicts in their right state of mind who decide to do it to be cool should not get that same sympathy.- LW

Addiction to drugs, mental illness or not, should all be treated with sympathy and understanding. If a person with a mental illness becomes addicted, the treatment they receive should be similar to those with just drug addiction. Just because they have this illness doesn't make them less responsible for their actions. When they first started the use of recreational drugs they fully understand what they are getting themselves into (not all people with mental illness turn to drugs proving that they do still have control over their actions). They take these drugs because they want to get high, they are searching for ways to cope with their problems just not in the right places. In order for them to overcome their addiction, they need people to tell them that what they are doing is wrong. Also in order for the mental illness to be treated they need to be sober. They need to overcome the addiction as any other addict and when these urges are controlled they can be put in the right direction to recovery. If these people need medicine to help them with their mental illness the mix of the abused drugs and the medicine prescribed can be a dangerous mix. Psychiatrists would be reluctant to prescribe medicine to those with a addiction problem. Also when addicts are recommended to take prescription medicine to combat their mental illness, the psychiatrist will likely prescribe medicine that has little addictive quality when they have a history of addiction or family history of addiction. Those who start to take drugs for fun with friends don't start out with the intention of getting addicted. Yes, its partly their fault that they even started but when it comes to addiction there are some who are just more genetically prone to getting addicted. They deserve some degree of sympathy when they are addicted because at that time they essentially have a "sickness" in which they cannot control the urges to use. Many addicts want to stop but something in their body is preventing this from happening. In some cases excessive drug use can even lead to some kind of mental illness. So in the end both kinds of people with addiction need help and understanding from others. Both can be criticized for their actions because what they chose to do was wrong but what they really need are people who will never give up on them and give them the courage to triumph and live through the experience and come out as a better person in the end.

In a society where we frown upon drug addiction and have pity for the mentally ill, I believe that society should treat everyone the same regardless of mental illness. Many mental ill patients must take drugs in order to maintain a sense of control over their illness. Medication drugs may tease out underlying mental health problems, but if a patient begins using methamphetamine, the chemical homeostasis within the brain is changed, causing that patient to “fuel that underlying fire” intensifying their mental illness symptoms. For instance, depression can affect a number of mental ill patients, leading them to take antidepressants to stimulate dopamine receptors. These people may become reliant on these drugs to boost their mood, and society should not loosen the restriction for those who abuse drugs while also being mentally ill. Some theorists believe that certain drugs will lead to mental illness, while others think that drugs will worsen the symptoms of mental illness. Addiction and mental illness are both diseases of the brain. They incorporate the same chemicals, pathways, and molecules. In addition, genetics play a role in addiction and mental illness. In a recent study, the COMT (catechol-o-methyltransferase) gene may be more likely to develop schizophrenia if the person smokes marijuana. Genetics could influence how your body reacts to drug abuse. Mental ill patients have no special treatment when it comes to drug abuse and addiction. They may need a specific amount to sustain a livable lifestyle, but with the use of marijuana and cocaine, these people should not be given any special treatment.-----AT

Drug addicts who have mental illnesses are more susceptible to their drug because of their conditions. While people who do not have mental illnesses become drug addicts for other reasons, to escape life, or to take the edge off of things, the drug addicts with mental illnesses do it because they can't help it. It's part of their daily routine
. Therefore, drug addicts with mental illnesses should be treated differently because of their inability to stop themselves. They need to just stay in a rehabilitation clinic for most of or all of their lives. It's sad, but true. These people shouldn't be frowned upon by society, but rather supported so they can try to make the best out of their situation and one day maybe become a little better and not as ill. ---EB