Julian Buchanan PHD, MA, DIPSW

Home » uncategorised » Myths and Lies about Drugs

Myths and Lies about Drugs

See on Scoop.itDrugs, Society, Human Rights & Justice

      1. There is a clear pharmacological definition for ‘drugs’.

There isn’t – what we classify as illegal ‘drugs’ is a social construct with no pharmacological basis.

      2. Users are misusers.
Untrue – the vast majority are recreational users who generally use drugs sensibly.


      3. Users are dirty, immoral and dangerous losers.
An unwarranted stereotype – illicit drug users are a diverse group of people from every walk of life.


      4. People take drugs because they have problems.
Untrue – most people take drugs because they enjoy the effect


      5. Use inevitably leads to addiction.
Untrue – only a small proportion of people who use illicit drugs develop addiction


      6. Drug use inevitably damages people.
All substances (legal and illegal) can damage people, but it’s largely prohibition that makes illicit drugs more dangerous and damaging. Indeed acquiring a criminal record for drugs is more harmful than the drug.


      7. Drug use fuels crime.
The relationship is more associated rather than causal, but prohibition and tough law enforcement fuels crime.


      8. Legal drugs are safer and less damaging.
Alcohol and tobacco are more damaging than most illegal drugs – but due to prohibition it’s more difficult to obtain any illegal drugs in a clean and unadulterated form.

     9. Law enforcement measures effect levels of drug use.
Neither tough nor liberal law enforcement have much impact upon levels of drug use.


     10. Addiction is an equal opportunity employer.

Untrue while anyone can be affected, problematic drug use tends to disproprtionately affect those with disadvantaged and damaged lives who had difficulties before PDU and lack resources, opportunities and support to change.


     11. Addiction is a brain disease.

Untrue, yes the brain will be affected but loss of control of drugs (similar to internet addiction, gambling, over eating) has much more to do with social, psychological and behavioural factors.


     12. To protect society the government can ban new drugs.

Banning drugs mascquerades as positive action to deal with the ‘problem’ -but actually banning drugs doesn’t protect society it actually makes production, distribution and consumption more dangerous.


     13. Once listed in the Misuse of Drugs Act, drugs become ‘controlled’.

Technically correct – but ironically once a drug is listed it actually goes underground and becomes an uncontrolled drug.


     14. Cannabis is a gateway drug that leads to addiction to ‘hard’ drugs.

Untrue, the majority of young adults have used cannabis have not progress further to use so called hard drugs, and have not become addicted


     15. People who use caffeine, tobacco and/or alcohol are not drug users.

Untrue they certainly are. These three substances are drugs, and ironically unlike some illegal drugs – in high dosages – caffeine, tobacco and alcohol kill.


     16. If we lock up dealers we can reduce the drug related violence.

Actually disrupting the supply distribution and removing dealers actually has to opposite impact and creates more violence by presenting new opportunities and creating ‘business’ conflict.


Julian Buchanan‘s insight:

Something I created for a lecture and thought might be worth sharing



Happy to keep the myth busting going if you have any new ones!


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