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Why Do People Try — Why Do People Use — Drugs? Part 1 (Version 1.1.4)

Submitted by Thinking CAP on Fri, Dec 28, 2012 - 2:57 pm

Confused or befuddled as to why anyone would ever take drugs? Ever hear someone say there are a million reasons why people use drugs? Or perhaps you think there is only one reason why people take drugs: they are loser druggies just looking to get high? Did you know Jesus was accused of that? Whatever the harshest words were at the time, I’m sure those were the ones used against him.

In this essay you will learn of the few key reasons — the isolated variables — as to why people have tried — and why people use — drugs.

The few key reasons why people have tried — and why people use — drugs, all can have a range of inclusion from zero to significant. The variable Time works with this model and is not rejected but respected.


Are you concerned about people who use drugs? Are you concerned about people who are addicted to drugs?

Those and dozens more questions arise when the topic of drugs comes up.

As with the study of any subject, it is beneficial to create a list of questions, then organize the list to determine which questions rely on answers from other questions.

Fairly quickly it was apparent the very first question should be, “how did humanity come to use drugs?” History and chronology are very important.

However, this is not a history lesson. And one easy answer is our ancestors foraged, but those and other answers can also be answers to questions that don’t require us to be experts in history, or do a lot of research. The question of how humanity came to use drugs leads to two very related questions. Questions that seem to be a good foundation for a model with which to begin to answer far more complicated questions, and questions specific to individuals.

This essay is an attempt to document an easy-to-understand model showing the fundamental reasons for:

  1. Why do people try drugs?
  2. Why do people use drugs?

Those two questions form the fundamental model which isolates the variables, even allowing us to focus on the “before taking a drug” side of time, which is ALWAYS the best place* to meet someone.

* And by “place” I mean to imply set and setting. :-)

In answering those questions a model was created.

Model Parameters

  • Be as objective and all-encompassing as possible.
  • Imply no accusations or judgement; start free of stigma and shame.
  • Be as simple and easy-to-understand as possible, without overgeneralizing or sacrificing truth.
  • Allow for a single point-in-time analysis.
  • Allow for a duration-of-time analysis.
  • Provide a way to document mobility between reasons for using drugs.
  • Provide a way to document multiple simultaneous reasons for using drugs.
  • Allow for any period in history, including the present and future, to be studied.
  • Include every kind of drug: stimulants, depressants, narcotics, etc…
  • Encompass all drugs: prescribed, prohibited, over-the-counter (OTC), as well as plants and supplements.
  • Account for instinctual interests in various plants and their properties as a means for healing.
  • Account for interest in plants and substances through contact with others.
  • Include every socioeconomic group, culture, religion, race, nationality, etc… Exclude no one, no exceptions.
  • No age discrimination; any age can be studied.
  • No gender discrimination.
  • Be able to document from any person’s perspective (taker, offerer, bystander, friend, stranger, etc…).
  • Be able to document from any person’s physical proximity to the subject.
  • Imply no level of success as to whether the drug taking experience met with expectations.
  • Imply no level of education or degree of accuracy when learning about drugs from others.

Model Goals

  • Help us better understand and address the issues surrounding drug use and drug addiction.
  • Provide an easy way to begin to explain, document, and untangle the overlap among the reasons for using drugs. (I.e. isolating the variables.)
  • Be useful for individuals willing to, or wishing to, evaluate themselves and their drug use.
  • Be useful for people interested in studying others, either as individuals or in groups.
  • Be useful for people interested in helping others, either as individuals or in groups.
  • Provide a structure to deal intelligently with former users, current users, novice users, those expressing interest and those expressing none.

2016-04-12 — Update

The rest has been removed by the author. Thank you for your interest while this work is updated and published again, in book forms. You may request to be put on a list of those notified when it’s ready to purchase.


2013-03-29 — version 1.1.0

  • Swapped out “framework” for “model.” Model seems to be the industry jargon instead of framework.
  • Swapped out “article” for “essay,” to lend it more of a work-in-progress perspective and hint at the fact it was written by a non-journalist who is a beginner.
  • Moved a few items from Model Goals to Model Parameters.
  • Added another clarifying Model Parameter, “Provide a way to document multiple simultaneous reasons for using drugs.”

I confess I have not yet read Drugs, Set & Setting, and heard just a little about it over the years (not realizing it was a book at first). But, out of respect, I do not wish to dwell on theories I know little of (but am glad to know more of :-).

I look forward to reading Dr. Zinberg’s book since I have so much respect for Stanton Peele.