Rationalization in Drug Use Can Lead to Death

Rationalization in Drug Use Can Lead to Death

Rationalization continues to be a problem when trying to treat addiction. Too many individuals rationalize that as long as they use less than their friends, they believe they can handle it because it is not impacting their job and that they are too smart to let it become a problem.

As examined in a recent post in the LA Times, such rationalizations tend to get in the way of effective addiction treatment. Rationalization can be a crutch even for those working in the field.

An essay featured in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. retells the sad story of one medical researcher who partook in a narcotic buprenorphine along with his fiancee. The two were simply seeking a kick and instead, the use resulted in the fiancee’s death.

The essay was authored by Clinton B. McCracken, a former pharmacologist at the University of Maryland. McCracken began using marijuana and intravenous opioids over a ten year period while he was building his career as a successful neuroscientist who studied the effects of drugs on the brain.

McCracken highlighted that those who work in medicine have addiction rates that are equal to, if not higher than, those among the public. They often have easy access to the drugs and when this is combined with an attitude of arrogance where the professional believes they can have the enjoyment of the drug without the dangerous consequences – the result can be deadly.

He regularly reviewed the criteria for drug dependence to convince himself he was not an addict. "By intellectually addressing the official criteria for abuse and dependence, I provided myself with the illusion of total control over the situation and was able to confidently tell myself that no problems existed," he wrote in the essay.

As a result of his rationalization, McCracken lost his fiancee, his career, his reputation and expects to be deported back to his home country of Canada.

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