The Question of Suicide and Drug Use

Published: Sep 13, 2022 | Updated: Sep 13, 2022

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The Question of Suicide and Drug Use

Someone who commits suicide almost always shocks us because it questions the value of life. And as we usually value our own lives very highly, suicide becomes a “thinker.”

There can be many reasons why one takes their own life, but before judging the act itself as “not-done” I feel it’s important to be aware of the differences between various motivations. That can give our thinking some more substance and distinction.

For instance, there are suicides because of shame (having done something horrible), fear (for the death penalty, life imprisonment, or whatever other thing), an incurable illness (ending pain and suffering), wanting to punish others (with feelings of guilt), a drug overdose (hallucinating things which aren’t there, or exhausting body and mind), severe depression, or “simply” because one is weary of life and living itself.

Discussing the topic of suicide with a friend of mine we dived somewhat deeper into its relationship with drug use (or abuse, if you like), notably because my friend had so-called “live experience” with it.

Now, there are many sorts of (hard) drugs and maybe even more reasons to come to using them, so this is certainly not a clear cut discussion — there are a whole lot of bits and bytes to it.

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One can, for instance, use or abuse drugs because one more or less by coincidence has become physically addicted to it. Or one might want to escape “reality” or loneliness, or wants to forget or cope with some traumatic experience. Others want to ”ease tension”, have a better sex life, or experience “supernatural worlds.” And for some it’s a means to have extra energy being able to work better or longer.

There’s probably no end to various degrees and subtleties in feeling the need to use drugs. But what I was discussing with my friend was the use of drugs to structurally obtain a more satisfying and other (way of) life. In fact, we talked about people who start to use drugs because they’re “just fed up” with “normal” life.

People who “have seen how contemporary society works,” took their conclusions, and don’t want to be a part of it any longer. People for whom normal day-to-day life has become an utterly boring, depressing, and cruel reality. Who start to use drugs to try to leave the world for what it is, creating their own private world in an attempt to improve their personal quality of life.

The tragedy, according to my friend, is that drug users almost always end up having new problems. Other problems that make life unlivable, boring, and depressing anew. Problems at work, social isolation, rejection, and unwanted social, emotional, and physical side-effects (unwanted mostly by the general public), making it hard for the drug user to function “normally and sanely” in society.

The thing to understand here is that it’s basically not necessarily the drug user who creates the problems. It’s actually society that doesn’t accept the way of life of the one who wants to leave “the system.” As a result, society will do anything, including the use of force, imprisonment, and so on to keep someone “aboard” and follow the mainstream way of life.

My friend claimed that “Society is not at all structured or capable to manage drug users and because of that all problems start!” He added that he also tried to live with drugs but that he failed, as many others had. “But it can be done, I think,” he said, ” … even if it’s only for a while. And because I failed, that doesn’t mean others need to fail too.”

This of course is a major taboo in contemporary society. To even think that one could have a meaningful or worthwhile life using drugs. And worse — to try to lobby for drug users to get a rightful, protected, and supported place in society. No, that’s just unthinkable.

Now, I don’t want to enter the alcohol discussion, but in this context it needs to be said that alcohol is (in most countries) a governmental supported hard drug. Moreover, a hard drug for which society created an infrastructure to buy and use it in a “controllable” way, that is, information on how to use it responsibly, besides bars, restaurants, supermarkets, and so on where alcohol can be consumed legally.

My friend also remarked that coming to suicide in a situation of society’s rejection and outright persecution is not a surprise at all. When life (society and its system) has become a problem, including drug use, there seems to be no way out finally.

The result then is first an ongoing circle of going into prison or rehab, coming out, and going into it again until one is utterly tired. And then sometimes, some among us, put an end to the whole business.

The question now is who’s “fault” it is that a drug user comes to kill themselves. Well, to my friend there’s no doubt as to what the real answer is: society and its system of oppression, a system that only tolerates its own ways, of course.

Anyway, I don’t know if I agree with him on this subject, but there’s definitely something to it. As said earlier: “… this is certainly not a clear cut discussion — there are a whole lot of bits and bytes to it.”


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