Occasional Drug Use

Something that obsesses many habitual drug users is the notion that they can use drugs of addiction “occasionally.” This obsession is bolstered by statements by individuals like Lady Gaga who claim to use cocaine “occasionally.”

Lady Gaga recently made headlines on SFGate.com (an online division of the San Francisco Chronicle) saying she still takes cocaine once in a while.  The article was titled: “Lady Gaga’s claim: Can you be an “occasional” cocaine user?” In this article, the controversial pop icon takes on yet another controversial issue—habitual cocaine use.

President Obama recently signed into law a monumental bill to “equalize” prison sentences for those serving terms for cocaine-related offenses.  This law is intended to make prison sentences equal on both the federal and state levels.

According to recent news reports, scientists have taken strong stances on the topic of occasional drug use with differing opinions.  While Lady Gaga admits that she takes cocaine “once in a while,” she doesn’t want her fans to follow in her footsteps.

Many drugs, both prescription and illegal, are okay if used occasionally and responsibly.  Some drugs can be beneficial.  Prescriptions drugs have been more deadly than illegal drugs in recent years. The danger of prescription drugs is exacerbated by the fact that  doctors prescribe medications so readily making the substances easy to get a hold of.

Depending on the drug, there are those who may argue both sides of the issue.   For instance, many scientists claim that the use of medical marijuana may prove beneficial for those suffering from serious illnesses.

Can Addictive Drugs Be Used Occasionally?

The question remains: Is it okay to take cocaine on occasion?  To be sure, our stance is an emphatic “no.”  However, that is mainly because of the potential for addiction to gradually develop in the casual user of cocaine.  For many users, it is something that is an occasional experiment. It should be noted that cocaine can cause fatality upon any use.

It should be noted that cocaine can be fatal every time it is used.

Of course, there may actually be some benefits to taking certain drugs, if taken responsibly.  This is especially true in the case of prescription drugs.

Take the drug, Klonopin, for example.  The benzodiazepine that debuted in the 1980s, has been used recreationally by some and has potentially fatal effects.  But Klonopin also has many beneficial effects that treat many preexisting conditions.  This controversial drug is used for seizure control, insomnia, and anxiety, Many people take Klonopin on a regular basis and experience no bad side effects.

Of course there are also many people  who will  buy Klonopin to feel “high.”  Many doctors are leery of prescribing  Klonopin because of the potential for abuse factor.  There is an ongoing search for alternative medications that are less addictive but remedy the symptoms that drugs like Klonopin help with (ie anxiety and insomnia).  There is a new anti-psychotic drug called Trazodone that doctors believe to be a “safer” alternative to some other dangerous prescription drugs.

Addictive Street Drugs Should be Avoided

Cocaine has ruined many lives. Cocaine is a dangerous drug. But of course,  almost every drug  can have disastrous effects if taken in huge quantities.  Unfortunately, for many, the jury’s still out on the occasional drug use issue. Statements like those made by Lady Gaga will fuel the debate into the future.

Recovering from substance use disorders is a challenging journey that feels more doable in an environment that tends to each individual’s complex needs and strengths. Our goal is to foster a treatment experience that is built on compassion, hope, and caring, and fueled by excellence in the provision of evidence-based and trauma-informed care.

– Michelle Beaudoin, MA, MFA, NCC, CADC-II