How Do You Spot A Drug User?

Readers Question Readers Question: (Name changed for privacy)
Stanton Peele Response by: Dr. Stanton Peele
Posted on August 24th, 2011 - Last updated: January 31st, 2014
This content was written in accordance with our Editorial Guidelines.


Further Reading

Can’t you spot a drug user because their brains are fried like they show on TV?

Dear Stanton

I have never been around cocaine addiction. The last guy I dated was addicted for 20 yrs. After three months of his dead behavior, I got away from him.

It has to have caused him brain damage in that period of time because all drugs eat up oxygen in the body which provides blood cells. People say it doesn’t cause brain damage or they don’t know if it does. Then what are the advertisements all about that say this is your brain, this is your brain on drugs. Does that mean it fries the cells or just spaces the brain out for a while?

How can he work as a computer programmer/analyst and be addicted to cocaine?


Dear Jane:

The reason you left him was not because his brain was damaged — you left him because he was harming himself and your possible life together and you disliked his abuse of himself — and, by extension, of you. Some people use drugs a long time without obvious detriment — sometimes you see musicians who were long-term substance abusers who look remarkably well — fit and attractive (Ozzie Osbourne, Steven Tyler and others — I’m going to leave Keith Richards and David Crosby off this list). You know, some famous physicians used narcotics throughout their careers. Often, what determines people’s long-term mental acuity and health are their general life style and health habits. In other words, staying up all night, getting in fist fights, not eating properly, sustaining infections and other illnesses and injuries — these are the things that drag some drug users down. Don’t believe everything you see on TV about drugs. If you did, you might be misled when you find a perfectly happy, ongoing drug user — especially if this is just not a lifestyle you want to participate in yourself.


Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *