Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Drug using careers

In my book working with drug and alcohol users I highlight the point that people use drugs for a variety of different reasons with the 6 most common being:

Experimental use 
Rebellious use 
Recreational use 
Situational use 
Symptomatic use 
Dependent use

Each of these represent quite different clinical situations. As a consequence they require quite different approaches and often have quite different goals of treatment. Clearly one of the first things the drug counsellor must do is determine which type of use is apparent.


One of the most problematic types of drug use is dependent use or the drug addict type of drug user. These people can be said to have drug using careers. That is these people will use in a very habitual addicted manner but eventually grow out of it and their career is said to come to an end. Considerable research has been done on this and it has been determined that the average length of such drug using careers is 10 years (or 9.9 years to be exact).

However it should be noted there is considerable variation on this 10 year average. This can best be explained by two graphs as shown

Ending drug use career graph

With this type of drug use there are three main avenues for treatment. One is to facilitate a more rapid ending of the career with certain therapeutic interventions.



  1. I smile every time you post a piccie of someone smoking, must say my favourite remains the lady in the cool shades. If I recall correctly she is lying across train tracks?

    Glad to see your literature career is going well.


  2. Hello Kahless, Yes I recall that photograph and she did look very cool and reminded me of you in that photograph when you were with a kangaroo. There is something eye catching about a photograph of a person smoking a cigarette. Not too sure what it is but it can provide for a powerful image. Graffiti