One cannot deny that many countries today are drug-oriented societies, but the implications of drug use are not necessarily the same for the adult as they are for the adolescent.
The adult has already acquired some sense of identity and purpose in life.
Values may be influenced by multiple factors including social, religious, and personal views.
Within a single society, values and opinions can diverge substantially, resulting in conflicts over various issues involving drug abuse.
One always justifies one’s own drug use, but one tends to view the other fellow who uses the same drugs as an abuser who is weak and undesirable.
It must be recognized that the social consensus in regard to drug use and abuse is limited, conflict ridden, and often glaringly inconsistent.Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work!Is it bad to rely on something so much that one cannot exist without it? Does one have the right to decide for oneself what one needs?Does society have the right to punish someone who has done no harm to himself or herself or to others?It may be asked by partisans whether the cosmetic use of stimulants for weight control is any more legitimate than the use of stimulants to “get with it,” whether the conflict-ridden adult is any more entitled to relax chemically (alcohol, tranquilizers, sleeping aids, sedatives) than the conflict-ridden adolescent, and whether physical pain is any less bearable than mental pain or anguish.Billions of pills and capsules of a nonnarcotic type are manufactured and consumed yearly.Modern industrialized societies are certainly not neutral with regard to the voluntary nonmedical use of psychotropic drugs.Whether one simply takes the position of American psychologist Erich Fromm, that people are brought up to desire and value the kinds of behaviour required by their economic and social system, or whether one goes further and speaks of the Protestant ethic, in the sense that German sociologist Max Weber used it to delineate the industrialist’s quest for salvation through worldly work alone, it is simply judged not “right,” “good,” or “proper” for people to achieve pleasure or salvation chemically.It is accepted that the only legitimate earthly rewards are those that have been “earned” through striving, hard work, personal sacrifice, and an overriding sense of duty to one’s country, the existing social order, and family.This orientation is believed to be fairly coincident with the requirements of industrialization.