In today’s world, it seems we’re always looking for someone to blame. Addiction is not exempt from this finger-pointing, as everyone from doctors to drug manufacturers to parents is arguably responsible for the widespread substance abuse problem.

When it comes to opioid abuse, the obvious culprit seems to be doctors. Beginning in the 1990s, doctors faced increasing pressure to both find more effective ways of managing pain and to move patients in and out of their offices more quickly. Opioids were seemingly an easy answer, particularly as the information being provided to them by pharmaceutical companies was misleading. Unfortunately, doctors were overprescribing the drugs, often giving a month’s supply to a patient whose pain was only likely to last a week. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic reported that over 20 percent of Americans now take five or more prescription drugs. There are doctors who rely solely on prescribing drugs to treat patients and overlook other possible methods such as physical therapy.

The manufacturers of the drugs – often called Big Pharma – are currently embroiled in lawsuits alleging that they led a misleading marketing campaign that downplayed the risks of opioid painkillers and exaggerated the drugs’ benefits. They were also the ones encouraging doctors to overprescribe the pills and make patients believe they were safe.

Who is to blame?

Some say it is the parent or parents of the addict who is to blame or at fault, that they went wrong somewhere raising their child. Usually this argument is voiced by people who believe addiction is a moral failing and not a disease. Similarly, peer pressure takes a lot of the blame for first time drug use. Others believe the addict himself is a fault, as though there is something inherently wrong with a person’s makeup that causes them to turn to drugs.

People who themselves have substance abuse disorders often look to blame anyone but themselves. They may say that if addiction is a disease, they aren’t truly responsible. Some other justifications are that they’re forced to drink or use drugs to feel better because other people make them unhappy; their parents made their childhoods miserable, they weren’t provided the right opportunities in life; work is too hard or the boss is unfair; their ex-broke their heart; their friends are all against them, or the government has doomed them.

Perhaps the correct answer is that no one is to blame at all. Addiction is a complex disorder, and genetics and environment both play significant roles. It is true that you make the choice to use alcohol or drugs for the first time, but that doesn’t mean you choose to become an addict. Remember that you didn’t ask for this – no one takes their first hit of a drug intending to become addicted. What you do have control over is deciding to seek help

If you or a loved one need help to quit drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504.