We’ve all been to that college party where people are drinking their body weight in alcohol. Usually, at these parties, there is a guy or girl with some form of drugs. Drugs ranging from marijuana, cocaine, mushrooms, acid tabs, heroin, ketamine, codeine, to even cough syrup. For some of us, if we do any of aforementioned drugs, we can do them and never touch the stuff again. However for certain people that one night at the party where they hit the joint, or bump the line, or take the tab, or shoot up the first time- their lives are changed forever. Their brain becomes very happy and they cannot explain why. This has to do with a chemical called dopamine which we all naturally have (it is one chemical that makes us feel happy). Once you take a drug, your dopamine level changes. Over time if you repeat usage of the drug (or usage of a variety of drugs) you eventually become reliant on the drug for its dopamine.
While the initial decision to do a drug may be a choice, drug addiction is no choice. For some people when they do drugs their bodies are able to regulate the dopamine levels once the drug wears off. For drug addicts, this is not the case. Their bodies for whatever reason become reliant on the dopamine from the drug. It is not their fault that once they hit the same joint as you, their bodies became reliant on the dopamine. Your body continued to regulate and produce more the next morning, while their body told them “hey, got any more of that stuff?” They woke up feeling like crap, while you the non-addict just had a slightly worse hangover than usual. Unfortunately for the drug addict until they do said drug again they will not feel well. No amount of coffee and aspirin can help them.
With this in mind, drug addiction is clearly a disease. Not being able to produce a chemical is not a choice. Just because you can smoke a joint one day and not feel the urge to smoke again the next doesn't mean that's how it goes for everyone. Some people's bodies are physically changed once they try drugs and they cannot do anything about it. That night at the party when you were smoking the joint with your peers there was one (or a few) who probably weren't the same after that night. After that night they needed to smoke more the next morning in order to feel well enough to get out of bed. Drug addicts have compromised their body's ability to produce dopamine by usage of drugs. It only takes one time to change the production within a persons body. For this reason, drug addiction is a disease. Fortunately, there is a cure for them at rehabilitation centers where they can be weened off the drugs. Others are not so fortunate and cannot defeat it and lose their lives to their disease.