I chose to summarize the episode of True Life called “I’m Addicted to Heroin”. This episode follows three young people that struggle with an addiction to Heroin or other drugs. It was a powerful episode because it shows the three people struggle with this drug in different ways. The youngest was only a senior in high school and had successfully kept his addiction away from his Grandmother and Father until he got into legal trouble. The three journeys that these people take show how powerfully destructive heroin can be on our bodies and brains. I think the most interesting thing about this episode was that each person related the beginning of their drug use back to a traumatic experience in their lives or drug use by their parents.
I think the narrative of the people in this episode was a mixture between restitution, chaos, and quest. Each person expressed the want/goal of being free of their addictions and probably believed that their future wouldn’t be consumed by the drug. However, people that suffer with addictions to strong drugs such as heroin, often struggle with this addiction for the rest of their lives, unless they are put in jail or unfortunately die from the drug use.
Our culture sees drug abuse as a very negative thing but many people don’t understand it enough to consider it an illness. This is because the beginning of drug use is purely by choice. It is also difficult for medical professionals to treat drug users because treatment only begins by the drug users choice. The drug users assume the sick role once they have accepted that their drug use has become a problem in their lives and are experiencing a full blown addiction.
Illness narratives are extremely useful to healthcare providers because they allow them to understand the extent of the illness and better understand how to treat the patient. They are useful to patients and families because they make it easier to express how the illness has affected them, leading to better treatment and care.
Karim, Taz. “Week 4: Experiential Approach.” ANP 204 Introduction to Medical Anthropology Summer 2014 Week 4 Experiential Approach Comments. http://anthropology.msu.edu/anp204-us14/schedule/week-4/.