A substantial number of people associate recreational drug use with teenagers, young adults and students. Consuming or abusing drugs are behaviours that can be seen in anyone, but the common misconception is that most drug users are people who embody different values to mainstream society or are typically deviant.

Not all drug users are unemployed, or have had a poor upbringing, are school dropouts or sex workers. Although substance abuse may be prevalent in people with those risk factors, one must be aware, in particular government officials and healthcare professionals, that these pre-conceived ideas are not entirely true.

An unlikely bracket of people who don’t fall under the typical stereotype of drug users are successful urban professionals. They may run profitable businesses, write books or work for major charities. They may have a healthy lifestyle: go to the gym, cycle to work, have home delivered organic veg boxes and frown upon drink driving. However the use of pot, ecstasy, MDMA, cocaine and mushrooms is not predominantly surprising in this group of professionals.

The real appeal could be about the sharing of experiences or treating oneself, but it most not be forgotten that individuals may be taking drugs to escape from the stresses of life. A perhaps surprising fact found by a recently published study is that one in four children live with a parent who has a serious drink problem or drug habit.

The negative stereotype associated with drug use could make it difficult for some people to find help. Substance abusers will find it hard to admit that they are addicted to a drug if the common view of an addict is so undesirable and far from the truth.

Some individuals could find it very difficult to admit they have a drug problem if they associate drug addiction with negative stereotypes. Governments and health professionals must ensure that there is more awareness about drug addiction and the different people it may affect.

This will make it easier for individuals to seek help and treatment. Conversely, it must be said that studying the demographics of addiction and drug users can be helpful in targeting those who are most at risk.

Drug use and addiction is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society. We need to have a better understanding of the range of people it may affect and help must be provided to those who struggle with addiction wherever they may find themselves in society.