Is Charlie Sheen Right? Can You be a "Social" Crack User?
Troubled actor Charlie Sheen is currently rehabbing at home from drug and alcohol addiction. He apparently is allowed to use the phone, as he called into a radio show on Monday to chat about his addictions.
One particular comment is creating waves. He told host Dan Patrick that some crack users can "manage it socially." He pointed out that his effort to do so "kind of blew up in my face. Like an exploding crack pipe."
Aside from a lame attempt at humor, is Sheen right -- can a person use crack without getting addicted?
TIME magazine took up the question, writing:
Although crack cocaine is indeed one of the most addictive drugs, Sheen's statement about social use is true of most people who have tried the drug, if by "social" you mean use that does not qualify you for a diagnosis of substance dependence. Far from being universally addictive, crack is actually unattractive to the majority of people who've tried it: only about 15%-20% of initial users become hooked.
The magazine pointed to data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which said 75.6% of those who tried crack between 2004 and 2006 were not using it at all two years later.
Another 15% were using occasionally, perhaps falling into Sheen's "social" category. Just 9.2% were addicted.
So while it appears to be a myth that all crack users become addicted, experts will tell you it is still a highly addictive drug and that you should not try to use it "socially." How did it work out for Charlie Sheen?