DRUG addiction has become such an epidemic. The reasons for people resorting to taking drugs can vary a great deal, from socio-economic problems to mere curiosity.
The sad part is that these addicts don't realise how many people they hurt when they indulge in their cravings.
For the last few years, someone very dear to me has been struggling with combating her addiction to drugs.
Her life has become so predictable, as there seems to be a vicious cycle that repeats itself every few months.
It usually begins with tell-tale signs of constant fidgeting and nervous tendencies as the craving once again rears its ugly head.
At this point the addict is fighting the urge to immediately run out and get high - and it is at this stage that they need the most support.
Next comes denial - an addict's best friend. They believe they can take just one more hit as a twisted form of reward for not having used for a while, and try to convince themselves they will not make it a habit.
Then it becomes so obvious that the addict has once again fallen.
Their non-using friends seem to back off so slowly you wouldn't even notice it.
The addict becomes ostracised and is no longer invited to social gatherings - or is watched very closely if they are.
The person's health starts to deteriorate, including rapid weight loss and lack of hygiene.
Only determined close family and friends remain and suddenly it is time for action and intervention once more.
But what can they - they who feel so much for and desperately want to help their beloved addict - do?
If anything, I have learned that you cannot help someone who refuses to be helped.
You have to wait for them to come around - but that usually involves them hitting rock bottom.
And that is a sight not easily stomached, as I'm sure those of you who have gone through something similar will agree.
The sad part is that every time my close friend does this, her parents and siblings watch as she destroys her life. Drug addicts are completely oblivious to the hurt and pain they cause, and even if they are, they are powerless to prevent their actions.
This could be seen as selfish, but that is the nature of addiction: it is selfish.
It is important to bear in mind that this is a disease, albeit a chosen one, and still requires a cure - it also requires willingness on the part of the addict.
The message is clear: any form of addiction causes suffering. It hurts those closest to the addict.
It hurts the addict themselves, often without their realisation.
But it is unfair for addicts to keep hurting their loved ones.
At some point, no matter how much it hurts those around them, addicts must be held accountable for their actions.