Addiction in Down These Mean Streets - Book Review Essay Sample

Published: 2019-06-13
Addiction in Down These Mean Streets - Book Review Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Health and Social Care Psychology Literature
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1372 words
12 min read

Addiction is the process that comes up when an individual consumes a substance, for instance, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana or takes part in an activity like sex and gambling that can be enjoyable but it's persistent use of which it develops obsessive and alters with the normal life accountabilities. Several theories are explaining the effects of addictions and its consequences. As encountered by Piri in the book "Down These Mean Streets, its shows that people tend to get involved with drugs as a way to comfort themselves. In the end, the drug involvement may end up being an addiction. The purpose of this essay is to analyze and see the effects of addiction as portrayed in the book, Down these Means Street.

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Piri Thomas has based his story on different themes. As encountered in the novel Down These Mean Streets, Piri is subjected to the world full of racism, gender problems, and drug issues. The themes subjected by the themes of race, gender, and the drug is a clear indication on what is committed to the less fortunate like Piri. Piri, who happens to be the writer of the novel Down These Mean Street, tries to challenge and tries to do away with the addiction stereotype in Harlem despite that drug issue is the only comfort in his life. The entire life of Piris childhood is spent trying to locate his identity and a reputable place where he could call home. As Piri is transforming to adulthood, the whole process entails racial discrimination and drug encounters with discrimination that resulted in the emotions of fury and antagonism against his environment.

When linked to the bad habit theory on drug abuse, Piri joins the drug fraternity unwillingly. As encountered on "Down These Mean Streets" by Piri Thomas, Piri finds a hard time getting friends due to discrimination that he is black, Cause, Poppa, him, you and James think you're white (147). Note that Piri has tried all he has to make friends, but its hard. As compared with the other states, people tend to be rejected and will always find comfort somewhere else. Despite being a Puerto Rican, Piri is not able to make friends to an extent that he involves himself with drugs. From the Bad-Habit Theory of Drug Abuse perspective, Piri had to seek comfort from the drug addicts to feel the art of being accepted in the society. His commitment with the drug addicts seemed to bore fruits with the fact that he felt fitting in the society. As depicted from Piri, the use of drugs doesn't naturally prompt misuse, and there is no particular level at which medication use moves from easygoing to hazardous. It fluctuates by the person. Drug misuse and enslavement are less about the measure of substance devoured or the recurrence, and more to do with the results of medication use. Regardless of how regularly or how little you're expanding, if your drug use is creating issues throughout your life, at work, school, home, or in your connections, you likely have a drug misuse or fixation.

The entire novel leaves the reader with several questions in mind. First, why does Piri engage himself on drug abuse? Secondly, what are the consequences of addiction experienced by Piri?

Why does Piri engage himself on drug abuse?

The Puerto Rican state is a poor region and the fact that Piri is brought up in such environment renders him with fewer choices on how to become successful in life. The theoretical aspect of drug abuse and the addiction in the Down These Mean Streets is a reflection showing the conditions faced by several individuals out there in the streets. The society or the community at times may appear to be unfair to other people to the point that one may decide to seek refuge in the street. Piri on this case is not an exception either for instance, "Cause, Poppa, him, you and James think you're white, and I'm the only one that's found out I'm not. I tried hard not to find out. But I did, and I'm almost out from under that kick you all are still copping out to. Poppa, what's wrong with not being white? ... We have got to have pride and dignity, Poppa; we gotta walk big and bad. I'm me and I dig myself in the mirror and it's me. ... I'm black, and it don't make no difference whether I say good-bye or adios - it means the same" (147). From this quote, it shows that Piri did not like with the fact that his father did not like him because his skin color. As seen from the above quote, Piri is forced to join the drug issue as a result of facing seclusion from his father and the lack of making friends because he is black. As a Puerto Rican, we can note that it is difficult to make friends and also hard to find anyone to date.

Harlem is a ghetto as described in the novel and whatever is encountered in the ghetto leaves one with a lot of questions. It is at this point that we get to note that Piri receives a warm welcome, and he can make friends irrespective of his race and gender. We can say that once he decides to join the bad group found in the ghetto gives him the automatic ticket to make friends. At this point, he can fall in love with Trina, a lady who encounters while in Harlem. After noticing that he was able to cope with the ghetto life, he decides to involve himself in the drug abuse to an extent that he becomes addicted to the drug use.

What are the consequences of addiction experienced by Piri?

When it comes to the outcome of drug addiction, we get to realize that addiction to drug abuse could lead one to do unwanted stuff in the society. To Piris case, his scenario is an exception in that his addiction comes as a result of being neglected in the society. Drug addiction linked to cocaine and marijuana needs critical analysis before it materializes to being addictive. To the point that Piri ended up being a thug, it is a clear indication that too much drug use leads one to the involvement in illegal behaviors. The consequence of drug abuse makes Piri end up being imprisoned and losing his girlfriend to the point that he has to adjust to the life in prison and learn more to avoid being a culprit once he is out of jail.

Piri admits that withdrawing from drug addiction is difficult. For instance, "Man, I'm hooked and I've been trying to get off, but I can't... I sniffed and thought how I wasn't gonna get hooked. How I was gonna control it. Why the hell did I have to start playing with stuff? Who wants to be a man at that rate? Hell! All for the feeling of belonging, for the price of being called "one of us." Isn't there a better way to make the scene and be accepted on the street without having to go through hell?" (204).


In conclusion, whatever Piri is experiencing while he is in the process of growing up gives the conclusion that some of the experience he goes through makes him get involved in the drug issue. Being a drug addict makes one to loose his/her self-mind the high probability of engaging in unlawful acts like Piri, who ends up in prison for breaking laws. Despite the fact that Piri is trying to do away with drug use, he is finding it hard to let go. Theoretically, the challenges undergone by Piri shows how difficult it to quit on drugs once one has become an addict. As a lesson learnt from Piris experience, it is the duty of parents to treat their siblings equally to avoid such circumstances under which one might end up involving himself or herself on drugs as the case on Piri.

Work Cited

Heymann, Philip B, and William N. Brownsberger. Drug Addiction and Drug Policy: The Struggle to Control Dependence. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2001. Internet resource.

Thomas, Piri. Down These Mean Streets. New York: Vintage Books, 1997. Print.

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