How Many More Addicts Have to Die?
Not only is the opiate epidemic getting worse, but so is drug use across the board. A lot of attention has been placed on the drug abuse crisis in this country for years. Every day, there’s alarming news headlines of overdoses reaching highest-ever rates, impostor drugs that are killing people, and the need for the general public to carry around drug antidotes in case one of us encounters someone overdosing on a subway or in a grocery store. Every day seems to illicit more bad news about drug use in the United States.
It’s not the junkie under the bridge everyone is talking about. It’s your mom or dad, son or daughter, brother or sister who’s addicted to opiates. It’s the lawyer, faced with the responsibility of upholding the law and ensuring due process is followed who pops Adderall all day and hasn’t slept in over a week. It’s the family doctor bestowed with the responsibility of caring for his patient’s health and well-being who drinks an entire bottle of Scotch every night and wakes up in the morning to grab another to prevent the inevitable shakes.
Does anyone else find it even slightly scary that people we entrust with high responsibilities are addicted to drugs and alcohol? It’s even affected elected, political officials. Not that long ago, Toronto Mayor, Rob Ford, was in the news after a few scandals involving his public intoxication and use of alcohol and crack.
These days, so many people are doing drugs. It’s gotten to the point where it beckons the question:
“Where is our society and country going to be in 10 years?”
A smoldering pit in the ground is what will become of us if we don’t start to actually handle the drug problem.
We’ve developed into a society where facing life and life’s problems by using trial and error, problem solving, logic and a sprinkle of intelligence isn’t the norm. Instead, we’re bombarded on a daily basis with the idea that we all need “something” to take the edge off, relax, unwind, study, handle our work, raise our kids, and be “normal.” It’s very “Stepford Wifey” to think about how many Americans walk around in a drug-induced haze, operating on autopilot, just doing their daily routine with a host of drugs circulating in their system.
Drug use has become so “normal” that while growing up, I thought having a makeshift pharmacy in our kitchen cabinet was something every family had. I remember being 8 years old and having a stomach ache, so my parent’s solution was to give me a dose of Belladonna and Phenobarbital. It’s not their fault. Society dictates that instead of figuring out why I had a stomach ache and dealing with the real reason for it, go for a quick fix, no matter what the side-effects or consequences.
Our way of dealing with drug addiction doesn’t work. Our way of dealing with it is to just throw more drugs at the problem created by drugs. We’re working with a “fight fire with fire” mentality and it’s completely unworkable. Also, mainstream methods of treating addiction don’t work for every addict, but it’s the only types of treatment most insurance policies will pay for. Instead of an insurance policy paying for whatever treatment has the best possibility of working for the addict, they dictate exactly what type of treatment they’re going to get and where they’re going to get it, regardless of its effectiveness for the individual.
In order to actually handle the drug problem and not create new addicts by pharmaceutical “cures,” more treatment needs to be made available to more people. Most traditional treatments don’t look for the core root of an addiction and figure out why a person sought drugs as a solution to their problems. I’m not saying alternative treatment is the only way to get someone clean, but it gives a person who has failed other modalities, a fighting chance at getting sober.
Instead of shunning alternatives, we need to look at these treatments as working solutions for people who have failed at getting clean before. We need to stop using drugs to get people sober and make more types of treatment available to everyone. It doesn’t matter who thinks what treatment works the best; 12 step, Suboxone or Methadone or alternative treatment, for at the end of the day, all that matters is addicts get saved, get clean, and off ALL drugs for good with a chance to live a normal, productive life, making their families and themselves proud, and finally stop living in the daily hell of drug abuse.