America Land of the Drugged
No need to bother you with statistics. They’re grim. Just like everyone knows someone with cancer, we all know someone dealing with drug addiction.
The one thing science is clarifying is that drug addiction is a disease. While it’s easy to sermonize about choices, once addicted, the choices are much tougher.
Many opiate addictions stem from an original prescription for pain. People unwittingly exchange their pain for an addiction.
For the addicted, drug tolerance builds up and more drugs are needed to prevent the onset of agonizing withdrawal symptoms.
Non-drug users see the addict’s mood-swings, manipulative behaviors, lying, and lack of responsibility. While the addict just seeks relief.
Nationwide, communities are dealing with increased crime from addicts stealing in order to fund their relentless habits. Whether we’re crime victims, or family members dealing with loved ones in addiction’s grip, we’re all paying for it.
This isn’t a Republican-Democrat issue. Drugs don’t make those distinctions. America’s War on Drugs may have given us the world’s highest prison population, but sadly, we’re worse off than ever.
Just as the addict is stuck in denial, our nation was in denial too—until recently.
Classifying addiction as a brain disease should help. Modifying our treatment options for chronic pain sufferers will help. But physical pain isn’t the only cause of addictions.
Many people begin using drugs to escape a different pain—the pain of childhood trauma, peer pressure, abuse, rape, or maybe the loss of someone important in their lives.
Treatment needs to be more than detox. It needs to involve tracing the deep roots of pain and letting the healing begin there. In a society that’s also addicted to instant gratification—this may be the beginning of our realization that some things aren’t instant.
Healing takes time—and love.