Let’s Talk About Addiction and What Comes Next To Help Addicts

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The heroin problem in North America is, to say the least, terrifying. It’s easy to get, cheap and delivers a strong punch that so many will seek for the rest of their lives. It kills many of it’s users and destroys the lives of pretty much anyone who touches it. It’s so deadly and addictive that it’s converted thousands of people from prescription drugs. The most frustrating part is that we still don’t know how to deal with it. We’ve armed our paramedics with drugs to stop an overdose, we have narcotics anonymous and wonderful treatment centers and programs, and we’ve even changed laws and law enforcement practices in order to keep heroin addicts out of jail so that they can pursue some sort of treatment process in order to get healthy. Worst of all, perhaps, is that we’ve labeled drug use a disease. It is a disease, we know that now, but labeling heroin addiction as a disease hasn’t changed the stigma yet and so addicts all over North America are still scared to come forward and discuss their addiction with those who can make a difference in their lives. That is until a small American town decided to hold an open forum and discussion for those affected by this terrible drug. A forum that continued on for hours after it was supposed to finish, where loved ones and addicts alike spoke up and were heard for the first time in their community.

There were smiles, tears and before and after comparisons. People at the hearing saw what heroin had done to so many of the members of the community. They heard of those they’d loss, and heard from those they will one day lose unless something changes. The idea of an open discussion about addiction is perhaps the best step forward in the fight against drugs and alcohol.

For decades we’ve been faced with a war on drugs, which has failed us time and time again. We’ve seen the stigma surrounding mental health and addiction change but in many cases stay the same, and finally we’ve agreed that addiction is a form of disease. What we haven’t heard is that addiction is addiction, and that it’s something we simply don’t know enough about yet, but what we do know is that treating it is unlike any other disease we know how to treat.

“Addiction, it appears, is different because it is influenced by mental, physical, environmental and societal factors. Too often, we believe, these elements are attacked individually, and not as a whole.”

Perhaps getting everything out in the open is the best way to learn what we need to learn to deal with and treat the ever growing addiction problem. It’s time to ask regular people, as well as those affected by addiction what to do next. There are ideas out there, ideas that have developed excellent treatment options that have saved thousands of people, but there has to be something more we can do to help those who need it most.



Let’s Talk About Addiction and What Comes Next To Help Addicts