Why The Stigma Of Drug Abuse Is Only Making The Problem Worse
Every day we hear about the drug epidemic, we are flooded with statistics about how many people will die this year from a drug overdose or how many families will be affected by drug use. In all reality it is very unlikely that you can’t think of someone who abuses or has abused drugs as you’re reading this. The streets are flooding with cheap, quality drugs; this isn’t just an inner city problem anymore. This reaches all the way out into the suburbs and into rural communities. As many times as addicts have “Rehab and sobriety are easy to obtain!” ads thrown at them they have “once an addict always an addict “ or “ he (or she) may be clean now but they’ll relapse, they always do.”.
This is something that all addicts will face while they go down the road of getting clean. It’s just another thing that will make the success of their sobriety that much harder to keep. When you have everyone around you; strangers, friends and family included telling you that you will never do something it makes a little hard to even bother to try at it. Just put yourself in their shoes; if you had someone telling you nonstop that you would never be able to achieve something that you are really striving to get, after a while it breaks you down to the point where you just say screw it and throw in the towel.
And if it’s not that its complete strangers thinking they know how the life of an addict starts. “Addiction isn’t a disease that person made the choice to start doing drugs”. While yes that is a fact most people are forced to use; there is more to it then they wanted to get high. People who use typically aren’t just looking to party. There is a reason that they want to escape through the use of drugs and that is something that most people in this society can’t seem to understand.
We need to change how we look at addiction. We need to look at it as what it truly is, a medical condition. A condition that affects 1 in 7 Americans, instead of feeding these people to the wolves or locking them behind bars we need to end this stigma of all addicts are criminals and can’t be saved. Instead of spending millions of tax dollars to deal with these people once they are in the prison system to feed and take care of them, why not spend that money on programs to help them before they get to that point. Help people with mental health issues, help people who suffer from PTSD, help people who are the victims of violent crimes.
If we did this we could save around 20,000 dollars a year PER inmate. For every thousand inmates (the number of drug addicts in prison is much high but for the sake of simple math we’ll use a thousand) that would be 20,000,000 dollars a year that could not be wasted on the prison system. If we can get these people help then we can in the long run save the tax payer so much money and help our fellow human being while we are at it.
So next time before you talk about addiction and how its ruining the country why not stop and ask yourself how you can help fix the problem instead of just talking about it.