There is an epidemic, it’s a national emergency really, that I don’t feel like enough people talk about. Sure, they say it, “drugs are killing people” and “we need to do something” and “it’s so sad”. But they aren’t really saying anything, just repeating things they know are universal sentiments, so they don’t have to think too hard or feel anything. Something a lot of people tend to do with tougher issues.
But let’s be honest for a moment.
There is probably not a person in the united states right now that doesn’t know someone on drugs. For my community is almost a guarantee that a close family member will be addicted to some sort of dangerous drug. There are a lot of arguments on whether or not addiction is a disease or a choice. But I’m not going argue either side of that point because in the end it doesn’t actually matter does it? What people are really saying when choosing one of those sides is “Are addicts people?” because if we say it’s a choice does that mean we shouldn’t care? Or that they are undeserving of help or even life? If you choose to do something that’s bad for you or if you make a mistake, does that make you any less human than anyone else?
Making mistakes and bad choices IS the human condition.
Even if we are to assume that everyone on drugs deserves the consequences and aren’t worthy of empathy or help, what about the family of the addicts? Should we let them suffer the loss of a loved one and on top of that have to hear about how that person didn’t deserve to live anymore?
And the family does suffer, not only out of concern for the addict but in several other ways that people don’t talk about. You might love this person and want to help them, but you can’t. They ask for money, you can’t give it. They ask for food, and you can’t give it. This may seem cruel to people who haven’t dealt with it but giving them anything is like handing them drugs. The money they save by you helping them goes to another fix. And you get angry, you try and get out of the situation, but you can’t because they are family. You just want to be done with them, so you stop talking to them.
It’s an ambiguous loss for most people because that person is gone.
Everything you never thought they were capable of, they now are. Stealing, hurting people, etc. You can’t trust them anymore because they aren’t even making their own decisions anymore. The addiction is. There is nothing you can do to convince them to stop because they have to choose to stop. So, what do you do? I don’t have the answer, but I do know that I’m in this situation and so are many other people that I know.
So just know you aren’t alone in this.
This is everyone’s problem and hopefully, we can find a way to end this one day. Let’s just start the discussion at least. Let’s stop using clichés and wringing our hands and nodding sadly. Let’s actually be honest with each other and open up about what we are going through. Because it’s not other people’s problem, it affects everyone in some way or another.