Name: Xochitl Marquez Roman
From: Phoenix, Arizona
Addiction: How Our Nation Handles It
Addiction: How Our Nation Handles It
Failure, rejection, loneliness, sadness, these are just a few things everyone has felt at least once in their lives. Many people have learned to process emotions and have found positive outlets and ways to cope. However there are a large number of people who have never learned how to handle what they are feeling. Whether it was due to a difficult childhood or lack of resources as an adult there are millions who repress their emotions, some to a point where they’ll do anything it takes to feel something positive or at least stop feeling the negative. Only recently have we as a nation started taking mental health seriously, although we are making progress there are still many who do not understand mental illness or even acknowledge that it exists. While repressed emotions and mental illness are not the same a lot of times there are links that connect the two. While we live in a great nation there are many areas in which there is plenty of room for improvement. A survey in 2019 conducted by the CDC showed that about 12.1% of americans under the age of 65 were uninsured, that’s approximately 32.8 million people. Even for people that do have insurance, not everything is covered. Usually any type of psychologist or treatment to help with mental disorders is not covered or only partially covered so not everyone can afford to get help.
I believe we are dealing with an addiction crisis due to a combination of weak health insurance benefits and poor response from both our state and federal governments when it comes to handling any situations involving any type of narcotics. I see a lot more public support for people dealing with alcoholism than with drug addiction so I do believe laws and regulations play a huge role in how society views and deals with addiction. If a substance is illegal people might feel more afraid or ashamed than if it is a legal substance, this makes them less likely to seek help. There are also multiple outside factors that affect a person’s ability to seek help. If a family is not supportive or is ashamed/embarrassed it might delay the person from getting help in an attempt to spare their family from “the embarrassment”. If we as a nation cannot offer the people the support they need to get better we should not expect any change. Although this year has been incredibly difficult for the world, hopefully our country can gain some perspective and use it to grow and become a stronger nation. Everyone has had to isolate, it has been all over social media and can be seen pretty clearly that people are struggling to remain grounded. While not ideal, hopefully this has created a bit more compassion and understanding. Personally I believe the consequences of addiction expand past the person with the addiction. I’m not talking about the effects of addiction most people automatically jump to, im not talking about stealing to satisfy an addiction or people who are under any influence becoming dangerous. While these could be possible outcomes of addiction I feel society is most negatively impacted by having people who are not in the right state of mind looking after the next generation and causing more trauma.
While it is heartbreaking to see people struggling with addictions it is even more heartbreaking to see them neglect or scar their children because of their addiction. This problem will continue to grow and just get worse unless the cycle is broken somewhere and it is our responsibility as a society to ensure we are doing our best to help each other today in a hope that it will make things easier for the people that come after us. There are currently places within the country that are taking a step in the right direction, with this last election Oregon decriminalized all drugs. The ballot measure which is called the Drug Decriminalization and Addiction Treatment Initiative passed with 59% of votes. The goal of this is to allow people the chance to get treatment instead of jail time. Even if they refuse treatment they are only made to pay a fine for possession instead of facing jail time. They are allowing people to take their time to decide to seek help and making it incredibly easy to start looking for help. This is and has been a thing in other parts of the world for years and they have seen successful results. Even if this initiative doesn’t work or doesn’t turn out how they hoped I still believe it was a step in the right direction. Even if it’s a failure, Oregon is still trying to do something about this issue, they aren’t just sitting by hoping it’ll fix itself or waiting for the DEA to solve all their problems. Our unwillingness to take action is our biggest enemy and is what is allowing addiction to continue to be an issue in our nation.
“FastStats – Health Insurance Coverage.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 Oct. 2020, www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/health-insurance.htm.
Lennard, Natasha. “Oregon’s Decriminalization Vote Might Be Biggest Step Yet to Ending War on Drugs.” The Intercept, 4 Nov. 2020, theintercept.com/2020/11/04/oregon-drugs-decriminalization/.