Name: Grace Prestley
From: Columbia, MO
Combating Addiction at the Individual and Societal Levels
America faces an addiction crisis of epic proportions and we must act fast to save lives. The leading cause of this epidemic stems from the individualist society in which we live. Many people begin utilizing drugs and alcohol as a form of coping with trauma and issues in life. As their addiction grows, they’re left without many options or sources of help. Our society tells us that addicts brought their illness upon themselves, but this view is exceptionally harmful. Addiction is first and foremost a disease that can be provoked by genetics and environmental stressors. By leaving addicts to take sole responsibility for their condition we remove essential forms of support that they need to recover. Another way we abandon addicts is by creating environments that promote their addictions in the first place. Our distressing work environments and the stigma surrounding mental health services are disservices to addicts.
The consequences of addiction on the individual can be truly devastating. The most obvious effects include illness, bodily organ failure, and even death. Some of the less prominent issues that arise are isolation from family and friends, loss of work occupation and housing, and behavioral changes. Society also faces the consequences of addiction through increasing homeless populations, loss of community contributors, and increased violence within the area.
Many steps could be taken to limit the effects of addiction on our country and save the lives of many addicts. The first way to combat addiction would be to invest in local and federal government-funded addiction resources. These resources could include crisis counselors, therapy groups, and in-patient rehabilitation centers. One of the many obstacles facing addicts is a lack of funds to seek treatment and these resources could solve this issue for many people. Another way to assist in addiction treatment is to provide increased housing for those who cannot afford it. This would allow people to get off the streets and work toward the treatment that they require. A way for individuals to combat addiction would be to discuss their illness with their loved ones and seek support from them as they receive treatment. Finally, educating all people on addiction and its consequences could allow the community to assist in the fight against addiction and support their loved ones who may be facing this issue. Addiction is a very difficult disease to combat and recovery isn’t a straight line. Providing consistent support for addicts can save an immense amount of lives and help to end the epidemic that we are currently facing.