Name: Samantha J. Hampton
From: Eureka, CA
Numbing the Pain
Numbing the Pain
Every single person on this planet has had to deal with events that were never expected. This can include the death of a loved one, losing one’s home and having to find some shelter, and/or being in the hospital due to a tragic accident and being treated with endless amounts of substances. It is important to recognize that experiencing an addiction can happen to anyone, therefore we should help others who are reaching out for it. I believe the nation is dealing with an addiction crisis because people rely on drugs just to get through their day-to-day lives. Compared to even 15-20 years ago, the gap between people who have a lot of resources and people who have to scavenge just to survive is getting bigger. More people are having to work long hours to feed their families and pay their bills. To relieve stress and rid the mind of negative thoughts/feelings, people can fall into addiction.
I personally cannot relate to the feeling of addiction, but I have a great amount of experience being around that environment and witnessing the toll addiction takes in a person’s life. I have seen how unhappy people can be, and addiction and substance abuse can give people short bursts of what seems like happiness. However, this is not what true happiness is, true happiness is the feeling of always working through any obstacle and still remaining positive in the outcome. True happiness takes acknowledging disappointment and depression. An influential saying I heard when I was finishing high school was, “In order to appreciate the good times, you have to go through the bad times.” This quote had deeply stuck with me because it holds a lot of truth. I believe people who are victims of addiction do have the same ease compared to others in life with dealing with bad times.
The consequences of addiction can be very strong and drastic. Addiction does not just include an unhealthy fixation of some object or substance but causes the brain to react abnormally to different situations (When I say abnormal, I mean behaving in a way that is different on average, not in a judgmental way). Addiction as seen with prescription medications can have harmful long terms effects on one’s health. For example, prescription stimulant abuse can cause early heart attacks, strokes, impaired judgment, and other life-altering effects such as death. Within the past few months, I have participated in a student internship where I research prescription drug abuse. My research would mainly consist of gathering large amounts of information on the side effects and health risks from the abuse of different types of prescription medications commonly abused.
An area that the United States needs to grow in is developing more effective long-term treatments for addiction. For example, when people become incarcerated for the possession of drugs, I believe the regular sentencing to a penitentiary is not the best method. I understand that when someone breaks the law, there is punishment, but the original purpose of the prison system is to “rehabilitate.” How is it possible for people to get help and overcome their addiction problems in a place where they are statically more likely to use substances and therefore remain addicted? I believe this system can be remedied by having facilities where people who fall into this category go and can give back to the human population through hard work (community work). As a young, college student, there is a lot about life that I have yet to learn and expand my existing knowledge in. As a soon-to-be college third year, I am choosing the path in which I go for my career. I know that I want to be in a place where I can directly help others because I believe in giving back.