Name: Katelyn Anderson
My View On Addiction
Addiction is a disease that causes us to slowly kill ourselves. It’s a scary thing to watch happen to your loved ones. Their brains are completely rewired to only crave one thing, even though that substance is only hurting them.
As a nation, I believe the reason why we are dealing with addiction is the lack of support for those suffering through it. As well as the lack of infrastructure to restrict and provide drugs and alcohol safely and responsibly. Trying to restrict drugs and alcohol altogether will never work because the want for these commodities is too high. So even if we do restrict access to these substances people will get them from unsafe ways, through unsafe dealers, and increase the black market value of them. I think the best way to try and regulate the output of drugs and alcohol is to provide safe ways for people to access them, as well as to restrict the numerical count of how much they can receive. To try and keep track of how much someone intakes.
This sounds good on paper, but in society, this sort of restriction and regulation is nearly impossible to achieve. Alcohol is intertwined in our society to a point when we’ve tried to restrict it in the past, the constitution itself had to be amended to repeal this restriction. Another problem with alcohol is how available it is. You can even order it online and get it shipped to your house directly. Almost every grocery store offers some sort of alcohol for people to purchase. With alcohol, in our society, you are praised if you can handle drinks with higher alcohol content. This is why I think alcohol is the most dangerous addictive substance. That’s not to say other drugs, like marijuana and opium, are any better. They are both dangerous substances as well. Alcohol is both dangerous and socially acceptable, which makes it a deadly combination.
It’s difficult to watch someone we love struggle with addiction. Because addiction is a disease. It’s hard to watch someone dying because of it, and they are only making it worse for themselves. Addiction can cause families to be ruined, lives to be lost, and it can change good people for the worse. Addiction takes over your life. It becomes the one thing you are worried about. Taking care of your hygiene, your eating habits, your responsibilities, they all get put on the back burner. Whatever substance you’re addicted to, it becomes the only thing you worry about. It becomes the only thing you can intake. This is an addiction at its worst. All you can think about is where you are going to get your next drink or where you are going to get your next hit. Society only makes this worse. Addiction is only fueled by our economy. Our economy is built around the consumer, so when there is a customer who wants to buy a lot of substances, the companies are only happy to provide.
When my mother was dealing with her addiction, I felt very lost on what I could do for her. Even if she wanted to get better, she had too much access to alcohol, and her addiction was too severe. We would find her bottles, dump them out, only to find out she ordered more online and had them sent when we weren’t home. My father and I felt backed into a corner because my mother kept spending money we didn’t have. People never seemed to question why my mother was ordering so much alcohol. Why did this person need all of these bottles? Thinking back to those days, I wished there were a few things in place, that if they were at the time, would have saved my mother’s life.
I strongly believe there needs to be more support for victims of addiction. There are clinics, but most of these clinics are expensive or religiously aligned, which makes it difficult for people trying to recover. Once again, clinics are expensive, and clinics that are cheaper have decrepit conditions. My mother had gone to one once, only to call my father crying because of how she was being treated there. She felt less than human during her stay at this clinic. It felt like they weren’t respecting her as a person, and were only keeping her there to get paid by desperate families. Having more financial support for these victims, as well as more support lines, and better access to medical help will help victims in the long run. We need to make it easier to reach out to people, to get help not only for themselves, but for their loved ones.
There also needs to be restrictions placed on the companies themselves that sell these addictive substances. Just like how bartenders need to keep track of how many people have had to drink in their bar. Companies need to keep track of individuals and their purchases. For other substances, if they are safe in small amounts, to create laws that could allow people safe and restrictive access to these substances. I also think that mental health services should be included with most health insurance. Throughout all of my mother’s hospital stays she was never covered. According to our insurance agency, addiction was only a mental health issue, despite how the addiction was slowly destroying her body.
To help decrease the value of drinking held in our society, I think there need to be a lot more campaigns and warnings against addiction itself. Not to discourage their use entirely, but to make sure they are used safely and responsibly. People should also be educated to recognize signs of addiction in their own behaviors, as well as their loved one’s behaviors. Recognize the actions that result from these addictions, and when you notice them, encourage your loved ones to reach out for help when they need it. We need to learn to not treat addiction like a family secret, but to treat it like a disease that needs proper treatment. If you ignore it, it’s not going to go away.
My mother passed away October 20th, 2021 from her addiction. It was heartbreaking having to watch my mother suffer all these years. She was killing herself with every bottle she ordered. My father and I didn’t know what to do to help her, and with all of the different support systems we had access to, nothing worked for her. She needed her addiction to be treated seriously. She needed to have restrictions on how much she could buy. She needed proper clinics who respected her as a person, and not as a “junkie”. She needed financial support from her country and insurance agency. She had access to none of these.
Addiction is horrible. I know this first hand. I only hope that sometime in the future things improve for those suffering from it. Addiction is a horrible, fatal disease that, if not treated properly, will end up killing you. Just like it had killed my mother.