Name: Richard Salazar
Reflections on Addiction
In 2019, a National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS) reported the number of operational residential treatment facilities at 2,710 and the number of clients at 83,877. Many quantitative studies provide a snapshot of current drug use by every subcategory imaginable, but less about what the data tells us. Expanding on the findings of such research may reveal a deeper insight into why some groups are predictably more susceptible to challenges associated with substance use disorders than others.
The most basic understanding about behaviors leading to active addiction is in one’s immediate surrounding environment, including positive and negative adult role models and available resources for families, employment, and youth services that cover basic human needs. Housing and security, food, healthcare, education, and community are essential components determining one’s physical, cognitive, and spiritual well-being. The idea of lacking such fundamental aspects of life may sound unimaginable for some. Still, it is a brutal reality for others who must constantly live their lives in survival mode. Higher classes of society must understand that while in “survival mode,” rational thought and planning become abstract concepts compared to not dying. Quality standards of living must be the future of public human services because it is the only logical way to ensure the survival of the United States. If this democratic institution is not responsible for producing functional American citizens, then who is? An un-United States of America leaves us vulnerable on the world stage. American ingenuity, borne from the ideals of freedom and equality, must continue. If enough people, no longer experience this ideal freedom. The American experiment will fail.
I believe that even a person lost in his addiction yearns for compassion, acceptance, and understanding to see addiction, not as a problem but a solution (not a good one) for a more profound underlying and unresolved trauma. The addict tries to escape the emotional turmoil that plagues him. However, he may lack awareness of the dynamics contributing to his behavior despite the consequences and social disapproval. The ability to meet people suffering from addiction where they are, with compassion while hopeful for positive outcomes, is so important, but it does not come naturally for everyone. The characteristics of an empath are best suited for the careful planning and program designs that stay committed to reintegrating this vulnerable population back into the community as functional contributing members of society. Most people desire a fulfilling life.
In contrast to “asking for handouts,” most will seek more respectable ways of contributing to their families, communities, and societies through hard work and jobs satisfaction. Through this, American resolve and strength will become more united than ever before. According to what we now know about fulfilling human potential, we can no longer afford to overlook or undervalue the significant return on investments in the people of this country.