Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 – Addiction in America

Name: Chloe Montgomery

Addiction in America

in America

People across the nation, including myself, have
had to sit and watch their loved ones grapple with addiction, unable
to do anything about it. It’s a sickening feeling to watch someone
you love turn into another victim of substance abuse. Because of my
personal experience with drug addicted loved ones, this essay will
mainly focus on substance abuse and, more importantly, how we need to
do better for addicts.

Now, you would think
that in America, drug addiction wouldn’t be such a growing problem,
what with all the anti-addiction organizations and the “this is
your brain on meth” commercials, but the thing is, these fear
mongering tactics are not enough. Rarely if ever does “scaring them
straight” work. Addicts are human beings who are struggling, they
are not monsters, and they do not need to be

is why I believe we shouldn’t throw addicts into prison on
possession charges and the like. Prison is no place for a mentally
unstable addict. Addicts need love, they need care, they need real
help that they simply will not get in prison. Take my half-brother
for example. An army vet suffering from severe PTSD, bipolar
disorder, and schizophrenia. He was in and out of jail on possession
charges most of his life, never getting real help, the help he
needed. Now, he’s in prison for an assault he committed after
having a psychotic break. He’s not getting therapy. He’s not
being medicated. He’s sitting in a cell, day after day, alone. Like
an animal. And in some ways, I suppose an animal isn’t an
inaccurate thing to call him. Not because he’s dirty or lesser,
because he absolutely isn’t, but because he did what animals do
when cornered; he bit. He was cornered by mental health issues,
abandonment, and a system that didn’t care about anything but a
quota, and he snapped. I’m not saying what he did was right. I’m
saying it could have been prevented with proper

What we need is more
accessible mental health care. The fact of the matter is, drugs are
cheaper than doctor visits. According to the National Center for
Biotechnology Information, it
costs an average of 5,707 dollars to treat a

schizophrenic patient for a week and
a half.
Meanwhile, 1 gram of
meth costs 20-60 dollars. When you figure out that street drugs are
cheaper than basic necessities like mental health care, it becomes
clear that this system is not working for us. I believe that the rise
in addiction cases is in direct correlation to the rising price of
health services.

addition to a failing health care system, we need to do better to end
the stigma around addiction. Every time I hear someone call an addict
a monster I break a little inside. I will continue to reiterate that
addicts are humans who need love. At what point does an addict stop
being considered human? At what point does their case turn from one
of a poor soul struggling with mental health issues to a disgusting
criminal who needs punishment? At what point do people decide that
they are no longer worth fighting for? When people turn to suicide as
an end to their mental troubles, it is seen as tragic. When people
turn to drugs as an end to their mental troubles, it is seen as
shameful. I think we need to put an end to portrayals of addicts as
selfish junkies in media.

In conclusion, I
believe cases of addiction need to be met with understanding and care
rather than anger and disgust. We need to do better for those we
love. We need to stand up for them when they no longer feel like
standing up for themselves. We need change.