Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 – Community Crisis Requires Community Response

Name: Christopher Bautista-Howell

Community Crisis Requires Community Response

Crisis Requires Community Response

Christopher Bautista-Howell

are a wide variety of activities or substances that an individual can
become addicted to. The first such things that immediately come to
mind when I think of addictive substances are drugs and alcohol.
Particularly when it comes to drug addiction, we can take a look at
the history of the opioid crisis to see an excellent example of how
the population has become addicted.

opioid crisis very clearly and distinctly originated with the
overprescription of especially potent painkillers, such as OxyContin.
Due to a variety of factors, primarily being that the pharmaceutical
companies producing these drugs claimed that they were not addictive,
as well doctors prescribing them as an easy solution for any and all
forms of pain relief. Habitual use of these drugs creates a
dependency that may drive individuals to seek other, more potent,
perhaps more dangerous substances that may satisfy their needs. For
example, it is not unusual for an individual who has developed a
dependence on OxyContin to turn to heroin to satisfy their needs.

impact of the opioid epidemic has been similar to the impact that the
mass abuse of other substances has had on our society. The crisis has
led to drug-related violence, homelessness, the destruction of
families, and tens of thousands of deaths per year. Furthermore, the
violence caused by the War on Drugs exacerbates the pre-existing
conflict by breaking up, destroying, or furthering the distress of
communities by attempting to resolve the problem through means which
have so far proven to not be wholly effective. For those individuals
afflicted by addiction, their daily life, and maybe even the course
of their life, becomes completely shaped by their urge to obtain
their next “fix”. Individuals may end up bankrupt, without a
family, or even in prison. There are countless tragic examples
throughout our country of the irreversible damage caused to
individuals and society by the opioid, and to a greater extent,
substance abuse epidemic.

is no single one-size-fits-all solution or remedy to the epidemic.
Any attempt to truly and effectively end or at least tackle the
epidemic will require a variety of strategies, some of which are
already in use, although perhaps not to the necessary extent. The
singular most important thing that we can do is to help people who
are already affected by addiction so as to get their life back on
track. This can be done through either medical treatment or
behavioural therapy/rehabilitation, or perhaps a combination of both.
The second most important thing would be the prevention of addiction
to opioids, which may most effectively be done by reducing the rate
at which they are prescribed to the public. If the overprescription
of opioids is the root cause, or even one of the root causes of the
epidemic, then it is reasonable to conclude that preventing
individuals from ever becoming addicted in the first place by
reducing the rate at which they are prescribed and perhaps offering
alternative methods of pain relief would be a practical solution.

the core though, we must, as individuals and a society reshape our
thinking of addiction from one of a punitive, disempowering view to a
perspective that is compassionate and empowering. If we look at what
is being done in Portugal, for example, we can see that pulling
addicts from all financial backgrounds and states of addiction, into
a nurturing, educational, and healing environment has resulted in far
fewer relapse and much greater success in remaining sober and away
from criminality.

we start with the view of addiction as a hurting human, seeking to
numb or escape their reality, we can apply principles of compassion.
Our approaches will be future informed and focus on the well being of
not only the individual but the society as a whole. If the addicted
person goes right back into the environment that created or sparked
the addiction in the first place, then he or she will likely fail to
maintain sobriety.

conclusion, addiction, especially in the case of opioids isn’t just
an individual issue. It directly impacts families, sometimes creating
generational addiction patterns. Families that are affected are part
of wider communities. In order to solve the problem of addiction, we
must take responsibility as communities. We no longer have the luxury
of treating this crisis as an individual problem. It is like trying
to put out a forest fire with a garden hose, we have a collective
humanity problem, that can only be healed holistically, together as