Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign 2020 – Hidden in the Home to Sought after on the Streets


Hidden in the Home to Sought after on the Streets

Hidden in the Home to Sought after on the Streets

Kiley Hopf

2020 Addiction Awareness Scholarship Campaign

Addiction is not a new concept in the United States. It has been around for generations it has just evolved to encompass more substances. Addiction has also become a larger issue because it is a crisis that is all over the media. You hear and see stories on the news about overdoses, drug busts, people intoxicated by alcohol or another substance committing crimes. I recently attended a Webinar that addressed pain medicine and the opioid crisis. I learned that “over 130 people die every day in the United States from opioids.” If you think about how fast that number adds up you can see why it is a crisis that affects every family, community, race, social class, and age group. Anyone can get addicted! Drugs and alcohol do not discriminate.

There is a pathway to becoming addicted. First “you will develop a tolerance. This means you will need larger doses of medicine to help control your pain level. Second, you will develop dependence. This means that if you suddenly stop taking them you might suffer from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and severe stomach pains, and you will need to wean off of the substance. Then finally, you can become addicted. This means your body needs more of the substance to feel good and to function.” As a future Social Worker, I will be helping people who are addicted to overcome their addiction but also address their other environmental issues that impacted their road to addiction. It is not uncommon for someone to get hurt at work, start taking prescription opioid medicine. They then become dependent on that medication and lose their job because they are unable to work without the opioid. After that they lose their home because they cannot afford it without an income. Finally they cope from losing everything with taking more and cheaper drugs that they are able find on the streets. It can be a cycle that so many environmental and societal effects can influence.

Once our nation started accepting there is a crisis, the stigma surrounding addiction lessened and more people have shared their stories and sought help. Addiction is no longer forced to be hidden within the confines of a home. Abusing alcohol and other substances are oftentimes a coping method for dealing with some type of trauma or another underlying issue such as mental illness. It is not uncommon for someone suffering from addiction to do anything it takes to keep their addiction going. Individuals have turned to selling their belongings, stealing money, asking family and friends for money, stealing from family and friends, prostitution, becoming a drug dealer to support their own need to buy, finding cheaper and usually more dangerous substances to use, and more to fund their habit. More consequences for addition are incarceration and sadly death.

Society has changed policies to become more open to the idea of rehabilitation which is helping copious individuals. Without rehabilitation, individuals get lost in society. They are forgotten and overlooked and their voices are taken away. Individuals are not their addiction, but get treated as though they are. It is imperative to know that people are unique and we have to look for the strengths they do have and build on those, while addressing their weaknesses. If someone is struggling in one aspect of their life they might turn back to their addiction to deal with their feelings. Addressing emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs is a holistic approach that is helpful to truly understand our clients. The most important idea that we all have to understand is our clients have to want help, we cannot help them fully until they want it. It is their right to choose when and how they move toward lasting wellness and an enriching life, and it is our calling to help them in any way we can to achieve those goals.