Name: Wendy Bundy
From: Luray, VA
Addiction has no boundaries
Seasons in Malibu
Addiction Awareness Scholarship Essay
Addiction has no boundaries
By: Wendy Bundy
Addiction: A Nation Crisis
As a nation we are dealing with an addiction crisis because of the pressure that is put on individuals to do so much. We are constantly being bombarded with news and feelings like everyone is so busy. This form of media and peer pressure creates an unrealistic image of what life should really be like. When many are unable to meet what they think are realistic demands of society, they end up turning to alcohol, drugs, or sometimes both.
As a previous first responder, I have seen this issue impact people on both sides of the law and from all walks of life. I have seen police officers forced to resign or take early retirement because their drinking had got out of hand and was starting to impact their jobs. I have also seen a mother lose her child because she could not stop popping pills and go from being a hard-working member of society to someone who bounces from couch to couch. Like I said before, addiction knows no boundaries; it affects those from all walks of life.
In addition to people losing their jobs, financial security and many times family support, society hurts as well. Often, the burden is put on society resources to attempt to remedy the problem. Most times, however, this is just a band-aid type service, and does not really get to the issue of the problem. For example, in our area, a community services board is called in when someone overdoses and ends up at the emergency room. They do a routine screening and offer some resources to the individual, but then are on their merry way. The interaction does not go onto a deeper level, and the individual struggling is left to figure things out on their own or go back to old habits.
As this continues to happen and with more individuals, the rest of society is left with a bad impression of community services for addiction and pressure is put on the wrong agencies to do more, like people complain to the local sheriff’s department to make more drug related arrests. While that is part of their job, it should not be their focus and just arresting someone does not mean you are helping them. If they do not receive additional help/services while being bars, they will come out of jail and go right back to their addiction.
There are several things we can do to remedy this situation. First, is to help people build up their own support systems. One way of doing this is through peer support/recovery programs and meetings. Another option is to educate more of the public on this issue and offer them the chance to get involved and make a difference in their communities. It is likely they know someone who has been affected by addiction and just does not know the best way to support them. Lastly, we must continue to move forward with breaking the stigma against getting help for all types of addictions and mental health issues, because they often go hand in hand. Peer support and education help with this but is not enough. We must write to local, state, and national officials advocating for more money and resources to help fight this crisis. With the current COVID situation, addictions may only get worse as people feel more isolated and hopeless, but with the right resources available, we can bridge this gap and make a difference on both the individual and societal level.