Name: Lauren Boyle
From: Aberdeen , Washington
Drug Addiction in Our Communities
Addiction is something most people see every day, whether it be in their homes, on the news, or on the street. For me, I see it in the people I care about and the environment in which I grew up. I can guarantee that everyone you know has been affected by addiction, directly or indirectly, whether they realize it or not. There has been a growing problem in our country, in our communities, that we have been ill prepared to combat against. Even now, with an opioid crisis in full swing, we have not been able to take drastic measures towards preventing addiction. In some cases, do we even try?
There seems to be a large stigma against those that willingly take drugs, legal or not, and more often than not people refuse to help those who are addicted. For many, we choose to turn a blind eye because we think that these people chose to try drugs, they made the active decision to take these drugs knowing the consequences, and if they tried hard enough they would be able to quit. This is not the case, and we should not view these people as lesser because they made a mistake. We don’t ostracize people who make mistakes, so why should we shun the people who try drugs? They are just as deserving of help as the next person.
Having an addiction, specifically to drugs, causes an immense strain on the community, especially on families. It’s hard to see your friend’s family be torn apart because of an addiction, it’s even worse to see your own family slowly lose trust in a cousin you remember growing up with. Drugs can warp a person’s mind to the point where you don’t even recognize them anymore, and it’s incredibly awful to look back on the past to realize you could have stopped it, there was a way in which the narrative of your life could have interceded with someone else and stopped this destructiveness from occurring. Addiction can tear families, lives, and even communities apart, and we need to do all we can to provide help and resources for those addicted to getting the help they need.
There are ways in which people can step up and help combat addiction. For one, you want to convince the person addicted to drugs that they need to get help. You cannot help a person that doesn’t want to help themselves, and this statement is made even more true when you consider addiction. There is not a single person suffering from an addiction who can suddenly drop their habit without any repercussions. Most people decide they would rather continue with their vice rather than go through the process of withdrawals. This is where the community steps in, providing a safe space in which addicts can go through the process of withdrawals and no longer be tempted to go back to their old ways. The path to recovery is never easy, but with the combined efforts of the family and community, it is possible.
Addiction will always be an issue no matter where you go, and will never truly fade away. All we can do is provide support and resources for those that need help, without turning our backs and looking the other way.