Name: Alyssa Z...
From: Homestead, FL
School: Hamilton College
War is often linked to pain. It was the ramifications of the Second Great War and then Vietnam that pushed so many of our people over the edge. The need for numbness was the driving force for many- and the continual want for numbness is the reason drugs and addiction play such a toll on our country.
What many fail to realize is that wars only grow more gruesome with technical progress. So yes, we can better defend ourselves, but defending ourselves means more blood loss. Those that are strong and lucky enough to survive modern wars almost always suffer from mental health issues like shell shock and PTSD once they come out of the war- and with pains like these an individual’s want for numbness only grows.
It is not just veterans that fall into the cycle of addiction- it is really anyone who has undergone trauma or has this incessant need to fill a hole in their life.The number of people suffering from addictions will only ever continue to increase if we as a society do not place an emphasis on mental health and wellness.
I can only ever inform people about addiction from a superficial standpoint- you see ours is a world of Google and of Bing. Everything is a simple Google search away. I did not fully comprehend the complexities of addiction until I watched the 2018 film with Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet called a Beautiful Boy. The movie follows the lives of father, David Sheff, as he handles his son’s addiction to heroin. It shows the highs and lows of addiction, it explains that there are good days, and that people continue to use because of the way that high makes you feel- that sort of euphoria. But it was a brutally honest depiction, one that didn’t just end in recovery and togetherness… but one that ends in loss and pain and hardships.
One of my favorite quotes is one that describes Amsterdam by saying that it “is not the city of sin, but rather the city of freedom… it is simply with freedom that people sin.” I think of this whenever I hear stories about violence and drug addicts. You see, we aren’t exactly Amsterdam- but I think that it is for that exact reason that our crime rates are so much higher. It is because of the constant criminalization of our people… especially our people of color. Rather than being willing to help those that are involved in the drug trade- rather than understanding why people go to selling drugs rather than applying for traditional jobs, or rather than helping those who are in possession with things like rehab or AA support groups we put these people in prisons and continue a cycle of criminalization and… if we are to be completely honest, legalized slavery.