There has been a story on the news and social media about a couple who overdosed in a car with a child in the back seat. A police officer decided to take a picture of the couple and share it. And sadly this story then has promoted many people to shame the couple and addicts in general. Do I agree with the couple and what they did? Absolutely NOT! What they did was wrongs, plain and simple. Many things that addicts do is wrong, they have a physical addiction that most people can not understand or relate to. The need for drugs is so strong it changes the person’s heart and soul and leaves the person as a shell of who they once where.
Addiction can and does take a very caring and loving person and changes them to a person who only cares about getting their next drug. The get physically sick during withdrawal and suffer from this withdrawal more than many people will understand. I don’t understand but I have seen the withdrawal first hand and now how horribly it affects a person. The only thing that helps them is using again, unless they seek or are forced to get medical attention and treatment.
I am very discouraged and upset with the response to this story and many other stories. My personal goal and the goal of many people that I know and work with to fight this health crisis is to help people. Shaming people DOES NOT help anyone. It hurts the child in that car, who one day may see that picture and the comments. It lowers the chance of the person getting the help they need to get clean from drugs.
I encourage everyone to learn more about addiction. Addiction affects so many people, it may not affect you personally but the chance of you knowing someone who is suffering from addiction is high. There are so many people suffering and hiding it that you don’t know who is suffering, it could be one of your loved ones. It could be your neighbor or someone you go to church with.
Please take time to learn about addiction and open your heart to show empathy. I am not saying to enable them in their addiction, but to show empathy. Try to understand and relate to the person and their loved ones who have so many sleepless nights waiting for a call that their loved one lost their battle.
I feel we need to have laws in place like other states that will force a person into treatment and recovery. I know several people who where jailed and that helped them to get clean. They where forced into it and treatment and help was available to them to work through the withdrawal. They where provided with the tools needed to help get clean. Many have to leave and start their lives all over to get clean.
Seeing someone suffering from addiction is horrible and heart wrenching. Waiting for that call and receiving that call is something that is so hard to explain. A young life that was ripped apart, their heart changes as they are conquered by this demon.
Though a mountain of research proves addiction to be a disease of the brain, not a character flaw, the stigma surrounding it is still highly prevalent in society.
…vicious cycle: People abuse substances to cope with shame, and substance abuse is perpetuated by feelings of shame surrounding their addiction. What’s the solution?
A few organizations that I personally know and support are listed below. There are many others like these.