August 7, 2016
A lot of questioning has been directed at how to confront and handle drug and alcohol addicts in the nation. With more than twenty-three million American addicted to drugs and alcohol, it is very likely that you know someone who is addicted to one or more of these substances. If that person is very close to you, odds are you are quite worried about them and you want to do something to help them.
We definitely do know at this point, (now that we have studied certain projects and programs), that if you are kind and supportive and empathetic to addicts and treat them like human beings that are loved, you will get good results. If you do things like provide clean needles, provide opportunities for people to reverse overdose with emergency Naloxone or something like it, provide safe injecting spaces for them, then you are becoming the addicts friend and ally and in doing these things you are not prolonging addiction. Many different areas all across the country have now started doing things like the above, and in each and every test group and geographic area, the drug abuse problem in that area, did not increase.
We then have to ask ourselves, if tough love was the answer to our problems then the above techniques would be things that should all prolong and increase addiction, yet it was found that the exact opposite of that was what was true. Applying love and compassion to individuals who are abusing drugs and alcohol is a far more effective way than treating them poorly or like second class citizens instead. That actually rarely works and instead just makes things worse.
Statistics on the Matter: Why We have to Effect Change Now
The drug abuse problem is really getting out of control and now more than ever we have to focus on getting the problem taken care of and getting it taken care of as quickly as is possible before it is too late. We can’t afford to keep arguing about what the best way to address addiction is; rather ,we simply need to take action and address it now, before it is too late.For example:
• Misuse and abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs affects society through costs incurred secondary to crime, reduced productivity at work, and health care expenses amongst other things.
• The overall costs of alcohol abuse amount to no less than $224 billion annually, with the costs to the health care system accounting for approximately $25 billion of that figure alone.
• Substance abuse in the form of illicit drug use and prescription drug abuse costs the health care system about $11 billion, with overall costs reaching $193 billion.
• Substance abuse and addiction also affects other areas too, such as broken families, destroyed careers, death due to negligence or accident, domestic violence, physical abuse, and child abuse just to name a few.
• Drug abuse and addiction changes your brain chemistry and your outlook on life. The longer you use your drug of choice, the more damage it creates and the harder it is to go back to a “normal” state during and after time spent in rehab beating the addiction.
• Drug abuse and addiction is a chronic, relapsing, compulsive disorder that often requires formal treatment, and may call for multiple courses of treatment in the long run too.
• According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, (NSDUH), approximately no less than 27 million Americans, or 10.2% of the American population over the age of 12 to be exact, reported using illicit drugs in the year of 2014.
• The NSDUH also estimated that about 28.7 million people or 10.9% of the population over 12 drove while intoxicated at least once in the year of 2013.
• An estimated 6.5 million Americans over the age of 12 reported current, non-medical use of prescription drugs, such as painkillers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives just to name a few.
• Estimates showed to us that in 2014, nearly 140 million Americans over the age of 12 were, at the time, currently using alcohol, with 16.3 million having reported heavy alcohol use in the prior month alone, and 60.9 million having reported binge drinking in the prior month alone, all reflecting an increase from previous years too.
Handling the Problem
We can help those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol with a firm yet kind outlook. We don’t need to be cruel or authoritative towards them. With a gentle yet strong and unrelenting approach we can get those in the nation who are addicted to drugs and alcohol into and through rehabilitation programs and out the other end in such a way that they will stay clean and sober for years to come.
The use of compassion, understanding, and love is more important now than ever. Very rarely is anything positive ever accomplished with threats, duress, punishment, or stigmatism. With a caring yet unrelenting hand on the shoulders of addicts everywhere, we can finally do something about this addiction problem and truly create positive change in those who are addicted.