March 20, 2011

What Can One Person Do?

I just read Ross's blog, Life of a Recovering Addict, and suggest that everyone read it today.  Ross was an addict who is now in recovery and seeing things from a new perspective, and with a clear mind and a huge heart.  He wants what we all want - change.

We all want for there to be less heroin/opiate deaths, less addictions, less ruined lives.

I get very riled up and passionate over this issue and it frustrates me to no end that our lawmakers and government don't recognize the severity of the problem.  Why is heroin allowed to be imported by the ton into our country in the first place?  Why is it so easy for kids to get their hands on Oxycontin?  Why does a family have to go into debt for years to afford drug treatment?  Why are addicts thrown in jail without an opportunity for rehabilitation?  Why do other diseases get funding and research but addiction (even though the AMA defines it as a disease) is still treated like a character defect rather than a life threatening epidemic?

Obviously nothing is going to be done about this (unless maybe some high up government officials start losing their children to it) so what can we do?  Ron, An Addict in Our Son's Bedroom,  is the perfect example of what one person can do.  He's talking to schools and writing for the Partnership for a Drug Free America.  Each of us that write a blog is doing something by bringing awareness to whoever reads our blog.  Those that are willing to openly share about what's  happening to their family are making a difference by bringing the problem to light.

Many of us would probably like to do more - but what?  I guess we have to ask ourselves that question and see what ideas come to mind.  Unfortunately the people that are most passionate about stopping addiction are the one's  directly impacted by it and therefore we are struggling on a day to day basis to find some balance and can't take on one more thing.

But never forget that one person can make a difference.  Here's a personal story that illustrates this.  Way back in the early 80's a friend and I learned that tuna fisherman used nets that also trapped and killed thousands of dolphins.  Being major dolphin lovers we were so horrified by this that we could not sit by and do nothing.  We joined every organization for animals rights we could find, but it didn't feel like enough.  So we decided to take it upon ourselves to make people aware and get them to stop buying tuna.  This was long before computers could make fancy fliers, so we did our best to make something presentable, a flier that alerted people of the issue.  We made hundreds of copies and spent our weekends going all over the place to different grocery stores putting our fliers on cars and on the shelves with the tuna!  So did I play a role in changing the laws that prevented fisherman from killing dolphins along with tuna?  I wouldn't go as far to say that, but I believe I did bring awareness to hundreds of people that may have not heard about it otherwise and gave them the option to add their voice.

We keep hearing of deaths and ruined lives....we all live with the nightmare in our own families.  How much longer till something happens to stop the drugs from being so available and to make treatment more affordable?  And, most importantly, persuade young people never to try it in the first place.

Peace, Hope and Love, Barbara


BMelonsLemonade said...

You know, I was speaking with a good friend today, who is also in recovery. Well, methadone...but he is a chronic pain patient, too and the methadone has really done wonders for him. (He has HIV, broke his back, and has fybromyalgia.) Anyway, we talked about this statistic from the NIDA, "23% of all people who use heroin will become addicted." My friend said, "If more people knew this statistic, I wonder if they would still try it?" And then, he said, "On the opposite side of that, once you try is so good that you want more." Once you try it, you do not care about getting addicted. I knew what would happen when I tried it...I had been doing all kinds of drugs for years. And when I first tried it, I think I wanted to be addicted. I did not understand what addiction really was, and since I had been getting high for years...addiction did not seem that scary. Or bad. The heroin addicts I knew seemed all right to me. And when I started using the needle several years later, I think in many ways, I wanted to die then. I was just too afraid to pull the trigger. Instead, I tested the waters of death, a little slice into my soul at a time. I guess now, I am glad I did not simply pull the trigger, because I am glad to be alive, now. But, I often would my life be different if I never tried it?

Tori said...

I am going through this same thing. A guy at work and tried and tried to get in schools and talk with Parents. Oxi was huge here and the when it became to hard and expensive to get most of these kids went to heroin.

Problem is no one wants to here it. We are still working on it and trying to get to where we can talk with Parents but it isn't easy.

I love Ross' blog.

Midnitefyrfly said...

It is just a sad and scary cycle. To be honest, at least with the oxy's kids knew what and how much of it they were getting. Its so dangerous not knowing where the H came from or whats in it.

I don't know if my son will ever try hardcore drugs, but I know that he will have the opportunity. They are everywhere and I just don't understand the damn stigma of it all.

There are so many legal drugs that are over prescribed and abused. It seems everyone has something that they need one pill or another for.

I personally believe that illicit drug use turns so ugly because of the criminal element- the means necessary to acquire the drug, the outrageous prices, the outrageous profits that someone, somewhere, is making illegally, and willing to protect at scary lengths.

Alcohol is a very dangerous and destructive "substance" for people that are addicted to it and it causes so many deaths every year. Yet it is taxed and glorified and sold on a shelf and assumed to be used responsibly (but is abused constantly), but it isn't sold in dark allies anymore, it isn't stored in secret warehouses, guarded by semi-automatic weapons, or shipped across borders in dead bodies.

What would it look like if people could go into a "drug store" and buy a balloon of H, or 20 sack of weed, or a dime bag of meth (you get the idea) and it was just assumed they were using it socially or responsibly, but they were no longer criminalized?

I guess the government has decided that drugs that make people feel too good, just are unacceptable. It makes sense to get them addicted to drugs that are manufactured and taxed and call it medicating (sarcasm here) and also make it unaffordable to many.

Yet, when someone self medicates because it makes them feel better and helps them cope, if they aren't paying taxes on it and getting it from their Dr., then they are a worthless junkie addict (or insert any other negative label here)

I'm angry about it. I am afraid for my son and I don't understand why people are afraid to talk about it. Why is it more important for things to look ok, then for them to actually be ok? I am hurting for all of the stories of the children who are already fighting this uphill battle.

I think everyone has some weakness for things that make them feel good... that piece of chocolate cake, a quickie in the morning before the kids get up, one or two too many drinks, but they are all legal.

Addicts are expected to give up their best friend, their greatest source of pleasure at one point, and judged and ridiculed for liking it. The ugliest part of addiction is the lying and stealing, trying to still make things look ok.

It kind of reminds me of someone falling in love outside the race, in a culture where arranged marriages are only accepted.

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