Addiction is an equal opportunity disease. It affects beautiful, talented Hollywood actors. It affects disenfranchised youth. It plagues the lives of young and old, rich and poor, men and women and people of every ethnic color. It would be hard to meet someone whose life has remained untouched in any way by the problem. In the U.S. an average of 6,748 people are admitted to hospital emergency rooms for drug-related visits and 105 people fatally overdose – every single day. It’s a health issue that touches everyone, from celebrities to co-workers. But what can we do about this tragedy that affects us all?
Show Some Grace
It’s past time for the stigma to end. Yes, individuals make choices, but addiction is also strongly influenced by environment and genetics. You don’t know how you would respond in the very same situation. Be thankful your life is what it is and have compassion toward those who have stumbled. We don’t look down on those with cancer or asthma. People struggling with addiction deserve the same kind of grace.
Treatment for medical issues sometimes lasts a lifetime. Diabetics must monitor diet and exercise. People with heart disease have to watch cholesterol and sometimes take drugs to correct imbalances. Those with addiction also require monitoring and management for the rest of their lives.
Get Behind Research
Americans are ready to promote research for cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease. It’s time to put the same kind of support behind mental health and addiction treatment research. Those in treatment and recovery are working to overcome addiction to alcohol, prescription drugs and illicit substances. They need and deserve our best efforts to help them.
Open Your Eyes
If you think you don’t know anyone with addiction, take another look around you. This is a problem that affects over 22 million Americans, and some of them are in your office, your church, your school, your neighborhood. Rather than shrug off someone’s sudden isolation, irritability or habit changes take a closer look. Be willing to walk toward someone rather than away. Everyday people can make a difference, but they have to decide that they will.