Most of the time when addiction is reported about or brought to a local level, the news stories can be mostly about the crime aspect instead of what addiction really is.
Addiction is a disease of the brain that can coax anyone who is under the influence of drugs and alcohol to do things that they would not normally do. Behind every face that is addicted is someone’s daughter, son, mother, or father. While there are many criminals that are addicted to drugs and alcohol, there are many others that do criminal acts that just need help with their addictive behaviors.
Using criminals as the face of addiction is a disservice to the community. With the opioid crisis that has been growing in our own backyards, we should be talking about what others are trying to keep under wraps to, ironically, preserve the dignity of the family or the person with addiction. This is the time to give up saving face and start putting a real face on addiction.
Instead of being drug dealers and low-income families that “represent” what addiction has been for so many years, addiction is not partial to anyone. Gender, race, sexual orientation, age, and status are not contradistinguished when it comes to addiction. The only choices in addiction are to not start at all or to get help from the anguish that addiction imparts. Once someone gets addicted, they do not have the choice to just stop. Their brain creates a mental disorder that tells them that they must get their next fix. This includes our sons and daughters that have been informed on what drugs and alcohol do to someone.
The face of addiction is much more than what the news has made it out to be. Any person that can get their hand on pills, alcohol, illicit drugs, or marijuana can become the face of addiction. Young kids that live in upper class neighborhoods are just as susceptible as middle-class teenagers, or adults in all stages of the life. The point is that addiction is prevalent in all our neighborhoods. We should change the negative stigma associated with addiction to be able to help those in need instead of letting people overdose in a covert fashion. Currently, we probably know someone that has a problem with drugs and alcohol. We owe it to them to change the face of addiction to that of a helpful hand.