Addiction affects people all over the world. It does not specifically prey on people of certain races, social standings, careers or those with a specific lifestyle. It is a disorder that can impact anyone. The truth is that there is likely someone in your life who currently or has suffered from an addiction.
While there are circumstances that could make substances like alcohol and drugs more available and enticing, we need to end the stigma that an addiction comes from weakness and a lack of self-control. Addicts of all backgrounds should have access to the help that they need to recover from substance abuse disorder and should be treated with support instead of judgement. But first, we need to recognize that addicts can come from anywhere.
The current opioid epidemic has been referred to as a public health emergency. A drug overdose is the leading cause of death in America, resulting in more fatalities than car accidents or gun violence. This means that more than 50,000 Americans are dying due to a drug overdose each year, a figure which has tripled since 1990. (Psychology Today)
The language describing addiction as a matter of choice is harmful and further perpetuates the stereotypes associated with the illness. While the true cause of addiction is unknown, experts often refer to the nature/nurture debate. The combination of a family history of addiction and an environment that supports substance abuse increases a person’s chance of becoming an addict by 40-60%. (National Institute of Drug Abuse)
Question: How would you support a loved one that is experiencing addiction?
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