Generally, society does not agree on how to respond to drug abuse, but with the recent surge in awareness of addiction, there has been an increase in unity. Not only are people realizing that not addiction impacts people on a personal level regarding emotion, but they understand that addiction changes basic brain chemistry as well.
In Fayetteville NC, you can expect to see the same rise in drug use, abuse, and addiction that has had an impact on the rest of the country. From rural areas to inner-city streets, addiction has been on the rise since 2003. What has finally caught the general public’s attention, however, is the synonymous rise in drug overdose deaths.
Between 2015 and 2017, every age group from 15-years to 65-years and older have seen an increase in drug overdose deaths. The age range capturing adults aged 25 to 34-years-old increased from 11,880 reported overdose deaths in 2015 to 17,400 overdose deaths in 2017. These are alarming numbers, and finally, society is asking how to handle drug abuse and addiction to impact that statistic.
It’s a loaded question. What can society, or the general public do in response to the increase of drug addiction? Can they do anything? Yes, the response to drug addiction can have a massive impact on an individual.
Step One: Identifying Addiction as a Disease Which is a Public Health Issue
Although many people still find it hard to navigate the discussions of addiction, identifying it as a disease offers a lot of clarity. For those who have not experienced addiction, there is the myth that it’s a moral failure. That the people who experience addiction make poor choices again and again. Like many myths, there is some truth behind it. Recovering addicts understand that they must take responsibility for their choices. However, addiction does not start that way.
The stigma that surrounds addiction has made innumerable people avoid seeking treatment. Instead, they often choose to ignore or act as if their dependence isn’t impacting the people around them.
The general public is learning more about drug addiction and its impact on public health and safety. Individuals can make more informed decisions about how they interact with people abusing drugs in their life.
Many people are compelled to state that approaching drug use through a public health route, rather than relying on the criminal justice system will prove more effective.
Step Two: Focus on Eliminating Shaming and Enabling Behavior
Very few people who experience addiction achieved that on their own. Enabling behavior can be as blatant as a friend offering drugs, or pressuring a non-user to try something new, to a parent allowing a drug abuser to live at home rent-free. The issue with identifying enabling behavior is that it often seems compassionate. Compassion is different than enabling, and compassion is something that society should deliver to those who are in recovery.
Moving into the second aspect of behavior here, shaming. Compassion is the appropriate response to interacting with someone facing addiction in a one-on-one environment. It’s difficult, as many people who haven’t experienced addiction can’t understand it completely.
One key way to begin changing the language around both of these behaviors is to reframe the conversation. Instead of referring to the people experiencing addiction as they/them/you, turn it around. Listen to that person and refer to the group of people in need of help rather than the individual in front of you.
Step Three: Support Reputable Treatment and Avoid Ineffective Treatment
The people who support their family members, friends, coworkers, or peers in recovery seeking out the treatment are on the right track. Unfortunately, not every recovery or treatment center is made equal.
Often the reputable treatment centers are expensive, and unattainable by people that need help. Forbes recently dove into this topic and found that the recovery industry makes unmarked profits and shuffles recovering addicts into a free 12-step program.
Of the many issues brought up in attributing, support for effective treatment was the lack of credentials, pricing, and treatment methods.
What can society do? When approaching addiction as a disease, which requires treatment, the focus shifts to a clinical perspective. Treatment centers that use science, as well as anecdotal evidence, can support their claims to success with quantifiable information.
The awareness of drug addiction, especially through America, has increased. It’s quite possible that this awareness will lead to the shift in society’s perception of drug use that the recovery community needs. With support from the general public and the concern on public safety, many recovering addicts will have a better chance at long-term recovery.
If you are seeking help, or want to start your road to recovery, contact Rehab Carolinas for help today.