While we can acknowledge the problem, no one really understands what a family must endure on a daily basis.
I wonder how hard is it to know that your child or spouse has a drug problem and watch them walk out the front door at night.
The terror of where they are, what are they doing, who are they with is paralyzing. Going to bed for the evening, wondering if that phone is going to ring, and hoping it rings with the ictiovoice saying, “please come get me”, versus the alternative.
In addition to dealing with addiction, the life style of the addict is something that the spouses, parents and siblings have to endure on a daily basis. The stealing, the DUI’s, the arrests, sentencing, convictions, bail, probation, court costs, rehabilitation costs – the pressure is unbelievable on families.
Addiction does not affect just the addict. The entire family is pulled into this. Some parents are relieved when their child or spouse is in jail because for the first time they know where he or she is and that they are alive.
Many of these individuals have been in and out of rehab several times. Some parents and spouses have paid several hundred thousand dollars in rehab costs to save their child or spouse. Some are bankrupt from the process. Some parents have more than one child addicted. Some parents have more than one child who has died. This is more than anyone should have to endure.
This is one bad choice made by an individual that has caused a life of darkness, sadness, and despair and potentially death for himself and a life of horror for his family.
All the questions can be posed, fingers can be pointed and yet there is no clear answer. The addict has to hit bottom, the addict needs to want help, the addict needs to stay in a program, and the addict needs to work on this every day of their lives.
There are many who have crawled out of the hole to live productive and fulfilling lives. But those numbers pale in comparison to those that do not make it.
I still believe that educating parents and getting to the child at an early age is a good line of defense. Not the only one –but a start. The sweet spot for experimentation and addiction is age 12-15. Just say “No” doesn’t work.
We need many things in our states. One is a real-time prescription monitoring system that works and that physicians must use. We need to track who is writing the prescription, what they are for, and where they are being dispensed. We have real-time reporting on Facebook, why not for prescription monitoring?
We need a Good Samaritan bill whereby those overdosing can get help without fear of arrest and prosecution. Prompt help by first responders can help reverse the overdose (opiate overdose only) by one simple injection of Naloxone. Legislators will veto the bill because they do not want to condone bad behavior. This is about savings lives – getting help for those in trouble.
We need factual statistics so we can know for a fact how many people have died in our cities from prescription/drug overdoses. The Coroner’s offices do not give out statistics because, for example, the cause of death may be recorded as “auto accident” but they were under the influence of a narcotic at the time. The statistics on national deaths by prescription drugs are based on studies done in 2007-2009. We need to know what is happening now – not four years ago.
We also need politicians to get their heads out of the clouds and hear the voices of the parents who are screaming for help and change in this state and across this country. They need to understand that this is a very real problem and needs addressing immediately.
We need one cohesive group, like M.A.D.D. Instead of chipping away at the problem on a grassroots level, we need to pull together and make large impact on a national basis.
Although this is devastating here– it’s equally as devastating in every city, in every state, across this country. This drug problem one of the biggest attacks on the American family and no one is exempt.
It does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter if you live on Park Avenue or the park bench. It has to be acknowledged, addressed and dealt with. Period.