As you are likely to know, there is an opioid epidemic that is gripping the nation. Millions of people across our country suffer from addiction, and it could be possible that someone you know personally has a substance abuse problem. A staggering 19.7 million adults in the country are battling with this problem, and today I will list some things you can do to help combat this crisis.
First, be more open minded towards people who are struggling with addiction. Many people who have this problem are struggling to find help and open up as society views them as an outcast and puts the blame on them for having the problem. This stigma leads to shame and guilt, and the addicts don’t want to seek help out of fear of being mocked and excluded. Try to have a more positive outlook on people who are struggling with substance issues, as you never know what could have led them to their current situation, and maybe your kindness will have an impact on someone’s life and push them to seek help.
Second, stay sober yourself. During the teen years, the pressure to do drugs is very strong, and it is very easy to give in, either out of curiosity or wanting to be cool. However, it is extremely easy to become addicted and become dependent on substances, and even trying it once can be harmful to your body and could lead to addiction. If you have a tough life and believe that using substances could be a coping mechanism, this is misguided, as although you are provided with temporary relief, it will open up all kinds of new problems for you to deal with, including money, social exclusion, addiction, overdose, and mental issues.
Third, if you know anyone who is struggling with substance issues, please encourage them to seek help and rehab. A lot of people who have found themselves dependant on a substance believe that there is no hope for sobriety and that no one wants to truly help them. Let them know that you are there for them, and try to have them meet up with a former addict or an addiction counselor. This will help change their view on their predicament and might change their lives for the better.
If you are an addict reading this, please know that there are people who care for you and want to see you win your battle and achieve sobriety. There are so many success stories of people overcoming drug addiction, and a lot of people want to see you be one of them. Don’t give up hope and try to seek counseling or rehab. A national helpline you can call to get help is 1-800-662-HELP (4357), it is free, confidential, and open 24/7.
By Matthew N Nguyen