Talk, listen, love: We need to enlighten America about addiction

One American dies every nine minutes from an opioid overdose. Every NINE minutes. We can pass the blame around from big pharma to Washington to doctors to the drug addicts themselves, but the biggest issue isn’t who to blame. The biggest issue is this: Why is America so susceptible to addiction?

And it’s really interesting to think about. Addiction rates have not risen that much in metropolitan areas (think Los Angeles, Austin, Chicago, New Orleans). It is rural America, particularly in the rust belt, that has seen a dramatic rise in addiction and overdose rates. You have to ask yourself, why?

Maybe it’s because in the city, we are more aware of what drugs can do because we have so much experience with them. While in rural America, people are less aware of what an opiate is and what it can actually do to your body.

Or maybe it’s because rural America is way more trusting than urban America. If your small-town doctor tells you to take something because it will help alleviate your pain, you are going to take it. In larger cities, we have an abundance of doctors with varying opinions, and we don’t always end up taking their advice anyways.

Part of figuring out why we are so susceptible to addiction is figuring out how we can prevent the next drug plague. Because there WILL be a next one. We have to get to the root of the problem.

We need to enlighten America about addiction. Addiction is real. Addiction is a disease.

Even if the death rate does go down as awareness rises about the dangers of opioid use, will Americans be enlightened about addiction?

I have met so many parents of children who have died from addiction and they still don’t believe that addiction is real. That is simply amazing to me. How can we be that incapable of truly understanding that we have a problem? I have heard so many excuses:

-It’s not a real condition

-It’s a lack of will power

-It’s the inability to say no

-It’s the lack of character

Let me tell you something. There are a lot of people in America who lack character, but they don’t become drug addicts. So why do we keep believing that only weak, immoral, unethical people become drug addicts. It’s just not true.

There are a lot of people in America who lack character, but they don't become drug addicts. So why do we keep believing that only weak, immoral, unethical people become drug addicts. It's just not true.Click To Tweet

Becoming a drug addict affects your morality, your character. It affects your ability to be ethical – and it is simply based on a genetic predisposition and trauma. I have never believed this more than I do in the current state of America.

What is the trauma you ask? We are a society that hates each other. We are not united together as one, we are playing out our trauma cycles on each other. Whether it’s spousal abuse, selfishness and greed, or hating someone because they have differing opinions.

Hate comes from fear. Fear comes from trauma.

Again, we live in a society that is so hateful to one another, that we shoot each other for absolutely no reason. We have to start looking at the root cause of this sickness, this disease. Why do differing opinions create so much hate in us that we want to destroy people?

I truly believe this is the journey of the 21st century for America. Because unless we can solve this problem of hate, we are well on our way to becoming a third world country. We have to start talking, start listening, and start loving each other again.

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