Browsing TikTok this morning I came across this incredible Ted Talk. Everything we need to understand and solve our drug epidemic is within this talk. So why haven’t we?
We set aside scientific studies, proven effective methods for helping people struggling with addiction and then wonder why we are in the midst of this epidemic. Why do we have hundreds of thousands of those who suffer from addiction in our federal, state and local prisons, why are they homeless, living on the streets. We decry the incredible amount of money spent on all of these issues. Yet, we really haven’t spent a dime on finding real solutions.
Perhaps it is the neanderthal belief that if you suffer from addiction, you aren’t worth helping. I see the criminal posts that shame those impacted, the ugly comments made by those with no better solutions than to isolate and blame. To share ignorance in the hopes that others will applaud their “high and mighty” opinion. While I never wish others to suffer, my hope is that these people find some way to understand the reality of the situation and that if we make outcasts of those with addiction issues, we further perpetuate the epidemic.
If you take the time to look at the studies, to see the actual benefits of investing in people and not prisons, maybe we could come together as they have in Portugal to offer real solutions. In the United States our legislators have difficulty with this concept. They aren’t really interested in saving the money to make real changes because that means some not so popular ideas. We chase votes and not solutions. Of course, if there is enough outcry, we will offer a tiny change for pacification, yet stop short of sweeping change that could make real impact.
To make the changes we all need, we need to be a community of people, lifting others up instead of trampling them under foot. Eradicate the stigma of not only addiction, but mental health in general. Stop shaming people. The community at large does not need to know every time law enforcement write a speeding ticket. We need to know what are we doing to fix this.
Open the doors, stop spending on prisons and start spending on people. Invest in the community that is our country and forget votes, do good while you can and the votes will come. Shut down ignorance with solutions. Our children, grandchildren, parents and even grandparents are dying and we act like we don’t care. Well, I do.
We can do better.