The following was a Letter to the Editor of one of our local Newspapers:
I am writing in response to an article written by your Reporter & Feature Writer regarding “Talking about Street Drug Use”.
In the past there was a huge educational movement that clearly stated “Just Say No”, meaning just say no to Drugs. One could debate the effectiveness of the program, but it seems to me there was much less death as a result of drugs back then, and I’m sure that was due to a number of factors.
Your Reporter’s statements are what one would expect from an admitted millennial. She makes statements such as “we aren’t always fair in the way we talk about users”, and “overdosing does not make you a bad person, or lesser than anyone else.” No, but it does make you dead. What is missing is the desire to make people responsible and accountable for their actions.
“For those who are addicts deserve our sympathy because for so many it’s not a choice, it is a disease” Well, actually, it is a choice. If you wake up one morning and discover you have cancer, that is a disease, and that was not a choice. But a drug user always has a choice. It’s a tough choice, but it is a choice nevertheless.
This really comes down to the “risk tolerance” of the individual. Why are we today so reluctant to tell somebody how to live to have a better life. The Reporter makes it sound like the greater injustice is that “people who overdose are being judged”.
“Their habit does not define them, but we let it, and this needs to stop.” Sorry, my judgement of them is not the worst thing to happen to them.
There is so much discussion today about the linkage between “drug addiction” and “mental health”. I wonder which came first. I suppose if you have mental health issues, you may be more prone to become an addict. On the other hand, if you become an addict, then a result will be mental health problems, since, clearly, an addict is not thinking clearly.
Another problem is our “party culture”. The assumption that if we are doing “substance abuse”, we are having “fun”, whether with alcohol or drugs. If we had a blackout on the weekend, it must have been a great time. This is a misguided notion that needs to be challenged.
A happy and fulfilling life can be had, but we need to responsibly build that life. We will get out of it what we put into it.
People Magazine recently printed an article called the “Faces of Heroin”. It states that in America somebody dies of an overdose every ten minutes. They included the faces of 130 people who died in 2017. Honour students, executives, grandparents, and newlyweds. The one thing they all had in common, is that they thought they were smart enough not to become a victim of drugs.
Your Reporter ends her commentary with the statement “The more we talk about it, the less stigma there will be, and in turn, the less we will see these unnecessary deaths occur.” As if it is the stigma that is responsible for the death.
People are responsible for their own actions. Their beliefs need to be challenged if they think they are immune to the dangers of drugs. The quality of your life does depend on your decisions.
If you say “No” to drugs, you will not be a victim.