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What makes some people addicts and others not?
That’s a great question and one that I’m sure more and more of us are asking as the number of deaths by overdose has been skyrocketing in recent months.
At dinner the other night, a group of us (who also just so happen to work in the behavioral health field) were discussing this question: Why do some of us grow up to be “normal” while others of us become hooked on some substance to such a degree that we are no longer able to function with even the slightest degree of normalcy?
Is it genetics? If so, then how can there be such variance within families, with only certain cousins, brothers, nieces, etc. manifesting an addiction?
Is it a question of morals? Do some of us just have a better character by which we choose the higher road? We do as Nancy Reagan recommended and always “just say no” to substances.
Or is it just entirely random? Forget genetics and morals, Fate be damned; in the end, it’s just luck of the draw – there is no explaining it.
Sorry to say, as intelligent as we like to think ourselves and despite our good intentions, my friends and I were unable to come to any conclusive response to our question.
One thing was clear to us, however. Addiction is real and it’s deadly. Regardless of who manifests it and why or how, people are dying – at an alarming rate. And given that addiction is so perplexing and its cause seemingly so elusive, the problem warrants an equally complex set of solutions.
The menu of options currently available is helping some, but it’s still failing far too many. We as a community need to get creative in how we are combating addiction. No non-violent option should be kept off the table and addiction services should be a top-priority on every budget right now, for the benefit of public health and public safety.
This is no time to “make do”. We need to fight for services like our lives depend on it – because they do.
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