Drug addiction is a real problem that requires a real solution. For a long time, the solution has focused on getting drugs off the street, criminalizing both the supply and use of drugs. Although this still happens now, there is a stronger focus on treating drug addiction as a disease, a disease that people need help with. Those who have a genuine desire to make the world a better place use various tools and processes, as well as examples from celebrities in order to help others beat the disease that torments them so.
Chris Kelly, half of the Kris Kross rap duo, recently died as a result of a combination of heroin and cocaine. Many rehabilitation experts feel his death was completely unnecessary, as treatment was out there to help him. However, the past cannot be changed and it is hoped that Kelly’s death can be used as an example to help others who find themselves in a similar situation.
If you know someone who is using heroin and cocaine, approach them with love, rather than judgement. These are human beings that are suffering who need humane help.
It goes back to understanding that addiction is a disease that anybody can fall victim too. It isn’t something that is only prevalent amongst people who live on the streets. In fact, the vast majority of those who live on the streets do so because they became addicted when they still had a regular home and job and they didn’t receive the support when it was needed.
Drug Court – Faces of Addiction
Another very important issue is that those who successfully complete a drug rehab program continue to receive the support that they require afterwards in order to stay off the drugs. In Utah, a program known as Drug Court shows previous addicts the “faces of addiction”.
In Utah, many of those pictures are taken after an addict completes Drug Court, one of the biggest hurdles on the path to sobriety. Those “before” mugshots serve as a reminder of who they never want to be again.
The aim of the program is to celebrate sobriety, rather than focus on the poor choices made in the past. The pictures taken are a clear reminder of how far people have come, and what would happen should they make wrong choices again. The program, which started running in 1996, has been incredibly efficient, as well as being cost-effective.
The Magdalene Program
The Magdalene Program is designed specifically for women who deal with addiction, but also those who are trapped in prostitution or violent relationships. All too often, these three issues are closely related. The Magdalene Program seeks to offer constructive help to these women, in a non-judgmental manner.
The program lasts two-years. [...] Food, medical care, therapy, and education and jobs training are provided.
The program has been so successful that since it was first started in 1997, and has now expanded to a total of six homes across Nashville. Having been proven to work, others have been inspired by the model and it looks like the first Magdalene home will soon be opened in St Louis as well.
Drug addiction is an illness, not a lifestyle choice. It is imperative that the onus is taken off the criminalization of users and addicts, and that they are given the help they so desperately need in order to get better. Each drug addict is a member of society who should be given the opportunity to make positive contributions to their own lives and to communities. This is not achieved by judging them for their choices, but rather by understanding their motivations and showing them a different path.