Good day, readers. I am back from writer’s block. I have decided to speak about an issue that has affected my family in a big way:
There is an urban legend which states that bars give you a free alcoholic drink if you trade in your 30-day sobriety chip. While not proven to be true, I doubt you will find a bar that will admit to this. It is a pervasive idea that moral failings are the cause of addictive behavior. While choosing to try the first time is a choice, choice diminishes in subsequent drinking. The same is true for our nation’s current opioid crisis.
Kentucky is among states who are suing pharmaceutical companies for causing the current opioid crisis. What is the opioid crisis, you ask? Simple. Millions of people are overdosing on opioids. They are addicted. They are overtaxing the criminal justice system. They are overtaxing medical hospitals. And they are overtaxing families, including mine.
The opioid epidemic is not just some abstract out there for me. I have at least three known relatives addicted to the stuff. I’m not going to name them, because that is not the point. The point is, I know personally what an addiction is. It is wrong to say that addictions are rational. It is wrong to say addictions are reasonable. Addictions break all rules and regulations for that one thing which produces the high. As many of you know, and the medical community can attest, pregnancy’s fact that a child might be born in pain does not stop the mother. Many children are now born addicted to opioids and other drugs. They go through withdrawal as newborns, including the pain. I don’t personally know a person who this has happened to, but I know many out there do.
There is a reason the urban legend of the bar that offers a free drink for a 30-day sobriety chip persists. Many people believe businesses which give rise to addictions are perceived to be unscrupulous, including drug companies. There is a conspiracy theory out there that states drug companies keep people addicted to opioids to turn them into addicts, aka “good customers.” As a matter of fact, there are states banking on this new “sobriety chip drink.” Did the pharmaceutical companies leave addiction warnings off the table, as it once did for heroin? (Heroin was once an ingredient for medicines in the 19th and early 20th Centuries.)
For now, it is up to ourselves to watch our own bodies and addictions. For instance, my mother avoids using opioids when she is in too much pain. She has chronic pain, but prefers things that are not opioid forms of treatment. She is also not blind to the horrors of addiction and what it has caused our family.
I’m not lecturing to feel smug in the least, because I know it could happen to me, too. I am speaking in hopes of preventing another soul from becoming addicted to opioids, and possibly other drugs, too. (That has also happened in my family.) I am speaking in hopes of preventing another newborn baby from going through painful, uncomfortable withdrawal. I am speaking in hopes of keeping another family intact. I am speaking in hopes of saving lives. For when you become addicted, you lost your ability to just say no.