A recent incident on the TV news — NECN — seems to symbolize the issue(s) we have regarding the so-called opiate crisis. A young woman with her 2-year-old daughter was found lying on a store floor, the victim of a suspected opiate overdose, while her daughter tried to “wake her up.” She was administered Narcan, revived and taken to a hospital. From there she will be arrested, jailed and face several charges, according to the report.

What if instead of addiction this young woman was lying on the floor, the result of a seizure or heart attack or stroke. She would be taken to the hospital and then back home. No arrest. While we say addiction is a disease but ultimately treat it, still, as a crime. It’s no wonder then that we have this crisis.

Most people, including many in various positions of authority, believe that unlike stroke or a seizure the addict has chosen to do what they do. Continuing along this path will give us the same or worse results than we are experiencing now. Condemning the person with addiction to this antiquated approach assures us that the crisis will continue.

The cost of this is enormous. The larger problem, then, is not addiction itself but an inadequate approach to deal with it. The young lady on the floor, the victim of a disease, not of her choice or bad choices, will most likely continue to suffer because what she needs is long-term recovery care and a compassionate approach, neither of which will be available in jail.

Continuing to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results is the major reason we are in this crisis. When will we ever learn?

Robert Creamer


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