I read the article Heroin Addiction Explained: How Opioids Hijack the Brain from the New York Times, written by Shreea Sinha and Jennifer Harlan – link provided below. They interviewed people who had used and been addicted to opioids at some point in their lives, but were now in recovery, as well as their family members. They also interviewed doctors and the family members of deceased opioid users. Throughout the article, they detailed the process of becoming sober from the perspective of the users, and included comments from doctors.
I can see that in this article, they focused more on the emotional aspects of being addicted to something as strong as opioids to appeal more to people’s sympathetic sides, but they didn’t include many stats or facts about the addiction, how it’s affecting our economy and society today and who is contributing to the growing epidemic. I believe this is very important for people to read anyway though because not many people, especially people who grew up privileged like I did, know the real life effects of these drugs and why people will keep going back to them if they don’t have help. Addictions like these can affect any person in the world if they happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and are offered it. It only takes a moment of weakness or peer pressure to start an addiction that can either last a life time or end a life.
Addiction is a disease and I believe more people should try to see it as this. While taking whatever drug for the first time is an unfortunate choice that can be avoided, once you start its incredibly hard to stop. One person in the article described their first time using opioids as receiving a hug from Jesus, and I can imaging why one would chase that sort of high up to their death. However, it can’t be achieved again since the brain begins to regulate itself after the first use until after a long time of using, the user isn’t even chasing the high anymore. The user is just trying to avoid withdrawal. While our medical system is improving and we are finding more ways to treat these patients, not enough is being done yet. Too many people are not getting the help they need, too many families are being destroyed and too many are dying. Throughout the future I hope we can do more to help these people and I want to be a part of that help.