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Are They Still Junkies? The Answer Is (Should Be) No. We Need to Change the Stigma for Addicts

Drug addicts hate the hole they’re in. They keep their addiction a secret so much because of the stigma. They should never be called junkies! They feel like they are in a dark, dark hole that they can’t get out of. It’s not like they love their life.

My daughter has been in a prison rehab for a year (RSAT) here in Georgia. She has completely changed and just two days ago she told me she felt like she was in a horrid, dark hole, in hell when she was using. She wanted to dig her way out, but didn’t know how. She gets out in 10 days. I have very mixed feelings about it. I want to be with her more and I want her to have a good life. But I’m also scared to death she’ll relapse.

People need to read a lot about addiction, so we can change the stigma. It’s a brain disease. It’s not like they can just make a choice to stop and it’s over. This disease changes the functionality and structure of the brain. Addicts are scorned by communities, even celebrities are exploited by the paparazzi. The government sees addiction as a disease, but counts most drug users as criminals.

Although there is a new law now, it’s the 911 Good Samaritan Fatal Overdose Prevention Law. As of July 15, 2015, thirtynine other states (AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, and WV) and the District of Columbia now have this law. So if someone is overdosing, they can call for help and they won’t be arrested, even if they are using, too. Nor will the person overdosing, even if they are on probation.

Even though they know addiction is a scenario that requires treatment, the system still prolongs stigmatization. And that contributes to addiction’s lethality. When using addictive drugs, they fill the limbic brain with dopamine. Therefore, they feel 5-10 times the normal level of pleasure. So they want to keep using and then they become addicted.

Most of them end up hating their lives, but they don’t want to go for help because they don’t want to be labeled a junkie, or a crackhead. A lot of times people think they’re just “low lifes” and they blame the addict for not just quiting. If you ask them, a lot of times, they say they just want to die instead of going for help. All that is because of the stigma.

The government spends so much money on imprisoning addicts instead of getting them to a rehab. They have spent millions on “the war on drugs”. When they should have been spending on new, free rehabs, prevention and educating people. Communities need to come together and help these people, instead of making them feel more worthless than they already do. Again, it’s the stigma.

Warning – This video shows a real overdose and how they bring her back. It also shows how Naloxone gets the drugs off the receptors in the body.

They’re always told, “once an addict, always an addict”. So how are they supposed to go forward and have a productive life? Any other disease that we’re in recovery of, makes us proud. People in recovery of addiction, face ongoing stigma and discrimination every day. Employment, education, insurance and the ability to vote are all destined to result in discrimination.

For those in recovery, they should be able to get a job, get help with housing and their kids. Having struggled with addiction in the past, shouldn’t make their life so hard now. A LOT of addicts had childhood trauma. Some were physically or emotionally abused. Some lived with addict parents, some were sexually abused, some were neglected. They grow up with so much anxiety and sometimes clinical depression. So they turn to “self-medication” and end up an addict. So, don’t you think the stigma should disappear?

A lot of times addiction is linked to a mental disorder, such as ADD, ADHD, PTSD and more. They struggle with these and then they finally find a drug that helps them feel better, so of course they don’t want to quit. And then they become addicted. They still need to know we love them.

There’s more deaths due to overdosing than vehicle crashes. Every year in the United States, over 40,000 people die from this. Nearly 9 out of 10 poisoning deaths are caused by drugs. The worst drugs are heroin, meth, pain pills and now the new one, NBOMe. It’s a hallucinate drug made from chemicals and it’s making them very violent and paranoid.

Now in some states we can get Naloxone (Narcan) Kits to help the person overdosing on opiods. If they are unresponsive, we give them a shot or a nasal spray of this and it brings them back. But you have to call 911 right away, this only lasts about an hour and it can send some into withdrawal. But it saves their life. We need to get this into the hands of people that are likely to be around addicts. I have one, myself I got from TheAddictsMom. It only took a few minutes for her to tell me how to use it.

I hope we can all come together and stop the stigma of addiction. Addicts are good people. They deserve to have a good life. They need to be sent to rehab instead of prison. I hope they all get the help they need. Spreading the word about this horrible stigma should help.

If you have any questions for me, or want to talk, please just leave a comment or email me. I wish I could help every addict!