Drug Addiction Stigma: The Hardest Ones To Love Are Probably The Ones Who Need It The Most

June 17, 2018 | drugs

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Stigmas Associated with Addiction and Mental Health Is A Barrier to Asking For Help

drugs junkie alcoholic druggie rehab help detox treatment philadelphia bucks county

Philadelphia political candidate furthers stigma and discrimination on addiction.

Pictured above we see what the ugly effect of stigma can produce. It shows what ignorance and misunderstanding about addiction can do. A woman who was running for political office in Philadelphia thought it would be a good idea to shame and threaten a “junkie” she spotted from her window.

It did not end well for her because within hours almost 600 comments appeared on her post pointing out that this was a sick individual. While it was amazing to see so many spirited individuals taking it upon themselves to explain to her why she should not use the word “junkie” to describe people who are suffering from an addiction. It was still even more infuriating to see how many people supported her post.

Philadelphia is infamous for the area in Kensington, which has heroin encampments where addicts and alcoholics struggle to get by. It is very often referred to a real-life walking dead as individuals can be found all over nodding out from their opioid habit. These are the people that we have heard many ignorant terms about like “junkie,” “scumbag,” “druggie,” “dope fiend,” and the list goes on.

What we don’t talk about is how these individuals are also human beings. They were not always like this and if we think honestly about the scenario they now find themselves in do you really think they chose it? Maybe it started with a choice that should be looked it at, but from what we know about addiction today we know that it doesn’t continue to be a choice.

Who would willingly give up a job, relationships, family, money, a house, a car, and more to live on the streets of Kensington? Honestly take a minute or an hour and ponder that question. Did you do it? The answer is no one of course. Because what we know today is addiction is a disease with many factors rolled into it including genetics, age of first use, environment, and mental health issues.

If you ask someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol they usually didn’t start injecting needles of heroin into their veins on their first use. It was a progression that probably started with marijuana experimentation, alcohol usage at a party, and progressed from there. Maybe a traumatic event happened and the drugs were used as a coping skill.

Just like any sickness or illness, these individuals that are suffering on the streets using drugs every day need our compassion and love. Yes, their symptoms might be very ugly, but if we can use some understanding and practice kindness to shed this ugliness we can see a person who is very sick that needs help. Let’s help them.

“The hardest ones to love are probably the ones that need it the most”

If you or a family member is in need of assistance due to a drug or alcohol addiction please call us at 215-478-8047.

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