By Rylee McDonal ~ Copy Editor
Drug addiction is a disease that affects many Americans to this day. As of 2020, 11.9% of Americans 12 and older use illegal drugs. However, the most difficult part about information like this is that among these people, very few receive the help they need.
In my personal experience with someone close to me who was affected by this disease, it was a very difficult thing to overcome this issue alone. Not only did they suffer from drug addiction, but they also had another battle involving their mental health.
This was a difficult thing to overcome, and it was not always easy to help them. There would be days where they would be angry and aggressive, and some days they would hardly leave the house. However, through it all they were able to come out on top and have a life beyond this one label.
There is a stigma among Americans that when someone is a drug addict they are disgraceful and this attitude is part of the reason why it is so difficult for people to receive treatment. This was also an issue that occured in my experience, as trying to get them help was difficult due to their behavior.
However, the key thing to remember is who they were before these unfortunate circumstances. They may be doing something awful for their own physical health, but at some point they stop having control over what they do. Eventually, the need for the substance overcomes the need to keep themselves healthy.
A story that I remind myself of is the story of the lion with the thorn in its paw. The lion is a ferocious animal, yet was incapacitated by something as small as a thorn. Without help, the lion was unable to overcome the thorn and was unable to really do anything.
When the lion received help, it was able to heal and function as it normally would and showed gratitude to the one who helped it. Gratitude alone is not a reason to help someone, especially when the thorn is in the form of drugs and substance abuse.
The reason behind this story is to show that anything can be brought down by something we may not see as significant, regardless of how strong they are. As well, when someone is afflicted with such a disease that we help them, without a second thought.
We should not automatically see addicts as these embarrassing creatures, we should see them as wounded. Especially if it is someone close to us, whether it be a family member or friend, we should offer help and support them. We must remember that not everyone has the same circumstances and situations as ourselves and be able to offer support to those who need it.