To the Editor;
In the last year, B.C. suffered unprecedented drug overdose death counts. In many straight minds there remains the preconceived notion that drug addicts are but weak-willed and/or have somehow committed a moral crime. I used to be one who, while sympathetic, would look down on those who’d ‘allowed’ themselves to become addicted to alcohol and illicit drugs. Then I researched addiction and reflected, and thus began to understand that serious life trauma, notably adverse childhood experiences, is usually behind a substance abuser’s debilitating lead-ball-and-chain self-medicating.
Generally, there’s a formidable reason why a person repeatedly consumes and gets heavily hooked on an unregulated often deadly chemical that eventually destroys their life and even that of a loved-one. It all doesn’t happen out of boredom.
The greater the drug-induced euphoria or escape one attains from its use, the more one wants to repeat the experience; and the more intolerable one finds their sober reality, the more pleasurable that escape should be perceived. By extension, the greater one’s mental pain or trauma while sober, the greater the need for escape from reality, thus the more addictive the euphoric escape-form will likely be. Sadly, the pain of their reality may be so overwhelming that even the most extreme and potentially permanent form of escape — suicidal behavior — is sometimes chosen.
Regardless, we now know pharmaceutical corporations intentionally pushed their very addictive opiate pain killers — the real moral crime — for which they got off relatively lightly, considering the resulting immense suffering and overdose death numbers.
Frank Sterle Jr.
White Rock, B.C.
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