LETTER: Stigma prevents solutions for opioid crisis

I also understand the callous politics involved with this serious social issue…

To the Editor,

Though I haven’t been personally affected by the opioid addiction and overdose crisis, I have suffered enough unrelenting hyper-anxiety to have known and enjoyed the blissful release upon consuming alcohol and/or THC.

I also understand the callous politics involved with this serious social issue. Just government talk about increasing funding to make proper treatment available to low- and no-income addicts—however much it would alleviate their suffering—generates firm opposition by the general socially and fiscally conservative electorate.

The reaction is largely due to the preconceived notion that drug addicts are but weak-willed and/or have somehow committed a moral crime. (Seemingly forgotten is how pharmaceutical corporations intentionally pushed their very addictive and profitable opiates but sustained relatively light consequences for doing so via civil litigation.)

Ignored is that such intense addiction usually does not originate from a bout of boredom, in which a person repeatedly consumed recreationally but became heavily hooked on an unregulated, often-deadly chemical that eventually destroyed their life. Rather, it likely resulted from his or her attempt at silencing through self-medicating the pain of serious life trauma or PTSD.

I find that in this world a large number of people—however precious their lives—can be considered disposable. Then those people may begin perceiving themselves as worthless and consume addictive substances more haphazardly.

Although the cruel devaluation of them as human beings is basically based on their chronic self-medicating, it still reminds me of the devaluation—albeit perhaps subconsciously—of the daily civilian lives lost (a.k.a. “casualties”) in protractedly devastating civil war zones and sieges.

At some point, they can end up receiving a meagre couple of column inches in the First World’s daily news.

Frank Sterle Jr.,

White Rock