EDFP posts photos of arrested citizens in our papers and on FaceBook where local gossips sling verbal darts vehemently. Guilt is implied before they ever see a judge. Most folks have already drawn their conclusion: if they are in the paper, they must be guilty.
Families suffer seeing loved ones on the front pages and must then go out into the community to face employers, co-workers, clients, neighbors, classmates and friends. In the eyes of the public, they are often seen to be as guilty as their loved one is presumed to be.
We are shown a one dimensional criminal. Did they wake up one day and say, “I think I’ll be an addict and a thief?” Our addicts come from every possible background -- no one is exempt. Everything that came before is now tainted. The stigma now has a life of its own, but it lacks understanding of the nature of the epidemic.
Recommended Viewing: “Is Addiction Really A Disease?” Dr. Kevin McCauley (YouTube). Medical science has proven that in addicts, the mid-brain is over-stimulated by substances. The user with this condition soon loses access to the frontal lobe which controls behavior: ethics/judgment/compassion. He will give up everything and everyone to get his drug of choice.
This video was life-changing for me. It helped me to not hate my addict, but to hate the addiction instead. In the fall, I felt compelled to start a support group: ELKO PARENTS OF ADDICTED ADULT CHILDREN. Partly for selfish reasons: I could not find meetings here that addressed the upheaval and grief of a parent of an addict. 99% of attendees are mothers who live in anguish, helplessly standing by while our addict spirals out of control before our eyes. Over 40 people have joined.
Finally, we are not alone in our suffering. Meanwhile, families are torn apart: parents are raising grandchildren, mothers struggle with no support and our jails are full. It is heartbreaking for those who love an addict. It seems, EDFP, that you are only making a bad situation worse. “Justice and judgment often lie a world apart.”