Addiction Awareness Essay 2017 1st Place Winner – Sierra Abdullaj
To me, he was the fun uncle who always drove me to the library. To them he was the best dad, brother, and son in the world. But to himself, something was not right. He needed a way to escape. On Sep 3, 2012, my uncle overdosed on cocaine; making him another statistic. He is now one in about 40,000 people to overdose on drugs during that year (National Institute of Drug Abuse).
My biggest issue is that my uncle’s cause of death was kept a secret to me and my cousins. Why would they not want us to know he was struggling? Addiction is serious and had we known ahead of time, maybe this could have been prevented. That is in the past, and now we have to think about the present and future. So much can be done to address this epidemic the United States is experiencing. This is just my story, but it has impacted me greatly and has led me to want to make a change in how society views addiction.
Addiction does not just affect the individual or family, but it has a huge toll on the community and all of society. Crime rates increase due to the use of drugs and alcohol. People are involved in accidents that kill innocent people. Can this be stopped? Maybe, maybe not. There is something we can do though. If we start educating people on the effects and outcomes that come with substance abuse, we could make a difference. Another thing is the financial burden that goes with drug and alcohol treatment, injuries, and overdoses. We are suffering to pay for those who have been suffering long enough.
Most individuals suffering addiction do not realize it is a problem until it has completely taken over. To me, addiction is a disease. These people are in disguise every day, and we do not know who is affected. The solution to this problem starts with offering support and treatment options to all those battling with addiction. I feel that I, as a human being, have to be on the lookout for warning signs around me. If we, as people, became open to the idea of treating all individuals who have or still are experiencing addiction, we could reduce the effects it has on society. There would be less families grieving over the loss of a loved one, less financial burdens on the government, less crimes taking a toll on society, and the list goes on.
How does the media portray substance abuse and addiction? There is a stigma associated with those individuals who are recovering; they are looked down upon for their past actions. If movies and television showed what truly goes on and the hardships of overcoming addiction, we would perceive it quite differently. Shows, like Shameless, are starting to portray addiction for what it really does to society. You see families being torn apart, work and school life being affected, and even unexpected deaths occurring. We can take what we see on television to the real world and try and help those who are suffering. Support groups are an important resource, and programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous allow people to come forward and face their addiction. We should do everything we can to help those people and also reduce the effects addiction has on society.
With so many celebrities overdosing, you would think the world would want to make a difference. This is something I am really passionate about because maybe had my family known about my uncle’s addiction we could’ve gotten him the help he needed; instead we are affected by the outcome and lingering on the ways we wish we could’ve made a difference. There is time for change in our world. We need to act appropriately towards helping people battling with addiction because it is no joke. The more that we educate the youth on substance abuse and offer our support to those in rehab, the less of a burden society will have to endure. I would love to see the world without drugs and alcohol, but for now all we can do is promote awareness about the risks and dangers associated with addiction. I will never forget my Uncle Mike, and I am making a promise to him to help those struggling just as he was.
Abuse, National Institute on Drug. “Overdose Death Rates.” NIDA, 15 Sept. 2017, www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates.