Addiction-Doing What is Best for the Community

addicton best for communityAddiction-Doing What is Best for the Community/Society
In a previous article I addressed the fact that there is mainly three ways of dealing with the addiction problem: Doing what is best for society, doing what is best for the addict, doing what is best for the addict and society. Not everything that is done for society is helpful for the addict (in regards to the addict being set free from addiction). Not everything done for the addict is ultimately good for society (if an addict is not set free, then society hurts). When looking at addressing the addiction problem, the ultimate goal should be what is best for society AND the addict.  (Read Article).

In this post I am going to address the concept of dealing with the addiction problem for the sake of the community or society. For many individuals all they seem to be interested in is what is best for their community. Some go as far as ‘who cares about the addict, it’s their fault and problem’. Others are much more compassionate but their main focus is what’s best for the community and hope along the way that the addict is also helped. Sadly others think that what they are doing is helping the addict but instead at times is only enabling the addict. Yes, short term the community may benefit from certain efforts but those efforts may not be effectively helping the addict to become addiction free. Society is harmed when individuals remain in their addiction.

Any program that has as its main emphasis to do what is best for the community, has a danger of being a program that is not effective long term in helping an addict to be set free. If the program’s number one goal is not to help addicts to be set free, then clearly the program’s number one goal is to do what is best for the community (even if they claim they are ‘helping addicts’.)

On the surface programs like Methadone Clinics, Suboxone Treatment, Safe Injection Sites, can to an extent be good for society, for a community. But do they ultimately help the addict? The answer is to a large extent no 9other than possibly suboxone treatment. The jury is not out yet if some of these programs effectively help society in the long term. (We will address this topic more in-depth in an upcoming article.)

What is interesting is that in regards to these type of programs, little is done to in regards to getting feedback from ex-addicts if they support such programs. Asking them if they think they are beneficial in ultimately helping people get addiction free. The main reason they are not being sought out for their perspective is because these programs are mainly focused on reducing the problems of addiction use, not effectively help addicts to be addiction free.

The common way of measuring if an addiction program is effective in reducing the problems of addiction use is:

  • Less criminal activity
  • Less obvious/open drug use
  • Less drug paraphernalia on the streets and in parks
  • Less cases of Hep C and HIV among drug users
  • Less overdoses/hospitalizations

All of the above are great goals. Who would be against such results? Hopefully no one. However, notice that none of the goals include addicts being set free from addiction. None of those goals reduce addiction use. Are they good for the community/society? Yes, of course. Are they good for addicts? To an extent But there are factors that are almost always never taken into consideration:

  • How much money was spent to achieve the goals that could have been spent on addiction prevention and treatment?
  • Could resources be spent more effectively on other programs?
  • Do they lessen drug use or encourage drug use?
  • Do they lessen some criminal activity and increase other criminal activity?
  • Are the positive outcomes only in certain areas of the community?
  • At the end of the day are there less people who are addicts and have become productive citizens?
  • Do we want what is best for the community or what is best for the community and the addict-a person being set free from addiction?

We will address all of the above in upcoming articles.

Summary
There are programs that can be seen as being best for the community. They help produce less theft,less open drug use, less needles in the park, less spread of disease, less overdoses.  These things certainly are good for society. BUT none of these programs effectively prevent or reduce addiction-that is not their focus. (Should not addiction prevention and reducing addiction be our main focus?) None of these programs (other than Suboxone treatment) have as their main goal to get addicts to the point of being addiction free-getting a person to the point of not having any kind of substance in their body to stay addiction free, and no longer having the addict behavior and mindset.

Our ultimate goal should be what is best for the community and the addict-addiction prevention, addiction treatment, getting individuals to a place that they become productive citizens in their community.

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