Addict Stigma: Killing Americans

(Photo by Pavel Kubarkov/

We all know the harshness of war with the bullets flying and the bombs dropping and the crazy war movies that follow, heck, the national media never seem to give up talking about the victims, and the chaos and showing the flag-draped caskets carried off the planes by military honor guards. Yet, imagine for a moment that we gave honor flights to the victims of the war on drugs; imagine for a moment that every person that ever died from a drug overdose was given honorary escorts and flag-draped coffins with the same national news coverage.

With over 100 Americans dying every day in the United States of America from a drug overdose, we would need more honor guards, more plans and perhaps the American public would call for action. And, should that reality not really do it for you, just know that more Americans died last year from drug overdose than all the Americans that died during the over 19 years long Vietnam War, which killed 58,226 Americans. Most of these American addicts aren’t street addicts, they’re given the drugs by their doctors, which means that they’re not going down the street to the shady dude’s house, they’re going to the street corner and picking up their drugs and milk from the corporate drug store. That’s right, most of these Americans aren’t getting addicted by choice. In fact, according to the Department of Veteran Affairs, 1 in 4 military veterans prescribed so-called “opiate therapies” became addicted. Oh, having back-pain well here is a drug addiction, try not to die.

According to The Center for Investigative Reporting Investigation, VA prescriptions for four opiates—hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, and morphine—have surged by 270 percent in the past 12 years.

If you still don’t fully understand the magnitude of this drug addiction crisis, then let me help you. In the next decade, over 500,000 Americans are expected to die from drug or alcohol overdose. That’s like the entire City of Baltimore or the entire City of Tulsa or the entire City of Portland dying from drug overdose. Just imagine everyone you know, being gone, every street empty and every home vacant, everyone died from an overdose; well, that’s what's happening.

Some cities around the country are so overloaded with prescription drug abuse and therefore, drug addictions that they can’t even handle the number of dead bodies that are piling up, as a result, they’re renting freezer trucks to keep the bodies chilled long enough to conduct an autopsy.

The simple reality is that we’re letting these people die because we’ve labeled them junkies. Society considers them people who clearly choose to live the “junkie” lifestyle and now they’re junkies just waiting to die in a Mcdonald’s bathroom or down the street in an abandoned hole. We don’t care, it isn’t our problem. Yet, what bothers me the most is the 5-10% addicts who were lucky enough to get clean on their own, tell the parents of current addicts that they gotta give their kids “tough love”. That somehow giving up on them, is the solution to addiction and even more surprisingly the parents actually agree with that crap. Not offering up rehab and then disconnection should they not seek help as part of an intervention plan. No, we’re talking about people actually suggesting that giving up on them and expecting them to go “cold turkey” is the way to go.

End the Drug Crisis

Stop labeling people. Look it’s true that most 12-step programs are unsuccessful and you’d be better burning the money in a barrel to keep the street-addicts warm. But, that isn’t the truth for all rehabs. Narconon Arrowhead has proven time and again that should you deal with the underlying cause of the addiction recovery is possible. Narconon Arrowhead is located on a beautiful lake and frankly has the ability to get a person off drugs and alcohol with a high success rate. Living a drug-free life is possible and you can live it.

Call Narconon Arrowhead and speak to an intake coordinator about getting into the program that can save your life and give you back the future life you deserve.




Joanne is a veteran Narconon staff member who earlier worked at the New York Rescue Workers Detox Program.