Why don’t they just quit?
It’s a simple question we often hear asked when talking about people with addictions.
There’s no simple answer, unfortunately, something that can be hard to understand for those who’ve never suffered from an addiction.
It’s a refrain we’ve heard more than once recently as the fentanyl crisis grows each day.
And a crisis it is.
Officials are probing two sudden deaths just in the Cowichan Lake area in recent months.
We’ve heard about children who have found their parents dead of overdoses — a scar on their young lives that will likely never completely heal.
There have been groups of partiers who’ve all been struck down at once.
Then there are individuals who have taken their last breaths alone. Officials are warning against that last one, telling people not to do drugs by themselves, as there is no chance of saving them if they do.
And already there is a stronger and more deadly drug than fentanyl: carfentanil.
Many aren’t choosing to take these substances, they are added to drugs like heroin or cocaine or ecstasy without the end user’s knowledge.
So why would anyone risk taking any of these illegal drugs, then, when they must know by now that they are rolling the dice with the grim reaper every time they do?
For so-called recreational users, there’s really no excuse.
It’s just stupid arrogance to think that somehow you’ll remain immune.
But then, people still drive drunk, and do all kinds of other risky things, especially the young, living their lives with a sense of invincibility, no matter how vulnerable they may, in fact, be.
For addicts, the story is different. Most of the users don’t want to die. But their drug use is far less of a happy-go-lucky choice to “party”.
These folks use drugs just to be able to get through the day. They need professional services to detox if they want to quit, and a lot of help to stay sober.
It is hard for those of us who’ve never experienced it, but to addicts the drugs aren’t a want, they are a need, just as much as oxygen or water or food.
We need to create more help for these people. There’s still a personal choice involved; they must want to quit if they are to do so successfully. But there also need to be more programs and services to help them do it.
This has the added benefit of removing the demand for the drugs. In the end, it’s about the health of the whole community.