LAW & SAFETY

With the holiday season approaching it is important to remember to support local charities of your choice. However it is illegal to give money to individuals collecting money on street corners. These intersections on under camera surveillance.

I found a very interesting article from The Enquirer on a problem that affects all of us. Please read.

Michelle Baxter, Chair

 After the recent wave of heroin overdoses in Cincinnati and reading the comments section of the news stories and other social media outlets, I feel compelled discuss the true nature of modern addiction. As the CEO of Sojourner Recovery Services, I have seen firsthand the destructive influence that modern drug addiction has had on our families, our communities and our region. Not only do our clients and their families need our help, they need our compassion as well. It’s important that we, as a community, understand the nature of modern addiction.

The drug use we see today is not a recreational activity. Instead, modern addiction is a means to an end – a self-imposed medication that is an individual’s desperate attempt to deal with unimaginable life circumstances. It’s easy for some of us to sit behind our keyboards and condemn these addicts as “irresponsible junkies that need to suck it up and get a job,” or, even worse, define the recent overdose tragedies as “natural selection.” How, as a society, have we become so comfortable with these judgmental comments when dealing with such a tragic loss of life? How can we look at grieving parents and orphaned children and still say “Great, this lowlife got what he deserved”?

Drawing from years of experience connecting our clients with the resources they need, I can say that the vast majority of people who become addicted to heroin did not set out to use drugs for recreational fun. They needed to escape. To escape depression, anxiety, abuse (physical, psychological or sexual). To escape the memory of childhood molestation or the terrifying flashbacks of being trafficked.

The horrific irony of addiction is that most addicts are already victims of a vicious world. They are not using heroin because they want to get high. They’re using heroin because they have no choice. Using becomes a physical and mental requirement to live. The effects of withdrawal are more painful, sickening and agonizing than many of us can imagine. Additionally, addiction has a biological factor. Just as people respond differently to medicines prescribed by their doctor, people respond differently to heroin. Some people are simply more easily addicted than others.

Modern addiction has no boundaries – 94 percent of all Americans have been touched by addiction through family members and loved ones. This is an epidemic that does not discriminate. It has effectively crossed all racial, religious and socioeconomic divides, leaving behind a painful path of destruction.

Addiction is everywhere. It’s in your life, too. The clients we treat are grandmothers and sisters and brothers and parents and daughters and neighbors and classmates Addiction is everywhere. It’s in your life, too. The clients we treat are grandmothers and sisters and brothers and parents and daughters and neighbors and classmates and coworkers. Many of us would be surprised to learn how many people we interact with on a daily basis at work, stores, schools and restaurants who are in recovery. The numbers are staggering. And treatment works. I see it every day.

People suffering with an addiction already feel terrible about themselves – that’s why they’re addicted. Instead of celebrating their deaths and condemning their actions, what we should be doing is offering our compassion and support.

Scott Gehring is CEO of Sojourner Recovery Services, one of the area’s largest residential and outpatient addiction treatment providers.

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