Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 19, 2017

Have compassion for those with addiction

By Jim Turner | Apr 06, 2017

To the editor:

Here we are in 2017 facing another drug crisis in our society but this time it is prescription drugs at the source of it. Astonishing as it may sound, prescription drugs are killing more people than illegal drugs of any kind.

And last year, 52,000 people died of opioid-related addiction causes – more than all the people who died from AIDS at its peak in 1995 [51,000].

Why so many deaths from opioid addiction? And in small towns? Even large numbers in the Midwest? Because these narcotic pain medications are prescribed in an incredibly large number of cases. And if the pain happens to be the chronic kind, addiction is not only possible, it is highly likely.

We must have compassion for the members of our society who are addicted to these medications, most of whom were only trying to manage their symptoms through a doctor’s care.

The doctors themselves – the vast majority of them – cannot be blamed either. They are only trying to make their patients more comfortable in times of excruciating pain.

The real issue here is how difficult it is to “kick” a pain medication addiction, and how difficult it is to wean oneself from narcotic drugs in general as well as anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications like Zoloft, Ativan, Xanax and Prozac.

We must find ways to help all of these people who are trying in good faith to recover from prescription medicine dependence and addiction. This is a great tragedy of the time we live in.

As much as these medications are needed in some cases, the result of their use can be fatal – not the medical issue they were prescribed for, but for the very fact that the patient had to take them to begin with.They are that dangerous. We all are learning this now because virtually everyone of us knows at least one person who has faced this ordeal.

I want to emphasize that doctors on the whole are not to blame and neither are their patients. We all must learn more about these medicines and take the proper precautions. In the meantime, we can be as kind, compassionate and understanding as possible with the people who are still suffering.

My suggestion would be to consider learning the practice of Transcendental Meditation in these cases.

While Transcendental Meditation is always useful, it can be especially so when someone is trying to wean themselves off any kind of drug habit or addiction.This was true to a very great extent in the 1970s when several authenticated studies showed a sharp reduction in illegal drug use by new meditators – a sharp reduction and then total abstinence in many cases.

However one may address this problem, we all need to be more aware of how many of our friends, neighbors and family members face these challenges and give them as much support as we can. That’s what friends are for.


Jim Turner, Fairfield

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