Why Social Stigmas Need To Be Removed

We Need To Rid Ourselves Of The Social Stigma Surrounding Substance Misuse

It's 2019 and people still are afraid to talk about certain things because of the stigma associated with it.

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We, as a society need to get rid of social stigmas. There is a social stigma surrounding many topics and, in a way, people, but one of these stigmas is playing a role in blocking getting help. The social stigma that needs to be eliminated immediately is the one surrounding people who struggle with the substance abuse/misuse disorder. Now I am sure some of you are probably triggered right now that I have identified this as a disorder and not just "addiction," but hear me out.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a disorder is "an abnormal physical or mental condition". And a person who struggles with the misuse of opioids fits that description because once they become dependent on the drugs, their normal state of being is gone, and they embody abnormal physical and mental conditions.

People with this disorder can get help, through rehabs and the correct resources and support, but with the way an overwhelming percentage of our population views this disorder, how can they? People become afraid, fear that they have no options for help because they don't think anyone will understand what they're going through, and they don't want to be an embarrassment.

According to drugabuse.gov, 70,237 deaths in 2017 alone were from drug overdoses. There is this high a number in deaths and people still just want to judge instead of educating themselves on what is actually going on. So many of these deaths are kept a secret though, not the death itself obviously, but the cause for the death. It is too often that people are afraid to speak up about a loved one's death being caused by substance misuse because they don't want people to judge them, or the deceased individual.


https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates


This is what creates the issue, we can't bring light to a subject if people are hiding from it. We can't begin to help those suffering if we judge them and make assumptions before we even meet them. And we can't begin to move forward and bring our country out of this epidemic if the stigma surrounding it is not removed.

We need to be better, as a society, as friends, sisters, brothers, moms, dads, cousins, as individuals we need to begin to be the change we want to see. We need to reach out to help if we see someone beginning to engage in this type of behavior. We need to stop judging what we don't know. And we need to embrace reality, accept deaths from overdoses and talk about them, not be ashamed and hide from it, but speak about it so that it can help others from losing someone too.

The negative stigma associated with substance misuse needs to end, and we need to take every necessary measure to help these individuals who are suffering.

The national drug helpline is available 24/7 with representatives who can help individuals suffering from substance misuse. If you or someone you know needs the help, call at 1-888-633-3239.

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From The Child Of A Drug-Addicted Parent

I couldn't save you, but you sure as hell destroyed me.
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To the parent that chose drugs over their own child,

Let me start off by saying that I'm sorry. I'm sorry that you feel the need to use drugs as an excuse and to mask the guilt that you may (and probably do) have.

I never expected it to come down to this. I never expected me to come after drugs on your list of priorities. I spent so much time and energy wanting you to change and finally hit the point where I gave up on trying to care and help. I never said the ultimate threat: "It's either drugs or me. Take your pick" and you know why? Because I would be heartbroken knowing that I would not be your answer.

Plain and simple, your decision was (and still is) selfish and I will never be able to forgive you. Parents are supposed to encourage their children and watch them grow up and see their children hit so many milestones as they get older, but you weren't that kind of parent. And you know what is the worst thing in the world is? Getting a Facebook message from you telling me that you love me. Do you really? Or do you only say that because if you didn't, you'd feel like a terrible parent?

I'll never understand why someone I'm supposed to love and trust could do so much damage in my life in just a short amount of time and not even try or attempt to repair the damage.

I know that I will never be at peace with you for what you've done. I constantly see other people my age posting pictures with their dad's and I can't help but feel jealous. For years, I've wanted to know what that father/daughter relationship felt like, but instead, I'm furious with you and feeling neglected at the same time. There will always be a void in my life and in my heart and I will never forgive you for choosing to dig yourself an early grave instead of being a parent.

Thank you for allowing me to see what I don't want to end up doing in life. Instead, I'm on my way to completing a 4-year degree at a university for a degree that I've been talking about non-stop for years. I will soar in life and be successful at whatever I do. Enjoy watching from afar because if I wasn't first on your priorities list, you won't be mine, either.

Cover Image Credit: Christian Allard / Unsplash

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Stop Demonizing CBD Just Because You Associate It With THC

CBD doesn't get you high, do your research.

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I'm sure you've heard about CBD already, but if not, then let me break it down for you. Cannabidiol, CBD, is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids identified in the cannabis plant, but unlike the THC in the marijuana plant, it doesn't have any psychoactive properties.

CBD doesn't get you high.

When extracted from the plant, CBD has proven to be effective in the medical field. It has shown to be effective in the treatment of epilepsy, in the management of pain, in reducing depression and anxiety, and relieving cancer symptoms, among a host of other uses. New research from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York has revealed that CBD may be beneficial for society as a whole, too.

Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital conducted the study to understand how we can fight the opioid epidemic through the discovery of alternative treatment options by assessing the potential effects of CBD on craving and anxiety in heroin users.

42 drug abstinent men and women between the ages of 21 and 65, who had recently stopped using heroin, were recruited for the study. Two groups were formed out of the participants: a control group that received a placebo and a test group that received CBD doses ranging from 400 mg to 800 mg per day. After administration, participants were exposed to neutral environmental cues and cues that would be considered drug-use inducing over three sessions. The cues in the environment were tested because an addict's environment and the cues it gives are the strongest triggers for relapse and continued drug use.

The results of the research hold great promise for the future of CBD.

Participants who were in the test group and given CBD had significantly reduced cravings for heroin, and noted feeling less anxiety when exposed to drug-use inducing cues. Moreover, the CBD had a lasting effect on this group as it continued to reduce cravings and relieve anxiety for seven days after the last dose was administered. In essence, this is the most important takeaway from the research: CBD had lasting effects well after it was present in the body. Numerous vital signs like heart rate, skin temperature, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation were taken to ensure only objective results were obtained since cravings and anxiety are subjective feelings. Another finding was a reduction in participants' heart rate and salivary cortisol levels, which would have both increased in the presence of anxiety-provoking images.

I think the evidence points to a logical conclusion: CBD is safe, it is effective in treating opioid addictions, and it is beneficial for those who experience a host of issues from pain, to anxiety, to epilepsy or to illnesses. Now is the time to keep pushing for legalization to continue larger scale studies and introduce CBD as a valid treatment option.

"A successful non-opioid medication would add significantly to the existing addiction medication toolbox to help reduce the growing death toll and enormous health care costs." - Yasmin Hurd, director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

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