A Response To “Stop Calling Your Drug Addiction A Disease"

A Response To “Stop Calling Your Drug Addiction A Disease"

I'm sorry but science is stacked up against your opinion here, Brianna

Dear Brianna,

I recently read your article about drug addiction and basically stating how addicts are self-enabling individuals and how they are in no way suffering from a serious disease. I understand your point about “they decided to take that first hit” etc., you’re very much right, but from there on out, their decision to take following “hits” isn't their choice, it's their brain chemistry. I could compare it to cancer like you did but honestly those are two completely different diseases (yes diseases) that literally cannot be compared because of the vast differences of what the disease does to the body. I think the only things that is comparable between the two is that they can both kill you, and they are both diseases.

Let me explain a little more in depth as to what happens inside of an addict's body after they become addicted to a certain type of substance. Drugs affect the “reward circuit” in the brain, basically the brain is swamped with a neurotransmitter called dopamine. This overstimulation of the reward circuit makes the user feel a sense of “euphoria” which leads them to repeat over and over again to obtain this feeling. Once this “high” is stopped cold turkey, the brain and body physically crave it and go into withdrawals.

Once a drug is abused for a period of time the brain adjusts and considers that amount of dopamine being released to be “normal,” so the brain slowly stops releasing some of its own dopamine. This results in the person losing joy and pleasure in things that they used to love, such as food, movies, friends, family, etc., and they do not get this joy back unless they use drugs. The physical and chemical changes inside of the brain itself is what causes the addict to lose self-control, which results in relapses.There are physical changes that occur within a human being when they become addicted, and those changes need to be medically treated in order to successfully have a chance of reverting back to their “normal” state.

You said you personally know addicts and have seen addiction first hand, and from reading your article I can tell you’re angry about the topic. See, coming from a psychological and social worker point of view, I’m not sure if you’re just angry at the said people that you know are addicts and taking it out in written form, or if you have literally never met or experienced an addict and you’re speaking completely out of context. You writing a letter demanding that addicts stop taking the “victim” role is literally never going to stop the opioid epidemic that is currently taking place in this country. Your article is completely opinion-based, as I am sure you know that, but the thing is, science is stacked up against you here. Empirical evidence proves that addiction is indeed a disease. Sorry to burst your little ignorance bubble…

Once again, I completely understand and agree that, yes, that first hit or pill they take is their choice, but it’s a quick spiral out of control from there. It’s a cycle that turns people into versions of themselves that they could have never imagined, and at a certain point it’s not their fault, it’s literally the way they're (re)wired.

This is what makes it so hard to love and constantly care for someone who has an addiction, one day they're fine and the next they're back into their old ways. They have lost their sense of control so they will lie, steal, and beg until they can get what they want, and honestly what they need. No withdrawal is the same, but the longer the individual abuses and how much they take will affect their personal withdrawal process. Though the withdrawal from opiates itself isn't technically life-threatening, the physical and psychological symptoms may have life-threatening consequences. Some of the severe symptoms include (but aren't limited to): vomiting, insomnia, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, muscle spasms, difficulty breathing, rapid heart rate, drug cravings, and lack of pleasure.

I’m most definitely not making an excuse for addicts to just use more and give up on getting better, I am just trying to inform you about the science and psychology behind addiction that makes it a disease. Education and awareness is important, and I do hope current addicts see these articles and decide enough is enough and seek treatment, but that most likely will not happen. What I do hope is that people, like yourself, realize the extent of this disease, and the long and hard road an addict has to take and choose to get better.

Responding to: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/stop-calling-drug...

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Humans: Not for Sale

I refuse to look the other way when others are suffering.

The flourishing life is something that most people thirst and strive for, but never actually feel satisfied in attaining. This is because their interpretation of the flourishing life does not align with reality. Many do not know, want to believe, or understand that a relationship with the one, true living God is integral to their flourishing as human beings. The best way to explain the flourishing life is by expounding on the Hebrew word “shalom”. Shalom means peace and it originates from a root signifying wholeness and completion. It is the deep longing for the best of another. Shalom is the way God intended things to be, so the flourishing life involves shalom. As God’s beloved creation, every human being has intrinsic value.

We are all image bearers of our Creator.

From the very beginning, God created us in His image and poured His love into us. Yet, as a result of the fall, we have disregarded who we are in Christ.

Humans have been marred and have forgotten this intrinsic value that comes from being made in God’s image. Evidence of this is how some people are dehumanizing others through human trafficking. Human trafficking is modern-day slavery where human beings are controlled and oppressed for profit. Offenders often use force or deceptive coercion to ascertain power over their victims. Even though human trafficking is defilement to both national and international laws, it remains a booming criminal industry.

According to the International Labour Organization, this disturbing business typically generates about $150 billion profits per year. Sexual exploitation and forced labor are the two most commonly known forms of human trafficking. Sex trafficking is a profitable sex act that occurs by use of force, fraud, or oppression; including the sexual exploitation of minors. Women and young girls make up a shocking 55% of victims of sex trafficking and a one in five are under 18 years old. Forced labor is any instance in which the victim is forced to work because of a threat of punishment with little to no pay.

One of the most disturbing facts is that both of these instances occur in plain sight. Many victims in the United States are underage girls who have a poor home life, run away, and eventually become involved with prostitution. After years of existing in the negative environment of prostitution and drugs, the girl’s self-worth is systematically broken down to the point of non-existence. Some victims do not even understand that they are being trafficked. They are deceived into believing they will get a better, brighter future if they stay in captivity. But these are all lies; instead of providing a refuge, their pimp takes their profit and threatens to kill them if they try to escape, leaving them no option but to stay in the life of trepidation and agony.

In fact, according to the International Labor Organization and the End It movement, there are about 48 million people worldwide who are victims of human trafficking. Of these people, 68% of the individuals are exploited in private labor, 10% for state work and 22% for sex trafficking.

This problem continues to grow and, because of the hidden nature of the issue, it is hard to get an exact number of the victims.

The Christian community in America should be fighting on the front line against human trafficking because it is directly opposed to the way God intended life to be. For the souls who are trapped in this filth, the opportunity to have a flourishing life is ripped from their hands, along with their identity, decency and opportunity to live a normal life.

Human trafficking violates fundamental human rights; every human being is an image bearer of their creator and deserves to be treated as such. The fall has taken this from us and has caused others to negate human worth, but that does not contravene the truth that human beings are image bearers and have intrinsic value. The victims who are trapped in this wheel of injustice have no voice, identity, or hope.

The Bible specifically instructs Christians to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves in Proverbs 31:8-9. It is our job to defend those who have no rights, speak for those with no voice, free those in bondage, and stand up for those who cannot stand on their own.

Human trafficking is a very dark, universal issue that sometimes may feel almost impossible to change. Luckily we serve a God who specializes in the impossible. Whatever efforts made to bring about a change in this issue will bring glory to Him. I steadfastly believe that the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness in the beginning of time has the power to shine light on this horrific darkness today.

"You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say that you did not know." — William Wilberforce

* * *

Works cited:

Geoffrey Rodgers, “THE PROBLEM.” US Institute Against Human Trafficking , October, 2005/April 26, 2017, http://usiaht.org/the-problem/

Guy Ryder, “Statistics and Databases.” International Labour Organization , 1996, April 27, 2017, http://www.ilo.org/global/statistics-and-databases...

Geoffrey Rodgers, “What is Sex Trafficking?”U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking , October, 2005/ April 26, 2017, http://usiaht.org

Samantha Ferrell, “End It Movement.” Choice Ministries , August 2016/ April 24, 2017, https://enditmovement.com/index.html

Cazzie Reyes, “Forced Labor.End Slavery Now, April 19 2015/April 24, 2017, http://www.endslaverynow.org/learn/slavery-today/f...

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What Does The Tone Of The Golden Globes Mean For The Rest Of Awards Season?

A call for justice and equality was made. Will it be heard?

While some awards shows are held toward the end of a year, the height of awards season is from January to around mid-March. The Golden Globes this past weekend were held toward the beginning of awards season. What will their impact be?

After Trump's inauguration last year, thousands of women took to the streets to protest the sexism that infests our country. Last week, the protest moved to the red carpet.

A statement was made at this year's Golden Globes. Women and men from across the film and entertainment industry came together to show their support for equality and justice within their industry and all other industries. The official unofficial dress code of the Globes was "black."

Countless women in the industry like Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey, Kelly Clarkson and Emma Stone, wore black dresses in unity to show support for women and men who have been affected by social injustices and inequality across all industries of work. Men, sporting their typical black suits, made their support known by adding "Time's Up" pins to their attire.

This call for action and show of support was inspired by the "Me Too" and the "Time's Up" movements. Several women in the entertainment industry have stood up against their directors, producers and co-stars, calling them out for inappropriate behavior and harassment in the workplace. This public showing at the Globes showed support for the women who have stood up and those who have not.

A call for justice, show of support and call for action was made not with words, but with dresses and pins.

The severity of the issue of inequality was clearly shown in the awards ceremony itself. Perhaps the most clear example of inequality and sexism was the nominees for "Best Director." While "Lady Bird" won in the category for best film, the female director was not among the group of all male nominees for best director. This brought the protest to life, showing exactly what many of the attendees were protesting.

The question left by this protest is simple, yet hard to predict: Will this prove to be a trend for the coming awards shows for the rest of awards season?

It's difficult to say whether or not the protest will continue to be present on the red carpet. However, the stand that was made at the Globes was reported on and talked about. If nothing else, that is the primary goal of protesting: to get people talking about the issue.

Will the rest of awards seasons see this same trend with political statements made on the red carpet and in speeches on stage? Or will this be a lesson learned and we'll start see more equality in future awards shows this season?

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