At the recently-held Heroin Summit in Cleveland, Ohio, one of the doctors of the Cleveland Clinic treatment center exclaimed that addiction needed to be addressed indefinitely. Whether he was referencing individual addiction or the societal problem as a whole wasn’t clear, but it brings up some interesting points, comparisons and theories.
For starters, there are millions of examples throughout history of people who have become addicted and then fully recovered after getting some form of help, therapy or rehabilitation. Whether you want to say they are still diseased but just in remission, or you want to say that they have been cured, either way it could be correctly argued in most cases. The point isn’t what to call it, but what the results are. If someone stopped being addicted and moved on to have a wonderful life free from substance abuse, then that is what should be celebrated. To say that the individual needs to be addressed indefinitely may not always be an applicable description.
However, things may be different on a societal level. Aside from successful treatments of addiction, there is the issue of prevention. Yes, there are definitely many effective prevention measures and programs that have been implemented throughout the country, but even with the best there seems to be some young people who still get caught in the trap. Not only that, but there are many adults who become dependent on prescription drugs, such as painkillers after a surgery, who go on to become fully addicted. Can this be avoided?
Perhaps the only way to really prevent addiction on a global scale would be to have individualized prevention programs for each person, regardless of the age. The indefinite part would be vigilance on understanding the unique social, genetic, mental and other factors that combine to create an addiction problem so that the education and prevention can be uniquely tailored for each person throughout his or her lifetime.
These may be huge goals that could be very difficult to accomplish, but we like to keep on the optimistic side of things, as we see people successfully recover each day here at Desert Cove, and can work with people to help develop effective prevention plans as well.