Letter: Let’s work together to fight addiction

To the editor:

Thank you to the Daily Journal for the courage and intestinal fortitude to publish the column by Tony Luke Jr. about a family member in the July 15-16 issue of their newspaper (“Don’t be ashamed of loved one’s addiction”).

Mr. Luke reports of the death of his son due to the addiction and out-of-control use of drugs. If you have not read the story, we urge you to do so. It will be controversial to some, but is very factual and truthful!

We too have a loved one in our family with an addiction. This began when our family member was not yet 13 years of age. It began with marijuana and alcohol and has continued and progressed to harder drugs until now at the age of 46, our loved one is a full-blown addict.

This is just as Mr. Luke has described it. Fortunately, our loved one is still alive, but is going through living hell because of this addiction disease.

Let us first discuss alcohol addiction. Yes, alcohol is a drug! This, many of you will not like to hear. Addiction counselors indicate that this a “gateway drug” to even harder ones. Some parents feel that it is OK for their under-aged children to use alcohol in their home where they can control the use, but can they control that use once the child leaves the home?

The U.S. Surgeon General’s report has stated that the overall economic and social costs of alcohol and other drug addictions are nearly as great as that of tobacco use. We are very much aware of this. Both of us have lost a sibling prematurely from addiction to this drug.

Governments, in an attempt to reduce the ravages of tobacco use, have imposed heavy taxes on those products. However, they have failed to do so with alcohol. Why not? The news media outlets appear to be complicit in this situation because nearly every week we hear and read stories about and glamorizing new alcohol breweries and outlets.

We are now embroiled in a discussion about the sale of cold beer. What is the reason for the sale of cold beer, except for maybe having a cold one while driving? We all know what that can lead to. Are our legislators and the media really doing a good public service by ignoring and promoting these issues? Could it be that alcohol is their addiction of choice?

Marijuana. Again, addiction counselors warn us that this substance is a gateway to the harder drugs such as heroin and the opioids. Yet there are many, including some legislators, who believe that if we legalize marijuana we can tax and control its use.

Apparently, we are very slow learners and continue to make the same mistakes over and over. There is plenty of data and experience available to us that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Please, let us not fall into that trap again.

We love and are not ashamed of our family member. We recognize that this is a disease and that only the addicted person can learn to control with assistance.

Let us all do our utmost to control and prevent the perpetuation of these addiction diseases before they consume a larger portion of our younger generation as well as a great many in the adult population

Jess and Shirley Shively