Drug addicts need compassion, not shame

Published 8:30 pm Saturday, October 15, 2016

To the editor:

In recent weeks, there has been a wave of heroin overdose victims being photographed or recorded for public view. While this may actually be helpful in educating our society on how insidious the disease of addiction is, it is a pathetic way to laugh off a serious mental illness.

As American citizens, we have the right to free speech, free press and our free opinion. While it was OK for the police officer in Ohio to photograph those parents who had apparently passed out from a heroin overdose with a child in the back seat of the car, was it OK to post it on social media? Was it OK for the bystander to record the parent lying in the floor of a local store while her child cried trying to wake her up? Why not be of help instead of creating a video to go viral? Who does that? Do we as Americans have no heart anymore? Is it truly OK to watch a video and laugh at the individual, who for if we didn’t know better could have lost their life?

Addiction is a disease. Cancer is a disease. Comparing the two is like comparing a banana to strawberry. “It’s the addicts’ choice,” you say? Imagine yourself in their shoes for one day. Maybe you can’t because you haven’t been there and you’re too busy judging. How about instead, you’re asked to educate yourself instead of listening to the rest of society.

Don’t judge an addict today. Hug an addict today. Addiction is an oppressing disease and there’s nothing society can say about an addict that they haven’t already said to themselves. It’s as if they are stuck in a trap. The jaws of life could very well be empowerment. So before you poke fun at what addiction is doing to citizens in our society, encourage and empower the individual. Kill addiction with kindness, for it does not discriminate.

Ashley Evans

Lexington

About Whitney Leggett

Whitney Leggett is managing editor of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. To contact her, email whitney.leggett@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0049.

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