Monday, January 21, 2008

Public system fails to adequately inform

My step-daughter, who is recovering from over a decade of heroin addiction (and yes, all it entails), made a very good point in a recent conversation we had. She was explaining a huge gap in the public discourse regarding recovery from addiction.

Incidentally, she is putting her life back together quite admirably. It hasn't been easy, but she's doing what has to be done. That includes learning about the harm of addiction .... over and above what she learned from harsh personal experience.

The government ministry in place to help recovering addicts is great with providing info on the former. However, she is rather troubled that there is nothing either on TV programs or in the education system dealing with the realities of the latter.

One of those realities is withdrawal symptoms. Knowledge about that, she feels, is something that could deter young people from even trying drugs. If they only knew what awaited them, and that absolutely no one can recover from addiction without going through the agonies of withdrawal, it would turn them completely off.

So that begs the question. Why aren't the consequences of addiction, presented accurately and realistically, mandatory in public and private schools? Surely this should be part of the curriculum for health and wellness studies on an ongoing (and obviously graduated) basis from K-12.

The same goes for the dangers of human trafficking. Sadly, there are some powerful vested interests that would rather these social problems remain unresolved. And unfortunately, some of those "interests" can be found in government ministries across the board, including public safety and public education.

That's why, I believe, it is up to individuals to take a deeper interest in these issues and hold accountable those elected, as well as appointed, to office. Remember, they're inclined to give us what we as voters demand.

So the first step is simply to let your MLA and MP know what issues matter to you, and why. (If you can offer a solution, all the better.) And they are just a mouse click away.


pawlina's gurl said...

Being the daughter mentioned in your blog, obviously I agree with you. Of course everyone is taught the dangers of something like heroin, but the main danger taught is simply that it is addictive. Of course it always interesting to see an addict before (while they are still using) and after (while they are no longer using) but what about that time in between? What about the catastrophic sickness that takes place after the using, and before recovery can begin? I can say from personal experience that the thought of the withdrawl was terrifying enough to keep me on heroin. Maybe if I had known about the severity of the sickness that follows an ugly heroin habit, I would have steered clear of it. I just don't think people really understand what your bady needs to go through to kick that habit. If you want to scare people off of doing drugs, lock them in a room with a detoxing junkie for a couple of hours.

Pawlina said...

Well said, m'dear! :-)

But ... I wonder how easy it will be to convince the powers-that-be of the effectiveness of your practical, common-sense, but rather drastic solution?

Still, it's no reason not to try!

Thanks for your comment, hon, and for your candour. I am so proud of you! How admirable that you are so willing to share your experience so frankly to try and spare others the misery you experienced. Would that there were more like you...