Times Colonist

Nobody chooses to become a drug addict

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Re: “Society pays a high price for the bad choices of a few,” May 31.

To help the addicted and address the concerns of the public there is a dire need for public education as to the real nature of addiction rather than knee-jerk Calvinism.

Iain Hunter’s column reflects a public opinion that’s an impediment to progress in treating the addicted when many seem under the mistaken impression that addiction is a “choice.” It isn’t.

And physical addiction is a medical condition for which the initial treatment is not a dose of “willpower.”

Taking whatever substance the addict has ultimately become addicted to was their “bad choice.” But nobody “chooses” to become addicted, whether to street drugs or to their legally prescribed medication.

Why do people make that choice to take illegal street drugs though, unless it’s to mask a deep personal pain? Is anybody asking what pain drove them to abuse themselves so? It’s easier, of course, to just dismiss these people and their problems by shrugging it off as “their choice.”

But does anybody care about addressing the causes of why people are in this state of addiction? Is the focus more on just getting addicts out-of-sight-out-ofmind because it’s easier than the more complicate­d thoughtful considerat­ion required to address the problem? Liz Stonard Port Alberni

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