Guest Author - Susan Hubenthal
Our world is not perfect, and we will NEVER rid it of harmful drugs. Therefore, we must find new ways of preventing drug related deaths through education, effective drug treatment programs, and harm reduction.
To understand what harm reduction means, ask any parent whose child has died from substance abuse, and they will tell you if they had one more chance to save their child, they would do anything. Anything, to keep their child safe, healthy, and alive. As if suffering the loss isn’t enough, the stigma society attaches to this kind of death often drives parents into despair and isolation.
The bottom line is keeping your child alive and as healthy as long possible if she/he is abusing drugs. Keeping in mind that addiction is stronger than a Mother’s love! Many addicts also have mental health issues. Some adult addicts with mental issues are not responsible enough to hold a job, pay rent or find meaningful relationships. Parents might help their addicted adult child to apply for SSI (Social Security Insurance) for food stamps, medical coupons, and subsidized housing if available until you can get them into a drug treatment program. Harm reduction material is available to aid the abusing addict (and their drugging partners) life saving information such as CPR, and what to do if someone overdoses, how to call for help and not be arrested.
Think of harm reduction in this way, you buckled your child into infant seats, and car seats to keep them safer while riding in a car. You put a helmet on your child when they rode their bike in order to avoid harmful head injuries should an accident happen. You kept harmful, toxic, cleaning supplies out of reach of your toddler, maybe even used Mr. Yuck stickers. This is harm reduction! It is saving your child from harm and/or death!
Many good people are dedicated to changing our out of date drug laws so addiction is no longer treated as a criminal offense. Many of our kids die because their (so-called) friends fear arrest and incarceration, so they flee, leaving the overdose victim to die alone.
Billions of tax dollars has already been spent on an ineffective drug war. Wouldn’t this money be better spent on research, effective drug treatment, honest and truthful drug education for both parents and students, after school, and mentoring programs with positive messages?
“The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.”
A signature quote from the late Jennifer Daley, Mom of Jared. May they both rest in peace.