Over 50,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2015.
Around 15,000 were from prescription opioids. Another 10,000 from heroin.
These statistics are haunting.
Here’s what happens. We see a trend. We feel panic. We put laws and restrictions in place.
Then, prescription deaths will go down but heroin deaths will go up. Meth use will rise. Kratom use will rise. Synthetic drug use will rise. We will see this trend, then panic, then etc. The cycle continues.
So what is the answer?
I doubt I’m smart enough to figure it out, but I am glad that we are starting to pay attention to the problem.
Addiction is a beast. And when its claws are in, it’s life or death.
Our kids are more exposed than ever. The accessibility and ease of buying drugs is like nothing we have ever seen.
I write a lot for people that are struggling, but I have come to realize that a lot of the people that read this aren’t addicts. But most of you know someone that is. This is for you. And in turn, for them.
How do you solve an impossible problem?
It’s like the old saying: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
While limiting access will help, it won’t solve the problem.
Here’s what might.
We have to believe the problem can be solved.
And we have to believe the solution is out there.
If you don’t believe this, if all you have are witty anecdotes and worthless advice, if all you care about is seeing people fail, then you are the problem.
But, I’m preaching to the choir. Because you are taking the time to read this, which means you care. Which means you are willing to be a part of the solution.
It wouldn’t be one of my posts if I didn’t remind you that positive thinking can make a huge impact in this world of chaos and destruction.
Now, I know that thinking something can be fixed doesn’t fix anything. But thinking, often leads to action.
In fact, there are 3 things that I feel are necessary: Thinking, Dreaming, and Action. It’s gotta be all three.
Next, we need to focus on persuasion. We need to look at this like advertisers or marketers would. How do we persuade people to stay away from drugs?
How do we influence children to be positive examples to their peers?
How do we stop people before they ever start?
I don’t have an answer for this. I don’t know enough about what works and what doesn’t, but I bet there are people out there that do.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if we spent some of that money that is wasted on enforcing marijuana laws and spent it on hiring top influencers and marketers to come up with a persuasive system that helps lead people to make better decisions. Persuade them to make good decisions before they are persuaded to use drugs.
This isn’t simple. The idea behind persuasion is to influence your subconscious mind.
This isn’t the same as seeing an advertisement and thinking “yeah that product would be useful”. It’s seeing an advertisement and buying the product the next week, not even really sure why you are doing it, but feeling like your life is now more complete.
I’m not sure how to do this. But I’m sure someone does.
It’s all about people right? The ones we care about. The ones that care about us. We are a community. And we are all connected.
I think there are 4 kinds of people that we interact with.
- The ones that we can help
- The ones that can help us
- The ones that don’t care
- The ones that will prevent us from succeeding.
Understanding where someone falls into these categories is very important.
I believe you should start by focusing on the top 2. Don’t try to “love” everyone. Don’t try to help everyone. At least not at first.
(This may sound sacrilegious to my Christian friends. But the point is, you cannot focus your energy on everyone. It is impossible. But you can make a difference to someone. So instead of imagining doing good things but never doing anything, just do SOMETHING. In other words, stop fantasizing about feeding orphans in Africa, and help out an orphan in your community. God knows there are plenty.)
(Of course, if you want to feed orphans in Africa, do it. There are many people giving up the luxuries of the American dream in order to provide for the poorest of the poor. And thank God for these people. The point is: JUST DO SOMETHING ALREADY)
Spend your time, energy, love, and money on the people that you can help.
Build strong relationships and be someone that can be counted on and trusted.
That is where you are going to be most influential.
I think we spread ourselves too thin sometimes. We try to do too much and never really do anything.
I’m not saying don’t care about strangers or people in other countries. I am saying, focus on your immediate community first.
If someone is holding you back from success, you need to let them go. This may seem harsh, but it is the most practical thing you can do. This doesn’t mean ex-communication or that you can’t love them or that you can never talk to them again. It just means that your focus needs to go somewhere else.
If you are an addict, you should delete your dealer’s phone number. That seems obvious right? But what about other toxic people? Dealers aren’t the only ones that bring death and destruction.
All I am saying is that you need to evaluate your life, your goals, and the people around you.
4. Embrace recovery
There is help out there.
Be a part of the solution or get out of the picture. It’s that simple. Don’t be the person that regurgitates all the problems of the world, and never lends a hand to help.
There are recovery programs all around. Call them and find out how you can serve.
Volunteer at your church.
Bring donuts to the next Project Recovery meeting.
Start an after-school ultimate frisbee league.
Get creative. Take Action.
5. The Long View
Take the long view. What’s the big picture?
People crave escape.
To lessen the burden of addiction, to stem the flowing tide, to slow the inertia of death…….we must create a world where there is no need for escape. We must create our “high”.
Just like The Outer Limits: we will control the horizontal, we will control the vertical.
We control our attitude, our emotions, and our actions. Let us use these things to bring light into the darkened world around us.
Start simple, take small actions, and see what happens.
My goal in writing this and in the work that I do, is to eventually put myself out of business.
I’m all in.
How about you?
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