Don’t oversimplify reasons for addiction

After reading Rodger Macek’s compassionate letter of July 23 on the issue of treatment for drug abuse and addiction, and the funding required to make it possible, I was compelled to write a response.

Apparently, Macek is one of the lucky ones who does not have a family member, a loved one, or a friend affected by drug abuse.

It is all too easy, when not personally touched by the issue, to be able to coldly look down one’s nose at these people, to judge and condemn, either silently or in letters to the local paper, the moral failings of the addict and negligent parenting of their parents.

While I sincerely hope that he never has to experience someone he loves suffering through the pain of addiction, I urge him to stop conceitedly assuming that he has all the answers and solutions, to open his mind a bit and seek out some education on the subject before unleashing his next ignorant rant on the citizens of Altoona.

He claims that “these people knew what they were getting into.”

Let me assure you that no one wakes up and decides that they want to become a drug addict, just like no one goes to the bar with the intention of becoming an alcoholic.

People start using drugs and alcohol for a myriad of reasons; destroying their lives is not one of them. Macek then pins the blame for addiction firmly on the parents of the addict; if only they would have paid more attention when the child was growing up.

I am sure the legion of parents with addicts for children, who spend countless sleepless nights wondering if they could have done anything to stop it, if they could have seen a sign before it was too late, if it was their fault their child walked the path they chose, will forever be thankful for Macek’s confirmation that, yes, it is all their fault.

Truth be told, some addicts have horrible parents, or no parents, while some have incredible, loving families.

Macek’s oversimplification is hurtful.

He gives a list of things that we just have to live with, while suggesting that addicts should have to just live with the hell they created. I find that apathetic, heartless, ignorant and cruel.

When confronted with something I don’t agree with, I make the effort to try to change it; I do not just live with it. And is it not our responsibility to help those who need it?

Didn’t someone say, 2000 years ago, “I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done unto me.”

Funding treatment facilities seems a bargain if it turns addicts into functioning members of society.

Everyone has the right to their opinion. I’m thankful I do not share Rodger Macek’s.

E. Joseph Grsevinsky Jr., Duncansville