Don’t succumb to disease of ignorance

I am responding to Joseph Brubaker’s cry for information in his recent letter to the editor regarding addiction.

Yes sir, addiction is, in fact, a disease. No, it is not contagious, nor are other conditions like heart disease, diabetes, or depression.

Like the aforementioned list of diseases, it is caused by a combination of genetic, biological and social factors, which include socioeconomic status and lifestyle choices, but I’m sure they covered this when he got his medical degree.

Addiction is a disease with a well-entrenched social stigma, and understandably so because of the war on drugs and sensational media coverage which would lead most of us to believe that a person suffering from the disease of addiction is by definition a criminal degenerate.

I think most readers know that this is not the case.

Addiction (which includes alcoholism) is a disease that effects every socio-economic category. The vast majority of us have been directly affected by the disease of addiction.

The Mirror rarely does followups on the addicts who have turned their lives around, or the even higher number of addicts who have never been accused or convicted of a crime.

It must not sell as many papers as the long list of names they publish every six months or so.

The propagation of this kind of misinformation, that somehow addiction is a lifestyle choice, just makes it more difficult for addicts to seek treatment.

This is just my opinion, but I believe that most addicts stay active in their addiction for longer out of fear of the shame and stigma of seeking treatment rather than out of their desire to continue their destructive use of drugs or alcohol.

It is likely that there will never be a cure for the disease of addiction.

As with any disease, improving available treatment will require ongoing research and education and the proper application of gathered evidence.

Willful ignorance, denial or the death penalty will not solve this problem.

Jim Franks

Union City

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