More unity needed to treat addiction

My letter is in response to “Addicts should pay for their Narcan” published Feb. 7.

In this letter it was mentioned the writer has diabetes, and no one is giving her free insulin. If anyone, not just her, calls 911 for help and they’re in diabetic shock, they will get the life-saving treatment needed, paid for by taxpayers, despite the cause of her diabetes.

First responders aren’t going to ask if her diabetes was caused by a poor choice, or if her body just isn’t producing the insulin it should. Likewise, if someone is having a heart attack, they, too, will get the life-saving treatment needed, without question as to what factors contributed to the heart attack.

When 911 is called for an emergency, it is not its job to discriminate on who gets to live and who doesn’t.

The writer also commented “addiction is not a disease.” Although I realize not everyone is going to have the same perspective on addiction as I do, being that I will have three years sober March 11, addiction is a disease — just as cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, or other health issues.

Likewise, addiction also starts in a similar manner as these other diseases. As a recovering addict, I will admit that my addiction started when I made the choice to get high, whether to fit in, feel like one of the guys, be cool, etc. Little did I know, this choice would lead me where I ended up.

When people make that choice to use for whatever reason, they don’t know if they will become an addict or not. Some people can take drugs and stop, others can’t. The effect of taking drugs is addiction to some, just as some people can eat a lot of calories and not become overweight or develop other conditions.

Why there is such a heavy stigma on drug addiction, yet no one is writing about the other addictions? Did you know that a large number of addicts got addicted after being prescribed pain medication to treat an injury, or after a tooth extraction, etc.

In a survey completed by the National Institute on drug abuse, of the individuals who began using opioids in the 2000s, 75 percent reported that their first opioid was a prescription drug. When they took their prescribed medicine, they didn’t know that in time they would become addicted, yet it happened.

We are in a opioid crisis.

From my own personal experience, addicts feel enough shame and pain from their actions, why cause them more? We all make choices, and some are poor choices. It’s human nature.

Instead of judging, we need to come together as one and fight this crisis head on — not separate each other and push each other further apart.

That is the only way we will overcome this.

William Bisignano