Stop wasting time on legislating morality

Once again, the myth that substance abuse is a conscious choice rears its ignorant head. And once again, uninformed people offer “supply-side” solutions to a “demand-side” problem.

It can become frustrating to hear, time and again, how people who struggle with addictions are somehow morally weak. They’re not. Addicted people are people with a treatable disease that have to deal with, not only their addiction, but also the shame they feel imposed upon them by a world that is too hypocritical to even see its role in the perpetuation of incorrect practices.

Prohibiting alcohol on any level isn’t going to make anything better. Understanding all aspects of addiction will. If we can see addiction as a treatable disease, then perhaps the stigma of entering treatment can be reduced. Whether that treatment is delivered through and inpatient or outpatient setting, any treatment is better than wasting time and money on laws that will do very little to curb alcohol use. We cannot now, nor will we ever, solve a problem through external means such as laws.

Death that results from a DWI accident is tragic and I understand the anger and need to blame that results from such a death. I’ve experienced death, not only from DWI or alcohol, but also from opiate overdoses. Death hangs over addiction treatment like a pall awaiting a coffin. But, if society continues to vilify substances and doesn’t attempt to learn that addiction, whether to substances or processes, is an unconscious response to external stimuli, then we will continue to place blame and lose a war that is blind to whom dies.

Treating alcohol addiction requires social support and medical intervention. There are several studies that indicate that alcohol treatment requires a matrix of care. My heart goes out to all those who suffer from Addiction’s hands, but we need to see that alcohol, in and of itself, isn’t the problem. Genetics, socioeconomic circumstances, and physiological changes are the problem. We should focus on those and stop wasting time on legislating someone’s idea of morality.

  1. Hi Juan,
    I saw your post in The New Mexican and also posted the below. Addiction is not my specialty like you. So I’m wondering who is leading the charge? Your blog is wonderful. perhaps we could discuss over coffee sometime. I volunteer my time with the women at the jailhouse weekly. The majority are there due to heroin and alcohol addiction. 3 out of 4 are below NM poverty level. They have no where to go when they get out. No transitional or half way homes in Santa Fe. They are beautiful women with lots of children and are trapped by addiction. They have been forgotten by society as throwaways. They are mostly in their early 20’s and have much to offer. It is a tragic situation and the pattern is repeated by their children.
    Thanks,
    Betsy Brandt
    http://Www.breakthroughconsulting.us

    Here is what I posted in New Mexican

    We can do something that works. Why are we not using ANY of the 10 positive strategies that other states are using to stop or curb deaths? The statistics show that These strategies work. They target prescription drug abuse… But as this article states there is a close relationship between alcohol and drug mortality rates. Please read this study and write Gov. Martinez.
    http://ow.ly/yXfCI

  2. Hi Juan,
    I saw your post in The New Mexican and also posted the below. Addiction is not my specialty like you. So I’m wondering who is leading the charge? Your blog is wonderful. perhaps we could discuss over coffee sometime. I volunteer my time with the women at the jailhouse weekly. The majority are there due to heroin and alcohol addiction. 3 out of 4 are below NM poverty level. They have no where to go when they get out. No transitional or half way homes in Santa Fe. They are beautiful women with lots of children and are trapped by addiction. They have been forgotten by society as throwaways. They are mostly in their early 20’s and have much to offer. It is a tragic situation and the pattern is repeated by their children.
    Thanks,
    Betsy Brandt
    http://Www.breakthroughconsulting.us

    Here is what I posted in New Mexican

    We can do something that works. Why are we not using ANY of the 10 positive strategies that other states are using to stop or curb deaths? The statistics show that These strategies work. They target prescription drug abuse… But as this article states there is a close relationship between alcohol and drug mortality rates. Please read this study and write Gov. Martinez.
    http://ow.ly/yXfCI