As a mental illness survivor, who was diagnosed with postpartum depression after I gave birth to my second child, I had the firsthand experience of what agony that the illness would put patients through. During numerous sleepless nights, I was weeping in despair, gripped by a flood of negative emotions – from emptiness and misery to worries and fear. Bad thoughts raced through my mind, as I desperately sought quick solutions to end the pain. At the time, abuse of drugs seemed extremely tempting.
As addiction crisis sweeps through North America, drug abuse has not only affected the losers and those live a low life but also can occur at our backyard, wrecking the lives of our own and our loved ones. After their 19-year-old son Justin died of prescription drug overdose, Susan and Steve Salomone, both had a professional career and lived typical middleclass life in NY, formed an organization “Drug Crisis in Our Backyard”, trying to help fight the epidemic through raising awareness. The agency has gathered a flood of people who have gone through the tragedy of losing their loved ones to the abuse.
Misuse of prescription opioids, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and stimulants is a severe public health problem in North America, creating an overdose crisis worst than any other epidemic in human history -- including influenza or Aids. The outbreak has engulfed many cities, claiming thousands of lives each year. In B.C. the hardest hit province by drug abuse, an average of four lives are lost each day to the overdose, leaving the area taken over by the crisis.
According to the report from DAWN (The Drug Abuse Warning Network) in US, more than 1.2 million ED (Emergency Department) visits in 2011 could be attributed to nonmedical use of prescription drugs, representing about half of all ED visits related to drug misuse. Nearly 40% of the visits involved prescription opioid pain relievers. Cases of Xanax and Ambien overdose -- a popular prescribed non-benzodiazepine sleep aid, were also on sharp rise.
包括医生，律师，警察和电影明星在内的许多许多专业人士和名人也成为滥用药物的受害者。虽然滥用药物在医生，特别是那些易于接触这类药物的麻醉师中并非罕见，法律界专业人士滥用药物者也大有人在。美国律师协会2016年的一份报告发现，法律界人士滥用药物 - 从处方药到阿片类药物，可卡因和霹雳可卡因都在大幅上升。据媒体报道，多伦多警察局打击贩毒小组这一专门将毒贩送入监狱的机构中的一名警员自己却因为服用芬太尼过量的而丧命。
Many professionals and celebrities – such as doctors, lawyers, police officers and movie stars have also become the victims. While drug abuse by doctors, especially anesthetists who have an easy access to it were not rare incidents, it is also a common place in the legal profession. A 2016 report from the American Bar Association has found that cases of substance abuse – from prescription medication to opiates, cocaine and crack – have soared. According to media report, an investigator from Toronto drug squad – the agency that put drug criminals in jail, has become a latest victim to fentanyl overdose.
Although misuse of prescription drugs affects many North Americans, specific demographics such as youth, older adults, and women may be at a particular risk. In addition, while more men than women currently misuse prescription drugs, the rates of overdose among women are increasing faster than among men.
While no easy answers can be found for the widespread abuse -- given the physically and emotionally complexed human nature, one of the leading causes drugs are used for is to temporarily kill psychological pain. ”They’re not just about taking something to become euphoric, they’re often escapes from one’s experience of unbearable pain,” said an insider.
华人社区一直对滥用药物者持歧视态度，这使得华人不愿触及这一话题并在危机情况下寻求帮助。和任何一种疾病作斗争一样，提高对滥用药物的危害性的认识是降伏这场危机的关键。虽然过量服药可以即刻缓解一些痛苦，但一时的逃避会带来后患无穷，给你造成更大的身体和精神损害，让你陷入恶性循环的怪圈之中难以自拔。为此我终于放弃了滥用药物的想法，决定选择更健康的途径来解决我的痛苦 - 包括打坐，健康饮食和体育锻炼。
Drug abuse is a cultural stigma in the Chinese community, which discourages members from taking about it or seeking help. But like any battles to fight an epidemic, awareness is the key. While overdose can instantly relieve the pain, the temporary escape will bring more devastating and long-term consequences. It will cause more physical and mental harm, leaving you to be caught up in a full-blown vicious cycle that you may never break out from. The knowledge about the risks of addictions had led me to kill the thoughts of abuse, deciding to choose more healthy avenues to address my pain – including meditation, healthy eating and exercise.
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