As most people who know me, I always (almost always) end up being an open book. When it comes to things close to my heart, I feel I need to let my voice be heard. Others may suffer like I do and need to know they aren’t alone.
There are so many controversies and stigmas related to mental illness and addiction. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, bi-polar, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, etc….
I truly believe mental illness is genetic just like addiction is. Some people have what’s referred to as an addictive personality.
The controversy I am on a soap box today is: needle exchange programs.
These programs were started in the 80’s due to the AIDS epidemic. Remember that epidemic that gained national attention. It was killing thousands. Sound familiar?
Needle exchanges do not encourage addicts to use. Addicts are going to use irregardless, just like AIDS victims were going to continue to spread the disease either through unprotected sex or IV drug use.
It reminds me of those naive parents that have a huge problem with condoms being available in high schools. “Not my kid!!!” Oh please, there is a minority of seniors that graduate as virgins, but it’s definitely a minority. Kids are going to have sex. Wouldn’t it be better to protect them from STD’s and teenage pregnancies?
There are needle exchanges all over the country right now.
They participants don’t just come up and get a needle. It’s an exchange. It doesn’t need to be one for one either. They also have medical care at the exchanges, people to help those that are willing to get into rehabs (especially those without insurance), mental illness counselors and programs, hygiene products, food, clothes. Remember most of these people are homeless.
The stigma must change, but it seems overwhelming in my mind sometimes. Like a drop of help in an ocean of needy. I sometimes think if I can help just one person I will have made a difference, but I would like to help so many more.
You see, my baby may still be battling addiction today, but she wouldn’t have died from a broken heart caused by a dirty needle.