Many people often ask me why I feel so inclined to serve those struggling with addiction. Why I invest so much time working on this culture change in nursing to combat the opioid crisis. Why I advocate for this thing called harm reduction. Knowing this is the necessary first steps to help someone struggling with this relentless illness I thought I would share a few thoughts.
This little gem I saw circulating facebook today is why. This is what I see when I stare in the eyes of a soul lost in this crazy illness.
“But its a choice people make” I often hear. Well I am here to tell you that people who suffer with type 2 diabetes also make choices that lead to their diagnosis. People who struggle with COPD also made choices that likely contributed to their diagnosis. The list goes on and on.
Until we start looking at addiction with the same compassion and concern as we do these other diseases we will not gain any momentum with the opioid crisis plaguing our nation. People are dying. It is time to listen.
To me harm reduction is meeting your client where they are. If they choose to continue using teach them to inject safer (this Will stop the spread of infections disease such as hep C), make clean gear available, and teach them about the lifesaving drug Naloxone(To reverse an overdose).
If they want to stop, but cannot, connect them with a (ORT) suboxone/ methadone provider. ORT is a treatment for substance use disorder. Just like insulin is a treatment for diabetes and puffers are a treatment for COPD.
Bottom line. Addiction is a disease and needs to be approached with the same compassion and care other diseases are treated with.
Lets break the stigma associated with this illness. Lets start the conversation. Please share this message. It is an important one.