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Addiction is a community issue

By Staff | Jan 27, 2022

Junkie.

Druggie.

Tweaker.

Freak.

Say “addict” and the labels often follow.

Let us add a few more.

Brother.

Sister.

Son.

Daughter.

Someone you love.

If you don’t know that, God bless, you’re one of the lucky ones.

Call it a choice, call it an illness, debate all the nuances in between but recognize the reality: Despite the billions spent on the old War on Drugs, despite mandatory sentencing and more, the reality is that addiction to drugs, to alcohol, remains part of the frayed fabric of life for far too many Americans — even those who have never touched an illegal substance or raised more than a wish of congratulations to the birth of that baby whose addiction has now broken the hearts of those who love him — love him! — so many times.

Consider:

* According to National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 31.9 million Americans, age 12 and older, are current illegal drug users, defined as having used within the last 30 days. 11.7% of Americans 12 and over use illegal drugs.

* 53 million, or 19.4%, of people 12 and over have used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs within the last year. 8.1 million, or 25.4% of illegal drug users, have a drug disorder.

* 139.8 million Americans 12 and older drink alcohol and 14.8 million, or 10.6%, of them have an alcohol use disorder.

How serious is the issue?

In terms of human suffering, it is immeasurable.

In terms of loss of life, well, there are numbers for that: 70,000 Americans die each year as a result of an overdose.

And the monetary?

Americans spent more than $35 billion for drug control in 2020 alone — and that’s only at the federal level.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse puts the fiscal impact of addiction at $600 billion annually.

But here we are. Here we are.

Still.

There are no easy solutions.

But we can foster solutions.

And we can foster hope.

Right here on the homefront.

In this case and this weekend, one small step at a time.

The Lee County Coalition for a Drug-Free SWFL will hold its annual Family Run Saturday, Jan. 29, at Jaycee Park in Cape Coral.

The fundraiser, title sponsored by Busey Bank, will step off at 8 a.m.

All proceeds will benefit the coalition and its programs and initiatives, including the Drug House Odyssey, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Red Ribbon Awards, Operation Medicine Cabinet and more.

The 5K is a chipped and timed event suitable for all ages and abilities, according to organizers, who add that the first 300 to register will receive a T-shirt.

The registration donation is $25. To take part, visit www.drugfreeswfl.org where additional information on the coalition, its programs and available resources also may be found.

To paraphrase Pogo, we have met the addict and he is us.

Our brother.

Our sister.

Our son.

Our daughter.

The reality is, addiction has come home to roost.

The coalition also welcomes donations.

They may be made at www.drugfreeswfl.org .

— Breeze editorial

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