Vail Daily column: It’s time to speak up about drugs
July 22, 2015
Maybe it's you, perhaps it's a child of yours or a neighbor, or a neighbor's child, or maybe it's just someone you know or who you have heard about. And in any case, the problem isn't only theirs; it's all of ours. That's the bad news. The good news is that part of the positive solution is also ours.
What I am talking about here is the pervasive and epidemic opiate and pain medication drug problem that is plaguing our nation and our local communities right here in Colorado. This drug problem is leading to addiction and unprecedented rates of heroin use leading to overdose and death.
If you had to ask yourself, and then also answer yourself honestly, could you name at least five people or families that you know in your immediate family or circle of friends who have been impacted by this epidemic? I'll bet the answer is yes, and for some of you the number is even higher than five.
For me personally, I can sadly and tragically count well above five. Several people very near and dear to me have a spouse or a child battling this fierce addiction. And tragically I have neighbors, family and friends who have lost someone to the disease of addiction or they are currently in the throes of the battle.
If we do not speak up now, and I mean right now, then we will lose more and more of those we love. Addiction is a nasty disease. It takes over the lives of those it inflicts as well as the lives of the families and friends who are forced to deal with it.
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For those of you who read this column regularly know that I try and maintain a positive outlook and share the winning words that many of you find comfort and motivation in. Although the topic is a bit dark, there is still positive motivation in my words.
As I shared earlier, the problem is ours, but so is the solution. Part of the solution is that we can no longer pretend that it doesn't exist, and that it only impacts other families and kids and not our own. But let me remind you of the quote by Pastor Martin Niemoller that is found in the Holocaust Museum:
"In Germany the Nazis came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak."
Here is where we come in — we have to speak to our family, to our children, to our neighbors and we have to wage war. They may try and win the battles, but together we can win the war. And stay with me here, the war is not the drug cartels and the drug dealers, the government and police have to deal with that. The war we have to wage and the positive and loving message we have to deliver is to our kids, our families, our spouses, our neighbors, our neighbor's kids, the butcher's family, the baker's family and the candlestick maker's family. The doctor's family, the lawyer's family and the Indian chief's family. I am sure you get the message — we need to deliver this message to everyone.
THE CHOICE IS OURS
You see, you and me, we can write these nice columns and blogs, and we can read these comforting and motivational words, but if we do not demonstrate the essence of the love and forgiveness found in these words, if we do not let all of these people in our lives know that they matter, if we do not speak up now, and I mean right now, then we will lose more and more of those we love. Addiction is a nasty disease. It takes over the lives of those it inflicts as well as the lives of the families and friends who are forced to deal with it. So we have two choices — take the high road and speak up, or bury our heads in the sand and pretend it doesn't exist. Which road will you take? Whose life will you impact? Are you capable of loving someone through addiction? Are you capable of delivering tough love to someone through their addiction and recovery?
It's time to speak up and speak up now. I would love to hear your thoughts on this and your encouragement for others at firstname.lastname@example.org, and when we have the courage and the love to speak up and speak up now, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.
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