As we have noted in the past, addiction not only affects the individual who is abusing drugs or alcohol, it also takes its toll on families as well. If you live in an area where a number of families are burdened by drug abuse, then the ripple effect of addiction can spread through the entire community. When a community is crippled by substance abuse it can be overwhelming but if people band together they can help themselves and their neighbors.
The Charleston Gazette described some of what happened when a community in West Virginia held a forum to discuss the impact that substance abuse has and on their area:
“Connie Lupardus of the Central Appalachia Empowerment Zone in Clay said many residents can’t pass drug tests.
“We are losing our work force,” she said. “We are losing a generation of workers.”
A woman who works at a psychiatric hospital said substance abuse is the main problem she sees.
“Finding treatment, it’s hard,” she said. “And a lot of our children do have to go out of state” to find it.
Many participants placed the blame on doctors. A woman said some physicians give prescriptions meant for terminally ill patients for “minor aches and pains.”
“It’s ridiculous,” she said.
Another said she told her dentist she didn’t want a prescription for narcotic painkillers after a procedure, but he wrote her one anyway.
Some said it’s a larger cultural problem, pointing to the countless TV commercials that promise to fix people’s problems with pills.”
Residents shared ideas about how they could improve their lives. One expert told them that such change will not happen quickly and pointed to on practical measure they could take: getting serious about programs to ensure that prescription drugs are disposed of properly.
After a community forum last year where people said that there were no places that offered Narcotics Anonymous meetings for rural areas, some churches decided that they would answer the call and host meetings so people who needed this type of group had somewhere to get the help.