As part of my education I was required to complete both a practicum and an internship. I spent 8 months at Banner Thunderbird Hospital in the Psychiatric ER. It was an amazing experience as well as an eye opening one.
Somewhere around two weeks into the experience I noticed that I was avoiding unnecessary trips out of the house. I wasn’t filled with fear or anxiety, I just wasn’t interested in going out if I didn’t have to. I started thinking about why I was doing this and realized that it was my experiences in the ER that were driving my reluctance to well, drive.
It was sobering to realize just how many people were functioning out in the world while high on all manner of drugs. Although I don’t bet, I would lay down money that you’ve interacted with (or are yourself) someone who was using today. Yes, it’s really is that prevalent.
I should also note here that I have a truckload of empathy for addicts. Many of them are struggling with something for which our brains never evolved mechanisms to manage. For a non-addict, making a single bad choice (i.e. speeding) may have a single bad consequence (i.e. speeding ticket) and he or she may learn not to speed again. For an addict a bad choice (i.e. heroin) may lead to consequences previously unimaginable. A single match strike that burns down a forest. It is a disease worthy of empathy and treatment.
Having said far more than I intended to, here’s the link I wanted to share. A podcast called “This American Life” and a show named “I Was So High” which discusses just how common and prevalent drug use is in our society, and how the face of drug use isn’t what we think it is.
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