Humanity struggles

Elizabeth Chapa Online Editor elizabeth.chapa@apps.schoolcraft.edu

Elizabeth Chapa
Online Editor
elizabeth.chapa@apps.schoolcraft.edu

Unresolved mental illness can cause extreme problems

Someone who is constantly abusing drugs is usually not receiving the proper attention to cure their problem. People of power, such as law enforcers and government officials, should not make it harder for them to get help by putting them in jail or fining them. Rather, they should turn to getting them mental assistance. More often than not, there is an underlying issue that people run away from and distract themselves from by turning to drugs.

Statistics from the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicate close to 8.4 million adults in the United States have both a mental and substance use disorder who are often left to live on the street. The statistics prove that a majority of the homeless have a mental illness, but the law treats them as criminals rather than helping them get on their feet to better both themselves and society. This in turn digs a hole because tax dollars are being wrongly spent to put mentally sick homeless people into jail to be surrounded by other mentally ill people. Instead, the tax dollars could be spent towards mental health to help these people control their lives, get jobs and be contributing persons in society, which would better the economy and overall nation.

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, 44 million people in America that have a serious mental illness are homeless at any given point in time, with the high possibility that they use drugs.

According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, 44 million people in
America that have a serious mental illness are homeless at any given point in
time, with the high possibility that they use drugs.

Outsiders often believe it is homeless people’s faults that their lives are that way, but that may not be the case. Drug users encountered on the streets may have issues that cause them to depend on a drug. Healthy people need to be thankful they do not have horrid issues to face and be open minded to people who are in need of help.

When people start using drugs, they are constantly chasing a high where problems don’t seem as distressing and painful. They may have family issues or other obstacles to face on a day-to-day basis. The reason as to why people first use drugs varies, and their using, whether it starts with alcohol or marijuana, will probably lead to consuming harder drugs down the road. People need to be aware that with those around them who constantly drown themselves in drugs/ alcohol most likely have an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. Users should not be punished or expelled from the house or friend group; they need people to support and aid them — to help them understand and acknowledge the reasoning behind their abuse.

Despite all the help one is willing to give there is still a barrier in society. There needs to be reconstruction of the way drug users are viewed and treated, including their punishment.

Shared in “Lost Angels: Skid Row Is My Home (2010),” a documentary about homeless citizens of Skid Row (an area in Downtown Los Angeles that contains one of the largest populations of homeless people), one in four people are touched by mental illness at some point in their life. This matter needs to be taken more seriously. Drug use and mental illness need to be viewed as a major problem.

Officials need to not look down on drug users, when they are being dealt with. There has to be a change in the system. The first step starts with a community attempting to help those who are struggling with addiction, and to not turn a back on them. If you know of someone that might need help, talk to family members or take the initiative yourself to reach to them to get help.

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