Families need treatment

March 18, 2017

Newspaper articles and editorials appear daily concerning the opioid crisis, but rarely do they ever address the most important aspect of addiction, which is that it’s a family disease. It’s virtually impossible to live with addiction and not be affected emotionally and physically.

The addict becomes the center of attention, with family members trying to appease him as they go through their daily routines walking on eggshells. The user truly believes that they are in control when, in reality, drugs are dictating their lives. It’s difficult to get off this merry-go-round because those surrounding the addict are establishing a pattern of behavior that is very hard to reverse without some understanding of how the situation developed and how it can change.

The addict always has at least one codependent enabling the drug use and is in complete denial. This can be a spouse, parent or friend, and it’s imperative that they receive counseling. Sadly, children are the innocent victims of addiction, taking on various roles within the family unit. Some run off to hide to escape the insanity. Some will become overachievers. Some will become comics. Many of these children will act out in school, and most of them will have difficulty enjoying meaningful relationships. These children are the forgotten ones and are often neglected, abused and, more often than not, will become addicts themselves.

Families need treatment along with addicts. When addicts receive counseling, the cycle of addiction ends for that family. You are giving children a path to a drug-free life and the tools for a drug-free life and the tools for a successful future. Without family treatment, you are guaranteed more addicts will be created and more young lives will be lost, and greater burdens will be placed on the economy and the criminal justice system.

Penny Phillips



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