Public needs a better understanding of fentanyl addiction

I want to thank Randy Tharp for his brave and honest account from inside our local fentanyl epidemic (“‘Whole new demon’: Fentanyl deaths soar, and recovery is harder,” The Herald, April 10). This is a story that needs to be told. Addicts’ lives are often hell, and as this article shows, most addicts deal drugs to support their addiction. It’s impossible to hold a legitimate job when your whole life is structured around getting your next dose. Many die as a result of their addiction; and usually at a young age.

For those who think “good riddance,” I ask that you consider the literally thousands of county residents who have had to witness the decline and eventual death of a loved one who was addicted to drugs. This is a heart-breaking thing to go through. And the scorn and derision leveled at addicts — as satisfying as that may feel — does not help. Dismissing and marginalizing addicts does not make this problem go away. In fact, it makes them more likely to use.

We need a radically different approach to addiction: socially, medically and legally. But as a beginning, an “attitude adjustment” by the general public toward addiction — and addicts — would help. I commend Randy Tharp, Herald reporter Claudia Yaw, and The Herald for humanizing this problem.

Ann Morgan


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