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Addiction struggles

Published September 08. 2018 07:27AM

Often times we turn the television on and see different newscasts about our next generation and all the things that seem to be evolving and changing as we push forward. One of the major things that does not seem to evolve and change is the fact that our next generation has become more dependent of opioids and other illegal drugs. The major question that many seem to be faced with today is simply why.

As a parent we often ask ourselves if we did enough for our kids or offered them a life that helped them to succeed. I myself am one of those parents, faced with the fact that a year ago a light switch went off in my 17-year-old son, one that no one was ready to face he is currently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Mental illness is being seen more than ever due to all the new testing and the fact that people are more knowledgeable to the different signs.

When gone untreated, teens tend to turn to self-medication to ease the pain and suffering that they so often times feel. Imagine the idea that you yourself are trapped in a mind that is always in constant chaos, would you not want it to stop? The funny thing is that more often than not these symptoms go untreated until it turns into something truly bad such as the school shootings. I was told by a crisis line that due to the fact that my son had no prior incidents that I was unable to get him the help I know he so dearly needed.

The only time I was able to get him help was when he robbed a home of a PlayStation remote and he is now being charged with a felony. Due to this taking place through the help of recovery unplugged I was able to get him in a facility in Texas. Now with him there I have had to deal with many different things both legal and with school that may force him to have to return here against the better judgment of those working closely with him.

Not only as a parent but as an advocate for those in need I feel that this is wrong. Change cannot take place without the proper steps in place to make them. What steps are we offering? How are we helping the next generation deal with these changes? I can’t see that we are. In Pennsylvania there are no services like what my son is getting due to the fact that he is under the age of 18. This alone causes many people to not even seek anything because they don’t know where to begin. I ask, what it is going to take to make changes in how we treat those in need? Just because my son does not have any physical impairments does not mean that he is not suffering inside. My son at this point is willingly staying in treatment because he knows he needs it. Pennsylvania may force me to bring him back, and all I have to ask is who is that helping?


Michal Shultz


I have unfortunately seen this idea before: my loved one uses to "self-medicate". I don't know your son but its important to understand that addiction is a disease in itself and should be treated as such. Although mental health issues can be a trigger for use, it doesn't make you an "addict". Treat the addiction. Treat the bipolar. Don't treat the bipolar thinking you are treating the addiction. And vote for people who will provide the funding needed to tackle both.

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