In matters of substance abuse and addiction, people tend to reason that they play no responsible role in other people’s choices. In many ways, this is true. Everyone is in charge of monitoring their use of substances and pleasurable activities, as well as caring for their own mental health and learning to have healthy thought and behavior patterns. However, there is an element of responsibility that we play in the lives of each other’s addictions, substance abuse and mental health. That responsibility is in our awareness and in our interactions.
Having awareness of any situation or condition implies that a person is reasonably knowledgeable about said situation or condition and has an understanding of how they effect the situation or condition. Therefore, having an awareness of substance abuse and addiction implies that a person understands the clinical definitions of substance abuse and addiction, understands how to identify cases of them and is open to learning about the dynamics of these conditions, particularly as they relate to the people in their life who struggle with them. People are not required to possess an awareness of addiction and substance abuse, but it greatly benefits society when people do.
The way a person treats an addict or substance abuser is also an area of responsibility that falls on all of us collectively. This boils down to simple decency in human treatment, but understanding the ethics of how to approach substance abuse and addiction is what makes all the difference. When a person has a true awareness of what addiction and substance abuse are, they will naturally be able to interact with an addict or substance abuser correctly, as well as treat them with decency. Addiction and substance abuse are legitimate diseases and they need to be approached accordingly. People who fall victim to them are every bit as intelligent and talented as anyone else, as well as every bit fragile and human. Understanding, compassion and boundaries go a long way with an addict or substance abuser.
In the United States and Canada, society as a whole has a ways to come before it knows how to properly accept addicts and substance abusers. But rest assured, there are support systems and mental health professionals who are devoted to meeting addicts and substance abusers where they are, offering them respect and helping them into recovery. Residents of the United States and Canada who are struggling with addiction can find support networks, whether they are an alcohol rehab Canada, a drug rehab United States or a detox center North America.