Help is out there for those facing addiction

Published 9:45 am Friday, September 18, 2015

U.S. President Jimmy Carter said, “The measure of a society is found in how they treat their weakest and most helpless citizens.”

That can be interpreted many ways but at least one application would be to consider our citizens battling addiction as falling in this category. But the important thing is for these individuals and their families to realize that help is available and no one is alone in this fight.

For the first time our society is starting to look at addiction as a disease and seeking actual treatments. Jail is expensive and has very low rehabilitation rates.

A variety of organizations provide counseling and support right here in southwest Michigan depending on the challenges.

One such opportunity will be “Recovery at the Riverfront” at Wayne and Front streets in Riverfront Park in Niles, an event organized by an individual who has battled the demons of addiction for years before getting sober and staying that way for the past few years. This relaxed setting should serve as a good entry point by those who are intimidated by the more formal setting of a Narcotics or Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

The goal is simply to start the dialogue and show those battling addiction that they aren’t helpless and certainly not alone. Those are important goals of any society.

And for those who are ready to seek help, an organization called Southwest Michigan Area Narcotics Anonymous keeps an up-to-date list of meetings, addiction awareness events, and resources in our area. It is a great place to take the first step on the path to recovery.

There is no doubt that these programs and events are needed because substance abuse is everywhere.

Just less than 10 percent of Americans ages 12 or older admitted to using an illicit drug within the past month, according to the most recent National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health.

That’s one out of every 10 people.

The same survey found that 6.6 percent of the population was dependent on alcohol or had problems related to their alcohol use.

The actual numbers for both statistics are likely far larger.

With such a clear problem, it is encouraging to see programs like Recovery at the Riverfront popping up here in Niles and across the country.

We can’t afford to forget about these people who need our help.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.