I haven’t done any formal research on this, but it seems to me that there is a pattern to creating public policy changes: It starts with telling our stories to whoever will listen. If you are anywhere near my age, you remember when the word “gay” or “homosexual” would rarely be spoken in a whisper. Now we have states passing gay marriage legislation. Why? Because brave people stood up and told their stories.
How about child abuse and sexual assault? I remember the days before the term “date rape” existed…days when people would barely say the word “sex” and any kind of talk about incest or sexual abuse or rape was hushed in families and communities as if speaking it would make it spread like a disease. Now we have laws prohibiting these crimes and, recently, commercials with celebrities speaking out against sex crimes. There’s a long way to go, but we’re making progress.
Same with drug use and abuse and dependencies. We’re learning. How many people have to die of heroin overdose before we all stand up and speak. We are learning. We are starting. And some laws and legal processes are changing – like “drug court” systems surrounding people with services for recovery rather than condemning them immediately to jail.
I’m not lecturing any one person to stand up to speak – because it all depends on where you are in the process whether that’s a role for you or not. I’m just bringing up the issue. People are learning and those of us who are ready and able can speak out.
Here’s the article that brought these thoughts to my mind. Take a look and see what you think. I’d love to hear your views: http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/addiction/lets-get-serious-about-treating-addiction
Blessings and prayers to all of you…