Substance abuse isn’t just ‘their’ problem

addiction and substance abuse

Substance abuse is a problem that the community should recognize a collective obligation to address, writes the author. In this September 2017 photo, Oregon Recovers, a coalition advocating for comprehensive prevention, treatment and recovery support services for substance addiction, holds its inaugural rally in Portland. Courtesy of Oregon Recovers

Julie Dodge

Dodge is interim dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at Concordia University-Portland.

I am what is known in the recovery community as a “normie.”

This means that I am like most of you reading this. National data shows more than 90% of adults over 18 are not alcoholics, and 92% do not have any other substance use disorders.

Most of us normies don’t pay much attention to issues related to addiction and substance abuse because it’s “not my problem.” We may criticize and wonder why people don’t just stop using drugs or alcohol. Or we point a finger at drug-related crime and wonder why someone doesn’t do something about that.

When we read that methamphetamine related deaths in Oregon are up 400% since five years ago ­– 272 to be specific – we may not think much of it. After all, it’s not our problem.

Or, perhaps it is our problem.

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