“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom”
I know, with absolute certainty, that William Blake was wrong.
Xannies, K-pins, Oxies, Dillies, Hydros, Bennies, Percs.
And how many others?
Too many to count. Too foggy to remember.
There’s an epidemic of addiction going on in British Columbia. And there’s no sign of it slowing down, even as the overdose rates skyrocket.
For many, it starts as harmless fun. A pill or two. Heck, maybe even three. What’s the worst that could happen?
It starts as weekend partying. Or just something to do to break the boredom. But once it’s gotten hold, you find yourself sneaking into the medicine cabinet more frequently. And when one pill no longer does the trick, you find yourself taking two.
Then it’s a habit.
You’re in the belly of the beast.
There’s an entire generation of young people in BC today who are turning to recreational pharmaceuticals use. And most addictions specialists would agree – that’s where it starts.
Today, we’re in the midst of an opioid addiction epidemic – primarily – Fentanyl. But few users begin with a drug as “hard,” as Fentanyl. It starts with something seemingly benign, typically. DXM found in cough suppressants, Codeine in Tylenol #3… the “soft,” drugs.
So how do we stop the wave of prescription drug addiction?
Early intervention and education.
There are many organizations and institutions that offer education to reduce the incidence of addiction. I’ve volunteered with a few. Most recently, I volunteered for a short while with the Mood Disorders Association of BC.
Addiction and mental illness often go hand in hand. I’ve read that approximately 50% of people who live with mental illness are also drug users. That’s a scary stat.
Aside from offering counseling services to those who are seeking to better their lives, MDABC also ventures out into the community to provide education on mental health issues. It’s the outreach element that truly reaches the hearts of communities in BC.
There’s still a shroud of secrecy and naivety when it comes to addiction and mental illness. This is partially because of stigma, but also due to the relative uncertainty surrounding the causes of mental health issues. Modern medicine has yet to crack the code. We don’t fully understand what causes these illnesses. And by nature, people fear what they don’t understand.
Community outreach is one way to connect people with the services and programs they may need. The mental health system can seem like a convoluted mess. And it can be difficult to navigate to a newcomer. By directing those in need to the right services, MDABC connects the disjointed parts of our mental healthcare system. And people seem genuinely grateful to receive this help.
William Blake wrote, “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.”
But I think the truth is, it isn’t excess that leads to wisdom. It’s knowledge sharing, human connections, and a willingness to learn from others.
From experience, I believe that the road of excess leads to a place of desolation.
Let’s make a difference. Today.
Support mental health initiatives in your community. Someone out there needs you to.