Our president recommended building a wall on our southern border to keep illegal drugs out. Unfortunately, the problem is not that easy to solve. Much of the illegal drugs coming into this country come by sea or air. And a large quantity of the drugs being abused are prescription medications bought and sold on the streets of this country. Interdiction efforts have not been that successful. Many doubt they will be in the future.
In this blog post and the next few, I will focus on a public education strategy that uses challenge questions from the serious game, Bounce Back, that encourages participants to discuss the issues around opioid addiction. The questions ask that you respond to them by describing in some detail how you would deal with the challenge presented using the skills and attitudes of resilience.
We encourage you to put yourself in the position of the person described in the next challenge and think about how you would manage this challenge using these skills. We would encourage you to share the challenge question with others and how they would respond to the challenge presented.
Sure. Build a wall to keep all the drugs and the unsavory characters who sell them out. That will keep drugs out about as well as guarded prison walls do. You can’t cut the supply without cutting the demand. People who believe this have never observed an addict in search of a fix.
Here are some of the things that we think would help a person coping with this challenge. Connecting with others. If we don’t come to gather around some of these issues and work together we will not deal effectively with this or other challenges in our society. Respecting others’ opinions and communicating is key. We need to problem solve together not alone. We need to be self-confident that we can meet the challenge. We need to keep the bigger picture in mind.
The problem we are facing is not a permanent one. We can resolve it if we work together. Yes, it is having a pervasive effect on parts of our society. Thousands are dying and families are being destroyed. But blaming ourselves or others for this is not going to help us solve the problem. We need to manage the strong feelings that we have and come together.
There are other skills and attitudes of resilience that could certainly be applied to the situation. We encourage you to discuss this with others and to come up with additional ones that you might see in managing this crisis.
In the next blog, I will be talking more about the issues around managing addiction in our society.
Dr. Ron Breazeale