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Letter: Americans must end their affliction for addiction
09202017 OPIOID EDITORIAL

Addiction affliction is rampant in America. Cravers are hooked on cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, prescription opioids, illegal drugs, food and even technology. As a result, abusers suffer physically, mentally, emotionally, in relationships, spiritually and financially. Moreover, these addictions are imposing a staggering burden on our health care system and shameful blight upon our nation.

Cigarettes are a proven killer, yet many smokers won’t kick the nicotine habit. Some of the chemicals emitted from a burning cigarette include benzene, a flammable liquid used in making dyes and rubber; carbon monoxide, the poisonous oxygen blocker ejected from a vehicle exhaust pipe; formaldehyde, a disinfectant and preservative; ammonia, a poisonous gas used in making fertilizers and explosives; and hydrogen cyanide, a poisonous rat killer. Enough said.

Alcoholic beverage use has devastated untold lives, including countless family members who must deal with the foolish actions and aftermath of their intoxicated relatives. Habitual boozing may provide a temporary reprieve from life’s problems, but alcoholism can do irreversible damage to bodily organs, plus lead to violence, expensive legal problems, depression and shorter life spans.

Prescription opioid use is a national epidemic. With an oversupply of opioids on the marketplace, many doctors often prescribe these painkillers to provide fleeting relief to their patients. The woeful consequences are frequent overdosing and the pain of addiction. Alas, this tragedy has killed thousands of people, overwhelmed medical facilities and placed an enormous financial strain on government agencies. 

Illegal drug use is senseless and stupid. The drug cartels and dope dealers are cashing in on an unabated demand for dangerous narcotics that poison bodies, cause irrational behavior and often lead to costly rehabilitation, imprisonment and death. Despite law enforcement’s valiant effort to eradicate this scourge, addicts choose short-term highs over long-term health and happiness. 

Food is essential to life. Unfortunately, excessive eating has produced a glut of overweight and obese Americans, who often pay lip service to healthier living and wonder why no sustained behavioral change is realized. There are no shortcuts on the road to weight control and physical fitness. Follow this rigorous, reliable route: Eat less, exercise more, quit making excuses and stick with the plan. 

Technology is a splendid tool that many users abuse. To those who text while driving, why not stop now before more innocent people are injured or killed? To those conduct unceasing, unessential activities on social media, why not use this time to make a meaningful difference in the world? To those who view internet pornography, why not replace this pathetic passion with a positive pastime? 

Things such as the economy, taxes, traffic, weather and aging are out of our control, but we can take charge of our actions. No one is perfect, but destructive behaviors can be reversed through an ample dose of self-discipline, courage and commitment, the help of trusted professionals  and an unwavering faith in God. 

The new year is an ideal time to abandon addiction affliction. Don’t procrastinate another day. Turn bad habits into good habits, get high on life and make the most of it!

Dick Biggs

Gainesville

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