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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Discussion Forums » BEAUTIFUL BOY FORUM: TAKE A STAND ON ADDICTION

Forum: BEAUTIFUL BOY FORUM: TAKE A STAND ON ADDICTION
Messages: 7,675   Topics: 7,508   Last Post: Sep 17, 2011 6:54 AM, by: laihooker »

In addition to a forum for us to share our stories, I’ve initiated this forum for us to explore the problem of addiction in America and to discuss new ways forward. In the afterword to the paperback edition of Beautiful Boy, I propose one option: the declaration of a war on addiction modeled on the war on cancer. Given the enormity of the suffering, its astounding that we – the collective we – are doing almost everything wrong in our fight against addiction. Four thousand Americans have died in five years in Iraq, whereas more than twenty thousand die each year of drug overdoses alone, and the number continues to rise. In many regions of the country, overdoses have or will soon surpass automobile accidents as the leading cause of non-natural death. Add the other casualties of drug use -- crime, accidents, suicide, drug- and alcohol-caused illnesses, lost productivity -- and you begin to fathom the enormity of the problem. After hearing countless stories from people who have been betrayed by America’s mental-health care system, I began to explore alternatives. This is a place to discuss them. I’ve determined that if we tackle addiction for what it is – as a healthealth crisis -- we could reverse the course we’re on. We could dramatically lower emergency room visits and decrease prison populations. We’d eventually free up billions of dollars to treat other illnesses, dramatically improving health care across the board. We’d save lives. We’d help families stay together and repair broken neighborhoods. We’d alleviate immeasurable suffering.
David Sheff


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