Massachusetts has been dealing with a opiate epidemic for well over a decade now and there is still no sign of improvement. Fetanyl laced heroin is flooding the streets and overdoses are on the rise,even becoming a normal occurrence in many cities. Police and other emergency workers regularly carry narcan, the overdose reversing medication in hopes of preventing death, as happening upon such a scene has become routine. Nearly everyone in the state has been affected either directly or indirectly by the use of drugs. Until addiction is made a priority we will continue to bury our young, we will continue stuffing our jails and prisons, the number of homeless will continue to grow , and the crime rate will steadily rise. More importantly, families will be torn apart and struggle to recover. Over the last few years I have personally witnessed this disease take two children each from three separate families and dozens of other people I once shared a classroom with. There is no common thread, no tie, no particular reason that all of these young people from different walks of life decided to allow drugs to take over their lives. For some it was experimenting, for others, a surgery followed by prescription drugs and yet others just a way to fit in, but for all it was a way to escape. No one chooses to be addicted or destroy their life and hurt the ones that love them the most. No one wants to depend on a substance to get them through each and everyday and no one wants to hustle, rob and steal on a daily basis just to escape for a short time. The problem is, that by the time addicts realize that they’re addicted it’s no longer a choice. The substance at this point is a physical need and the mental torment is just a symptom. Many addicts become addicted to not only the drug but the lifestyle that comes with the everyday process of getting high. It takes a lot for addicts to realize just how far they’ve fallen and the overwhelming feeling of guilt usually just pushes them deeper into addiction. Today as the drugs get more dangerous and use becomes more widespread addicts looking to recover face a daunting task. Many treatment facilities have closed their doors while others have limited beds available and some only accept certain insurances. Even if they can get clean the issue then becomes staying clean. The disease of addiction attacks people on every level, physically, spiritually and mentally, leaving only a shell of the former person. So in order to return to any semblance of a normal life all of these areas need to be addressed. Unfortunately there are very few long term treatment facilities available for those who want to put their life back together and thus, for many, relapse is inevitable. The saying goes “if you walk five miles into the woods, you have to walk five miles out”, this is a very true statement when it comes to recovery. Addiction is not a battle one can face alone and it is not an opponent that will ever be conquered, only kept at bay with sufficient assistance. It’s time to take this disease serious, protect our youth by educating them and provide those currently in the struggle with the propers tools to recover! The sad realty is that at this very moment somebody somewhere is overdosing and countless others are beginning another day with only one goal, get high and escape.