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Children grow up to be drug addicts because of dysfunctional homes

Florence Craven (Irish Examiner, Letters, January 14) sets the bar very high for compassion.

Another way of looking at the “self-inflicted” illnesses that are drink-, cigarette- or drug-induced is to go back to when that person was a child.

They were born in a state of perfection, with the potential to be anything. It seems unlikely their parents — even the ones not fit to raise a child — wished for them to grow up and become a drug addict or to repeat the same cycle of mistakes.

The reason children grow up to be addicts is due to a dysfunctional home environment or a catastrophic life event for which they receive no mental health support.

How many nice, middle class families do we all know that are so emotionally stunted they are incapable of acknowledging the crisis within their home?

So, instead of facing up to it, they dive into denial and delude themselves that there is no problem.

Some parents live their entire lives like that, because it’s easier for them to wallow in denial about the damage they are inflicting on their children than to admit the role they played in their loved-one reaching a point of crisis.

However, I do agree that it is unacceptable that people who struggle with a drug or drink addiction are allowed to engage in it in the street.

They should be arrested under a health law, but, instead of going to jail, they should be taken to a proper medical treatment centre and, under a court order, mandated to go through cold turkey.

For this to work, that person would also need to be properly medically attended, have their teeth fixed, have their general health assessed, and be provided with whatever treatment is needed. They will also need a clean and safe environment in which to recover.

If the physical addiction is tackled first, directly, and not by rotting someone from the inside out with methadone, then the person will be better-placed to make use of the proper mental-health assistance to tackle why they became a drug addict or a drunk in the first place.

But that costs money, and instead of tackling the issue properly, people opt for denial, and vote for politicians who tell them that there is a cheap way to fix these issues. There is not.

There is no such thing as a perfect society; even Norway has homeless people and drug addicts, but the way we live today, despite all its flaws and all that is wrong in this country that need not be, is far more compassionate than we have ever been.

That is a good thing.

Desmond FitzGerald
Canary Wharf


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