The tidal wave of compassion and support for Demi Lovato in the wake of her apparent drug overdose last month is indicative of society’s long overdue, shifting views on addiction. Social media platforms have been inundated since the singer’s hospitalization with comments acknowledging her strength and admiring her courage. Instead of finger-pointing, demeaning or judging her, Lovato’s fans and fellow entertainers are showering her with love, and her friends and family are standing firmly by her side. We are, in essence, offering her a giant group hug.
All of this is encouraging. However, we have a lot of work to do as a society when it comes to applying this inclusive, compassionate approach to non-celebrity, everyday Americans and families dealing with addiction.
Why? Because isolation kills. As Johann Hari writes in his seminal book, Chasing the Scream, “The opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety, it’s connection.” Yet we continue to look the other way and deny the obvious truth: Our children, our friends and our family members are being rejected, judged and shamed for the same struggles that celebrities receive endless support for ― and they are dying alone, desperate and afraid.
The statistics are staggering. More than 175 Americans die of drug overdose every day. As USA Today recently pointed out, that amounts to a daily 737 plane crash with no survivors. It’s an epidemic that’s “moving quietly and stealthily across the country, cloaked in stigma and shame,” author Beth Macy writes in her new book, Dopesick.
Read the entire story at The Huffington Post here