The Response - 14

	 Wait a minute, I thought to myself... just a jogger. I could
have been that jogger. That jogger was a real person. I didn't want
it to be a real person. I wanted it to be just a drug deal gone bad.
You know, then it wouldn't be like it was a real person because it
would have been just an "addict."
	 And with that exchange I realized that I, too, had the same
prejudices that I ask people to extinguish. Sometimes when we think
we are learning we are actually just shuffling our prejudices.
	 I was giving a conference on the treatment of opioid addiction when
I saw a particular physician enter the lecture hall and sit in the back.
I found it interesting because I knew this physician and knew
that he did not agree with my philosophy of treating this disease.
In fact, he had told me in private conversations that he did not believe
this was a disease at all. When it came time for the Q&A nobody
raised a hand, except my friend in the back row. I had no other
option but to acknowledge him. He proceeded with the following
question, "Great talk on heroin addicts, but what do you do with
those speed freaks?"
	 I thought for a moment and decided it was time to confront him.
I replied, "Sir, to better answer your question I will need to understand
where you are coming from. What is your specialty?"
	 He looked at me strangely because he knew that I knew his specialty.
But he had to answer my question and responded with, "I am an

	 "Oh," I said, "so you treat those fat, sugar guzzling pigs you call
diabetics." Some immediate shock and a few nervous laughs were
heard and I continued, "I mean, what else do you want to call them
but liars. The only time a diabetic lies is when he moves his lips. And
he is not eating a candy bar. Diabetics will swear on a stack of bibles
that they eat nothing but tree bark and grass clippings as their weight
goes up and their sugar climbs." More shock and nervous laughter. I
continued, "Now that you are done insulting my patients and I am
done insulting your patients why don't we get back to doing what
we really do - treating people. My patients are not addicts or speed
freaks and yours are not fat, sugar guzzling, lying pigs. I treat people
addicted to drugs and you treat people with diabetes. The diseases
each of our patients have does not define who they are, but rather
what they have."
	 Addiction is not new and those suffering from it are not unique.
Like cancer, polio, and any other disease, addiction has a history. It has
a history of society accepting it as a disease. It has a history in medicine
understanding it as a disease. And it has a history of physicians learning
how to treat it as a disease. In order to truly appreciate the unseen
destruction of this epidemic we need to see how it has evolved, and
in many ways how it has remained the same. The face of addiction's
differences and similarities may startle you.

First opioids affect
your loved one.
Then they affect
your family.
Caron knows that if your family member is addicted to opioids, you
are struggling too. That's why we use our clinical expertise to treat
the whole family. Our comprehensive, opioid-specific treatment
program treats addiction like the disease that it is. The program is
medically driven, including the appropriate medication-assisted
treatment, to ensure the greatest possibility of success. Don't wait
to get the care you deserve - trust Caron to treat addiction headon and to heal your family today.
Partners in treatment with Berks County.


the response // summer/fall 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Response

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