Monthly Archives: September 2014

We still don’t think addiction is a disease

The following is an excerpt from a recent article from Madison Magazine of madison, Wisconsin, about the “perfect storm” heroin crisis in a small neighboring town, Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin. I couldn’t have written it better myself, so I will let the author, Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz tell it like it is:

“It’s a perfect storm, all right, and it brews on many different fronts—arguably the most turbulent of which is that so many of us still don’t get addiction. We just don’t see or understand or believe that addiction is a disease, a chronic and progressive brain disease, fatal if left untreated, compounded by stigma and shame, and even further complicated by its tangled relationship with mental health and the fragmented systems serving both. We think addicts should just try harder, be smarter, grow stronger, care more, so they can, simply, stop. But at some point for every addict—whether after years of abuse or that very first sip, toke, bump or hit—the choice to use stops being a choice. Brains are rewired, consequences stack up like prison bricks and free will evaporates. Using becomes a compulsion, then an obsession, no longer about morals or intelligence or willpower, if it ever even was. Take this baffling disease and combine it with crime and consequences and collective misunderstanding and pain and pride and plentiful but isolated resources and you’ve got that whopper of a storm, one that leaves so many people suffering, not actually believing that it can get better. That recovery is even possible. That life could be good again, infused with hope and peace, health and fulfillment, productivity and purpose. Because it can, it does, without a doubt, if you can find that help. It’s just hard to see the rescue crew through the blinding rain after that front rages through and you’re left, in shock, sifting through the wreckage.”

Educate yourself. Educate your friends and family. Educate anyone who will listen, so we don’t lose any more lives to this senseless disease.

Attention all drug stores: Follow CVS on stopping tobacco sales!

This is a great move by CVS/pharmacy. They have stopped selling all tobacco products at their stores. My father Bill Garrity and I did this decades ago at our store, Garrity Drug. One day in 1989, my dad approached me and said that since we were in the business of health care, we should not be harming people’s health. We discussed the issue at length and decided that the money we would lose in not selling tobacco products mattered less than the lives we would be improving.

My dad was a forward thinker. He wanted to promote health no matter the cost. CVS is a trend setter for this round of retail health care vs. harmful toxins. Walgreens has expressed no interest in following suit, possibly because they have had low earnings and various other bad publicity issues of late. At least one chain drug store has re-introduced the movement a small independent drug store in Freeport, Illinois started many years ago.

Tobacco (nicoteine) is one of the most addicting substances known to man. The other ingredients included in tobacco cause damage to one of the most vital organs we have: the lungs. If you can’t breathe, you die. Every emergency room physician or nurse will tell you that finding an airway is critical to life.

Please help keep the movement alive by calling your local pharmacy and requesting they stop selling tobacco products. We need to stand up and be responsible regarding our health and the health of others. Smoking isn’t cool, it kills.