An artist’s response to the opioid crisis
Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg
You and I are addicts.
We may be addicted to things other than drugs, like gaming, smoking, shopping, even our cell phones…but what comes to mind when we see the word, addict? Drugs. Dark alleys. Needles hanging out of arms. To understand why, I traveled over 57,000 miles throughout America interviewing hundreds of people suffering or recovering from drug addiction. Here’s what they taught me…
Turning Judgment Into Empathy
Drugs are an empty fix. Users are trying to fix themselves, to escape reality, to numb the pain. Very often, the pain is rooted in psychological injury: bullying, neglect, the loss of a loved one, sexual abuse, isolation. Drugs drag their users into very dark places. They need ladders of empathy, rather than oil slicks of judgment to emerge.