To the Editor,
In Ross Douthat’s article, “The Age of American Despair” from September 7th 2019, he discusses prioritizing the American drug-related-death crisis as the most pressing problem today. Even going as far as to jab CNN for running a program that educated Americans on the detriments and consequences of climate change, Douthat ponders throughout the article what the main cause to drug use is and what the best approach to stopping it is. He argues that the cause is simply a political, spiritual, or economic problem, or combination of all three, and that the problem will eventually solve itself with society evolving a new existential meaning of life.
However, while his argument is compelling and filled with support, I disagree with a few of his points. I have seen a person suffer from the effects of alcohol and drug related abuse, and sometimes the person will not allow you to open them up and examine what the problem is and where it came from, therefore, enabling people to try and care for them. Some do not want to divulge their reasoning for why they choose to do what they do. And sometimes, you may not even realize they are participating in the use of drugs. Some hide it so well, they cannot allow you to find out about their addiction in order to keep feeding it. So I ask Douthat, how do you treat an individual for a problem you don’t know they have?
In addition to my proposed question of how, I find it extremely bold to say to tell audiences and the country to ignore the safety of future generations and populations by saying the main focus should be the growing drug epidemic. While Douthat states that the epidemic is America’s greatest threat right now, the simple fact is, climate change is not only the entire world’s greatest enemy right now, but all of Humanity’s. Therefore, I believe that the epidemic should not be totally ignored, but for the moment, tabled. While it is very important and pressing, the safety of the world population is at stake, not just America’s own population. Tackling a disease with no exact cause, cure or treatment plan without proper financial funding is not going to benefit anyone, but a problem that threatens humanity with multiple clear cut causes and a plethora of cures, can be fixed.
There is hope that, one day, we can eradicate the growing disease that is addiction, however, we need the planet habitable to do it. And in order to keep the planet habitable, it is going to take humanity hand in hand changing their lifestyle, and perhaps even this will lead to a reduction in drug related deaths.