Addiction thrives in darkness, shame

I’m responding to the July 22 letter, “Not a disease,” along with The News-Journal’s series on the opioid crisis and other recent headlines involving substance use.

[READ: Trail of Death]

For all the alcoholics addicts, their families and friends, I hope they feel empowered to effect change. For those not affected by addiction, I hope they understand addiction is not a moral failing. Alcoholism/addiction is classified as a disease. To learn more, consult medical sources — examples are “Healing the Addicted Brain,” by Harold C. Urschel, III, M.D., “Breaking the Myths of Alcoholism,” by Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, or the American Medical Association. People battling any disease should be treated with compassion.

Addiction, regardless of how classified, is hideous. Until we bring it out of the shadows, many of those suffering will continue to hide it, fail to get treatment and spiral further into this life-threatening illness.

Alcoholics and addicts, and their families, face condemnation and cruel comments, shame and blame. People are so afraid of anyone finding out that they or their loved ones are addicted, they often opt for no support rather than face the stigma. The person next to us may be battling addiction.

It’s time to open our minds and start talking, because it’s not the “other” person’s problem anymore. Our parents, daughters, sons, pastors, mechanics, lawyers, waiters, first responders, high school students, cashiers, doctors, etc., battle this disease along with everyone who loves them. They all need help. Whether it’s a homeless veteran struggling with the horrors of PTSD, a middle school student who experimented, a business executive dealing with stress or a neighbor — they deserve compassion, respect and treatment. Let’s stop pretending that addiction lives under a bridge when it really lives in our house, and five other houses on the block. Alcoholics and addicts, and their loved ones need understanding and support, not judgment.

Chrissy Polans, Ormond Beach

Immigration’s toll

The increase of childhood diseases in the U.S. is something that should be very concerning to the American people and the Centers for Disease Control. It is never mentioned on the news. Yet it is is a strong argument for building the wall and stopping illegal immigration into our country. Those who are pro-open border are oblivious to the dangers from importing diseases via illegal passage through porous borders; we’re seeing the re-introduction of whooping cough, measles, mumps, etc., which were virtually eradicated during the 20th century The numbers began to rise in step with the increases in illegal immigration.

In addition, American tech workers are being displaced or losing their jobs due to a lack of restrictions on H1B visas (which is also an immigration issue). Companies are replacing American software engineers in droves with foreign workers through the H1B program and through off-shoring.

We don’t believe that this is because there aren’t enough skilled Americans in this field, but because they can pay these foreign workers less. Case in point: My husband had a full-time contract job with a major American banking corporation for almost two years. Instead of renewing the American contracts as they ended, the company replaced 100 percent of his team with workers from India, and the majority of the software team in that entire business unit were then H-1B or offshored workers.

Good for the bottom line, very bad for American tech workers and their futures.

Barbara Houllis, New Smyrna Beach