This is a thank you to Linda Stansberry and the NCJ staff for their work and publication of the first part of "What's Killing Us?" (Sept. 10). I appreciate the thoughtful approach to the exploration of what is most often the cause of addiction for people. Too often (especially as of late) I hear judgment and criticism, particularly when it comes to homelessness and how addiction and mental illness play critical roles. In my humble opinion, the problem lies in the very mentality that addiction is "us vs. them."
For me, this hits extremely close to home as just five months ago my little brother, at age 19, passed away from an unintentional drug overdose. The article's discussion of childhood trauma and mental illness was very true for him. Despite having family who loved him very much there wasn't enough time and correct use of social support to save him in time. I want to remind people that, when they read these statistics, there are real people attached to them. You cannot gather from statistics on drug-related death how wonderful a person was in life, despite their addiction, and how loved they continue to be. This is not an "us vs. them" problem. You can continue to incriminate and judge those who you don't know or understand and then complain about societal problems or you can do something to help.
One place to start is by helping youth. We were all once children who came into a world we did not create. Please take a moment to check out The Odyssey Film Project: www.odysseyprojectfilm.com.
I'm really looking forward to the second part of the article. Thank you.
Amy Neff, Eureka