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Human Rights Day: Treatment for addiction – a basic right, not a privilege

Human Rights Day: Treatment for addiction – a basic right, not a privilege

Often people inadvertently stumble into the world of addiction, whether to alcohol or prescription drugs, simply due to lack of knowledge and awareness. Addiction does not follow class, category, sect, religion, gender, age or country. Since anyone can develop an addiction, it is only fair that no one is denied treatment based on their color, gender or for any other reason. It is more like a fundamental human right.

However, the reality is disrespect for basic human rights is commonplace across the world. People are often subjected to horrific violence, denied basic medical healthcare and exposed to intolerance and fear due to their identity. In order to create awareness on the need to respect basic human values, Human Rights Day is observed every year on Dec. 10. On this day in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Though there has been an increased emphasis on the human rights of refugees, differently abled people, the LGBT population, women, indigenous people, etc., equal attention is required in ensuring the provision of treatment to every patient suffering from addiction without any discrimination.

Addiction not a crime, but a disease

According to the studies, there is a strong disparity between the number of drug users and reach of available treatment to them. The difference mostly occurs due to the marginalization of people based on man-made identities. It is also linked with social status and limited access to important resources essential for leading a quality life, such as health care.

In a society that follows many parameters to discriminate people, addiction is considered as a crime. While science explains addiction as a chronic relapsing disorder of the brain, people, in general, believe addiction to be a product of bad lifestyle choices. As a result, providing treatment for any kind of addiction is still perceived as a privilege than as a right.

Due to the increased use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs, substance use disorders are also on the rise. Rather than receiving treatment, patients suffering from addiction are often sentenced to prison and are at the receiving end of other inhuman practices. Added to all this, people are also discriminated against based on their class while evaluating who is eligible for treatment for an addiction.

Need of the hour – spread education and awareness

In the light of increased number of deaths due to addiction, it has become imperative to create concrete policies and laws to ensure equal access to quality medical care to all the patients suffering from addiction.

It is important to note that while addiction can lead to death, it also causes mental disorders in the patients. Therefore, people who are not treated for their addiction on time tend to develop a mental illness which is also popularly known as dual diagnosis.

The present state of the society calls for a desperate need to create awareness and educate people about the hazards of addiction. There is also the need to form an army of “good samaritans” to ensure accessibility of treatment to every patient suffering from addiction.

Treatment for addiction is a right, not a privilege

Addiction is undoubtedly a disease and not a crime. While it is important to punish the people breaking drug laws, those with addiction should be regarded as patients rather than as criminals. Though wrong choices and bad company can certainly be the reasons for developing an unwanted addiction, other socioeconomic factors such as poverty, dysfunctional family system, etc., or some other circumstances can contribute equally.

If you or your loved in suffering from drug addiction or any substance abuse, you may contact the Texas Drug Addiction Treatment helpline to know more about drug addiction treatment centers in Texas. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-5757 or chat online to get immediate help regarding drug rehabilitation centers in Texas.

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