Drug addiction in the street view

While sitting here in my favorite pizza place, a fight starts between a couple, sitting in a table next to me. It ends up going so badly that the owner has to call the cops and the man ends up spending the next night in a jail. These people are a well known couple, with addiction problems in my neighborhood. But what can be done to help these people, when they don’t seek help themselves?

Way too often for my liking I have to read these sad stories, of lives lost because, we let the drug addicts run rampart in the streets, looking for their next high. Addiction is an illness isn’t it? We don’t let otherwise sick people who might danger lives of others or them the option to go on without treatment, but I feel that in our society, where we are praised to be the happiest people in the world, we don’t take mental health including addiction seriously enough. Look at the suicide rates in Finland, no wonder we are the “happiest people in the world”. But now I’m rambling

But what can we as a society possibly do?

I strongly believe that people who struggle with drug addiction, should be forced to treatment and by that I mean not to institutionalize them, but at least, help them with doctors and therapist’s to find, a way out. I doubt most of them “want to be” addicts. This could be enforced by, cutting their welfare benefits etc. Of course this wouldn’t make the problem disappear, but it would still be better than nothing. But what do I know. I’m just a kid with maybe too negative opinion of a problem that might not even be real..

Picture taken by me, from my backstreet where 25 year old kid closed his eyes for good, because of drug addicts robbery gone wrong

References: https://www.iltalehti.fi/kotimaa/a/7ae84c2b-1c2d-4e19-b5ca-bc800fab87ca

4 kommenttia artikkeliin ”Drug addiction in the street view

  1. Susana Marques

    Thank you, Ossi, for your close and honest look into this subject. This is a real and serious social problem that, as you said, an illness which needs to be taken care of. It affects them and all of us. However, cutting their benefits might work for some, but might cause some more problems due to their frustration and irrationality. But certainly, something to try out.
    I have been thinking the same every time I see a young couple that I was once their neighbour. What is life for them? What can be done to help them?

  2. Rui Matos

    I totally agree with you in treating drug addiction as a health problem, because that’s what it just is. I also share your perception that we don’t take mental health, including addiction, seriously enough.

    So, anwering to your question of “what could be done these people, when they don’t seek help themselves? “, is exactly by starting treating drug addiction as a health problem, not by forcing treatment but by making it openly and widely available. Forcing would, most probably, have the opposite effect than the desired.

    Cutting the benefits, would not help people buying more or less drugs. A person with drug addiction will not stop consuming drugs if threatned to stop receiving benefits, as the amount of money they get out of benefits it is a fraction of the cost they need to spend in drugs. Many times those benefits are managed by the Social Services, who pay their rents for them, to avoid that the money will be spent in drugs which leads to eviction and homelessness. More misery, more problems, more crime, more innocent people suffering the collaterals.

    The problem is real, and as you wondered, it is unlikely that most people with addiction want to be addicted, and that brings hope. Now it is a matter of the authorities making a shift in policies and start addressing this problem fundamentally as Health Problem as desired.

  3. Petra Ogunjimi

    Thank you for the post and Rui´s lengthy reply to it. It would have been interesting to hear if you had found some evidence how enforcement works. More links and information to back up your argument, Mr Ossi. Since as we know in this social service field that you can only help people who want to be helped. No-one can be saved or helped against their own will. Each and one of us are at the end the only responsible ones to our own life and choices. And still, there is always hope for everyone. Always. Negativity does not help. Solution-focused approaches and hopeful insights are needed.

  4. Thank’s for the post. I found an article from Helsingin Sanomat “Kenellä pitää olla huumeongelma, että suostumme puhumaan huumeista?”(HS 24.5.2019) Great article and it kind of back’s up Ossi your thought’s on drug usage.
    In the article it really emphasized the problem with drug’s being that we don’t speak about it openly enough. Our society just shut’s down, even the politicians.
    Sure we speak a lot about what kind of drugs there are available and what effect’s it has on our body, but little is spoken about the support and help. Something definitely should be done to the miserable situation.