The problem of international drug addiction is kept largely a secret. Part of this is that few care—it is one more problem that the world faces that few feel they can do anything about. What most Westerners care about is domestic drug addiction.
It is an understandable position, too.
We have our own problems here, so why should we take on the issues of other nations when we cannot handle our own problems?
Some addicts make or sell drugs to support their own habits. In Afghanistan, opiate addiction is common because the opium poppy is common. As any good dealer knows, though, it is bad business to “get high on your own supply,” yet that is exactly what is happening in in that country.
Desperate addicts do desperate things, and that does not work out for anybody.
With decades of war, poverty, and a close-at-hand supply of the best painkiller in the world, it is no wonder the Afghans are having a problem with opiate addiction. During the American Civil War, the same thing happened in our country. That is part of why we have heroin today.
Ominously, we are still dealing with heroin addiction 150 years later. If our course is anything like the one the Afghans will be facing, calling it an uphill battle would be an understatement.
The real shame is that if we were to provide treatment options and real opportunities in supplying countries—as well as domestically—it would go a long way towards curbing international drug addiction.
Of course, it will never be wiped out completely. The addict or alcoholic always has that inner void, and it will be filled with something. To further complicate matters, for some, it is not the lack of money that drives addictive behavior; it is by having ample money to fund a fledgling addiction.
So, although offering opportunities is something we should do anyways, money (or the lack thereof) is not what will stop addiction.
As any drug and alcohol treatment center worth its salt knows, the real solution is to offer hope.
Hope is what brought us to treatment, and it is vital in keeping us clean and sober. Without hope, there is no reason to continue on any path—let alone a better one.
To have hope of a better future, an addict needs to know that a better future is out there. Not only does it have to be out there, it has to be attainable.
The way to show that a better future exists and that it is attainable is through offering treatment.
It sounds like a tall order, and it is. Fortunately, in keeping with the Twelve Traditions, it is not impossible.
All that is necessary is the desire to stop drinking/using. Any group of two or more addicts or alcoholics is considered a meeting, provided that there is a singleness of purpose.
We act as an attraction, rather than a promotion.
Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. Getting the literature and establishing meetings in a warzone is—needless to say—almost super-humanly difficult. That does not mean that it cannot be done.
Considering that Twelve Step recovery and addiction recovery in general are still relatively new, it is not outside the realm of possibility that international drug addiction recovery could be closer than we think.