Last updated: November 27, 2023
If you give an addict a crack pipe, he’s going to take the crack pipe. If you give him an incentive to feed his addiction, he’ll probably be back for more. When he’s finished with that, he’ll be back to continue the cycle. We could go on in the vein of the popular children’s book series, but you get the point.
In a world where drug overdose deaths are at their highest recorded levels, investing 30 million dollars into a program that seemingly includes enabling addicts suffering from an addiction to crack cocaine could lead to a very unhappy ending indeed.
Advocates of the plan scrambled to put a positive light on things after the news broke about grant recipients receiving funding that allowed for the purchase of supplies to include in their “safe smoking kits.”
Non-profits plan to distribute the kits in hopes of reducing infections that spread among addicts. They would include things like alcohol wipes for cleaning hands and pipes and some lip balm to soothe cracked lips. And, it’s been said by some that because homemade pipes for smoking crack and methamphetamine break easily or they may release toxic fumes, a safer crack pipe could be included in each kit.
An unnamed spokesperson for the administration said in a statement to Fox News that “The Harm Reduction Grant offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and authorized by the American Rescue Plan is a grant program designed to help Americans who are struggling with substance use stay healthy and safe, prevent overdose death, and find pathways into evidence-based treatments. Like all programs that use federal funding, these grants must adhere to relevant federal, state, and local laws or regulations.”
Things that make you go “hmmm”
It’s certainly good to know that the grant recipients won’t be breaking the law when disbursing their funds! Distributing drug paraphernalia is definitely against the law so all should be well, right?
We really hate to be the bearer of bad news, but…
The spokesperson failed to mention that selling or distributing drug paraphernalia is against federal law unless authorized by the government. That tidbit of information certainly puts the red flag right back at full mast, doesn’t it?
When you enable an addict
It’s no secret that many people that struggle with addiction are in denial. Mainly about how detrimental it is both for themselves and for those who love them.
When someone abuses drugs over a long period of time it damages both their body and their mind. Oftentimes, the damage is irreparable—and then there is always the risk of death by overdose to contend with. Family and friends suffer right along with them though. The mental anguish is overwhelming and some suffer physical abuse as well.
It’s natural for us to want to help someone we love who is suffering. However, it’s important to realize the difference between helping and enabling.
Signs of an enabler
There’s a difference between helping someone suffering from addiction and enabling them. It’s whether or not you’re acting as the shield that keeps them safe while acting irresponsibly. The addict needs to experience the consequences of their addiction. Suffering consequences and having to take responsibility for their actions might cause them to seek treatment.
It’s certainly going to be more likely to happen than if someone is covering for the addict. Say, by handling things for them that they could and would do for themselves if sober perhaps?
Here are 7 signs that you’re enabling your loved one’s addiction.
- Excusing or ignoring poor behavior—Don’t accept their excuses or blame their addictive behavior on an external factor.
- Picking up the slack—Don’t cover for them even though every fiber of your being wants to help them meet all their responsibilities.
- Putting their needs before your own—Never neglect your own needs or obligations, not socially, financially, or at work.
- Non-confrontational—Don’t keep your feelings about how their addiction is affecting you bottled up. Shielding them from seeing the consequences of their actions makes it easier for them to keep on keeping on.
- Joining in—Even if you don’t use drugs with them, keeping them company or treating it as if there’s nothing out of the ordinary is doing them far more harm than good.
- Acting out of fear—Being around an addict can be frightening. Remove yourself from the situation rather than acting as a pacifier.
- Paying their way—Don’t pay the bills or let them move in with you if their addiction is the cause of their homelessness. You can not become their safety net even though it will be heartwrenching to say no. If there are children involved, consider taking the necessary steps to get them permanently placed in your home or the home of a trusted relative.
Help is supposed to be uplifting
The funding for the Harm Reduction Grant comes from President Biden’s executive order, issued January 20, 2021, which instructed: “the Federal Government should pursue a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all, including people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.”
The Federal Government should certainly focus on a comprehensive approach to advancing equality for all—our nation was founded on that principle. However, if including “safe smoking kits”—whether or not they include a safe crack pipe —is included in the overall approach, is it really “comprehensive?”
The definition of the word comprehension is: complete, including all or nearly all elements or aspects of something.
If you want to truly help someone suffering from addiction—any addiction—handing them tools with which to continue using at all seems as if you aren’t taking the most comprehensive approach here. It seems it would be more comprehensive to devise a plan that allows someone to break free of their addiction rather than alluding that there apparently isn’t any hope of them ever becoming drug-free so—eh, what the heck—here’s a crack pipe and some lip balm.
Let’s rethink that plot.
If you give an addict a glimmer of hope instead, he might just walk into the light. Now, that’s an ending we can get behind.