January 17, 2017
THE LOST SOULS OF ADDICTION: LOOKING FROM
THE OUTSIDE IN
G. Michael Errico, MS
The heroin epidemic the country is suffering through, and the subsequent media coverage
about the fight to conquer this epidemic has opened my eyes to the way people really view
addiction. After more than twenty years in the treatment field, most of which has been in
the specialty of treating opioid addiction, I never really looked at the issue from the
For something that has been part of my daily life for so long, I just found myself removed
from what other people outside of the addiction treatment field thought. I began to
discuss addiction with everyone and anyone who would listen to me, people in line at the
grocery store, in the mall, sitting next to me on planes, etc. What I clearly found out more
often than not is—addiction is entirely misunderstood.
Some people are fortunate enough to never have to live through the experience of being
an addict or having a loved one who is addicted. Luckily, they don’t know what it feels like
to love an addict, to go through the trials and tribulations and suffering, the endless guilt
about where they went wrong or how they could have done things differently.
No one factor can predict if a person will become addicted to drugs. A combination of
factors influence risk for addiction. The more risk factors a person has, the greater the
chance that taking drugs can lead to addiction.
Addiction is everywhere. It may affect you or your children, your spouse, your loved ones,
your friends, your pharmacist, your doctor, your neighbor, the actors in your favorite
films or TV shows, the musicians who perform your favorite songs etc… Addiction does
not discriminate. Addiction affects everyone it touches. It changes and damages every
relationship it comes into contact with.
Some are quite obvious, and others well-hidden, suffering the ugly and sometimes deadly
effects of this d