Investing in Community Care is the Only Way Forward

How do we move from a culture of violence to a culture of compassion?

Addiction and Violence

Often, folks believe that mental illness can lead to violence. There is a commonly held stereotype that individuals with schizophrenia are violent and scary. The sad truth though is that a person with schizophrenia is far more likely to be a victim of violence than a perpetrator of it.

Rehabilitation or punishment?

The criminalization of addiction in this country is short-sighted and cruel. Removing the substance from the user doesn’t solve the underlying problem. The reason relapse is so prevalent is not because the user is weak or has no conscience it’s because the drug is giving them the care that they need. Unless that drug is replaced with actual support and care, they have no choice but to go back to using it.

Trauma is not the thing that happens to you, it’s what it makes you believe about yourself.

Deeply held beliefs that we aren’t worthy of love are soul-crushing and lead us to seek relief in any way that we can find. Often that is through substance abuse.

If we view every jailed addict as someone who is worthy of love but doesn’t believe in their own self-worth, what would rehabilitation look like? What sort of care would we give to someone who deeply needs support, rather than punishment?

The value of Community Care

I have seen over and over again in social media threads people commenting that Breonna Taylor was a drug dealer. We know that wasn’t true. But we also know that she did have a relationship with a drug dealer, and that relationship led to her eventual death.

Class and Rehab

What happens when a celebrity checks into rehab? They receive mental health support. They get healthy food, exercise, fresh air. They get therapy and have freedom. They are not treated like criminals, they are treated like people who are in need of support.

What does it say about a society when a police officer wears tools of violence that cost thousands of dollars, but a single mother who finds herself in a rehab facility has to scrub toilets in exchange for a candy bar?

What about the children who have police officers and K9 units patrolling the halls of the school, but no counselor to go to when they are afraid to go home?

Community Care lifts us all

If Breonna Taylor’s community (which is incidentally, also my community) had real rehabilitation services, her ex-boyfriend may have been drawn to another line of work. He may have seen a way out of poverty that didn’t include selling drugs. Rather than using her hard-earned money to bail him out of jail, they may have both been able to have work that brought them joy. And rather than a police force that sees having drugs in the house as a crime deserving of death, we could have a police force that moves through the community with compassion, and understanding.

Psychologist and Human mood ring.

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