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I watched a KOMO News 4 special report the other day entitled “Is Seattle Dying?”.  The report examined the increasingly problematic issue with the burgeoning homeless issue in the city, a problem that is becoming epidemic.

It turns out that the term “epidemic” is apt due to conclusions drawn in the program.  As the news team was interviewing various law enforcement officers, social workers and others intimately involved in the basic issues of Seattle’s homeless, the conclusion as to the basic causal factor was drugs.  Repeatedly the opinion was voiced, based on evidence and interactive experience with the homeless population, that 100% of the visible homeless (tent cities, those sleeping in business doorways, etc.) were addicted to drugs, primarily street-available opiates.

Wow!  100%!  Even if this figure is disputed with clinical numbers (if even available), the ramification of this is sobering.  My wife and I had assumed (dangerous word remember) that many, if not the majority, of those “on the street” were victims of increased cost of housing, overwhelming medical costs, loss of job…or a combination of these or other social issues.

Not so.  Drugs.  One hundred per cent of the time.  These people live (if you can call it that) from one injection to the next.  They are likely actively avoiding the very systems in place to “help” them, preferring instead to live for the next hit.  It is a tragedy, and one that I viewed on a daily basis as I walked from my morning train at King Street station to my chiropractic office in mid-town (when I practiced in Seattle).  I usually didn’t get far with any change remaining in my pockets, I stepped over unconscious forms sleeping ( or passed out) on the sidewalk), dodged abusive language, tiptoed around human feces….all in what was once the most beautiful city in America.

No longer.  We are witnesses to a human tragedy fueled largely by powerfully addictive drugs.  How did things come to this?

There are varied opinions.  Many true to some degree, however in my professional and personal opinion…the biggest factor is our desensitization to the issue of drugs as a normal fixture in our social and cultural structure.  We are raised on and around drugs.  When my wife and I watch the news in the evening, almost every commercial is selling the “benefits” of better health and life through chemicals.  Most of the ads deal with the side-effects however the worst spin-off of this integration of drugs in our culture is the eventual numbness to the colossal cost of drugs – street or prescription.

One estimate says that 180,000 people a year die from the direct effect of drugs (and that is the prescription, “legal” kind!).  The true cost of street opiates is largely unknown however has increased four-fold in just the last few years.

We are taught to avoid pain and symptoms with little pills and potions.  Valid alternative therapies and cures (such as chiropractic) are largely ignored.  Less than ten per cent of the population uses chiropractic on a regular, preventive basis.  As a practicing chiropractor for over 32 years, I have endured baseless criticism from those that promote drugs before the drugless alternatives.  Labeled “unscientific”, “junk science”, “dangerous for children”…I have had to learn to be thick-skinned…while watching people ingest drug after drug, often while still complaining about their pain and dysfunction!

Don’t get me wrong here!   If my airplane crashes and I am sitting in a pool of blood screaming in pain…well, bring on the drugs!  The science of skills of emergency medicine is invaluable….in true emergency situations!  If the body is overwhelmed, be it trauma, disease, fatigue, etc…then drugs and surgery may be the very thing that is of immediate need!

However in most non-emergency situations there are usually much better, and healthier, alternatives for pain…especially of the chronic kind.  If you or someone you love is in need of a health approach that respects and utilizes the natural healing ability of the body…it may be that Chiropractic correction is for you!  Schedule a consultation to see how to best integrate the best of today’s health care in your goal of wellness and pain relief!

Do your part in the fight against drug dependency!