To Whom it May Concern:
Deaths from drug overdose have been rising steadily over the past two decades and have become the leading cause of injury death in the United States, causing more deaths than motor vehicle accidents. Each day, 113 people die as a result of drug overdose, and approximately 6,748 are treated in emergency departments (ED) for the abuse and recreation use of illicit drugs. Unfortunately, these numbers are only increasing, and often times, those that are affected do not have adequate access to recovery-based treatment programs.
In our society, addiction is typically portrayed as being unacceptable, and for that reason, people suffering from substance abuse disorders often refrain from seeking necessary treatment. However, the reality is that addiction affects everyone; the rich, the poor, the young, the old, mothers, fathers, and even children. Although it is easy for people who have never been affected by drugs or alcohol to look down upon people who are suffering from substance abuse as a result of society’s warped construction, every addict’s story is unique. And therefore, it is my desire to describe a select few of these stories through my short creative fiction story targeted towards readers lacking empathy and understanding for the disease of addiction.
“Why is that necessary?” you may ask, but when I said addiction affects everyone, I mean it affects everyone. In the United States alone, the total costs of addiction is estimated at $524 billion a year, where illicit drug use alone accounts for $181 billion in health care, productivity loss, crime, incarceration and drug enforcement. Thus, it is of integral importance that society views addiction as a public health issue, as a means of both global harm and cost reduction. The perspectives afforded by my short account (approximately 20-30 pages) of addiction are important now more than ever as a result of the projected increase in the substance abusing population, and the relevance regarding current social constructions of addiction.
To communicate the importance of this topic, I plan to use both textual (in the form of the story) and graphic (in the form of photographs) elements to evoke emotion, and subsequently empathy from my readers. In addition to the obvious necessity of this work, my experience writing with regards to addiction and substance abuse provides an excellent opportunity to write about a topic I am very familiar with in a new way. Although I think many authors have the ability to write about addiction, it is always those that have personal experience with addiction who are able to do it best. I have never experienced substance abuse firsthand, however I spend 24 hours a week working with addicts in a detoxification program. Additionally I spend four hours weekly volunteering with incarcerated women through the narcotics anonymous program. These experiences have allowed me to gain the perspective necessary to write this piece in a way those without direct experience could not.
In addition to my drive to convey this very important message to those without personal experience in the field, my genuine passion and interest for this topic make this project ideal for the showcasing of my writing abilities, which I hope to have the opportunity to demonstrate to you. Thank you for taking the time to consider my project and I am eagerly awaiting your correspondence.
Erin E. Page