Bill Thompson is an ambulance driver and EMT in Illinois. He is also a big-hearted man who I am proud to know. And he wrote something that has been dear to my heart for a long time:
"The longer I spend in this field the more I realize I have to be a champion for addicts. Seems like every day lately I overhear, or take part in, a conversation that centers around addiction.
"The points being offered are usually the same, 1) Addicts aren't as good as the rest of us, 2) They choose to be addicts, and 3) Why is it our responsibility to save them?
"All three are points that make me want to punch a hole in a wall.
"1) Addicts are the same as everyone else. They are people, and I guarantee all of us are surrounded by recovered, or active, addicts and we have no idea. If anything, if we choose to turn our backs on those suffering from addiction then we aren't as good as they are.
"2) No one chooses to be an addict. The science bears this out, but beyond that, if you really think someone chooses to lose control and alienate those who care about them, I don't know how best to respond to that
"3) We can't save addicts. We can keep them alive, we can help them. That's the most we can do, and we do it because we are human beings. The person addicted to heroin is still a person, and it's my responsibility as a human being to help my fellow man, when I am able.
"Very few of you will read this, but this is a topic I care more about every day, and I'm not backing down."