Shocking news yesterday as pop singer Demi Lovato reportedly overdosed on some sort of drug and had to be hospitalized, causing the cancellation of her scheduled appearance in Atlantic City Thursday.

Naturally, many people have been offering "thoughts and prayers" on social media.

That's very kind, but you can possibly make a difference by doing one more thing: Offering thoughts and prayers to the people in your neighborhood and your community going though the very same thing: struggles with opioid addiction.

Opioid addiction is widespread and knows no boundaries of sex, race, age, religion, income level. It can effect people regardless of their jobs, their skills, their abilities, or the number of friends they have.

I don't pretend to be an expert on addiction - far from it - but, I do know that we are in a crisis in this country - and a lot of people need help.

(I also don't like the word "overdose" because it seems to infer that someone took too many drugs. It's not like over-eating. Demi Lovato may have taken the same amount "as usual", but this time she just reacted badly. My point is - there's not a safe amount of some drugs to take. You can take a little bit and still overdose.)

As I daily thumb down through my Facebook news feed I see people talk about drug addicts in their communities all the time, calling them all sorts of names that no person should ever be called. What we should be calling them is people who need our help, understanding,  and support. Often, these people with the problems are just like us - or were like us before they became addicted.

How about the opposition in our communities when it's announced a drug treatment facility is building or relocating. No one wants it in their backyard, because of the people it will attract. (You mean people who may look like you, talk like you, work and worship where you do?) Should we only allow treatment facilities if they cater to the rich and famous?

Whether you agree or not, drug addiction is an illness. It's not a choice. It's not something that people choose to do. Opioids, when abused, take over your brain. They change your brain. Your days of rational thought are gone - out the window. There's no longer right or wrong, only "feed my addiction."

So, yes, pray for the famous people with addictions - but, maybe, pray for the guy looking for spare change in the pharmacy parking lot, too. Pray for the young men and women who made one bad choice and now are stuck in a never ending spin cycle. Pray for the young mom down the street who had surgery and was never told no when she needed more, stronger painkillers. Pray for them all - this is a crisis.

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