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Drug abuse can affect anyone

When we talk about things like drug abuse and addiction, it’s easy to group the problem and its sufferers into categories tailored to what we want to believe.

Sunday’s heart-wrenching column by EAGLE publisher David Magee was a raw, difficult read about his late son, William — a bright, talented college student with his entire life ahead of him — and how he slipped into the depths of addiction right here in our own idyllic town. He didn’t fit the stereotype often tacked onto those who suffer from addiction. He didn’t come from an abusive home or endure the kind of hardship that would help others better understand why his life ended the way it did.

He was a good kid. A smart kid. And yet, it wasn’t enough to shield him from the severity of addiction and drug abuse.

We can believe it’s not a problem here like it is in other places; we can fool ourselves into thinking it’s contained on a college campus and not an issue in the town itself; we can think “that’ll never happen to me/my family,” or that the level of abuse varies based on someone’s age or background or educational level.

But the truth is, all it takes is one bad decision to change the trajectory of someone’s life, for better or worse. And whether it affects one person or 1,000 in our town/campus/county/state, it deserves to be acknowledged as something that can happen anywhere at any time to anyone. Assuming anyone is somehow immune to the struggles of abuse and/or addiction is naive and potentially dangerous if our own blinders prevent us from seeing the warning signs before it’s too late.