Indulge me for a second and consider this scenario: let's say you're given the opportunity to donate some money to a desperate family who would use it to feed their children, but were only able to do so if you donated the same amount of money to someone you knew would use it to buy crack. Would you do it?
It stopped me in my tracks. I scanned through some of the responses, which consist largely of brief and abrupt yesses. There are some mixed responses, but overwhelmingly people are saying of course they would, it's not their responsibility or their fault or their problem how the other person decides to use the money. I'm not saying I disagree entirely with coming to a similar conclusion. But these people with their flip answers have obviously not lost someone to addiction.
I decided to weigh in. This was my response:
My little brother died at age 22 from an accidental heroin overdose. He fought his addiction very hard, and ultimately his disease won.
I can't say yes to that question, but I will say it gave me pause. Addiction is a disease and the person has to be ready and strong enough to fight it every single second of every single day for the rest of their lives, or they will not succeed.
I still don't think I could say yes. But maybe there is a way around it -- something along the lines of give a family a fish, they eat for a day, but teach them to fish and they eat for a lifetime...
Mine wasn't a flip answer, but I didn't spend a great deal of time on it, either. My opinion might grow and change as I consider it. I find this to be an interesting question, and the many issues hidden within it are deep and complicated.
What would you do?