Adopting the African proverb; “a child is raised by a village” is key to fighting stigma against addiction. The village as a whole assume responsibility to any child in that village. The key is that, when one family is struggling from lack of food, the neighbours will find a method to support one another. This unity is vital in the celebration of life achievements together, supporting one another, and having the understanding that someone is always there for you, a guarantee that someone definitely cares for you.
“Addiction is an isolated struggle. You’re alone in the depths of despair”, said Kali on a discussion on YouTube. This statement shows lack of support in a “non-functioning village”. Society should thrive to raise a child together, to avoid a ‘dysfunctional family’ having the final say on the child. Through abuse, and witnessing unhealthy family dynamics means children either isolate, or they run to the wrong company. Instead of using substances, or being suicidal because of lack of support at home, the individual should know another member of the village will be supportive and provide guidance and support.
It’s also important to understand that, a strong village understands about the unhealthy family dynamics. Although difficult to change the dynamics in the family, a village comes together to provide guidance to the child in the most important times. A child in a supportive village is aware that unacceptable behaviour, is unacceptable by all. Thus, hiding unacceptable behaviour from parents, is just as important as hiding the behaviour from the whole village. This awareness often reduces the risk of children heading towards substance use and abuse.
Lastly, living this proverb also reduces the risks of overdoses and suicide rates. ODs and suicides often occur when people often feel alone. By living the proverb, “a child is raised by a village”, one will often always have a shoulder to lean on. Thus, using drugs alone and leading to OD is reduced. Being alone and committing suicide because “no one cares” is reduced. This is not a solution to a spike in overdoses or suicide rate; but rather, a great option that may reduce risks.