“Shawn Mahaffey, age 30 of Methuen, Massachusetts, passed away oScreen shot 2015-09-10 at 9.47.12 PMn September 6, 2015 as a result of his addiction.  Shawn will be remembered as a hard worker, kind hearted, generous soul and loved by all”   It’s tragic for me because I am a father of an addicted son; Shawn’s cousin and I know him.  I know his father.  He could be my own son and I grieve for Shawn’s dad.  I just gave a big hug to him few days ago and feel his pain as if it were my own.The toll addiction takes is not waning.  We all witness that current treatment policies and laws are not stopping the bleeding.  Often social services workers are just earning a paycheck; hardly putting a dent in the sad rate of deaths and social carnage that persists. 

Acceptance of addiction as a potentially fatal disease along with smart and aggressive supporting legal reform should be demanded by all of us.  It has to be seen as the cancer that it is.  For many addicts, death and social upheaval is eminent.   We need an aggressive approach to it.  Shawn was even making progress, yet he died.  We need an aggressive approach and solving the problem demands at a minimum, exceptional engagement and coordination from the entire healthcare, treatment and law enforcement industries that exact; a quarter of the annual federal budget.