Written By. Kirk Markey — September 12, 2016
So I’ve been thinking about addiction intervention and privacy issues this week, especially how getting involved in a drug user’s life compares to meddling in someone’s affairs and to American surveillance culture more generally. I mean, an addiction intervention is pretty intimate stuff, right? It amounts to friends and other loved ones hitting the drug user or drinker’s right where it hurts, in the soft tissue of their decision making and emotional pain. We’re coming in and saying “Hey, you’re not living right. Your drug use is making you manipulative and dishonest. It’s been destroying you for a long time and now it’s hurting us. We can help, but you need to do something different.” Addiction intervention is heavy business, and nothing we should take lightly , even when the need for it is obvious. We have to ask ourselves: “is addiction intervention an invasion of privacy?”
Our privacy is already compromised more and more every day. Do we, as the loved ones, really want to add to that with an addiction intervention? We’re always being watched, always participating in focus groups without our permission and watching really personalized commercials. The NSA can hijack our phones whenever they feel like it. Mark Zuckerberg is looking over my shoulder as I buy hemorrhoid cream in bulk at the Amazon drug store counter and showing me Metamucil ads on the back end. And everybody everywhere is sneaking cookies into my browser, whatever that means. It feels wrong somehow, like a violation. Is that what an addiction intervention is, a violation just like Google compiling information on my music taste?
The short answer is no, hell no an addiction intervention is not an invasion of privacy. It’s an act of love that doesn’t generate profit. It’s paying attention to someone’s suffering. It’s offering a tourniquet to a bleeding artery. It’s saying I know you, I remember you, and you’re not the same. We’re already up in their business anyway, right? They bring us in, even if we don’t want to be there, whenever they hurt us or ask us for money. Drug use and drinking are very public affairs already. Addiction intervention is just the logical and loving conclusion to them. When I was getting high every day, I wanted everyone to stay out of my business until I needed rent money or bailed out of jail. Then I was open access all the time, my life a reality TV show until I could scare up $200. If me using the people I loved as resources wasn’t an invasion of my privacy, then why would an addiction intervention be one? It wasn’t my privacy anyway. I’d given that to dope a long time ago. Addiction intervention is hard and risky and absolutely necessary. So yeah, get up in their business.