Panel offers insight into addiction

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SALT LAKE CITY  -- Addiction is a disease that can consume a person’s entire life and lead to destructive behavior and even death, yet it’s a subject many don’t like talking about.

A panel was held this week to discuss the dangers of addiction and what people can do to help loved ones dealing with an addiction.

Jason Chane was one of several participants in the panel, and he talked about the beginnings of his struggles with addiction.

“I would drink and do cocaine, that lasted for years—ended up getting kicked out of school as a result of that,” he said.

Chane said the world of addiction is a terrifying place.

"It was as dark as you could ever imagine,” he said. “The addiction to crystal meth and all the resulting lifestyle and people that surround that drug: It's extremely evil and very dark.”

Chane was lucky enough to get help, and now he has dedicated his life to helping other addicts find their road to recovery. He said the road is often difficult, but he said it is possible with the help of loved ones and the community.

Michael Desjardins, Journey Healing Centers,said the recovery process is a complex operation.

"Multiple interventions help change an addict's brain and behavior,” he said. “It takes a lot of talk therapy. It takes a lot of group therapy, individual therapy and also medications.”

One in four people are affected by addiction, which is a statistic some say demonstrates the importance of providing addicts with support rather than criticism.

Doug Edwards, publisher of Addiction Professional, said it’s important for loved ones to keep their perspective.

"If you are a parent, friend or family of a loved one with addiction, keep in mind it's not your fault,” he said. “This is a brain disease that your loved one has, and reach out to all of the resources locally. They can help you help your loved one get well.”

Edwards said recovery may seem daunting, but don’t lose hope.

"Recovery from addiction is absolutely possible,” he said. “It works, and by everyone working together your loved one will have a successful outcome.”