By Joesph Iemma
“Too little too late” — a phrase teachers of all kinds would reiterate to me.
In the case of Lamar Odom, too little too late is just too true. Watching someone fall from grace is eerie, yet still, entertaining. Odom, once Kobe Bryant’s running mate to three straight NBA finals appearances, is now fighting for his life in a Nevada Hospital, after he was found in a brothel, unconscious, and reportedly with “every drug imaginable,” according to Dan Feldman’s NBC Sports article entitled, “Report: ‘virtually every drug imaginable’ in Lamar Odom’s system, on Oct. 14.
Addiction and hardship were never strangers to Odom’s life. His father is a recovering heroin addict; Odom was just 12 when his mother passed away from cancer; and when his seven-month-old son was taken from him by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the pain only became worse.
Odom is a man who’s simply lost his way, but does society see him as such? Check the news blogs and social media. Odom isn’t a sad story; he’s a news story, who’s labeled as “Kardashian Casualty,” or just another drug addict, scrutinized under the microscope of society.
Could it be any more obvious what the real problem is? We ignorantly crucify this man for his current situation, but we fail to acknowledge why he could have fallen into addiction. We fail to realize and recognize that there are millions of people struggling like Odom all around us. Whether it is drug addiction, family, bills, school, or even the possessions we own, people struggle all over the world.
Truth is, we are too busy judging one another, instead of being honest and accepting of each other.
“I struggle every day with bills to pay,” said Amanda O’Rourke, a junior Education major, who lives with her single mother and younger brother. “The pressure can get so immense, it’s hard to see why someone wouldn’t resort to drugs or alcohol as an escape from such adversity.”
Ismael Nehhas, a junior Pharmacy major, agrees. “I know several people who fell on hard times, and ended up resorting to drugs,” he said. “I can see sometimes that people get so caught up in their perception, that they just can’t take it, and look for a way out. Drugs, alcohol, even gambling, can be that ‘way out’ for people.”
According to DrugFree.org, nearly 23.5 million Americans are battling drug addiction, and according to newsmax.com, approximately 50 million people in America live below the poverty line.
I personally sympathize for Lamar Odom, because I’ve had people in my life who’ve lost their way, and found themselves immersed in addiction. I don’t believe drug addiction as a whole is something that one day can leave society for good; but I firmly believe that addiction is avoidable, if the individual feels that he or she can just say “Hey, I need help.”
I recognize that not everyone has that kind of support system so readily available to them, but that just says to me, as a member of society, I need to step up and be there for anyone who has a problem; not necessarily become their private Dr. Drew, Dr. Phil or any kind of doctor, but just be someone present, someone to talk to.
That said, I will end with this: More likely than not, we all have or have met a Lamar Odom in our life. In any event, be selfless, be vigilant, and don’t ever hesitate to help someone out. Just holding the door open for someone can make a difference in that person’s day.
Step up and be a part of the support system of someone else’s life, because we can all make a difference, one way or another.