Yesterday I had an encounter with someone who I’ve always found it difficult to get along with. Honestly, since he was a child I didn’t like his attitude and felt he had anger issues and a disrespectful tone that needed to be dealt with. 
Since he’s become an adult, I find it difficult to be around him for more than a couple of minutes because he has grown into quite an opinionated and arrogant young man who thinks he knows everything about everything. Since he thinks he knows everything, he has no interest in hearing facts based on research and scientific evidence. 
He certainly has not read any of the reports regarding the opioid epidemic our nation is facing and remains uninformed. This, in my opinion is extraordinarily sad because this young man is in law enforcement and deals with those who suffer from mental illness and substance use disorders on a daily basis. 
Unfortunately, after having an emergency appendectomy last week and holding a child on my lap that I couldn’t pick up, put down or hand-off, I couldn’t just get up and walk away as I have typically done with him. Instead, I sat and listened as he spewed his uninformed and unfactual opinions in a manner of arrogance anyone would find repulsive. Hearing him speak of how he talks to those he encounters and subjects them to his judgment was more than I could take. Before I realized it, I found myself hitting him with a good dose of facts as I picked up the baby to walk away and as he tried to interrupt me and dismiss me and the facts with his eye rolls and opinions formed of ignorance rather than information. I found myself in a state of anger I rarely find myself in and uttering words I don’t normally use. 
To say I was disappointed in him and even myself for my reaction is an understatement. However, in reflecting on the events of yesterday, I’ve realized how desperately those in law enforcement need to be trained in dealing with those who suffer from mental illness and substance use disorders; and the need for them to be informed of the facts regarding all that’s being learned and revealed regarding the crisis our state and nation is facing. I’ve also realized that I must get a grip on my temper when confronting those who choose to share their opinions based on ignorance rather than information because I’m certain I’ll be dealing with much more of that in the future. After all, I too was one who formed opinions and drew conclusions without information not too long ago. 
Honestly, I don’t understand what’s happening to me. I’m finding my heart filled with a level of compassion for those who suffer from mental illness and substance use disorders that is unexplainable. I suppose that’s a good thing because they certainly need more people who care and want to better understand what they’re going through in order to figure how to help them rather than judge them; there is certainly more than an ample amount of those in society willing to judge them instead of help them. 
Far too many in society are inclined to do nothing thinking this crisis doesn’t affect them. Others who are impacted, for whatever reason are inclined to not become involved waiting for someone else to figure it all out and resolve it. However, this crisis does affect everyone whether you have been impacted by it personally or not. It’s the personal responsibility of each and every single one of us to be informed and proactive in addressing this crisis and discovering the means and methods of resolving it. It’s going to require each of us becoming involved within our communities and our policy and law makers working together with us and each other toward solutions. The task is huge and critical as people are dying everyday.