Sometimes an issue is so important that explaining it adequately requires more than one or two articles. That's why a significant portion today's edition of The Messenger is devoted to a multifaceted exploration of a single topic — addiction.

Anyone who has a television set, an internet connection, is a moviegoer or reads books or newspapers knows that the consequences of developing a dependence on a habit-forming substance has become a popular theme. There was a time when many people imagined addiction to be a problem mostly occurring in places far removed from north central Iowa. If that was ever true, it certainly is not the case anymore.

Addiction is ruining lives in the communities this newspaper serves. The impact extends far beyond the individual addicts and their families. Substantial public and private sector expenditures are required to address the resulting problems. Our schools, health care system, law enforcement agencies, social welfare entities, churches, charities and businesses all are affected.

The articles in today's newspaper will help readers understand why people become addicts and what can be done to help them recover. The resources in our communities that are engaged in dealing with the various issues that emerge as a result of addiction will be explored. Perhaps most importantly, we hope the stories we present will send some very clear messages:

  • Addiction can be prevented.
  • Addicts can recover.
  • It is vital that addiction be confronted rather than ignored.
  • There are many resources available to help addicts change their lives.

We encourage our readers to spend a bit of extra time today reading and thinking about the case studies and other articles that have been included in these pages. If they stimulate useful conversations and serious reflection about addiction, we will deem the hard work that our writers undertook to generate this special issue to have been labor well spent.

Fort Dodge Messenger, Sept. 24