Drug Abuse Treatment

As I scan another thread about drug abuse, people seem to only have two views about how to address the drug problems we have: more cops/jails or drug legalization.

Like some here, my family has suffered from this plague but, thank God, we have also come out the other side of the tunnel.

My only child was a crystal meth addict for many years. I started having trouble with her when she turned 13. I won’t go into a lot of detail, but rest assured, it was not good. At one point, the authorities found a dead body of an unidentified young woman, and I called the city to see if it might be my child. It wasn’t. The woman from the morgue was very nice, took all my contact information, description/identifying marks of my child so later if she showed up, they would know who it was and contact me. Years went by where I didn’t change my phone number just in case they needed to reach me. At another point, there was a murder/kidnapping we were in court for – all connected to her drug use. It went on for so long. My father told me to write her off, that she was a lost soul with no future but to meet with the lady from the morgue. My work suffered. People thought I was nuts, I’m sure, especially during the murder trial phase. I went to therapy.

So you see, I have a horse in this race.

Our government has been waging “a war on drugs” for far too many years with a very dismal result. Legalization only says “It’s okay to destroy your brain”. People debate and only see two ways to approach the issue, when there is a third way that I see as the only really viable solution.

The third way is to treat these addicts as what they are, people who are ill and not thinking clearly because of what is happening to their bodies because of the drugs affect and hold on them. The war on drugs is essentially a war on sick people. If you can cure the sick, and prevent more incidents of this illness, then the demand for the drugs will diminish and hopefully fall away. Drug cartels exist because there is a demand for what they sell. If the demand goes away, so will they. It’s just the market.

What finally brought my child back to the world of the living was a government program called “Drug Court” and I fully believe she is alive because of it. At 30, she has been free for a couple years now, is in school preparing for a career in the way that most children do in their 20’s. She is holding a 4.0 while working, being a mom to my grandson and a supportive partner to her boyfriend.

The Drug Court program is a long-term, intensive treatment which involves weekly random, testing, in home visits by a caseworker, scheduled group counseling treatments and graduated levels of progress for the ones being treated. It is a long-term intensive treatment, for a long-term intensive problem. It works. Some participants in the program take longer than others, there is backsliding by some, but can we really succeed in this task of making our citizens well by throwing them in jail for what they do when they are not in their right mind? Yes, some victims will need some sort of controlled-in-house treatment place to start, but the goal is to heal, not persecute.

Education in schools is also critical. It has to be made clear that it isn’t cool to get high, and that self-medication is not an answer to teenage angst.

Without healing, these addicts will just die—many of my child’s drug-friends are dead already. Healing treatment is how we can bring our children, friends, husbands, wives back from the brink.

Info on long term rehab

–OJ Visitor

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