Jeff Gerritt, The Blade’s deputy editorial page editor, put a face on our awful addiction crisis, which does not discriminate among its victims (“Heroin epidemic younger, whiter, but addiction horrors unchanged,” commentary, April 13).
I work with heroin addicts in a correctional setting. I know that heroin does not pick and choose certain people to go after. It destroys lives, ruins families, and kills people. Good, caring individuals get caught in the web of addiction, not by choice.
No one sets out to become an addict. But the need to feel better, feel nothing, feel happy becomes too urgent and necessary. And by then it is too late.
Hard work for addicts lies ahead
Effective recovery from any form of addiction requires learning new skills and patterns of thinking and behaving (“The politics of addiction,” editorial, April 13). Treatment and community support are the best resources.
I work as an addiction counselor in Toledo. A fair percentage of my clients are opioid-dependent and receive some form of medication treatment support.
Any form of medication assistance — for opioid abusers, these are primarily Suboxone and methadone — should be viewed as a supplement to other forms of treatment, not as a primary treatment that would stand alone.
Physicians who provide this treatment without requiring counseling and professional support may provide a short-term solution to overwhelming cravings for opioids. People in the throes of addiction want relief now.
But once relief is provided, people may not be inclined to do all of the hard work that long-term recovery demands, unless it is required of them as a condition of continued treatment.
Ohio House Bill 378 would establish standards of practice that would, in the long run, best support client improvement, encourage true recovery from opioid dependence, and likely help contain treatment costs.
My successful clients tell me that anything worth having is worth working for, particularly learning to do the hard work in treatment to achieve long-term sobriety.
Addicts need to tough it out
Enough about heroin addiction. If a person is weak-minded and can’t break an addiction because it’s something he or she just has to have, then tough.
I’m an alcoholic who fought that monster by myself. Many times I thought about finding Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, but I told myself that I made the choice to drink excessively and would beat it alone.
I go along with helping an addict once. But when an addict goes back to rehabilitation two or three times, forget it. Those people have made the choice to be nonproductive citizens.