To The Daily Sun,
This is a response to Mr. David Lynch's letter, printed on June 11.
It must be said that Mr. Lynch may be unaware that the reason the Legislature voted against this bill was secondary to an attachment that came with the original bill. The efforts this time will be focused on the substance abuse problems in this state. No additional amendments are being proposed and will not be accepted (according to Mr. Morse), and this was a bipartisan effort to address this current drug and substance abuse crisis in New Hampshire.
Mr. Lynch does point out, correctly, that substance abuse is a mental health issue. Incarceration is not the answer and could worsen the crisis. Substance abuse goes beyond the mental health picture. There is also the physical component of addiction which drastically impacts on their body system as well. In addition, addiction covers all walks of life, color, creed, wealth or poverty. Addiction does not discriminate. Yes, one of the solutions is to provide treatment for those affected. But there is more than just treatment for the substances themselves. There is a holistic approach that takes in the entire social network of the afflicted. This includes family, friends, and the communities in which the addicts reside. While employment is a factor, alone it is not the source of the addictions. There is a need to help them increase their personal self esteem as well as pursue gainful employment.
The stigma that comes with addiction is very pronounced. Those who seek to manage their life crises with either medications or alcohol are sadly treated with scorn by a misinformed group of people who really do not understand those who struggle with their addiction. Substance abuse is an illness, both mental as well as physical. There is much more to addiction than just ending the source of the drugs or alcohol. It is a holistic and community issue.
It is agreed that the courts need to focus on the problems these addicts face, rather than to address the addictions as a crime. The "drug courts" were an excellent step in the right direction. It was a start. Much more needs to be done. Prevention is another goal of these community groups.
Did Mr. Lynch ask Senator Hosmer why he voted against the original bill? Then perhaps Mr. Lynch could develop new knowledge as to why this was done. Was it because of the attached amendment that was tacked on at the last minute? To make his article more complete, Mr. Lynch needed to discuss this with Senator Hosmer. The recall of the Legislature, according to Mr. Morse is to vote on the actual bill without attachments, amendments, etc. It is to focus on the issue at hand. It is inappropriate to say that Mr. Hosmer is the sole reason for the failure of this bill not passing. There were many more legislators and senators involved than just one individual. Ask Mr. Hosmer for the rationale of his vote.
There were many fine points of Mr. Lynch's letter. He does show that this crisis is serious. While it is being addressed, this will take quite some time before there is a positive direction to providing recovery. In addition, the road to recovery is a long one. It will take time, perhaps even a generation or two before we even begin to get a handle on this crisis.
The community groups such as those in Manchester, Concord, Laconia area, as well as Stand Up Newfound (SUN) in the Bristol area, are sources that in time, will help make the recovery process work. There is hope. It will take all of us working together, along with those who are struggling with their addictions, to make them whole again. The funding of Granite Hammer is just a beginning. The additional funding is needed. Groups such as SUN focus on several things; prevention as well as recovery are some of them. Recovery is a holistic process. Prevention is an educational process, for everyone.
Seeking solutions, both medical and mental health in a holistic way will help pave the way for these affected patients to rebuild their lives. Providing this road to recovery, their family, friends, and their communities will also benefit.
Robert T. Joseph, Jr.
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