To The Daily Sun,
There was a letter published that was written by Eric Rottenecker. He points out that the heroin use is a choice, not a disease. This is entirely incorrect. Addiction and any form of substance abuse is a disease. It has its own numerical designation in the Diagnosis Guide to illnesses that is used by physicians. It is managed by both physicians and psychologists, both of whom are medical professionals. He is correct in one sense, it is no longer an epidemic, it is now pandemic. It is not only here in New Hampshire, but is both nationwide and worldwide.
This writer has worked in multiple settings in his nursing career. Those afflicted with addiction impact in a number of ways upon our society. Many have died. With this kind of background, having seen the trembling hands of the addicts, shaking of bodies during withdrawal, solutions are ones that need to rebuild the addicts lives from the ground up. No, addiction is not a choice. Assisting those who are sick is a societal responsibility. The main source of revenue must come from the taxpayers, as they will benefit from these programs directly, while help is provided for the addicts. The rationale here is that by providing these services, this will preserve and protect the safety and welfare for our families, home, property, as well as our communities.
Such services will actually reduce crime rate, lessens one source of dangerous violence that permeates our country and state. This writer has seen addiction centers in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, as well as a nurse working in the prison system here in New Hampshire. Addiction is not a pretty picture.
Mr. Rottenecker seems unaware of the nature of this disease, and it is hoped he can open his eyes as well as develop compassion for these stricken victims.
Solutions are not that simple. There is no one-size-fits-all plan of care. Gov. Hassan used the wrong approach; stop the drugs, make us spend more unnecessary time at the primary care doctor's office and multiple trips to the pharmacy is not going to work. To make those afflicted with daily pain from cancers, spinal injuries, or the dying process suffer as a result of this pandemic is wrong and unfair. The start is not stopping the drugs, but working with the addicts to embrace the entire socio-economic as well as socio-education that can help these people. The focus is to provide a resources necessary to pave the way back to society for these addicts. Substance abuse and addiction care cannot proceed without this.
Support systems and a strong foundation must be put in place, so that these addicts can be ultimately mainstreamed safely. One of the first steps implemented was the drug courts. More needs to be done. Counseling, training for employment, learning how to manage a drug-free home are part of this picture while gradually reducing this dependence to prevent a more serious issue of withdrawal, some of which can be life threatening.
Addiction is a disease. There are both medical as well as psychological approaches with both counseling and medications to help with this disease. It is pandemic and reaches across every socio-economic ladder from the very rich to the poor. It is for the greater public good the source of revenue must come from the citizens of the communities and taxpayers. It is all of our responsibility.
Robert T. Joseph, Jr.