Recovery went unmentioned

July 30, 2014

I found the Monday article, “Heroin replacing prescription drugs as choice for addicts” to be dangerously one-dimensional.

There are hundreds of drug addicts who are in recovery and leading healthy, productive lives right here in Washington County. Your article ignored the recovery community and focused on creating more stigma for addicts who are struggling to recover. Nowhere in the article was there a mention of the possibility of recovery. The stigma of addiction is alive and well, and your article further demonized addicts.

The accompanying front page photo was pure sensationalism. The online comments by readers following your article were both ignorant and heartless, with some calling for all the addicts to just go out and die. People love to make moral judgments on the sick and suffering addicts who have a brain disease.

According to the Pennsylvania Recovery Organization Alliance, “Every dollar spent on addiction treatment saves $7 alone in reduced crime, criminal costs and theft. Every dollar spent on addiction treatment saves $12 on health care costs. Every dollar spent on addiction treatment yields undetermined economic benefits in the workplace. The total cost to society of addiction and alcoholism is nearly 25 times what the U.S. spends on treatment.”

Addiction is a threefold disease: spiritual, mental and physical. It is classified as a mental illness and a brain disease. However, recovery is possible.

Not to sugarcoat the severity of the problem, but the stigma of addiction doesn’t help society, parents and loved ones to understand the problem any better and it certainly doesn’t encourage the addict to love themselves enough to seek recovery.

Patrick Arena

East Washington


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