Alan Berkenwald: Where are addiction treatment centers?

  • jacoblund

Monday, October 02, 2017
Where are addiction treatment centers?

I read with great interest your editorial, “Welcome aid to help battle opioid crisis” (Sept. 27).

But, I do have questions which the Daily Hampshire Gazette and the Hampshire HOPE coalition never address. Where are these addiction treatment centers that the coalition is working with? What innovative programs are they coordinating? Where do we send our loved ones to get the medication-assisted treatment they deserve?

Please note that good intentions and counseling centers alone don’t work. Our daily death tolls prove that point all too well.

The Gazette likes to publish articles about addicts going on holistic “spirit quests” to find sobriety, but it never mentions addresses where medication — and practical help — is to be found.

You talk with community pride about making Naloxone available to first responders to combat overdoses. Please note that Naloxone only lasts one hour. What goes on for the remainder of the day, the week, the month, the life of an opioid-dependent person? Our “first responders” are really our community’s last responders.

The Gazette, and people who write about opioid dependency, speak with great confidence of detox centers as “the answer.” (How many obituaries make note of recent detox stays? Too many.) Please note that people cycle in and out of detox centers constantly (as long as the money lasts) because their relapse rates are 80 percent or higher when you look six months out. All the scientific literature now recommends medication-assisted treatment for long-term success, instead.

Arguably, by the time we need to treat the overdose — where all of our media attention is drawn — it is too late.

I ask again of the Hampshire HOPE Coalition: Where do we send our sons and daughters to receive your “coordinated care?”

And, I ask of you, the Daily Hampshire Gazette, when will you report on places where people are successfully treated in our Valley and not just (temporarily) rescued?

Alan Berkenwald