I was saddened when I read Mr. Van den Akker’s angry “Letter to the Editor,” regarding the use of illegal drugs and their users in our community.
I am acutely aware of the proliferation and accessibility of controlled substances in the Sky Valley and elsewhere.
He refers to the false classification of drug addiction as a disease. However the National Institute of Health, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association and the A.D.A. recognize drug addiction as a disease.
Organizations such as Sea Mar work competently and with compassion to treat this scourge on our society. Due to the reality of limited funding they cannot always access the resources they need. Waiting lists do exist.
Narcotics Anonymous continues its wonderful efforts to support and encourage their members in their sobriety. But for every chair filled at an N.A. meeting others go without that support, wanting to get clean but needing help to do it.
When an addict reaches out for help, we as a community should be prepared to offer it. It’s the right thing to do.
For my part, I continue to educate young people of the dangers of drug experimentation, to advocate for more funding of prevention and treatment programs to combat the problem.
Mr. Van den Akker refers to the cost. How much higher the cost to do nothing?
There is a much higher cost in the families torn apart, criminal activity in our neighborhoods, incarceration, hospitalization and often death.
It is not only the cost effective thing to do; it is the humane one to provide that help.
Perhaps Mr. Van den Akker is fortunate to have never had the horror of addiction affect his life, or that of someone he loves… or maybe he has.