AMERICA IS NOT A MODEL FOR OTHER COUNTRIES IN THIS REGARD
The following was a letter-to-the-editor I sent to the Washington Post. While never published, I thought it important to publish it here and get your opinions.
A Washington Post article (April 25, 2007) reported on the record increase in worldwide opium production (April 25): Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, as stressing that “consuming countries need to get serious about curbing drug addiction.” Absolutely correct! In this market demand drives supply, yet millions of individuals throughout the world have no access to any form of treatment for their dependence on opiates.
Sadly, America is not a model for other countries in this regard. It is conservatively estimated that of the roughly 900,000 heroin-dependent Americans and untold more dependent on prescription opiates, no more than 20% are receiving treatment. Worse, no branch of government at the federal, state or local level seems to care, as evidenced by the total lack of initiatives to lessen, let alone eliminate, the unconscionable gap between need for and availability of services.
Robert G. Newman, MD
International Center for Advancement
of Addiction Treatment,Baron Edmond
de Rothschild Chemical Dependency Institute
of Beth Israel Medical Center