Pubdate: Wed,  9 May 2001
Source: Record-Courier (NV)
Copyright: 2001,
Author: Steve Davis



In response to the ongoing opinion page debate, I was amazed at the
"Drugs are a choice" letter (R-C, May 2. 

Apparently, the author deems her opinion stronger than that of health

The medical association has considered alcoholism to be a disease for
decades, and there are scores of other "addictive diseases." 

It's easy for non-addicts to blame the problem on a lack of free will.
This makes them feel stronger, as they are not infected. 

It may be free will or society or peer pressure that pushes a person to
try alcohol or drugs for the first time, but the disease progresses from
there. Different chemical components, in different people, deem the
toxin to be satisfactory or not. 

You should really know the facts before you pat yourself on the back and
condemn others. 

By the way, there are pills to treat the diseases of alcoholism and
addiction, contrary to the uninformed opinion. 

As far as punishment versus rehabilitation, think of this: Your
13-year-old child made one bad decision. Because of his chemical
balance, he craved the drug and became addicted. You can't be with him
everywhere, after all, and kids will rebel against even the most
sensible acts of parenting. 

When he grows into adulthood, he believes the rhetoric that deems his
addiction "under his own free will," but he finds his free will is not
strong enough to fight the progressed disease. 

According to the letter, these people should be punished in jail for a
chain of events they started before they were even adults. 

I agree with one part of the letter, that only the addict can decide to
change, however, the dichotomy is evident. Instead of letting them
decide to change...lock them up where they don't have access. The
decision will be made by law enforcement and not by them. 

In contrast, if they are given the facts and the help they need, and
they are not condemned by people who point fingers and know little, they
may make the right decision on their own. 

Steve Davis, Gardnerville
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