Pubdate: Tue, 22 May 2001
Source: Newsday (NY)
Copyright: 2001 Newsday Inc.
Author: Robert Newman
Note: The writer is director of the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation
Chemical Dependency Institute at the Beth Israel Medical Center
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Regarding the article ["Drug War Needs Treatment Plus Coercion,"
Viewpoints, May 14]: Joseph Califano tells us that "coerced treatment

Surely, the cases of Darryl Strawberry and Robert Downey, which he
cites, do not support this simplistic generalization. Downey spent 12
months in a treatment program behind bars, followed by two months in an
out-patient program; only then did he relapse. Similarly, Darryl
Strawberry was treated in many settings, over the course of many years.
Both these public figures illustrate that drug addiction is a chronic
illness that can not be cured through intimidation.

While there are no panaceas, addiction can be treated effectively. And
yet, incredibly, treatment is available to less than 75 percent of
heroin addicts, and an even smaller percentage of those dependent on
other substances. Instead of championing coercion, which benefits no
one, Califano should be advocating treatment expansion to accommodate
all those who need it and want it, and who might well die without it.

Robert Newman
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