Pubdate: Mon, 23 Sep 2002
Source: Times Argus (VT)
Copyright: 2002 Times Argus
Author: Edward Kentish


Reading "Heroin in Central Vermont" I was surprised to learn that
heroin has become so prevalent here.

I know it impacts many lives and tremendous suffering comes with it.
And, may I share some of the joy that I experienced while I was living
in Maryland. I am an acupuncturist and used to do acupuncture detox
treatment at the Penn North Neighborhood Center, located in one of
Baltimore's drug infested areas. We supported users in getting clean
and staying clean. Quite a high percentage 'graduated' from the
program, and stayed clean.

It was an honor and a joy to work with these people and to witness the
transformations that occurred. Individuals with knife wounds, bullet
wounds, needle wounds and deep emotional wounds began to find new
meaning in life, supported each other, and became upright members of
their community. It is humbling to witness someone rise up from places
that I cannot imagine.

Penn North is Baltimore's only on demand clinic - available when you
are ready, and in your neighborhood. Acupuncture does not cure drug
addiction, but it does make healing possible. Acupuncture detox is
very inexpensive, it has no side effects and is extremely beneficial.
It greatly decreases withdrawal symptoms, making those difficult steps
much more manageable. It strengthens and gives stability to
individuals depleted by drug use, allowing them to participate in
twelve step programs and other support systems with ease, and it
brings a calmness and centeredness.

Dr. Michael Smith has run an acupuncture detox program at Lincoln
Hospital in the Bronx since 1974. Baltimore City has purchased
acupuncture detox treatment programs in the city jails for several
years and is expanding the program.

What is possible in Montpelier? This is not a police problem nor a
legislative problem. As restaurant owner Jane Edwards points out, it's
a community opportunity. Are we ready to build community? I would love
to do again what I was doing in Maryland. What can we create together?
Could we create a simple, low-tech center, where users are honored,
not shamed, where support is available when it is needed, and where it
is needed. A place that honors life rather than simply seeking to
stamp out drugs.

Please contact me at 229-4537 or Edward Kentish

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