Pubdate: Sun, 03 Feb 2002
Source: Daily Advertiser, The (LA)
Copyright: South Louisiana Publishing 2002
Author: Connie Schlabach


After reading the article titled "Neighborhood rehab houses draw
fire," in the Jan. 28 edition of The Advertiser, I felt compelled to
write. As the mother of a young recovering alcoholic and drug addict,
I have some insight into the rehab system. While I can understand the
concerns of the neighborhood halfway houses, I find myself wondering
if Ms. LeBlanc has any idea how prevalent drug and alcohol addictions
are. Some of the honest people in Lafayette have gone through rehab
programs and gone on to lead productive lives. They are doctors,
lawyers, dentists, accountants, nurses, teachers, food service
workers, secretaries, oil field works, salesmen, students, etc. There
are young addicts, middle-aged addicts, and old addicts. They all have
one thing in common and that is that they have a fight ahead of them
for the rest of their lives in trying to stay clean and sober. Does
that make them child molesters, murderers, or thieves? No, it makes
them an alcoholic or an addict.

Mr. Stevenson, did you research the subject before you stated that you
"think they (recovering drug addicts and alcoholics) deserve a second
chance, but in a supervised environment"? Most of the rehab programs I
am familiar with start with a very supervised environment and go to a
less structured halfway house. If these people are not given an
opportunity to become active community members, we might as well keep
all addicts and alcoholics locked up somewhere forever.

Rather than try to run all the rehab group homes out of Lafayette,
perhaps the councilman could set up some meetings with the
neighborhoods and addiction councilors to educate the public on drug
and alcohol addictions. Involve the neighborhood and the members of
the rehab houses in the meetings. I think you may be surprised at what
you find. The majority of the people going through rehab want to get
their lives back and have worked diligently to get to that level of
the program which allows them to once again hold a job and become an
active member of society.

There is an old saying that goes "You never want to speed too high in
the wind because you never know when it may come back and hit you in
the face." The very people who are at issue with these houses may
someday find one of their own loved ones in need of those services.
Let's do what we can to help those who are trying to better their
lives, not shut them out because of our own fears and

Connie Schlabach

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