Pubdate: Fri, 10 May 2002
Source: Guelph Mercury (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 Guelph Mercury Newspapers Limited
Author: Paul Wagler
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Dear Editor - On April 30 Federal Solicitor General Lawrence McCally 
released the results of a study conducted at the Canadian Centre on 
Substance Abuse on the relationship between substances used and criminal 
activity. The report suggested that the best time to deal with people with 
substance abuse problems is while they are in jails.

We would disagree with this premise. While we do agree that more treatment 
should be provided to the inmates with a substance abuse problem, ideally, 
treatment intervention should take place before the individual resorts to 
criminal activity in the first place.

Other studies have shown that 25 to 30 per cent of hospitalized patients 
are there for alcohol-or drug-related problems, but that 80 per cent of 
these patients are not identified as having a substance abuse problem.

With more early identification and treatment available for substance 
abusers, fewer people would end up in hospitals or jail.

Tony Clement, the Ontario Minister of Health and Long Term Care, this week 
announced a two per cent increase in funding of Ontario's addiction 
treatment programmes. While this funding is welcomed, it is not enough to 
meet service pressures.

Addictions are a $9 billion problem in Ontario but the provincial 
government spends one per cent of that on addiction treatment.

Addiction treatment is cost effective, saving $7 for every $1 spent.

Addiction treatment reduces pressure on hospital emergency rooms and the 
criminal justice systems.

Addictions, left untreated, lead to family breakdown.

We urge the provincial and federal governments to appropriately respond to 
the needs of the addiction treatment system and Ontarians affected by 
substance use issues.

Paul Wagler, Past Chair

Withdrawal Management Association of Ontario
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