Pubdate: Sat, 18 May 2002
Source: Kitchener-Waterloo Record (CN ON)
Copyright: 2002 Kitchener-Waterloo Record
Author: Paul Wagler
Bookmark: (Treatment)


Last month, federal Solicitor General Lawrence McCally released results of 
a study at the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, regarding the 
relationship between substances used and criminal activity. It said that 
the best time to deal with people who have substance abuse problems is 
while they are in jail.

While we 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 hospital or jail.

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

Addictions are a +ACQ-9-billion problem in Ontario, but the provincial 
government spends one per cent of that on addiction treatment. 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 respond to needs of the 
addiction treatment system and Ontarians affected by substance use issues.

Paul Wagler

Past Chair, Withdrawal Management Association of Ontario

Owen Sound
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