Pubdate: Fri, 06 Aug 2004
Source: Savannah Morning News (GA)
Copyright: 2004 Savannah Morning News
Author: George Negron


As a worker in the field of addictions medicine, I'd like to add my 2
cents worth to your excellent article of July 26, "Local drug cops
fight pervasive foe." The truth is that there is a dearth of funds and
treatment facilities in Chatham County for the effective
medical-psychiatric treatment of indigent patients suffering from
addictive diseases.

Untreated addicts most often engage in criminal behavior and
activities requiring vast expenditures of money by the legal system,
including police manpower, judges, lawyers, corrections officers, etc.
However, it's all to no avail as witnessed by the high recidivist rate.

Two immediate solutions come to mind:

Mandatory life sentences for all convicted drug addicts.

Decriminalize drug use and allow all citizens to carry weapons for
self defense so that they may have a fighting chance for surviving the
chaos that would result. I do hope the irony is not lost here.

A better solution would be the expanded use of the successful drug
courts and provide them with adequate referral treatment facilities so
that drug-befuddled criminal addicts would have a choice of treatment
and hope, or prison and despair.

The present non-system requires that I hospitalize, detox, treat and
refer impulsive or compulsive addicts to inadequate or non-existent
follow-up programs. The marvel is that about one-third of those
referrals keep their first appointment.

Finally, I do hope that someone in the political and social hierarchy
reads this letter, hears the voice of one crying in the wilderness and

George Negron

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