Pubdate: Thu, 02 Jun 2005
Source: Messenger-Inquirer (KY)
Copyright: 2005 Messenger-Inquirer
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Bookmark: (Treatment)


It is abundantly easy to become discouraged by this community's substance 
abuse problem, regardless of the perspective one holds. For people in the 
vise-like grip of addiction, discouragement is a constant companion. For 
law enforcement and the courts, is has to be discouraging as those 
institutions deal with a seemingly never-ending stream of crime and 
punishment tied to substance abuse. Just as frustrated are elected 
officials and the community at large as the enormous costs of the problem 
to society are constantly and painfully revealed.

But as hopeless and frustrating as the problem can be, here in Daviess 
County there's room for encouragement. As a series of articles in the 
Messenger-Inquirer outlined, this community is attacking substance abuse in 
a variety of ways. No less than 11 agencies are operating on the front 
lines of the battle, and the capacity of treatment and recovery programs is 
expected to grow when some of those agencies move into larger quarters.

But despite the seeming comprehensiveness of substance abuse services and 
the millions of dollars spent annually on the problem, gaps in services 
remain. Local providers quickly agree that more recovery, long-term 
residential treatment and detoxification facilities are needed. Women, 
often victims of substance abuse and domestic violence, need more services. 
Trying to get a handle on the overwhelming destruction of methamphetamine 
addiction certainly will require more and more attention.

These gaps in services must be taken seriously and efforts put in place to 
narrow or eliminate them. Ignoring or underestimating even one aspect of 
the substance abuse problem invites that one segment of the problem to grow 
and overwhelm available resources. If lack of funding and facilities are 
allowed to impede prevention and treatment programs for adolescent abusers, 
a new crop of adult abusers is virtually guaranteed.

Agencies that want to do more to combat substance abuse, such as Boulware 
Mission and Lighthouse Recovery, should be supported and their willingness 
to expand should be congratulated.

Governments must decide what their role in the battle against substance 
abuse should be. That they must have a role is without question. Lately, 
our local governments have shown a reluctance to fund Community Solutions 
for Substance Abuse, the only agency trying to coordinate the activities of 
all the various service providers. It's hard to argue against a little more 
cohesiveness in our multifaceted approach to substance abuse.

If not Community Solutions, then where should public funds go to diminish 
the ravages of substance abuse? Elected leaders need to answer that question.

An outsider will look at the multitude of services in place and conclude 
that this community does a lot to confront substance abuse. There's truth 
to that. But it would be a mistake to say that enough is being done. With a 
problem this destructive, doing enough is probably impossible. Failing to 
do more is inexcusable.
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MAP posted-by: Beth