Pubdate: Fri, 14 Nov 2008
Source: State Journal-Register (IL)
Copyright: 2008 The State Journal-Register
Author: Sara Moscato Howe, CEO Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence


I am writing in response to Ervin W. Stone's letter to the editor
"Substance abusers shouldn't get priority" (Nov. 7).

It is correct that addiction to drugs and alcohol is devastating.
Addiction ruins lives, tears apart families, and devastates

However, the reality is that treatment does work, even mandatory
treatment imposed by the court system. Men, women and children who are
addicted to drugs and/or alcohol do not want to be struggling with a
disease that destroys their lives nor do they choose to become
addicted. Yet once a person is addicted, countless research studies
have shown that physiological changes begin to take place in a
person's brain that greatly affect the ability to simply stop using.
For many, the only way to recover from addiction is through treatment.

Each year, addiction affects thousands of people from every walk of
life: from the veteran who uses to dull the pain of nightmares from
Iraq to the mother of two children who is addicted to pain medication
following a traffic accident. There is no such thing as a typical
addict, but the one thing most of them have in common is a desire to
regain control of their lives through recovery.

Illinois' treatment system has effectively helped thousands of
Illinois citizens recover from their addiction and return to being
productive members of society. The $55 million (not $253 million) that
we are seeking to restore to the treatment system will not only
provide services for thousands more who need and want to get help, but
will also return to work hundreds of counselors who have already been
laid off because of the budget cuts.

Sara Moscato Howe

CEO Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association
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