Pubdate: Fri, 11 Jul 2014
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2014 The Baltimore Sun Company
Author: Gary Langis
Page: 18


After reading Mike Gimbel's letter criticizing harm reduction 
programs ("Narcan won't solve the problem of addiction," June 23), I 
must say that I have heard remarks like his for years.

Yes if you really want to waste public dollars, after overdosing and 
being revived take a drug user to a residential program. Obviously 
this guy doesn't get it and may never get it. How do you engage drug 
users? By forcing them to stop? I think not, most people working in 
drug treatment know about the stages of change but they often forget 
about the first part which is precontemplation. This is where harm 
reduction fits into the picture.

When a drug user cleans their injection site with an alcohol wipe, it 
tells me that they care that they do not introduce bacteria into 
their system. I can work with that through motivational interviewing 
and moving that person along a continuum of care.

Drug users not only care about themselves, they care about others. In 
the Massachusetts Naloxone program there have been more than 2,900 
overdose reversals, and of those more than 2,200 have been reversed 
by other drug users. Mr. Gimbel's fault is in thinking everyone 
should learn the way he has learned. I respect his right to having an 
opinion, but that's all I could give him.

Gary Langis
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