Pubdate: Sun, 01 Mar 2015
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2015 The Baltimore Sun Company
Author: Don Mathis


Gov. Larry Hogan's focus on addressing the heroin epidemic ("Hogan 
creates two panels for fight against heroin," Feb. 25) is a testimony 
that the scourge of heroin and other substance addictions has 
garnered bipartisan concern. The next public policy strategy should 
translate this realization in to greater access to treatment, more 
targeted public awareness campaigns and increased cooperation between 
law enforcement, health care and mental health care providers and 
community leaders.

The efforts by Governor Hogan and others need to focus on teens and 
young adults. The Maryland Addiction Recovery Center's December, 2014 
analysis shows that heroin is now one of the top five drugs abused by teens.

Policymakers now are more aware of the research and evaluation 
findings from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Addiction is a 
disease. Heroin, alcohol, and other drugs hijack the abuser's brain. 
Addiction is not an ongoing moral failure or the consequence of poor character.

The good news is that treatment works and people can recover. Last 
Nov. 11, I celebrated my 32nd anniversary of being sober and 
drug-free. Effective treatment and recovery is not always easy, but 
it is achievable and can be sustained.

Don Mathis, Havre de Grace The writer is director of alumni services 
at Father Martin's Ashley.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom