Pubdate: Wed, 04 Mar 2015
Source: Baltimore Sun (MD)
Copyright: 2015 The Baltimore Sun Company
Author: John Winslow


Regarding your recent report on heroin overdoses, I applaud Gov. 
Larry Hogan's efforts to reduce such deaths ("Hogan wades into 
Maryland's long battle against heroin," Feb. 28).

As a treatment professional, we are facing a much more complex 
problem than drug use. Addiction is a powerful thing, and the 
governor's new approach is anything but more of the same. Treatment 
and prevention lie at the heart of the work ahead.

The advocacy community and families impacted by the opioid epidemic 
approached Mr. Hogan several months ago to share their concerns 
regarding the devastating impact addiction is having on communities. 
However, the early coverage of Mr. Hogan's plan harked back to his 
election campaign and politicized the issue.

Your recent article appropriately refocused on the essence of the 
problem, which is that "addiction is a disease," as Mr. Hogan pointed 
out. By facing the stigma of substance use disorders head-on we can 
begin a process that will not just be a temporary reaction but a well 
thought out effort to improve the lives of all Marylanders.

Treatment can be effective and we need leaders who are committed to 
improving access to treatment and capacity throughout the state. 
Recent years have seen devastating reductions in treatment dollars 
directed to communities.

Mr. Hogan has made no further reductions. The treatment community 
will be working with our legislative leaders to demonstrate why 
treatment must be among the state's highest priorities as it looks to 
address the projected budget shortfall. Maryland must see to it that 
treatment is readily available for all those who need it.

John Winslow, Cambridge The writer is president of the Maryland 
Addiction Directors Council.
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