Pubdate: March 7, 1999
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 1999 Los Angeles Times.
Contact:  (213) 237-4712
Author: John Gardin


* In a Feb. 21 editorial, the point is made that addicts "who can't
afford private treatment have few options in Orange County."
Unfortunately, this statement feeds into the old stereotype that
addicts are only those who have lost everything and live on the
streetthe socalled "skid row" addict.

While some addicts do indeed lose everything, 95% of those who are
addicted to alcohol and/or other drugs are employed, supporting
themselves, and may even be your coworker or boss, if not your
husband, mother or sibling.  Thus, most individuals seeking or needing
treatment have some source of financial support available to themtheir
own money plus financial support from friends, churches, families or
bank loans, and, of course, insurance.  And private treatment is not
necessarily expensive.  Many excellent private programs offer [grants]
to individuals. Some even negotiate lower fees based on ability to
pay.  In addition, [some] aftercare services are free for an entire
year. There are many programs throughout Orange County that provide
treatment at no cost or low cost, often with the cost being offset by
employment in a sheltered workshop setting or outplacement work
assignment.  With close to 1,000 licensed treatment beds in Orange
County (not counting the beds licensed for detoxification or those
facilities licensed for outpatient treatment), we have about one bed
for every 2,500 individuals. Is that enough?

Hard to say. With one third of our eighth to 12th graders using
alcohol on a regular basis and more than 5% smoking marijuana daily,
with more than three fourths of high school students reporting that
they have driven drunk, with driving drunk or under the influence of
another drug still a major social problem, and with the vast majority
of illegal activities related to alcohol and/or drug addiction who in
their right mind would argue that we are doing enough?

Vice president, operations 
Pacific Hills Treatment Center, 
San Clemente
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek Rea