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News Opinion

UM must treat substance abuse, too

I applaud the efforts of the University of Maryland in obtaining the funding needed to increase their mental health services ("UM adds funding for mental health," April 3). While money is important, it isn't everything. National statistics tell us there is a very high prevalence (50-to-75 percent) of co-occurring substance use and mental disorders, otherwise known as co-occurring disorders. It is the expectation, not the exception. So designing their treatment system to accommodate these individuals will assure better outcomes. The University of Maryland has the perfect set-up with primary health, and now mental health and addiction services all under one roof to provide integrated services rather than parallel or fragmented treatment which lessens the chances of individuals gaining a higher level of wellness.

To achieve even more significant and economical improvements in the quality and efficiency of their system they can engage peer specialists. These individuals are people who have progressed in their own recovery and have the ability to assist others in regaining control over their lives based on the principles of recovery and resiliency. By inspiring the hope that recovery and resiliency are achievable goals.

As a Maryland graduate myself, I wish them much success in this very important endeavor.

Patricia Bayly Miedusiewski, Monkton

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