Over the years I have tried to educate the public about the disease of addiction and how a drug addict thinks and makes decisions. Let me remind the readers that a drug addict only wants one thing and one thing only — more drugs, at all costs. A drug addict doesn't care about their health, they are not fearful of the police, they aren't good parents, they can't do a honest days work and they will do whatever is necessary to get their "fix." Therefore traditional public health methods to reach addicts and convince them to stop using drugs will not work. The only thing that will make an addict want to stop their drug use is when their behavior begins to cause them pain and suffering. We need to make getting high not worth the pain.
Harm reduction programs like needle exchange or giving addicts the anti overdose drug Naloxone (Narcan) might bring them back to life but it doesn't address the reason they overdosed or used a dirty needle in the first place ("Annapolis police say officer's training on Narcan was needed within minutes," June 17). It's because they are addicts, and this is the way an addict lives.
If Maryland were serious about reducing our ever growing addict population, it would have drug treatment on demand, throughout the state, so when the police or paramedics bring addicts back to life with Narcan, they can immediately take them to a residential treatment center instead of letting them go back to the streets where they will most likely overdose again.
Mike Gimbel, Timonium
The writer is the former Baltimore County Drug Czar and a recovering addict.
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