Pubdate: Fri, 16 Mar 2001
Source: Delaware County Daily Times (PA)
Copyright: 2001 The Daily Times
Author: M. H. Myers


To the Times: After reading the letter published in your March 1 issue 
stating that
drug addiction has reached epidemic proportions, I recalled some facts from 
O'Reilly Factor," by Bill O'Reilly. In Alabama, all prisoners are tested 
for drugs
when booked. If they test positive, as most do, they are given a choice: 
drug rehab in a prison facility or a longer sentence with the general prison
population." Those in the program receive counseling, schooling and job 
When released, the individual must undergo frequent mandatory drug testing. 
If he
doesn't - or if he fails - it's back to prison. In Alabama, twice as many 
who have completed the forced rehab stay off drugs than do those who 
haven't gone
through the program.

Every day, I read in this paper about physical abuse of children,
sexually transmitted diseases, murders, accidental deaths, suicides,
parties where teens use illegal drugs and alcohol, and the deaths of
far too many teenagers who were using drugs. If a patient suffers from
heart disease, he will be given treatment including more than one
artery bypass if it is needed. That patient can stop his exercise
program, go off the prescribed diet and he will still receive
treatment paid for by his medical insurance.

Addiction, too, is a disease. In the middle '80s six weeks at rehab
was the usual length of treatment, often followed by three or more
months at a halfway house. Today, 28 days of rehab treatment is more
common, with many addicts receiving less.

If treatment continues to be difficult or impossible to obtain, the
crime rate will go up, more and more addicts will be arrested, the
prison population will soar, and millions of our tax dollars will be
spent cleaning up the mess caused by addiction. Let's spend some of
the tobacco settlement money on prison rehabs so more addicts will
become productive members of society.

Glen Mills
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek