Pubdate: Fri, 20 Sep 2002
Source: Sarasota Herald-Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 2002 Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Bookmark: (Treatment)


As a former drug rehabilitation counselor I read with a sense of 
incredulousness Clarence Page's syndicated column in the Herald-Tribune) 
titled "Drug war hits home for Bushes," not because of its content but its 
poignancy. Using Jeb Bush's daughter, Noelle, as an example, Page calls for 
more than one chance at treatment and a variety of treatment options, if 
that's what it takes to rehabilitate simple drug offenders. He believes 
that jail is not the answer for those arrested for illicit drug-use 
offenses, but rather that appropriate types of treatment are a more 
effective way to treat the problem.

The column was not only poignant but also timely; on the page directly 
across from Page's piece was a letter to the editor from a parent 
expressing grave concern over the location of a proposed Salvation Army 
drug rehabilitation center (Tallevast Road and U.S. 301). This writer 
agrees with Mr. Page's assertion that treatment is the answer, but where? 
The intended corner seems innocuous enough, but not according to some. 
Indeed, there is an elementary school less than a mile down the road. So, I 
detect a non sequitur here: That being the assumption that people who are 
undergoing treatment for drug addiction are harmful to children and adults 
in nearby subdivisions. Huh?

Granted, a typical Salvation Army client may not be a doctor, teacher or 
businessman, but I do know from experience that the person the drug addict 
is most likely to harm is him/herself. In instances where a client decides 
to leave the program and take up where she/he left off, I know of no 
studies proving that the surrounding community is jeopardized. Recidivists 
tend to return to their old stomping grounds.

I ask concerned citizens to look at the issue from an altruistic 
standpoint, not an insular one.

Michael L. Witt, Sarasota
- ---
MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager