Pubdate: Sat, 19 Jul 2003
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Copyright: 2003 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Author: Bert Emmons


It was refreshing to read an article that focused, at least in part, on 
solutions to alcoholism and other drug problems. The July 11 article about 
Rep. Karen McCarthy showed that diseases of addiction can be managed with 
professional help.

But there was a tone to the article, and an accompanying article that 
discussed alcoholism among other members of Congress, that was disturbing. 
Using the words "sin" and "confession" in an article about people who 
struggle with alcoholism and other drug use problems is unfortunate.

Those words tend to perpetuate the notion that addictions are issues of 
morality, instead of supporting the fact - long ago established by the 
World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and similar 
groups - that addictions are diseases.

Too few people recognize that diseases of addiction are a leading public 
health problem, that such diseases are treatable and that there is hope for 
those affected and for their families.

When that understanding becomes more common among the public, more people 
will seek treatment and many lives will be saved.

Bert Emmons Executive Director The Exodus Program Kirkwood
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