Pubdate: Mon, 29 Mar 2004
Source: Boston Globe (MA)
Copyright: 2004 Globe Newspaper Company
Author: Carol Kowalski
Bookmark: (Heroin)


"BOSTON'S heroin crisis" (editorial, March 25) outlining the mayor's good 
intentions presents only a Band-Aid. The festering of addiction problems 
will still be with us unless treated correctly.

The most cost effective treatment of drug users is the detoxification system.

This is the "best buy" in town. Some $200 a day brings an in-patient 
detoxification service that includes physician's monitoring, 24- hour 
nursing care, triage screening, medical history, and physical, psychosocial 
assessment, drug assessment, pregnancy testing, and screening for 
communicable diseases.

Some $200 a day also brings HIV/AIDS education, nutritional teaching, 
individual and group counseling, relapse prevention skills, aftercare 
planning and case management, referral for homelessness and a support 
system for a continued drug free lifestyle.

The effects from the implosion of this service due to state cuts in funding 
are beginning to be felt in all communities. The cost of hospital emergency 
rooms visits, increase in civil commitments, the added stress on the 
criminal justice system, the increase in communicable diseases, the loss of 
jobs and increasing homelessness, all due to the effects of substance use, 
will cost society much more than a $200 a day medical detoxification 
service. Addiction is a disease that affects the entire community.

There should and must be a community outcry over the destruction of this 
vital in-patient detoxification service.

Carol Kowalski


The writer is a certified addiction registered nurse.
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