Pubdate: Tue, 16 Aug 2005
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Copyright: 2005 Richmond Newspapers Inc.
Author: Lennice Werth


Editor, Times-Dispatch: Mark Holmberg's column, "Don't Despair: There's a 
Way to Rid Yourself of Addiction," notes that it's "a shame-based illness," 
and the McShin Foundation is "push[ing] to ease the stigma of addiction."

Possession of a Schedule One or Two substance is a felony in Virginia. 
Those convicted lose their right to vote -- for life. That truly is a 
stigma. Our laws are supporting the disease, not the cure. As a top cause 
of the shame associated with the disease of addiction, our laws ensure 
lifetime stigma for addicts.

Holmberg says that no other medical condition "has caused as much 
devastation to our families, our city, our state, or our country."

Maybe its because that's the only malady we choose to treat with police 
force and prison.

Lennice Werth

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