Pubdate: Wed, 17 Jun 2009
Source: Victoria Times-Colonist (CN BC)
Copyright: 2009 Times Colonist
Author: Cathy McDowell


Re: "Enabling addiction is no solution," letter, June 14.

Not all substance abusers -- whether it be alcohol or drugs -- do so
because they have made poor choices in their lives.

Were that true, I have little doubt that many would welcome the
opportunity to go into rehab so that they might become clean and sober.

Addiction is more than poor choices. Addiction is about the child born
of an alcoholic mother who consequently lives his or her life dealing
with the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome.

Addiction is the crack baby having to be weaned off drugs ingested in
the womb long before he ever makes his first sound in this world. It's
about children who are abandoned by their parents, or worse, used as
collateral as a means of financing their own addiction.

Addiction is a response, albeit a poor one, to a world that has failed
to provide the necessary supports to a human being when he or she
needed it most.

Safe injection sites and crack kits are not the solution; neither is
incarceration, forced rehab or low-end employment. Victoria has been
tossing around solutions without looking at the problem.

When do we stop treating people as a balance sheet and start asking
the really hard questions about who they are? Addicts are human beings
with a story. Perhaps it's time to listen to what they are saying and
hear what they have been unable to say. Then, maybe, we can start to
make inroads toward a win-win solution for all parties.

Cathy McDowell

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