To the editor:
As a recovering addict, I feel an obligation to help fellow members of the recovery community by expressing my concerns about the drastic need for 30-day in-patient treatment facilities that have staff capable of addressing the issues surrounding alcohol and drug addiction. Currently, in the City of Lawrence, there are no such facilities. There are only outpatient treatments, a reintegration facility, and Oxford houses (where people of the same gender in recovery live together).
We need to focus on the issues that affect the majority of addicts so we can stop the destructive and vicious cycle of alcoholism and addiction. We know that for women who enter drug rehab programs, 70 percent have experienced incest, molestation or rape as children prior to their drug abuse. Men who were sexually abused as children have a 25 to 50 percent higher risk of drug use than boys who were not abused.
When a trauma occurs, the brain has a wonderful way of blocking things out: it goes numb. At some point, however, it comes to life and periods of flashbacks or nightmares become, instead, continual thoughts. Sometimes it is as if the traumas are happening again. So what do these people do? They seek to be numb again through the use of alcohol and drugs.
We also know that in a 1997 summary done by the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration concerning dual diagnosis clients it was found that 51 percent of those with a mental disorder also suffer from an addictive disorder, and between 41 and 65 percent of those with an addiction to drugs other than alcohol also have at least one mental disorder. Thirty-seven percent of alcoholics have a second psychological disorder.
I believe there is a need for every mental health facility to have substance abuse counselors and vice versa. After all, the majority of clients are the same people. Wouldn't it make sense for the counseling community to work together to provide the best possible recovery so that addicts have all the tools available to them to choose life instead of welcoming death?