Editor: In his informative commentary on P.E.I.’s addictions problems Dr. Colohan was somewhat skeptical as to the merits of the public hearings that have been conducted recently — (A realistic plan for addictions strategy a necessity; The Guardian, Sept. 24, 2013). He voices concerns that public policy developed by non-professionals will, in all likelihood, fail to achieve meaningful results. I don’t hold such a jaundiced view.
Even though I am not an addictions professional, I do have considerable experience working with inmates, the vast majority of whom could trace their problems to the abuse of drugs and/or alcohol. I agree with Dr. Colohan when he says that incarceration does nothing to decrease the prevalence of drug abuse or addiction in the community.
Corrections needs the funding to provide meaningful recovery programs while clients are in custody and follow up rehab programs need to be much more available than they are at present for recently released inmates.
Dr. Colohan states: “That the personal and societal costs of alcohol and tobacco misuse far outweigh the costs of illicit use of drugs, including the use of prescription drugs for illicit purposes.”
I question the accuracy of this contention in this day and age. It seems to me that the illicit use and abuse of drugs, especially by our younger people, may well be a bigger and faster growing problem than is alcohol misuse.
Dr. Colohan wonders whether the prevalence of drug abuse and addiction on the Island has changed much over the past 10 years. Well, what was heard at the public hearings suggests that we’re now in an epidemic situation.
For Dr. Colohan to say that 12-step programs are more effective for drug abusers and not as effective for those suffering from an addiction leaves me confused. By far the most effective tried and true program for treating alcoholism is the 12-step AA program. This AA program is free, simple and completely without medication.
I see addictions as an all-encompassing problem that requires the full co-operation of many government departments in order to effect an improved coping strategy.
St. Patrick’s Road