Recently the newspapers carried well-written and informative articles focused on addiction, especially the opiates.

But there in the Wednesday portion of this series was the headline about “junkies”!

We have accumulated a wealth of data about the disease of addiction, its genetic causes and influences and how, through this information, to better treat it with a healthier outcome. Yet we still use words in so-called recovery or in describing addiction that are punitive, stigmatizing and counterproductive in helping the addict heal and move on.

Calling addicts “junkies” does nothing to improve the feelings or the outcome of treatment and goes against the disease concept itself. It is non-therapeutic. Other terms such as speed freaks, potheads and dopers have no place in a 21st century approach to addiction recovery.

Continuing to moralize this disease, by focusing on the individual as the problem rather than the addiction itself is of little help to that person. Most addicts have huge amounts of guilt, shame, anger, frustration and other feelings to deal with. Antiquated ideas such as drug of choice — addiction offers no choice — is the opposite of a disease concept acceptance. It implies the addict is in control and therefore is to blame. No one in their healthy mind would choose such a lifestyle.

Treatment involving such old concepts as character defects — defined as sins — via Google is counterproductive for most and punitive in nature.

In order to more successfully address what is becoming or has already became an epidemic, we must approach recovery in a non-stigmatizing nonmoralistic way so those attempting recovery can better hear the helpful and caring words of recovery that squarely put the problem where it lies. The addiction is the problem, not the addict.

Robert Creamer, Hallowell

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