Members of the governor’s committee on the heroin/opioid epidemic should know that the real epidemic is not heroin, opiates, marijuana, alcohol, etc.

It lies instead in the underfunding of programs designed to assist people suffering from addiction and a chance to get healthy. This is exacerbated by a “model” of treatment that is, for the most part, an outdated nonmedical/scientific based premise that suggests the person with addiction is the problem rather than addiction.

The focus on any particular substance is at best an approach doomed to failure and reflects a misunderstanding of addiction. Addiction is not fueled by a single substance. Recall how well Prohibition worked. Addiction is primarily a genetically based disease rather than a lifestyle choice.

Fifty years ago, the major concern was heroin. Fifty years later, it still is.

It’s time to change away from an approach that contributes to the stigma still associated with addiction. It’s time to stop the legal theme to a medical question/situation. Committees made up of primarily legal officials, no matter how concerned they may be, cannot ultimately address any medical issue, especially addiction.

Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin are both credited with the popular definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. It’s found in the “Little Book” of Narcotics Anonymous.

With that in mind, let’s start treating addiction as the neurometabolic disease that it is and stop the misdirection and misunderstanding that may be the greatest cause of this “epidemic.”

Robert Creamer

Hallowell

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