Letter: Be part of solution, not the problem

From: Dr. Theodora Saddoris


Columbus is on the verge of getting a halfway house to help people who are in treatment for addiction to live in a safe recovery environment. In order for this to happen, the community needs to overcome its unfounded fears and public resistance to having a halfway house in the neighborhood.

Many are afraid of having their children exposed to “these kinds of people.” Unfortunately, their children are already exposed. Over 90 percent of high school students already know who the drug dealer is in their school. Current statistics show that one in 10 people in the United States has an addiction problem. So, more than likely several people in your neighborhood already have addiction, but you are unaware of their problem. Is it better to have your family exposed to someone who is in recovery and making a change in his life, or have them exposed to someone who is in active addiction driving your children to band practice or other activities?

The halfway house environment has several rules — depending on the level of service — people in recovery must follow. Their rooms are inspected for any drugs or paraphernalia that may be present, and they will be randomly checked with urine drug screens to detect any illicit drug use. Remember, the people in halfway houses want help. They have a disease they can’t control on their own and need help to get better.

A person in treatment may be prescribed a medication to control their compulsive need for opioid drugs. Over time, with medication and counseling, they no longer display the previous addictive behaviors they previously had and are considered a person recovering from a disease — not an addict. They still have to avoid the triggers that can lead to relapse, just as diabetic people have to watch their carbohydrate intake to keep their disease under control.

People in recovery have jobs and are an asset to society. They just needed some help along the way. This is the reason a halfway house is so desperately needed in our community. To be successful in recovery, addicted people need to be separated from all the influences that caused them to take drugs in the first place. If they return to a home where their parents or partner continue to drink or take drugs, they will never survive in this environment. The temptation is too great, with everyone saying, just one small puff, one pill won’t hurt you. For a person with the disease of addiction it will destroy all his efforts to get better. This is why it is so important to have a place that is safe. A place where they can continue to grow and improve and become the people that God had created them to be — whole again.

So I encourage everyone to be part of the solution in helping us get halfway houses in our community, and not be part of the problem by refusing to have it in your neighborhood.