Letter: We must find way to stop failing addicts

From: Mark Duwe


Pass/fail on dealing with the opioid crisis and those struggling with addiction. If someone calls 911 and says they are addicted to heroin, or anything else including alcohol, and they ask for help, if you ask about their insurance or their ability to pay you fail. People need to know before they pick up the phone and ask for help they won’t be turned down for any reason. For any reason.

The next step is to tell them that someone will be there to pick them up within an hour. You will need to find out first if it is a medical emergency, of course, but making anyone wait longer than an hour or two can get you a big fat “fail.”

They will also need to be told they will not be arrested for any reason as long as there isn’t a felony happening during the pick-up process — a child being neglected, illegal weapons laying around, etc. If the problem is addiction and they still have a small amount of stash, no problem, no arrest, guaranteed in writing.

They will be taken to a medical facility to be evaluated and then transferred to a rehab facility. People also need to understand that rehab isn’t what it was just a few years ago. There are new therapies and drugs that make it possible for many people to get clean and/or sober at home. They could spend their initial stage under supervision and then return home to continue the therapy. Forcing people to go to rehab by court order can make a difference if you do it right.

The person struggling with addiction can learn that they can get through the day without taking their drug of choice. At first it’s best to do this under supervision of a doctor, but there are new therapies where you can take a pill and then an hour later start drinking a case of beer and you will not get drunk. You may feel like you’ve had two or three beers, after drinking 12 to 18 beers.

If you can do this every day you can come to see how it is you can get through the day without drinking or taking drugs. Please do some research; people are getting clean, and sober and getting on with their lives. Others are not getting help and they are dying, mostly because we are not moving fast enough to help them. Let’s begin now!