Greg Maryland

Drug Rehabilitation

Our current drug rehabilitation system needs to change to be more like the 1980s Swiss.

Dear Future President,

Drug rehabilitation is, in our eyes a way to cure addiction. Did you know that 24.6 million Americans used illicit drugs in 2013? Did you know that not even half of those 24.6 million Americans got treatment? Even though some people can’t help themselves with getting addicted, they cannot get help with it due to the current system. Our current drug rehabilitation system is ineffective for the majority of addicts who seek treatment and addiction is just great for ruining families and countries. This system needs to be changed or just improved on immensely if we truly want to have our citizens to have stable lives again.

Not only is this an issue important to me, it also means a lot for the addicts who want help, their struggling families who are trying to help and their friends who stress out for their friend. So when the addict needs another term of treatment, it hurts those who care for the addict. I do not have a family member or friend who has to go to rehab but I have seen families destroyed and are in misery on the news because of this ineffective system. There are even TV shows that dedicate to the struggles of the addicts and their loved ones are always in despair. Even though the show ends happily with the addict “clean” and everything is swell again, they don’t show the addict coming back for more treatment because they relapsed again. It is just horrifying on how quickly and effectively drug addiction can ruin our country’s families!

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has an article talking about relapse rates for different kinds of issues people seek help for such as diabetes and drug addiction. Forty to sixty percent of patients who seek help for drug addiction relapse. That is a percentage that I feel definitely needs improvement. Patients also require several treatments due to them relapsing and how ineffective the system.

Switzerland is a great model for how they deal with drugs. In the 1980s they had a heroin drug crisis where street crime increased and HIV infections increased. Instead of going through the whole “War on Drugs” idea and banning everything related to illicit drugs, they instead experimented with harm reduction. They built centers where addicts got treated and stabilized. They got free heroin of high quality, clean needles, access to safe injection rooms where they were supervised, showers, beds, and medical supervision to record the patient’s results and to make sure they’re recovering. Instead of being treated like garbage and were rejected from society, they were helped in finding housing and with other problems in their lives. and said the results were that there was a sixty percent drop in felony crimes by patients, eighty-two percent drop in patients selling heroin, no patient has died from overdose, HIV infections dropped, the Swiss save money overall without needing to make as many court cases, and streets that were involved drugs and street crime fell enormously. Also, over seventy percent of heroin addicts received treatment. This whole process is way cheaper and more successful.

So after seeing that there are other ways to help with addiction that are more successful and also cheaper, it should be considered that we change. This change will not only help our country with our terrible addiction problem, but will also help our collapsing families and broken friendships. It will help with any current or any future addictions and we could cover for other drugs instead of only heroin. Mr.President, will you help our country and change for the better of our country and its citizens?

From, Greg, Sophomore, MD