The readers’ forum

Treat addiction holistically

 

The May 12 article As pill mills fade away, heroin fills the void highlights a predictable trend in drug use, the result of America’s penchant to focus on one drug or another rather than the disease of addiction. The steps that Florida has taken to control the misuse of prescription drugs have been important and, to some extent, successful in reducing such misuse. But they have done little to address the larger issue of risky substance use and addiction.

Addiction is a complex brain disease that frequently involves multiple substances including nicotine, alcohol, illicit and controlled prescription drugs and, perhaps, other compulsive behaviors. At least 16 percent of the population has this disease — that’s 40 million people, more than those affected by heart conditions (27 million), diabetes (26 million) or cancer (19 million).

Another 80 million people, while not addicted, use addictive substances in ways that threaten public health and safety. More than half of those with this disease also are risky users of more than one substance, and about one in five have addiction involving multiple substances. It makes no sense to only treat one manifestation — such as addiction involving pain meds — since it may well be replaced by addiction involving another drug such as heroin.

Instead we must address the disease broadly to avoid a costly game of whack-a-mole, where we clamp down on addiction involving one drug only to see the problem reemerge in the form of another.

Susan E. Foster, vice president and director, Division of Policy Research and Analysis, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse,

Columbia University, New York

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
Ceci Sanchez, as a toddler, with her father, Jose Ignacio Maciá, and mother, Cecile, in Cuba.

    The readers’ forum

    My father died at the Bay of Pigs Invasion

    This Easter Sunday is especially sad for me. My father died this weekend 53 years ago at the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.

  • Pray for peace

    It’s with great sadness that in the midst of the holiday of Passover, we witnessed, once again, another act of violence and hatred that has become far too common of an occurrence in our world. Instead of only recalling the joy of freedom from bondage, we were also gripped by the knowledge of someone who killed out of their hatred of Jews.

  • Respect police officers

    Re April 15 article Veteran cop granted bond in U.S. drug-running case: Being a real cop isn’t something you do, it’s something you are. So we take it personally when we lose a fellow cop and when we are unfairly tainted. When a cop does wrong, as we know, cop bashers will use it to attempt to tarnish the profession. The bad acts of an individual cop do not and should not represent the profession any more than the bad acts of a civilian criminal should define their race or ethnicity. Serving and protecting comes at a high price. Each year about 60,000 assaults on cops occur resulting in about 16,000 injuries. On average this past decade, 160 cops died yearly in the line of duty just doing their jobs. Yes, the 160 may make the news but the 16,000 and 60,000 do not.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category