‘Nothing is magical’

The Baltimore Sun has an interview with the new director of the Open Society Institute. Nothing earth-shattering here, but the institute has always gotten a lot of attention for its harm reduction efforts, so it’s good to see him focus on treatment. He even expresses support for treatment as harm reduction.

My experience in the health department shows that if you treat addiction, you have all these other spillover effects, not just on crime, but on HIV rates, on hospitalizations, on emergency room visits. In Boston, something like 30 percent of the calls that came in for emergency medical services involved either mental health or addiction-related issues. They are brought to emergency rooms, which is an incredible inefficiency and waste. Imagine if someday the EMS system could accurately triage people and take those needing it to the mental health or addiction treatment systems.