Last week I missed an op-ed weighinh in against HR. The writer closes with this thought:
Many organizations offer the rationalization that drug use is part of our lives and will not go away. That is probably true, as it is true that most people who use recreational drugs or drink will not become addicted.
But there are those who are addicted and whose lives are in trouble. For them, continued use can and will ultimately prove to be disastrous.
It is a courageous act for an individual to face their problems and attempt to make the changes necessary to break free of their addiction. It’s not an easy transition to make.
We, as a society, should do everything possible to assist them on their road to recovery. Everything, except create the illusion that only going half way down that road is all it takes.
Today, another writer offers a less certain opinion:
…I have come to realize, slowly and painfully, that complete abstinence may be out of reach for some. The all-or-nothing approach of abstinence advocates neglects the needs of many substance users who may fall somewhere in between.
This is obviously true–some people with addiction, even those who recieve treatment, will die of their addiction. The problem is that we don’t know who will recovery and who will not. After 14 years in this field, I am unable to predict those who will recover and those who will not. Further, my instincts are repeatedly proven wrong. This being the case, the only solution is to treat all addicts as though they can recover. This is not an argument against HR, rather it’s an argument in favor of making recovery-oriented services available to all who want them. It is also important that systems recognize that many who do not want recovery-oriented services may be making this decision due to an absence of hope, and it is the system’s responsibility impart hope and encourage clients to seriously consider all of the best treatments available. (Just as we would do with a cancer patient facing difficult treatment with uncertain outcomes.)
The writer does maintain a conclusion that I can agree with:
All said, I am still not sure where I stand on harm reduction. I know that abstinence is the ideal.
I appreciate someone talking about their struggle with the matter. I’ve steadily grown more wary of people expressing what Anne Lamont referred to as “excessive certitude”.