Fighting Hopelessness in Treating Addiction

To the Editor:

Re “An Uplifting Story of Beating Addiction We Don’t Hear Enough,” by Nicholas Kristof (column, Feb. 17):

Hearing about a program for people with substance use disorder that actually works is so encouraging and indeed uplifting, as Mr. Kristof notes. Thank you, Mr. Kristof, for digging into this crisis and for reporting on this program in Tulsa that has had so much success for women in recovery.

As someone who lost a loved one to substance use disorder, I know that it’s easy to lose hope that there is help that is accessible and with proven success. My niece was certainly someone who may have survived if she had found a program like this. Instead, she was incarcerated for crimes associated with her drug use, and she found little if any help there. One prison wouldn’t even let me send her books — her one means of escape and solace.

I can’t help wondering what if instead of locking her up, she had been compelled to enter a program like Women in Recovery. As an advocate for saving the lives of those with substance use disorder, I am heartened to learn there is a program like this that may be replicated in other states.

Judy L. Mandel
Newington, Conn.
The writer is the author of “White Flag,” about her attempt to help her niece.

To the Editor:

I have a 25-year-old son who has suffered from drug addiction for the last six years.

My son has now been substance-free for more than a month. Heroin is his drug of choice. He has overdosed several times and ended up in the emergency room on those occasions. Administering Narcan to one’s own son is a sobering experience. Thank God for its existence.

Recovery programs often do not work the first and second time around. It’s not a one-and-done kind of thing. This country has chosen largely to ignore addiction and underfund treatment. Why? Because it can.

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