Fund Addiction Treatment

from the Bangor Daily News, Opinion, 5/8/2017

The Maine Council of Churches strongly supports all efforts to fully fund drug and alcohol treatment programs in Maine.
In the early 1930s, when people addicted to drugs and alcohol were viewed as “drunks and bums,” medical treatment was nonexistent. This began to change, in part, when Sister Mary Ignatia Gavin, an unassuming Catholic Sister of Charity, began to secretly admit alcoholics to an Akron hospital. For the first year, in direct disobedience to her superiors, she hid her patients in the flower storage room of the gift shop. In time, with the help of Dr. Bob Wilson, co-founder of AA, the first hospital recovery unit in the U.S. was founded at the hospital.
Today there are many types of treatment, but in general a multi-pronged approach is best. Unfortunately, treatment can be seen as costly. To ignore addiction and hope it goes away is magical thinking, and to be stingy with funding for treatment will only result in higher costs down the road from lost work, ruined relationships, child neglect and crime.
At the Maine Council of Churches, we embrace the compassionate spirit of people like Sister Ignatia. We advocate for comprehensive treatment strategies that address the whole person with dignity and understanding. We see an ethical imperative to take care of the most vulnerable people in our society, including people with addictions. We believe no cost is too great to save a God-given human life.
Rev. Dr. William M. Barter