To the Editor:
As a recovering addict, I have deep empathy and concern for those trapped in addiction to natural and synthetic derivatives of opium, whether prescribed or purchased on the street. Unlike the years when drugs ruled my life, these drugs are now killing more people, mostly young and often suburban middle class, than die annually in auto accidents.
In the ‘60s, which was the height of my addiction, very long-term treatment (one to three years) had a good success rate, but was ended in the ‘80s because of cost, in spite of the fact that the four-week treatment, which is now the standard, has always had an extremely low success rate, even with the addition of new drugs to help. If we wish to save more of these young lives, we need to try everything that might help, including long-term treatment.
With more than 30 years clean, I am evidence that recovery is possible, and that a good life is possible after addiction. But we must be willing to fight with all tools if we really want to help those afflicted with addiction.