Letter: Opioid addiction — myths and facts


I was seriously confused by the Dec. 14 “GOP Viewpoint.”

I share what seems to be the author’s concern that we need to effectively prevent opioid abuse and addiction. Yet the alleged “myths” the author sought to correct, and her “reassessments” of those myths, were steeped in factual inaccuracies.

The alleged myths, and research-based realities, follow.

“Drug addiction is a chronic illness.” This is not a myth. The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis states that addiction is a disease. So does the U.S. Surgeon General, and essentially every other major medical organization supports that.

“Drug addicts can’t stay clean.” They can, and do, as we’ve seen time and again. We also know that relapse is a commonly encountered phase in recovery. While many do not win this battle every day, many others do, typically with the help of valid and reliable treatment.

“Don’t hurt addicts’ feelings — it might discourage them from seeking treatment.”   

In fact, a fundamental of 12-step programs is to acknowledge the harm one has caused, which is inevitably painful. Support helps people overcome their addictions, but that’s different from sugarc oating things.

“More treatment is better.” It can be, but only quality treatment is worth pursuing. Yet follow-up treatment is often needed because relapse is an unfortunate yet extremely common part of the recovery process.

It’s true that addiction won’t be overcome unless the addicted person commits to recovery. Yet support is critically important to help people overcome the disease of addiction.

I’m glad Ridgefield is proving committed to pursuing best practices in our fight against opioid abuse and prevention.    

The efforts I’ve seen have been wholly nonpartisan, and as a new Ridgefield Police Commission member, I look forward to continuing that trend with my fellow officials, and the entire community.

Stephen Saloom

Florida Road, Dec. 19