Abstinence required; COMMENT & DEBATE YOUR LETTERS TO THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF WALES.
Previously, people not only lacked the means to drink as much as they do now (in a world of ever-rising prices, alcohol and other drugs continue to buck the trend, drink is now cheaper in real terms than it has ever been), but if it were simply a matter of affordability, there would be no such thing as the homeless addict.
Rapid changes in our society have made us more affluent, but have exposed us to perpetual round-the-clock advertising and marketing, selling us innumerable fantasies and dreams, reminding us on a daily basis in often subtle and invisible ways that we lack something, miss something, need something more.
We are the most addicted society in Europe, be it in legal highs, street drugs or alcohol, (the research doesn't mention gambling, but this government and the last have both made creating gambling addicts for the bookies to exploit a special priority) according to the Centre for Social Justice, which estimates that addiction costs Britain PS36bn a year.
These stark figures would tend to suggest to anyone with a modicum of intelligence that the government's drug policy has failed completely, but the official wisdom on how to treat addiction remains unchanged.
Light-touch regulation, which allows the drinks trade to behave as it sees fit, combined with the criminalisation of other drugs to make millionaires out of a huge criminal class that recycles the money to finance every other kind of organised crime, allows the supply of addictive substances to flourish every year.
At the other end of the addiction cycle, the government still insists on imposing a medical model of addiction on the growing numbers of addicts, where they are ministered unto by professionals who have no direct experience of addiction themselves. It is these experts who argue that a harm reduction approach, advising alcoholics to just try to have a few drinks instead of two bottles of vodka, is best.
The only solution to alcoholism or any drug addiction is abstinence-based recovery, one day at a time abstaining from intoxicating substances and working with other recoverers to build a new life.
The Living Room Cardiff practices an abstinence-based approach to recovery and it is a philosophy that needs to be adopted with more urgency.
Not only is a different way of treating addicts needed, but a different language in society required in assessing the validity and worth of individuals. WYNFORD ELLIS OWEN Chief Executive, Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs, Cardiff
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|Publication:||Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Sep 4, 2013|
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