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The Treatment of Addiction

William-Santoro,-MDThe word “addict” no longer has a place in the English language. I know that many people will use that term as a badge of honor. But the word is most often used as a derogatory comment and, therefore, it is still not an appropriate word. To say someone is an “addict” is to say that person IS the disease as opposed to someone HAVING a disease. When attempting to open a drug and alcohol treatment facility I have heard more than once a community member say, “We don’t want you bringing those ‘addicts’ into our neighborhood.” It is a much more powerful statement than, “We don’t want you bringing people addicted to drugs into our neighborhood.” We all need to think about the words we use and why we use them. We not only need to stop using the word, we need to stop believing the concept of the word. To quote the famous American philosopher and physician William James, “A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”

— William Santoro, M.D.

The treatment of addiction, like every other field of medicine, is (and should be) in a constant state of evolution. First some definitions: opiates are naturally occurring alkaloids derived from the opium poppy. Examples of opiates are heroin, morphine and codeine. Opioids are synthetic or partially synthetic drugs that are manufactured to work in a similar way to opiates. Examples of opioids are methadone, oxycodone and hydrocodone. Today the two terms, opiates and opioids, are often used interchangeably.

Berks Own Opioid Crisis

It will come as no surprise to anyone who pays attention to Berks County news outlets (such as the Reading Eagle newspaper) that our community has not proved immune to the epidemic of opioid drug abuse currently affecting the U.S. In recognition of the severity of this crisis, the Berks County Medical Society has formed a task force to examine the factors contributing to this crisis locally and to work with community partners towards finding solutions. This article is the first of a series we will publish with the aim of increasing awareness of the nature of this problem, its extent, and strategies for addressing opioid abuse and addiction.

My Story

By: Kyle Robinson – Recovering Addict Since 5/15/06

“So Kyle, tell me what is your daily intake of drugs,” said the intake specialist at the Bowling Green Rehab Center. “Well, Bob,” I said, “I am doing about an 8 ball of cocaine and right around 40-50 painkillers a day.” Mostly Percocet, but I would take anything at that point: Vicodin, OxyContin …but not heroin ‘cause heroin means that I am a drug addict.