Helping victims of drug abuse

You’ve just been released from jail after serving time on a drug charge. You’ve been “clean” for a couple of months. You want to turn your life around.

But you don’t have a job or even a place away from the drug culture to stay. When you walked out of the jail, you left behind an effective addiction treatment program, along with your support network.

Is there a scenario more likely to result in a relapse? No.

Ridding oneself of addiction and staying clean is extraordinarily difficult, recovering addicts tell us. Many who try, even with the best of intentions, fail.

Fortunately, West Virginia policymakers seem to have come to the conclusion that we must do much more to support recovering drug addicts. That was one promising takeaway from a public meeting on drug abuse, held Wednesday night at Wheeling University.

During the event, a proposed new substance abuse response plan was outlined by Bob Hansen, director of the Office of Drug Control Policy. It is a multi-faceted strategy.

What caught our eye about it is that it appears to reflect a more comprehensive approach to helping recovering addicts, whether they have been in jail or not. Attention is given to helping them find jobs, ensuring they have safe places to stay and either getting them into treatment programs or ensuring recovery already begun proceeds successfully.

Making all of that happen will not be easy or inexpensive. But we think the state officials are on the right track. Let us hope they can corral enough resources, both state and federal, to help victims of addiction free themselves and stay that way.


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