Drug addicts need all kinds of treatmentHeroin addiction...

the Forum

June 08, 1993

Drug addicts need all kinds of treatment

Heroin addiction is on the rise. Heroin addiction does not differentiate between race, social or economic status. Law enforcement officials state that there is a direct correlation between drug addiction and crime. The effects of drug addiction adversely affect every aspect of society and therefore must be addressed vigorously.

The obvious answer to this problem is abstinence. However, the practical matter is that not all addicts can abstain from illicit drug use.

In order to treat drug addiction, every possible treatment modality must be offered and utilized by those addicts who have the desire to become drug-free.

One treatment for heroin addiction is chemotherapy via methadone. This medication in conjunction with intense individual and group counseling is a viable treatment alternative.

Recently, there has been a controversy concerning private methadone clinics, specifically a private methadone clinic in the Rosedale area in Baltimore County.

The director of substance abuse in Baltimore County, Michael Gimbel, actively opposed the opening of a private methadone clinic in this area. Not only did he state his opposition, he actively organized the community to oppose this treatment alternative.

He further states that he specifically opposes private methadone clinics. Mr. Gimbel states that the Awakenings methadone clinic in Timonium is adequate for the treatment of all of Baltimore County heroin addicts.

He further states that methadone clinics should not be for profit. However, Awakenings receives funds from the taxpayers of Baltimore County to pay for services rendered.

In these hard times for taxpaying citizens, any use of my taxes for the rehabilitation of heroin addicts is a blatant waste of funds, especially when private methadone clinics are available for the treatment of addicts.

Mr. Gimbel should be encouraging and assisting in developing treatment alternatives for heroin addiction instead of proffering his personal opinions.

If Mr. Gimbel speaks for Mr. Hayden in wasting taxpayers' money, then Mr. Hayden should be seeking money-saving alternatives in treating heroin addiction.

By saving taxes in the addictions area, perhaps he would not need to place the burden of saving money by cutting the police and fireman accident-leave benefits.

In my opinion, the Baltimore County substance abuse office should be encouraging alternatives to the problem of heroin addiction instead of impeding the attempt of those institutions that have the interest of the addicts' recovery primary over TC director of substance abuse who places his ego above the problems of addiction.

Evelyn E. Rhoades

Baltimore

Paying for arts

Responding to Barry Rascovar's article in The Sun of May 23, entitled "Why Baltimore Needed to Hit Back at the Counties," I think that he has totally missed an important point while attacking the citizens of the counties.

Mr. Rascovar seems to believe that paying for cultural institutions should be the responsibility of the taxpayers. During these economic times, why would the city bother to spend $7 million on the Baltimore Museum of Art when the money could be better spent on taking care of the more pressing needs of its citizens?

Those who run the BMA should not expect taxpayers' money to finance their operation. Wouldn't it be wiser for them to solicit donations from philanthropists or charge admission to visitors rather than expect the city to support them?

Cultural events are important to the city and surrounding counties, but when people go to the Meyerhoff to hear the Baltimore Symphony or to the Lyric Theater for a show they pay out of their own pockets. The taxpayers of Baltimore or the counties aren't required to subsidize their cultural interests. And that's how it should be!

So when Mr. Rascovar asks "Why should the city shell out $7 million for the arts so county residents can enjoy most of the benefits?," my answer is that Baltimore shouldn't but neither should the governments of surrounding counties either.

Who should pay? Those Baltimoreans who have an interest in and passion for art and visit the BMA, that's who should pay. The tourists who come to Baltimore and visit the BMA during their stay, they should pay.

Who shouldn't pay for these cultural institutions? The taxpayers of the city and surrounding counties.

Michael Soloway

Owings Mills

Thoughts of T.R.

Last Memorial Day weekend, my thoughts drifted to one of my heroes, Theodore Roosevelt.

Most know he was president of the United States, led the charge up San Juan Hill and was an avid hunter.

Most do not know that he was commissioner of police in New York, founder of the Civil Service Commission and a conservationist long before it was fashionable.

These amount to a lifetime facing up to crime, war, politics and corruption. His reflections on certain issues are as relevant today, as we approach a new century, as when he spoke them near the turn of the last century.

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