Most drug addicts do suffer from depression

November 09, 2010

I am appalled that The Baltimore Sun in its investigative zest has portrayed Baltimore Behavioral Health as a greedy, improperly diagnosing, non-caring and potentially criminal operation ("Hooked on treatment," Nov. 7 and "Sheltered addicts, strained recovery," Nov. 8). What The Sun fails to realize is that when drug addicts finally seek treatment, they are desperate — they have ruined health and family life, job loss, financial crisis or criminal court order to be in treatment. Part of the disease of addiction involves the inability to stop using illicit substances despite recognition that the habit is unmanageable.

As a private practice treatment provider, the majority of my substance abusing clients do have a co-occurring psychiatric diagnosis. How could someone engage in self destructive behavior, ruin relationships and finances, commit crimes to support habits, and not get depressed? The drug addicts I have treated have often had a great deal of self hate and anger issues.

Sobriety is more than just staying clean, it is taking an honest look at one's behavior and attitudes and dealing with pain and hurt caused by or causing the drug abuse.

Treatment of inner-city folks also adds another dimension, i.e. poverty and criminal activity to support a habit. So why with a shortage of funding for quality mental health/substance abuse treatment and so great a treatment need does The Sun feel it has to "take down" an agency? Isn't it time we look at the real issues regarding drug addiction in our beautiful city of Baltimore?

Leslie Ebert, Baltimore

The writer is a licensed, certified social worker.

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