In major cities throughout the country there have always been issues with societal coping mechanisms, ie; Drugs. Metropolitan areas tend to have programs in place that are designed, (but not always effective) in treating individuals with problems stemming and/or resulting from addiction to various substances, whether they are legal or not. With the advent of “bath salts” and certain smoking novelties such as the synthetic THC, there seems to be a never ending battle between synthetic drug manufactures, and law enforcement attempting to stem the flow new and presumably dangerous substances.
Watertown, New York is a small community by many standards. They have many of the same problems of major metropolitan areas when it comes to drugs in the community. Crack cocaine, Heroin, Ecstasy, Methamphetamines and black market pharmaceuticals are readily available for those who seek them. According a Carsey Institute report on illicit drug use in rural communities conducted at the University of New Hampshire, about 13 percent of rural and 15 percent of urban residents reported using drugs. The study also hypothesized the average estimated addicts in a given population, Watertown has one the highest concentration of addicts, with 13% of the population being addicted to some form of illicit drug. (It is important to note that that this number is only representative of those addicts that seek some form of treatment and therefore the total number is likely to be higher.)
The drug issue in Watertown, New York may be widely known, however, there seems to be a nonchalant attitude toward the treatment of addicts in the community. Yes, they do have two outpatient clinics in Samaritan Behavioral Health and Credo. However, they are wholly understaffed and not all the staff in these clinics demonstrates the ability to individually treat addicts with the time and dignity that is proven to foster strong recovery programs.
There is also the issue of these community oriented organizations showing much more concern for turning a profit rather than elevating individuals to take responsibility for their substance abuse. This is evident in the symbiotic relationship with in-patient facilities throughout New York State. For instance, no matter the depth and scope of a person’s addiction issues, staff at Watertown’s Credo Community Center is encouraged to manipulate patients to enter into in-patient rehabilitation (Provided they have coverage from Medicaid or other comparable medical insurance providers) regardless if this is the best course of action needed for a lasting and meaningful recovery from their addiction issues.
Once the coverage from the insurance is “maxed out” or has reached the allotted maximum funding available for that individual, the insurance provider will no longer cover an in-patient stay. The person being treated will then be re-evaluated and “magically” is deemed “ready” to move onto the next phase of treatment. This situation, in many cases, involves returning them to the very same communities where they have cultivated drug connections and relationships that have advocated their use in the first place. (This is regardless if the diagnosis is accurate or in the best interest of the patient.)
The symbiotic aspect then comes into play when the in-patient facility almost always recommends and often insists that the addicted individual return to the community where their addiction fostered and grew in the first place.
There are several issues at play here:
1.) Upon returning to the communities and programs that they began seeking help at, the client or patient is generating more revenue for these facilities. Upon their return to the outpatient community centers, an entirely new case file is registered with Medicaid. Thus, Medicaid sees this as a new and separate case and then grants the facility money as such, instead of treating it as continued care. Why is this important? Because Credo Community Center and Samaritan Behavioral Health receive somewhere in the neighborhood of $10,000 per newly filed treatment case needing inpatient care.
2.) The treatment modalities that are used to treat these individuals are more often than not a 12 Step model of recovery which according to Alcoholics Anonymous’ own G.A.O (General Accounting Office) reports has a dismal success rate of 5% (success being defined as an addict quitting the use of their substance of choice for the rest of their life) According to The Orange Papers a seemingly well researched and reputable source of information on the fallacies of the twelve step model of recovery,
“A 5% success rate is nothing more than the rate of spontaneous remission in alcoholics and drug addicts. That is, out of any given group of alcoholics or drug addicts, approximately 5% per year will just wise up, and quit killing themselves.6 They just get sick and tired of being sick and tired, and of watching their friends die. (And something between 1% and 3% of their friends do die annually, so that is a big incentive.) They often quit with little or no official treatment or help. Some actually detox themselves on their own couches, or in their own beds, or locked in their own closets. Often, they don’t go to a lot of meetings. They just quit, all on their own, or with the help of a couple of good friends who keep them locked up for a few days while they go through withdrawal. A.A. and N.A. true believers insist that addicts can’t successfully quit that way, but they do, every day.”
The site goes on to state that:
“Thus, an alcoholism treatment program that seems to have a 5% success rate probably really has a zero percent success rate — it is just taking credit for the spontaneous remission that is happening anyway. It is taking the credit for the people who were going to quit anyway. And a program that has less than a five percent success rate, like four or three, may really have a negative success rate — it is actually keeping some people from succeeding in getting clean and sober. Any success rate that is less than the usual rate of spontaneous remission indicates a program that is a real disaster and is hurting the patients.”
This seems to be the case in Watertown, New York. Drugs in Watertown are relatively easy to get. They don’t have dealers on corners like in some major cities but we don’t have to in order to have a pervasive problem. Many times because of thier relatively small population a dealer has nothing more to do than sit in a house and wait for the customers to come to him/her. As long as the dealer knows one person that knows a lot of other people then his work is quite easy. Simply stay inside so as not to be noticed and let addicts/users make the phone calls and transport the drugs to customers.
The fact is that as long as there is a demand for illegal drugs, there will always be someone willing to take the risk of supplying them. The real battle is not with the users and addicts. It would br great If we could teach people how to live and deal with life on life’s terms, and support those that have the hardest time. We could make great strides to stem the availability of drugs and thus reduce the chance for our children to become involved with them. It begins with the parents of course. The “Not my kid” attitude that your child would never get involved with drugs is precisely the perspective that opens the door for children to do just that.
But the real battle is finding those that are bringing the drugs into the country. It has been widely reported that Top U.S. Government Officials Admit that Our Government Has Repeatedly Protected Drug Smugglers.
Tons of drugs enter this country everyday; billions of dollars are made by those involved in our very own government. Our military has been photographed patrolling and protecting poppy fields that will end up as heroin on the streets of your town and in the arms and up the noses of your children.
Drug abuse is not just the problem of a few select people of weak will. When one member of our community is stricken by the problem we are all affected in some way. From the financial cost of supporting a police department that must devote countless man hours to investigation and the overwhelming court costs of thousands of cases per year to the social cost of losing some of most talented and intelligent people to the throes of addiction.
Over the years we have tried many remedies in which to limit the consumption of drugs by our community members. Stiffer sentencing by our court system and a greater number of laws and a broader scope by which to enforce them have done nothing. In fact it has only clogged the jail and court system even more. Should we just give up? Is decriminalization a viable alternative?
There are many new and innovative ideas throughout the country that are proving have greater impact on communities and drug addicts alike. One such Idea is the Recovery high school. Young people with drug issues are not only taught the basic education of a normal high school but they are also taught important skills to deal individual issues that have lead them to seek self-medication. This is but one idea that is showing merit. There are countless others that socially conscience communities are putting into effect.
Watertown and communities like it will not solve its drug issues by adhering to the old way of doing things. That is quite evident by the population problems of our county jail and the instances of recidivism. Unless we take a proactive stand toward education and treatment we will be mired in this expansive social issue for years to come. Do we really want to stand idle while those with drug issues perish every day to the prison system or the graveyard? Chances are you have a family member or friend that is currently in a fight with drug abuse issues right now. Is it not our obligation as good people, and civic leaders to all we can??