, Salem, MA


April 1, 2014

Watson: Treating drug addiction needs less stigma


Currently, there is a shortage of detox and short- and long-term treatment facilities. And the costs of attending these programs are very often prohibitive for addict’s families.

In most cases, becoming a drug addict did not reflect a lack of character or willpower on the part of the user. The euphoria of one “experimental” high can be burned into someone’s brain chemistry and be impossible to resist. It can and does happen to anybody, regardless of income or education. Whatever circles you travel in, almost assuredly in some nearby family, there is an addict, hidden.

Because of the tremendous stigma accorded by society to addiction, parents and addicts feel obligated to hide even while fighting the disease. Yet, no individual or family can beat addiction alone. Therefore, let us all face more openly and honestly the prevalence, nature and difficulties of this scourge.

Brian T. Watson is a Salem News columnist. Contact him at

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