To the editor: 

We need to continue to increase awareness of this ongoing problem of addiction, which knows no socioeconomic boundaries, and robs families of their children, spouses, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends at an alarming rate. 

We need to expose the roadblocks to successful recovery, such as insurance constraints that do not allow for a lengthy recovery period but limit treatment to a five-day program that then sends patients out to fight this illness alone, broken, weak, embarrassed, and with little coping mechanisms to succeed. Some are without family support, have no job, no transportation, and yet are expected to pick up the pieces of their broken lives and move forward, on an outpatient basis, when they are most fragile. Statistics show that long-term recovery programs are the most effective.

Not everyone can afford a $20,000-a-month resort, so we need to find better solutions to long-term success.

Victims of addiction are precisely that — victims of a terrible disease, a metastatic process that invades families and friends. We will not win the war until this is accepted as an illness; this is an emergent crisis, taking our children, and until leaders realize mothers are burying their children at an alarming rate, or that we often have no idea of the whereabouts of our children, that our children have been swallowed-up by the quicksand of evil, we will fail as a society. Addicts need help, support and treatment; long-term treatment, often not available because of insurance constraints, dictating who receives care, who is denied. Walk a mile in my shoes and feel my pain, my angst every time the phone rings, every time there’s a knock on the door. Watching your child, your beautiful all-star athlete, once happy, so full of life, become ensnared in the web of addiction is comparable to being tethered to the shore, as your children swim out to the deep ends of the ocean, powerless to help.

The weight of the crosses we carry is overwhelming, and the pain we feel each day, unbearable.

May those of you who judge, who belittle, who degrade and look down upon the addict, never have to experience what we have. It is a pain like no other, an abyss.

Annie DiPietro