In 1971, Richard Nixon declared a war on drugs. This nation has been losing that war since it began. If millions of people are addicted to drugs and the success rate for treatment is something like 10 to 20 percent, then the “war” is lost.

Today, the medical field is turning toward prevention in the form of gene therapy as its approach to healing. If the problem of addiction, and particularly opioid addiction, is to be solved, like the medical field, there needs to be a massive change in thinking. Most of the billions of dollars that go into treatment need to be shifted toward prevention.

Prevention is an entirely different model and is easily explained. Research available online through the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that every dollar spent in prevention saves $10 in treatment.

Prevention includes such things as prenatal intervention — a group/community support system for people struggling with emotional, economic, social and cultural hurdles. It consists of long-term continuous connection with the family. It provides guidance for the parent(s) and children in the form of educational, recreational and medical support. It helps to develop a community that is safe, caring and supportive.

Most children, who have grown up with love, have had an opportunity to develop their own abilities resulting in positive self-esteem. Healthy, positive self-esteem is the central strength that allows people to make the right kind of choices for themselves in order to develop and sustain a healthy and happy life.

Jenny Orr, West Paris

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