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Addiction no laughing matter

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People suffering from addictions, whether they are in recovery or still active, should be outraged by the recent Visual Viewpoint cartoon by Jerry Holbert (Feb. 22). This cartoon perpetuates the stigma of addiction. It is attitudes such as these that keep people from seeking treatment, keeps some doctors from treating addicts and some pharmaceutical companies from working toward developing new treatments for addicts. Stigma is an enormous obstacle to more effective drug abuse treatment. Widespread perceptions that addiction strips individuals of basic human qualities lead to self-fulfilling predictions that those who are addicted cannot recover or ever play positive and productive social roles. Addiction is a major public health problem that impacts society on multiple levels. Directly or indirectly, every community is affected by drug abuse and addiction, as is every family. Drugs take a tremendous toll on our society at many levels. Substance abuse costs our nation more than $484 billion per year. Why would a person suffering from addiction seek treatment if the opinion shown in this cartoon is deemed acceptable and the general public is lead to believe addiction is not a serious medical condition? Are we part of the problem or part of the solution? Suzi deFosset, certified alcohol and drug counselor II, Auburn