I Am Frustrated

By DSelden 11/03/17

I am a social worker with over 40 years experience in the field, most of it working with individuals and families with substance use and addictive disorders. I will be posting occasional commentary on substance use and addictions from the viewpoint of a frustrated provider.

All of a sudden, two years ago, there is an “OPIOID CRISIS!!!” The problem with drugs is not new. But now it is a CRISIS!!! As long as the drug problems remained in the inner cities, cities around Massachusetts such as Lynn, Lowell and Chicopee, it wasn’t a crisis. As soon as the problems began to emerge in the suburbs, like Swampscott, Andover and Newton, it became a crisis.

I am frustrated because our President took nine months to declare a CRISIS!!! and then offered no funding or implementation planning to address this.

I am frustrated because some of my colleagues here in Massachusetts studied these problems and offered very thoughtful white papers outlining their complexities and offering solutions. Some of these were published seven years ago and have been ignored.

I am frustrated because many of the solutions to these problems have been right in front of us for years. We need more long-term treatment beds. Not 30 day programs as 30 days only begins what is at least a 1-3 year process that is only the beginning of recovery from a very complex disorder.

I am frustrated because we need more professional clinicians trained in assessing and treating these challenging diseases. Peers in the self-help groups and now Recovery Coaches are a very helpful and needed part of the equation but co-occurring disorders and unremitting addictions require clinicians trained in professional programs, at a graduate level, to augment the work of the self help groups and Recovery Coaches.

And I am frustrated because last week another kid I knew from The North Shore Recovery High School died. It is the loss of the young ones that is especially frustrating. They have so much promise, so much potential and so little of it is realized when they die at 21, 18,16 and younger.

So I go to work every day and take out my frustration on the disease of addiction. I do everything I can to guide a small team of very dedicated clinicians, some of them in recovery themselves, to help as many as we can, as much as we can.

My friends who have cancer say “Fxxk Cancer”.

I say “Fxxk Addiction”.