Instead of discarded needles, could the commissioned Health Department study focus on the serious problem of addiction and the obvious need for more resources to assist those who need treatment? If the drug use is properly addressed, we’d not have the needle problem.
We need more treatment opportunities. We also need a plan for transitioning those in recovery back into society. Drug addicts often have multiple challenges in their lives from damaged relationships, poor work history, possibly legal concerns and quite frequently homelessness. What is really needed is a holistic approach to tackle this drug problem.
Available assistance programs have some significant access challenges. Transportation is one. Homeless addicts are challenged to get to DSHS (state Department of Social and Health Services) to apply for ADATSA (Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Treatment and Support Act), to the providers who perform the assessments, to agencies helping with housing. Scheduling is another difficulty. Early morning appointments might be unreasonable with this population. Also, a multiple-day process certainly is a problem. When an addict is ready for treatment he or she is ready now. To remain homeless and waiting for assistance can result in the addict feeling hopeless, and hope is a critical component in recovery.
Could Olympia develop a one-stop-shop system where those seeking help could actually get it? If our community is concerned about this tragic and complicated problem, could we make things more streamlined to help those seeking assistance and remove obstacles from the path to recovery?