Looking at addiction as a disease

May 11, 2017

Hundreds of residents of the Long Neck and Oak Orchard area packed the Oak Orchard fire hall recently to discuss drugs and crime riddling their communities. Overdoses, deaths, armed robberies and burglaries all appear to stem from substance abuse and addiction.

But what to do about it? It's certainly not just a local problem; it's national and international in scope. But ultimately it comes down to being a local problem, because it's at the local level where each of us has an opportunity to be part of the solution.

At the meeting, Delaware State Police representatives talked about resources stretched thin. Rep. Ruth Briggs King asked how much people are willing to pay - in the form of increased taxes - for programs and increased police presence. But police officers, no matter how numerous in their ranks, can't watch every house and every business and every suspicious character all the time. They need us to help by being vigilant in our neighborhoods and our shopping areas.

Cellphones are everywhere; 911 calls are easy. Officers can't be everywhere, but if they are dispatched to areas when residents bring their attention to problems, those resources, no matter how thin, can be deployed more effectively.

Crimes certainly need to be deterred and criminals arrested. But building more jails and prisons to lock away criminal addicts is no long-term solution.

Groups like atTAcK Addiction, formed in Delaware by parents and friends struggling with addicted children and adults, look at addiction as a disease, not a crime. Their enlightened goal is to identify addicts and help them with treatment so they can be productive citizens - not wards of the state kept in cells.

The 30-year-old Connections organization throughout Delaware provides treatment services, safe and sober houses, and other programs. To access their services, call 866-477-5345.

Solving this problem will require everyone to become part of the solution by reporting criminal activity, identifying and getting help for those who use illegal drugs, and promoting education to halt the opioid epidemic.

Vigilance will reveal the problem, but people have to get motivated to DO something.


  • Cape Gazette editorials are considered and written by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Laura Ritter, news editor; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; Nick Roth, sports editor; and Chris Rausch, associate publisher.

Welcome to The Cape Gazette Archive.
This content is provided free of charge
thanks to our sponsor:

Close ad in...

Close Ad