Editorial: Battling opioid addiction takes innovative approaches

Drug court is a perfect example of how government should take a creative, multifaceted approach to dealing with drug and alcohol abuse in the community.

The addiction problem isn’t going away, at least not anytime soon. The opioid epidemic has shown us that anyone, regardless of income or background, can fall victim to addiction and that solutions are not easy to come by.

People in law enforcement and in social services are fond of saying that government can’t arrest its way out of the problem. But in the case of drug court, help begins with an arrest. Some people who committed drug-related offenses are eligible for the program, which trades lesser or reduced jail time for good behavior.

The idea is that early, continuous, intense and well-supervised treatment can reduce recidivism rates and, ultimately, save lives.

Island County law-and-justice officials have been running adult and juvenile drug courts for years and have had success, individual by individual. Whidbey resident Conrad Standinger is the latest success story, having graduated last week from drug court. While he admits it wasn’t an easy process — and involved setbacks — those who know him say the change in him is remarkable.

The county also has an innovative program that puts together a public health nurse, a deputy and a social worker in the field to help people who are addicted to opioids.

Like drug court, the Island County jail started a program to offer medication-assisted treatment to people who suffer from opioid addiction. It may not be the answer for everyone, but it’s a tool in the fight against the problem.

One problem officials haven’t solved yet is the lack of drug and alcohol treatment on the island, which means those in treatment have to travel off the island. The drug court even provides participants with monetary assistance to help with traveling costs.

It’s a significant problem that officials need to focus on. After all, these other programs would be pointless if people can’t make it to treatment.

More in Opinion

Letter: Golden Rule is what most Americans are living by

Editor, Norms, standards and behaviors. We have moved through another election cycle,… Continue reading

Cartoon for Nov. 17, 2018

Cartoon for Nov. 17, 2018… Continue reading

Sound Off: Shop local on Small Business Saturday

By Betty Freeman South Whidbey is home to an array of creative… Continue reading

Letter: Writer should be ashamed of his ‘misleading letter’

Editor, Well, I hope no one ever hires Lee Rebman to analyze… Continue reading

Letter: We can do better —don’t drive under the influence

Editor, Once again, Island Thrift has fulfilled the Impaired Driving Impact Panel… Continue reading

Letter: Trump is thuggish buffoon who would be laughed at

Editor, So, we’ve come to this. A president who praises Congressman Gianforte… Continue reading

Letter: Let your representative know the changes wanted

Editor, We all know that government is slow, at least when it… Continue reading

Letter: Electromagnetic fields are all around us, affect health

Editor, In normal Whidbey life, the typical exposure of a child or… Continue reading

Letter: Letter writer was incorrect about Initiative 1631 info

Editor, Norman Bodine’s anti-Initiative 1631 letter of Oct. 9 states, “95 percent… Continue reading

Most Read