Thank you Greg.
My Dad became a morphine addict after a tractor accident put him in hospital for a year and the gas gangrene that should have killed him left him with a ruined leg and an addiction that wasn't acknowledged by him or the system and which he fed with over the counter drugs like codeine. And when his ruined leg was finally removed 11 years later, they botched that - and he had numerous corrective surgeries on the stump - and muscle-skeletal pain from the imbalances created by years of walking crookedly. All reasons to keep taking the pills. I remember when he finally crashed and burned, had to confront his addiction and the withdrawal he went through. I was 16 and it terrified me. He later became addicted to benzodiazepines courtesy of a bent doctor prescribing far too many for a man with a history of severe long-term pain and addiction - and his withdrawal from them was even worse. He never really recovered and died aged 64. So I get it - albeit my perspective is from the sidelines. Controlling the supply; providing other forms of pain relief; helping remove stressors from people's lives; helping people regain a sense of control and purpose and self-respect - its not a desirable, would be nice if we could afford it - it's an essential.
Some cost-cutting madness persuaded a generation of decision makers that in-house treatment and ongoing aftercare were not part of the answer to addiction treatment.
I’m spilling my guts here in the hope it impels our new Government to at least look at reviving proper, adequate treatment systems in New Zealand.
I may be wrong.
Tim Harding would know. He’s been top dog of all that.
Tim Harding, the chief executive of the former National Society of Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NSAD), now known as Care New Zealand, said the number of residential beds had more than halved in the past decade, and some addicts were losing motivation to get treatment while they waited for beds.
“It’s about securing that window of opportunity. If you have to wait two or three or even four to six months, then you can lose motivation,” he said.
“It is serious and it is a killer.”
Thanks, Greg. I'm sorry you are going through this bad stress. I admire you for appreciating the great blessing of your family and holding them close to resist those trapdoors of hell. You are doing great.
Thanks for your brilliantly written piece. I hope it gets heard where it needs to be.
Thanks a lot for sharing your experience.
Thanks Greg. It's perilously hard to get addiction treatment - and when people relapse - and that's the norm, I think - the first time seldom sticks - it gets harder to get back in. I can't share the story I know best, but it's hard enough for addicts to face up and want help. When there's nothing there - months and months of waiting, on 'maintenance' doses and other medication - it's a horrible, humiliating waste of lives and goodwill and human potential.
Hope you are feeling ok again soon.