Treatment key to battling drug abuse, expert says
Hawaii's programs are good but
underfunded, a noted author says
By Helen Altonn
Hawaii politicians need to battle substance abuse with treatment
based on science and research, says an internationally recognized
authority in the field.
"Addicted people are sick people who need to get well, not bad people
who need to be punished," Terence Gorski, consultant on substance abuse,
mental health, violence and crime, said in a recent interview. "Anyone
who says drug treatment doesn't work is highly misinformed."
Gorski was a key speaker and trainer at conferences sponsored by the
Pacific Institute of Chemical Dependency at the Japanese Cultural Center
About 160 people attended the meetings each day, and "they really
liked what he had to say," said Ken Hansen, manager of the Queen's
Medical Center's Ambulatory Behavioral Health Services and chairman of
the institute's board. "He is controversial, but it's good to have some
of that controversy."
Gorski, who has written several books on addiction, is president of
CENAPS Corp., a training and consultation firm in Homewood, Ill., that
develops teams in communities to manage alcohol, drug, violence and
Gorski said Hawaii has "really excellent treatment programs" with
high-quality providers, but they are underfunded and undersupported.
"Considering the seriousness of the drug abuse problem and
effectiveness of proper and adequate treatment, the underfunding of
treatment in the islands should be an embarrassment to your political
leadership," he said.
Hawaii leads the nation in "ice" addiction, and most states are
struggling with drug problems, Gorski said. He contends the problems are
"a reflection of the failed drug war."
"After spending well over $100 billion over the past 20 years in the
drug war, drugs are readily available, drug crimes are increasing and
our prisons are overloaded."
Gorski said the solution to addiction involves biological,
psychological and social treatment because it is "a brain disease that
results from interaction of a mind-altering drug with a genetically