Sunday, May 22, 2005

400 health experts told
addiction has no bounds

Business and government leaders recovering from drug addictions need to speak out to "unmask the stigma" of addiction, an expert told about 400 health care professionals.

William C. Moyers, son of television journalist Bill Moyers and a recovering addict for 16 or 17 years, addressed the professionals at a recent meeting at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.

His message, titled, "Meeting the Challenge: Treating Addiction in the 21st Century," was that recovery is possible with treatment, said Myron (Andy) Anderson, executive director of Hina Mauka, which provides residential and outpatient treatment to more than 400 residents daily.

"Many, many different people have addiction and recovery, from entertainers to Betty Ford, and many recovering from addictions are folks like me, with 44 years of survival," Anderson said. "In those years I've probably paid a lot of taxes."

He said Moyers urged those in recovery like himself, especially business and government leaders, to let neighbors and others know "to begin unmasking this stigma that seems to pervade."

"Especially in the last four or five years, there have been a lot of attempts to say recovery doesn't work," Anderson added.

Moyers, of St. Paul, Minn., is vice president of external affairs for the Hazelden Foundation. Hazelden Springbrook, a treatment facility in Newberg, Ore., sponsored the conference here.

Anderson said Moyers was "very clear, we've got to have a balanced approach," including treatment, prevention and law enforcement.

He said Hawaii's Legislature has been responsive to the problems, providing another $13 million in this year's budget for treatment and prevention programs "which is going to help a lot."

But it depends on whether the Lingle administration will release the money, he said.

The Lingle administration quickly released $3.17 million to expand drug courts after last year's session but waited six months to release $7.3 million appropriated for drug treatment and prevention programs.

Dr. George Carlson, Hawaii Society of Addiction Medicine president, said the conference was intended to educate doctors, nurses, psychologists and other health care workers about some of the latest things going on in the field.

"Education is a real important aspect of substance abuse treatment and alcohol treatment," he said.

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