New Addiction Bill Passed in Maine—What Does It Mean?
I would like to voice my opinion about this new January Addiction Bill passed in Maine. I am not a professional who had been trained on the topic or a counselor. I am an ordinary wife and mother who lost a husband and daughter to their alcohol abuse. From these losses, I took my pain and wanted to reach out to others—maybe save one person! I became a Motivational Speaker and four-time award winning author on three books about living with and losing two loved ones from their alcohol addiction. There could have been a high chance of drugs being involved.
Don’t over-look a family member’s opinion or message because they have had no degree on the subject. Who knows the pain watching a loved one slowly killing themselves and not being able to do anything to stop the downward speed of their dying from addiction, than someone who has lived through the illness?
First of all, I have always had this uneasiness with any organization getting money to help the sick and then the public hears that a quarter of the money had been used for the cause while the other three-quarters can’t be accounted for from the people collecting the funds. Funds that were sent from honest, suffering family members, who most likely, lost a loved-one from their alcohol or drug addiction, praying their contribution will help another person live by finding new and healthy ways to bring the addicted into a recovery program leading to their sobriety. We want to feel with our donations that our loved one’s death will come to have a meaning by helping others. With this money, we can learn new ways of doing so, not only from the professionals, but people within the family.
Here is an example: “Worst Charity for Veterans Run by VA Employee.” The charity brought in $29 Million in donations from Americans from 2010-2014. It was discovered that less than 2 percent was actually spent for veterans and their causes. No one can explain where the rest had been sent to instead of the program. Money donated for 911 victims and their families had the same results and millions being sent overseas during wartime to help with the ammunition or equipment needed for our soldiers, claim that no one knows where a high percent went to while the needed money had disappeared. If the State of Maine is going to start this program, for the sake of the lives that could be saved, please, don’t follow this path.
My first comment is finding a way to give a 100% guarantee that 100% of the funds will go directly for the alcoholic and drug users. If not, the persons in charge, who can’t account for the missing money, should be liable to add that loss to the program.
Lets talk about the treatment programs. From my experiences with them, there is no foundation. My daughter, Lori, had three rehabilitation stays; once in Butler Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island and twice at the Gosnold Rehabilitation Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts. They took the alcoholic and drug users who had been drinking since teenagers or younger, and put them in the detox centers, and if money was there, a huge ten-day program was next with counseling. Once that was completed, if they stayed, they were let out to go right back to the same location, friends doing the same drinking and drugs, and right back to the drug dealer.
We have to treat the addicted the same as someone who has cancer, being in an accident causing someone to be paralyze, depression or suicidal victims. They need heavy rehabilitation to heal. We don’t heal our loved ones by putting them back out in the street for them to return in a month with the routine of returning, returning and returning. You are putting a bandage on their cut. Insurance companies are in control of a person’s stay, and patients are just a number without them knowing their condition or needs.
Addicted patients need a good 6-9 month program, without being release, until they can get the alcohol and drugs out of their system. Until they can do that, their bodies and minds can’t make any healthy decisions. Lori signed herself into a three month program after two years because the doctor said her liver, kidneys and mental state were ready to shut down.
Within two weeks, they gave her the choice to finish her time or go into a halfway home that had no counselor to watch over them coming and going. No one watched over them to see if they could find jobs, and no professional was in charge 24/7 to see who was getting drugs inside the facility or staying during the night.
These are the things $3.7M should be going towards instead of guessing where it should be placed. Get a plan! Most addicted have deep-rooted problems from the past and a counselor running meetings is not going to do it. Money has to be put into giving the mental sick, because that is what they are, a one-on-one treatment with a psychiatrist, who has a degree in knowing how to win the trust over with patients so they can open up about their pain and past treatment from someone or pain with loss. Until this happens, they bury their past deep within themselves and will never recover.
Here we go, the Marijuana Fund. I believe in Marijuana if it is prescribed to handle a medical problem. I have been to halfway homes with men saying, “I have no idea why I am here. All I did was use Marijuana.” I tell them, “If it wasn’t a problem, you would not be here. Look at being in this rehab as a gift so you can put your life together before you go deeper into something stronger.” Most who were fighting drug use admitted they started with Marijuana. My feeling on this bill, which will be on the list to be voted on in Massachusetts, have the states interest because they see and hear the “Billions” of dollars other states are making from the sales. So I ask………….is it a way of making the money that interest them….or do you really want to find a control and save lives?
If Maine or any state wants to get “serious” about trying to stop the death-rate from this disease, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency has to want every penny from the funds to work as much as the addicted have to want their recovery. You can’t stop in-between the treatment. Sit, make a plan step by step, beginning to end, and build a strong desire to solve the worldwide problem of addiction, and results from your program bringing the death -rate down.
Stop putting money in front of reaching a goal. If money is important with adding Marijuana openly to addicts than don’t waste the taxpayers dollars on trying to cure the alcoholic or drug user. It’s a curve to making money and adding a small amount to the fund to satisfy the professionals and users, only for the corrupt to benefit from the profits.
Jails for addicts. I do not believe an addict should be put behind bars, unless their actions killed someone, they robbed a business or some violent crime had been committed. Getting them off the street is a start, but not hidden with criminals for being sick. Spend the money on a clean center without the atmosphere coming across as a hospital. Don’t make them feel like they are being punished for a disease they are finding impossible to beat. They are mentally and physically sick. Until professional make this the number one problem, all your money will not find a cure or at least a control with drugs.
Let me remark on the section for “What Still Needs to be Done.”
I agree that a heavy educational program should start with the grammar school level. Why? Our kids are not as innocent as we think. In my book What is and isn’t Working for the Alcoholic and Addict written by 34 alcoholic and drug users, a woman told her story with starting at five and one at seven years of age with drinking.
Developing a support system: I believe it starts with family. A.A. and Al-Anon call this a “family disease,” and yet, I do not believe they treat it that way. We all go into different rooms for our meetings and no one is suppose to talk to the alcoholic or the family member as to what had been discussed trying to find help for all of us. In fact, I honestly feel that once a month an A.A. meeting should have a non-drinker talk about what they are feeling living with the alcoholic and an Al-Anon meeting should hear an alcoholic talk about their fears. This is how we learn what everyone feels and needs to desire recovery.
We need to stop this merry-go-round. As a family, we need to hear what others are feeling and need to stop the enabling, abuse, fear and confusion each and everyone of us suffer within the family behind closed doors. I had a breakdown trying to push my body and mind beyond what it could take trying to keep peace in our family instead of doing something about the repeated, daily action day after day. I feared being on my own, getting a divorce and had no understanding about the disease. Instead of hating the disease, I hated my husband. With my daughter, I lived in fear of losing her and didn’t make private times to listen to her pain and learn what she might have been doing with her friends. We learn more by listening than doing all the talking. The alcoholic and drug users cry out for help, but we don’t put our listening ears on to hear them.
I agree completely with helping them get an education and employment to give them hope and feel good about themselves again. That was the number one complaint I heard from the patients in a halfway home for men. They said with no jobs to get money, they felt like failures, trapped and saw noway out to get their life back to what it was without using.
Efforts to identify: Give the private counseling with doctors, psychiatrist, family members and a priest or minister. Yes, bring their faith back. A high percent of contributor to my book, believed going back to prayer, helped them in their hard times to recover.
In 2013, my husband, Al and I, met, in Boston, Massachusetts, with Steven Meunier, at the time, Senator John Kerry’s Policy Advisor. After losing Richie and Lori, we wanted to talk to them about what we thought had been needed to support and help the alcoholic, drug user and the mentally ill. We wanted to start by modifying, not change, the Patient Privacy Act. It gives the addict eighteen years of age and older, the right to refuse any help from doctors, staying in rehabs for help, or including any family member in their meetings and counseling. We believe in their privacy, but when a doctor states that the addict’s liver and kidneys are ready to shut down, we believe the family should have every right to over-ride that rule. We were the sober ones and remembered what happened during their younger years. They were drunk and remembered nothing, but suffer from “thinking” what happened to them or stay in a confused state not being able to judge what did or did not happen to them.
Both Senator Kerry and Mr. Meunier left their positions: Kerry to position of Secretary of State, and Mr. Meunier left to work for Blue Cross-Blue Shield. Neither had any idea where our papers went and the case had been dropped. We went to Senator Michael Rodrigues to push this further, asking him to help us go to Washington to talk to the people running the Alcohol and Drug Program,s and never heard from him for the past year.This shows the low interest our government and others have with putting this topic as number one.
This email was a way of trying to answer what is in the Maine’s program, what does it mean, and especially to face the reality what “might” be missing in the program or what is needed from a family who looks back saying other options were open.
I hope the state of Maine puts their hearts into this program for the alcoholic and drug user because good and healthy people are dying that have a lot to offer our country, their loved ones and themselves.
No. Dartmouth, MA 02747
“Journey Through Alcohol Abuse” www.albertasequeira.wordpress.com
Email: [email protected]