I read with interest and some agreement Ralph Provenza’s guest column. It is true that this is a "healthy, hardworking, and optimistic town comprised of thoughtful community members who make it a great place to live."

However, his estimate of only 400 individuals in treatment, and only 25 who must go out of town, perhaps true for his agency, does not take into account the opiate-dependent individuals who are seen by private practitioners such as myself.

I am a part of a group of eight psychologists. I am currently treating five opiate-dependent individuals. I have two clients who must go out of town (Pittsfield, Mass.) and and I have two colleagues who each have one client who must go out of town.

I can only assume that if we added in the other Licensed Alcohol Drug Counselors in town, that the number would increase.

I agree that we need treatment available quickly and I know that I am frustrated by the lack of support in this area for opiate-dependent individuals.

And, yes, some of my clients became dependent after a legitimate prescription for pain medication, but there are many people who can and do take themselves off of pain medication.

It is my observation that it is the traumatized individuals who find peace and comfort in the opiates and have the hardest time breaking free of their addiction.

If we had more opportunities for these individuals to learn alternative coping skills for anxiety and stress reduction, that would be a huge step in the right direction.


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SUE SWEENEY

Licensed Alcohol Drug Counselor;

Licensed Psychologist-Master

Bennington