Band-Aids don’t cure addictions

I used to sing in a quartet years ago. It was one of my passions.

The only problem was that I was a pack-a-day smoker. Dumb, right?

I followed the advice of many others in the same boat in that I chewed Fisherman’s Friend lozenges, and sometimes something stronger, in order to make my clear throat last a little longer.

When the quartet had to stop, my smoking didn’t. I tried many times to quit, knowing that if I didn’t, I would damage my throat beyond recovery. Finally, when it got really bad, I quit.

That was almost 10 years ago and it didn’t take too long before I came to the firm conclusion that the lozenges and sprays and other things were only Band-Aids.

Had I listened to the advice of family and friends, or even my own inner voice, or conscience, if you prefer, I would have quit decades earlier; you read right: decades.

Other than quitting outright, everything else was just a Band-Aid.

It wasn’t easy. As a matter of fact, without my faith-driven conviction and some medication, it was next to impossible, but I did manage to leave it all behind, although not before doing minor damage to my throat.

Now, 10 years later, I am able to sing a bit again. As I quote often, especially for others: “Too soon old, too late smart.”

One fellow who used to frequent the kitchen some years ago had eczema really bad on his arms and hands. For many years,. he was given all kinds of treatments, lotions, pills and whatnot, to no avail.

Finally, he went to a new doctor who examined him and his records and also his habits. “Quit drinking, leave even mild drugs behind and get some counselling, because I believe this problem is associated to your personal problems.”

It was not what he wanted to hear and respond to, so he just continued with the Band-Aids. He died before he could ever find out what he had the potential to do.

The overwhelming response to last week’s column regarding the Dream Centre made me realize that we have treated the whole issue of drug addiction much the same way. In spite of the tremendous efforts that so many people and agencies have dedicated to this issue, what we are seeing is that the whole harm reduction debate has led to the creation of more and more Band-Aids, thereby putting all of our money into the application of the same.

All of this has been done with the absolute best of intentions and will be needed for the majority of those affected for some time to come. Once again, how then can we actually fight this epidemic?

We already know that more Band-Aids won’t cut it.

The entire concept of the Dream Centre is to promote and assist in leaving that drug- and alcohol-torn life behind. Then, when the proper follow-up after the program is completed, the participant will be able to see complete victory in their lives.

Having said that, not every person who participates in the program is successful, but some of the statistics suggest an up to 85 per cent success rate. So it then, in my opinion, demands that we jump on that train and give it our all, because nothing else has that kind of success rate.

To this point, all funding for the Dream Centre has been from private sources and donations, and will probably remain that way, at least until a thorough record is established.

When I Google the funding for a Dream Centre, I am unable to determine whether or not the government helps in any way. I’m wondering if it is really cheaper to buy needles and even injection sites and other forms of Band-Aids, or are we fooling ourselves?

Chris Salomons is a retired Red Deer resident with a concern for the downtrodden.

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