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Treatment Shirks

Why should anyone be "Waiting for the Plan," (Feature, Nov. 10) when a terrific plan is already in place-namely ripping off the system. I'm amazed my tax dollars are being so shamelessly squandered.

There may be effective drug treatment programs in Baltimore (the Helping Up Mission comes to mind), but in my opinion the city's drug-treatment industry is a self-perpetuating monolith. Any medical or psychiatric effort that can't track and document results has no right to be in business.

Also, has anyone bothered to study other cities to find out what they do? And how about drug treatment programs abroad? What can we learn from them? Apparently in the drug rehabilitation world, failure is an option!

If over 74,000 Baltimore residents need substance abuse management, wouldn't it be cheaper to buy them a first-class, one-way ticket to another municipality where treatment is not only successful but documented? We could also pay living expenses and rent at that new location. Since most programs are funded through Medicaid, the expense would be shared nationally.

Reenforcing failure with failure is not acceptable. Exporting the problem to another locality with a successful drug rehabilitation system not only would save money, it would save lives. As a Baltimore City and Maryland taxpayer, I'm tired of being taken advantage of. I'm weary of paying the lavish salaries of those in the rehabilitation game. We should be cutting the nonperforming treatment programs, not expanding them. Supply-side economics have no place in Baltimore or in the state of Maryland.

Rosalind Nester Ellis

I was disgusted to learn that my federal tax dollars are going to provide hot dogs--a revolting, wasteful food product made from slaughtered pigs raised under appalling conditions-for ex-users of heroin-a relatively harmless substance made from a plant-and other drugs. The Recovery Month slogan, "Treatment Works," and the name "Recovery Month" itself, are worthy of Joseph Goebbels. Of course drug "treatment" does not and cannot "work," because it is based on a fatally flawed premise: that the use of two drugs, morphine and cocaine, that World War I-era American legislators decided to prohibit (as well as a few newer favorites) is some sort of "disease." The point of drug "treatment" is not helping users, but-as bureaucrat Carlos Hardy noted with admirable honesty-"spending every dollar we get." Was a four-part series really required to make this point clear?

John Swift

Arise, Already!

It was a pleasure to read the interview Edward Ericson Jr. did with Charles Ferguson, who did the documentary Inside Job (Arts & Entertainment, Nov. 3). This is one of the most important films of the year. All teachers should make this movie required viewing for their students.

In answer to one of the questions, Ferguson makes this bold statement: "The level of dishonesty in the financial system has reached really epidemic proportions. It has become normal and accepted practice." And Ferguson names the names of those who created this global cataclysm, most of whom refused to appear on camera-Bill Clinton, Phil Gramm, Alan Greenspan, Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers, and many other scoundrels.

The Great Recession is an economic crisis seemingly without end. And those casino operators, those great fans of deregulation, made sure their pockets were filled during this global bank robbery. Our jails are filled with robbers convicted of theft in the mere thousands. These crooks were not satisfied with mere millions, and not one of them has done jail time.

As an activist, I am baffled by the quietude of the masses. How can we allow this brazen theft from the less wealthy to the mega-rich? How can we allow these bandits to take salaries in the tens of millions or even hundreds of millions of dollars, while not producing anything except toxic investments?

Unless we the 99 percent rise up and take back the money reaped by those who gamed the system, I can see it happening again on a larger scale. We have no one else to blame if we simply ignore the criminal behavior of these economic knuckleheads. Until we confront them and tell them to return the money, they will take even more from the poor to enrich the mega-wealthy.

Max Obuszewski

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