September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, a nationwide celebration of those in recovery from substance abuse disorders. The number of overdoses is rising. It seems Mashpee, and for that matter Cape cod and the islands, don’t like to acknowledge they have a major substance abuse problem. It’s cheaper to buy a small bag of heroin than a couple of movie tickets. My experience having worked as a substance abuse counselor on the Cape tells me the lack of detox beds is probably the biggest problem followed by the lack of long-term programs. We need detox/treatment centers, not jails. It is a medical issue, not a criminal issue. Addiction is a disease defined by the American Medical Association in 1956, and it doesn’t discriminate. Addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer—whether you’re from Yale or jail, Wall Street or Main Street. No one is immune. This is why September is the time to remember those Cape Codders we have lost and to try harder to help those not only in Mashpee but also throughout the Cape who are suffering and struggling with the disease of addiction.
David M. Gleason