In keeping with the holiday season, I’m thankful for people like Dr. Mary Dowd (“The voices of addiction,” Dec. 11), who continues to speak out on behalf of the people with addictions in our state.

One day perhaps the political practitioners will be persuaded that emphasizing treatment makes more sense than demonizing people. Whether we imprison them or otherwise vilify them, people in the throes of craving a drug are sick and meet the need for medical help, not a jail cell.

In this war on drugs we have met and have been punishing the wrong enemy, because guess who he is?

Treatment does more to reduce the general need for drugs than prison does for all users, and until we find a way to get rid of the need for getting high, we will be at odds with this societal reality.

We haven’t done it yet. So, we need the political will exercised to act on legislation in this direction now. Medical management works.

In their own words, we read of the horrors and obsessions addiction infects us with, and more than a few of us have known what addiction does to a family. That’s why this is a problem to be managed, not eliminated. Prohibition didn’t work with alcohol, and it hasn’t worked for other drugs.

For the new year, I hope that Mary Dowd, and those who work in the treatment field, find more real support for their efforts and real change of mind for those debating and making policy.

Timothy Schmidt

Pownal