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Bonner on Drug War

June 24, 1988

I am grateful for the concern and, I hope soon, action to stop the flow of drugs into this country. However, there is another overriding concern being addressed only occasionally and by only a few. That is, rehabilitation centers for the victims of the disease.

Currently, various counties offer funding for a limited number of patients. The waiting lists are long. Rehabilitation for anyone who genuinely seeks it should be made available on an immediate basis. It is ludicrous to think an addict can wait a few months to be allowed in. Rehabilitation centers must become a national priority if we are to stop the reason for drugs coming across our borders in the first place.

A partial solution: Most of our esteemed hospitals offer drug rehabilitation programs with considerable effectiveness. However, they are a profitable industry, and I feel without conscience, charging inordinate fees from $10,000 to $32,000 for a 28-day program. These hospitals can provide a bed within days. People who do not have adequate insurance or cannot come up with a $1,500 deposit are not allowed in. By definition, the majority of addicts do not have funds. Should not the government subsidize needy individuals and in addition put a ceiling on what can be reasonably charged by the hospitals without jeopardizing the quality of the programs?

L. THOMAS

Palm Springs

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