Should drug addiction be considered a disease, or will thinking about addiction in this way only further enable drug users by convincing them that they're powerless?
Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the National Drug Control Policy and President Obama’s top drug policy advisor, believes so, saying that addiction should be treated as a public health issue. Kerlikowske addressed the issue from the Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs on Monday, calling for more accessible rehabilitation and recovery programs.
Morgan Little elaborated on Politics Now: "Previous federal drug policies were a three-legged stool, Kerlikowske said, with criminalization, prevention and treatment serving as the foundation for national policies. Now, there will be a fourth leg -- recovery. […] The proposed access includes a voucher system to allow not only those recovering to pay for treatment, but also would pay for costs such as transitional housing, child care and work-appropriate clothing."
The thinking at MusiCares Foundation and Map Fund, which help music people with emergency financial assistance and addiction recovery resources, concurs with the idea that addiction is a disease. "The shame around addiction is -- simply put -- a barrier to treatment and recovery," Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the Recording Academy and its MusiCares Foundation, told the Los Angeles Times in an email Tuesday. "In fact, we just hosted a panel in conjunction with our annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit focused on removing the stigma of addiction."