June 10, 2009
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Attn: President Barrack Obama
URGENT HEALTH/ DRUG ABUSE ISSUE
Dear President Obama
I am a small Tucson business owner and father currently affected by the downturn. My boy, Owen is 22, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and is a heroin addict. He also has some judgment impairment (ADHD…) Without too much detail, I need to say the system is failing him and other addicts, especially those with life threatening diseases. He is a non-violent person and frequently ends up in jail instead of rehab, because rehab is so difficult to get into if your not very wealthy. The outcome of being an addict often leads to jail. After 4 years, he hasn’t much time left to get well or he could die on the streets. I urge you to address the epidemic of drug addiction with compulsory federally mandated addiction treatment and rehabilitation, especially for addicts in grave danger from the complications of overlay diseases such as diabetes, type 1, HIV, hepatitis, etc…
I would like to add that my beautiful son is currently homeless in Los Angeles and in and out of ER. Lately, he made (4) ER visits to North Ridge Medical Center, LA, for dangerous diabetic complications (keto-acidosis). Unfortunately, the medical system, particularly in ER fails to grasp a global view of the patient while in ER and frequently discharges patients back on to the streets with life saving prescriptions they can not easily fill. Measures that would help and could prevent the overtaxing of ER facilities around the country could be triggers for compulsory psychiatric evaluation and transfers to appropriate lower cost facilities or rehabilitation centers or even a simple shelter.
Legal complications should also be noted. Regarding an addicts impact with the legal system, they rarely are able to follow through with court mandates while active in addiction, nor does the legal system make a distinction or accommodation for the circumstances of a young sick addict. For instance, court mandated commitment to rehabilitation is not triggered in cases where an infraction is not specifically drug related (i.e. possession) even though DA’s know the offender is an addict and in Owen’s case, gravely ill. Most addicts are released to the streets without a treatment mandate and re-offend or overdose. From a very concerned father.
William Ford, Concerned Dad