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Letters: Privacy rights and addiction

Heroin is shown in many different forms on

Heroin is shown in many different forms on Sept. 19, 2014. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

I’m a mother whose 23-year-old son is addicted to opiates [“A daughter lost to heroin,” Editorial, May 15]. Unfortunately, by the time I found out about his addiction, it was too late for me to do anything about it. He was over 18 years old, and every place I called just to ask questions wanted to know why he was not making the call.

I’m tired of all the talk I’ve been handed about how addicts have to want to change. Sure, that would be a big help, but how realistic is it to expect an addict, whose mind and body are being controlled by drugs, to up and say, “OK, I’m going into rehab”?

I blame the government and anyone who decided that people over 18 are adults and must speak for themselves. How about giving the families of the addict a say?

While privacy is all well and good, when the addicts finally get into a program, their families cannot even check on their progress unless the addict signs a paper. They shouldn’t be allowed to sign themselves out of rehab. The laws have to be changed.

People do not realize the guilt families live with, when in reality our hands are tied.

Diana Yocum, Lindenhurst


In the letter “Heroin is, at first, a choice” [May 18], the writer objects to “hardworking people” paying for addicts’ care. He says they shouldn’t, because the users know “the potential for addiction and possibly death, and they still decide to use.” He should understand that with addiction, that decision is not an option, and rehabilitation helps bring it back.

Perhaps the overeating diabetic should pay for his care completely on his own. Smokers knew they might get lung cancer when they started, what about them? These are people who choose a “self-destructive way of life” too, right?

America’s understanding of addiction, the predisposition to it, the psychological and social causes behind it, is abysmal and embarrassing. An education in it might change the writer’s callous judgment. The science of addiction should be taught in every high school.

Don’t isolate substance abusers.

John Higgins, Nesconset