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A Mark of a Humane Society

From Planet 214

Writer Richard Gwyn appeals to Cardiff Council to not cut the rehabilitation programme for drug and alcohol addiction that turned his own life around in the past.

As I write this, a decision has just been taken by Cardiff Council to cut £200,000 funding from the Community Alcohol and Drug Team allowance during the financial year 2014-15. This is worrying in a number of ways.
It is always difficult to write about matters relating to health care, especially care for those whose condition is often crudely perceived in the popular media to be ‘self-inflicted’, without falling into platitudes about the ways that a civilised, caring society should operate. Addiction doesn’t necessarily start out as illness but will always lead to illness and is therefore rightly pathologised. Once illness sets in, most other considerations become secondary. Addictive illness has a way of taking over a person’s life, and, unfortunately, not only the addict’s but the lives of those close to the addict also.

I was fortunate enough to benefit from Cardiff Council’s policy of supporting patients into rehabilitation nearly twenty ago. I can’t say with any certainty what would have happened to me otherwise, but the chances are I would not be alive now. I would certainly not have had the opportunity to turn my life around, which, effectively, is what rehab offers anyone who is prepared to engage with it sincerely. By the time most people arrive at that particular stopping-off point they are prepared to try anything, and if they care enough to change, they do. The fact that some fail is no reason to withdraw or substantially reduce the service, as Cardiff now seems intent on doing...



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