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Former Addict: Other Former Addicts Must Join Drug Debate to Ensure Justice


June 1993

Television producer Maia Szalavitz, a former cocaine and heroin addict, urged other former addicts to join the drug debate openly in supporting treatment in lieu of punishment (Maia Szalavitz, "Addicted To Anonymity: It's Time For Recovering Users To Join The Drug Debate," Washington Post 'Outlook', 5/9/93, C3).

By remaining anonymous addicts and former addicts are staying out of a debate crucial to their lives, notes Szalavitz. Lack of information and clean needles make intravenous drug use more dangerous than necessary, she notes, urging drug users and former drug users to speak out in favor of helping others survive hard-core addiction. By speaking out, addicts and former addicts will show that "we are decent people from all social classes, races, genders, sexual orientations, and backgrounds," she writes. "Drug treatment should replace punishment ... The sentence for all non-violent drug-related crime should be treatment."