I applaud Robin Horston Spencer's letter regarding the effect of the closing of UPMC Braddock's addiction treatment program ("UPMC, Do the Right Thing for Those With Addictions," Dec. 16). I was reminded of the old cartoon character Pogo's infamous quote: "We have met the enemy and he is us!"
We stigmatize those with a very serious, potentially fatal disease called addiction. Then, when such women and men seek appropriate care, we respond inadequately and with little true appreciation of the nature of this disease and the compassion needed. In other words, we set people up to feel shame for having an illness, to thus be reluctant to seek care and then, in many ways, make such care less than responsive and available.
So many good lives are being lost or remaining unfulfilled because we refuse to understand and compassionately respond. Could it be that an addiction to greed has led some at UPMC to be less than responsive to what the Robert Wood Johnston Foundation has called the greatest public health problem in America today?
It is time for the many who were helped into recovery by the programs at the Braddock hospital to speak out for those who need to join them in recovery.
REV. J. DAVID ELSE
Center for Spirituality in Twelve Step Recovery