Take the marketing out of the Prometa program” (11-18) is now a second fair and balanced editorial in The News Tribune on this important subject. It’s been carefully and thoughtfully written and wrestles with some delicate issues within this story that seem to generate more heat than light.
There is some sense to what is said, and, in principle, I don’t strongly disagree.
However, I would ask this question: If you had a child caught in the throes of meth addiction, and if the Pierce County Alliance knew from compelling firsthand experience that Prometa worked as described, and if the only way for your family to get word of it was by PCA sharing that information, wouldn’t you want to know?
I believe exactly that to be the case. What’s going on in PCA is, in and of itself, evidence-based medicine. EBM is not only double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. It includes firsthand clinical experience in the field. It also includes the expert opinion of leaders in the field. PCA offers us both of those.
In Hawaii, we’ve relied on the experience and leadership of PCA and, as a result, had the confidence to move ahead with Prometa funding in our state Legislature and with treating patients referred by a judge offering someone a last chance.
We treated our first drug court patient at the beginning of October, a young mother of six who, because of multiple drug and related nonviolent property crimes, had been put into and failed the drug court program.
Her drugs of choice were alcohol and crack cocaine. She was on her way to prison for a 20- to 25-year term.
Six weeks later, she reports not only no cravings for drugs or alcohol, but “no thoughts” of drugs at all. This despite facing a number of extremely stressful episodes at home, the kind that would normally lead her to seek escape through drugs.
That’s what patients tell us that Prometa does for them; it reduces the cravings, certainly, but also “breaks the link” from daily patterns of unsolicited overwhelming thoughts of drugs.
Clearly, this is a profound effect that can pave the way for counseling to work.
This judge had sent us his “worst-case” subject, just to “really test it.” That’s exactly what happened at PCA. I can assure you that without PCA, and without the knowledge of the work and results there, this woman would be in prison instead of being safe at home with her husband and children.
That’s also why we feel so protective of PCA and the dedicated people working there. They’re saving lives and families in your community, and they’re helping to save lives and families in ours as well.
Jim Dorsey is the managing director of Island Recovery Centers on Oahu, Hawaii.