To the editor: Addiction recovery is possible

Lives will be saved by last week’s drug arrests by our public safety officers, and the community should be grateful for this intervention.

Addiction is a progressive, life-threatening, often fatal disease.  However, treatment is available.  There is no cure, but long-lasting recovery is possible for all addicts.  Many people first come to understand that they suffer from addiction when a major arrest occurs, as easy access to the addictive drug is interrupted.

Symptoms of acute withdrawal from opiate addiction include headache, sweats, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, beginning a day or two after last using.  Opiate withdrawal is very uncomfortable, however opiate overdose is much more dangerous. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek prompt medical attention from their primary care provider. If you need assistance in establishing a primary care relationship, please call Springfield Medical Care Systems’ referral line at 802-885-7604 or visit our website at  If you are in an emergency medical situation, you should seek assistance from the closest emergency department, or call 9-1-1 for emergency medical assistance.

A special word to the families and friends of addicts and alcoholics:  Addiction affects everyone in the family. However, you didn’t cause it, you don’t control it and you can’t cure it.  You are also suffering from the effects of the addiction and may need help as well.  I urge all who are suffering directly or indirectly from the effects of alcoholism and addiction to seek medical care as well as the fellowship and compassionate support of our local 12-step recovery communities.

Sarah Kemble, MD, MPH
Chester Family Medicine
Ellsworth Memorial Health Center

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