Editor, The News:
I read with interest the words of James Millar in the discussion about homelessness, (The News, Nov. 11) but a couple of questions were raised as a result.
First of all, if people are mentally challenged why are they not on government disability benefits?
These also don’t pay a great deal, but considerably more than regular welfare. Could it be that most people don’t meet the criteria of a mental challenge?
Secondly, it was assumed that all drug addiction necessarily comes from either a mental challenge or some sort of trauma.
Is it not a fact that there are many people with mental challenges who are not drug-addicted, and that many perfectly ordinary people turn to drugs for their own reasons?
I know people on both sides of this coin. Let us not forget that taking drugs, like most other habits in life, is a matter of personal choice. Trying to excuse it by insisting it is a result of mental illness or trauma is to ignore this. Drug addiction, especially among young people, is caused by a need to ‘fit in’, to become part of the ‘in’ crowd, and until we can stop this mind-set we have no hope of changing things. Providing easy excuses is not the answer.