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While finalizing this week's feature story, I enjoyed a gratifying workday timeout to watch Barack Obama's inauguration. One thing said in his speech that we can no longer afford indifference when facing our country's challenges had resonated with me as I pondered what to say about our city's detox dilemma.

Why should people care?

Many won't, unless they end up in an ER's waiting room for several hours this spring (or summer), held up by patients whose immediate need is really just a safe place to sleep off a bender.

After visiting with medical professionals and community advocates who will be affected by detox's closure at month's end, I can only argue that we should all care. Ignoring a significant community problem isn't acceptable if we do want to better the world around us, starting at home.

If Obama's presidency indeed heralds a new era in which it's safe to be optimistic, even idealistic, perhaps we can agree to look at our community's chronic substance-abusers as a chance to refine our humility and compassion. Perhaps our community can rise and rally together to create positive change by vote, volunteerism or charitable donation to help those afflicted by addiction.

That we even have to ask why we should care speaks to the indifference we must overcome.

  • It's not easy to describe the city's detox dilemma, except to say: Why should people care?

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