Insensitive to the addiction prone

To the Editor:

A quick glance in your Calendar section (under 12-Step Programs) will show that each week, there are more than 40 local meetings and gatherings to support sobriety.

Here’s a quote from Gywn McAllister’s Times article [Treating drug, alcohol abuse on Martha’s Vineyard, November 16, 2011]: “Dukes County (Martha’s Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands) has historically had the highest rate of substance abuse in the state, according to Tom Bennett, executive director of the Island Counseling Center of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS). In a conversation last week, Mr. Bennett, who has been with Community Services for 41 years, said, ‘It’s a huge problem on this Island. Addiction is something that we are really struggling to meet the needs of in our fold constantly.’ ”

And yet, here in the deep of winter, one section of your newspaper featured a front-page, larger-than-life photo of an alcoholic drink — and nothing else. There was simply no avoiding it. This week, anyone visiting your website for news or information will be confronted by a photo of marijuana plants filling the homepage screen. Again, impossible to avoid.

Vineyard winters are a difficult time for many people. Some folks are isolated, some are struggling financially due to the seasonal economy, some are suffering from depression or seasonal affective disorder. All of these factors are compounded in January and make it easier to fall into addictive patterns for relief. Please, have a little sensitivity to the community that you aim to serve, including those who are working hard every day to stay sober and reclaim their lives from addiction.

Jamie O’Gorman

Chilmark