Nationally-known addiction expert Delbert Boone was in Bloomington Thursday, speaking to Monroe County Jail inmates and offering educational seminars to law enforcement and social service professionals. Boone is a formerly incarcerated ex-heroine addict who advocates the recognition of chemical dependency as a disease, rather than a moral problem stemming from a lack of willpower. At an educational session at the Monroe County Public Library, Boone shared his views with most of Monroe County’s probation officers, among other attendees. He used the recent example of Paris Hilton to demonstrate how incarceration can provide an excellent opportunity to treat addiction. He said Hilton’s early release indicates that her alcoholism will continue, and may ultimately end in tragedy. Boone says that despite the public hysteria surrounding illegal drugs, alcohol is ultimately the most abused substance in America. He acknowledged that methamphetamine posses particular problems in Indiana, but he said alcohol still does vastly more damage to society.
Boone told the audience that any combination of counseling, detox, rehab, or out-patient treatment along with AA or NA participation is proven to reduce the chance of relapse by 80 percent, but only if that treatment plan is maintained for at least two years. He says the problem with most court-mandated drug treatment programs is that they don’t last long enough to be effective. A recent study indicates that Monroe County’s two-year Drug Treatment Court program has reduced recidivism by 67 percent.