Dr. Vitka Eisen, President & CEO, HealthRIGHT 360, issues a statement in response to “Many San Franciscans in jail struggle with addiction. Would this polarizing treatment option help them?”

San Francisco – Dr. Vitka Eisen, President & CEO, HealthRIGHT 360, issued the following statement in response to “Many San Franciscans in jail struggle with addiction. Would this polarizing treatment option help them?” as published on May 12, 2021 in the San Francisco Chronicle.

“A hallmark of substance use disorder is the chronic nature of it - people on their journeys may experience a return to using drugs, even while in treatment. The notion that this will be an abstinence-based program as an alternative to incarceration is confusing. Does this mean the program will discharge an individual for the very reason they’ve come to this program for treatment? Moreover, the classification of ‘abstinence-based’ as meaning no medication defies all responsible standards—including state licensing standards—for delivering care to people who have a substance use disorder”

“This approach is not rooted in evidence-based treatment and is unconscionable at a time when overdose deaths are skyrocketing by the day,” stated Dr. Vitka Eisen. “The abstinence-based program described in this article takes us back to a dangerous era when treatment providers did kick people out for using, essentially discharging the very people that need the most help.”

About HealthRIGHT 360:
HealthRIGHT 360 is a non-profit provider of substance use disorder treatment, mental health services, and primary care to over 45,000 Californians annually, including more than 15,000 San Franciscans. HealthRIGHT 360 provides care that is compassionate, non-judgmental, and science-based. We provide services, regardless of one's ability to pay; inspired by our belief that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Learn more about HealthRIGHT 360 and our programs at http://healthright360.org.