WEST HEMPSTEAD, NY – After Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton acknowledged that he relapsed back into drug abuse, the Major League Baseball (MLB) union is aiming to help get this player the services he needs.
“Drug addiction is a chronic illness with relapse rates greater than 40 percent, similar to diabetes, hypertension and asthma,” said Patrick Vitale, program director of Project Outreach at the North Shore-LIJ Health System. “Despite what many still believe, it is not a reflection of weakness, lack of will power or a defect in moral character. The disease of addiction knows no prejudice and is a national epidemic. It needs to be treated like any other chronic illness, with a relapse serving as a trigger for renewed intervention.”
Whether the MLB supports Mr. Hamilton’s rehab efforts could help to either underscore the importance of treatment and persistence or further stigmatize addiction and relapse.
“Unfortunately, with millions of dollars in potential earnings at stake and an MLB drug policy to enforce, discipline may take priority over intervention,” Mr. Vitale said. “This course of action would only reinforce the stigmatization of addiction. “