One soul helping another… –
Dec. 9, 2020 – At first, he said, the politicians saw his priest’s collar and dismissed him as just another do-gooder but, after presenting them with the cost of incarceration, he got some attention and support.
“I proved it was cost-effective,” Young said in 2008. “That’s how I got credibility,” and, eventually, “after years of work, Young won support for decriminalizing alcoholism,” The Enterprise editorialized in 2012. That’s what enabled people to get help: When they no longer had to admit to being a criminal to attend Alcoholics Anonymous, Young said.
Father Young “spawned a movement,” The Enterprise wrote in a 2014 editorial. “He changed the way lawmakers and the public look at alcoholics and drug addicts. With this perception came help, real help, to set people on the course to productive lives.”
In the 1980s, Father Young was ahead of the state in setting up an Honor Court program to offer non-violent offenders who had committed alcohol- or drug-related crimes an opportunity to go to drug treatment instead of jail.
Father Young would go on to run 121 not-for-profit addiction treatment and rehabilitation programs that treated more than 18,000 people each day.
But he was ahead in another important way, too.
When people with addictions would emerge from a program like Young’s, or after convicts served their time, they can often end up where they started — on drugs or in jail.