12 Feb Britain’s Kate Middleton Takes Up Addiction Causes
Kate Middleton, the newly married wife of England’s Prince William, has become a patron of the British charity Action on Addiction. Her decision is considered controversial because of the stigma attached to drug addiction, with many comparing it to the late Princess Diana’s support of charities benefiting people with HIV/AIDS, which in the early 1980s was also considered controversial.
About one in three people in Great Britain struggle with addictions. One official report from 2007 noted that Britain has the highest rate of drug consumption, and the second highest number of drug-related deaths in the European Union. One in four young people under age 30 years old told researchers they had experimented at least once with Class A drugs like heroin or cocaine. According to the report, Great Britain’s problems are not about casual drug use, but rather that thousands of people are addicted to hard core drugs. Drug abuse costs Great Britain over £13 billion a year for expenses related to medical care, crime, and incarceration.
Middleton, whose formal title is Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has already visited and talked to clients enrolled in treatment at Clouds House in East Knoyle near Warminster. The center treats alcoholics and drug addicts through a program that includes detoxification, intensive counseling, and a 12-step agenda.
Action on Addiction defines addictions as “a recurring compulsion by an individual to engage in some specific activity,” and includes behavioral-based addictions such as gambling, sex, shopping, and exercise. These are not recognized as addictions in the United States. The charity’s function is to support research, prevention and treatment of addiction, support for addicts’ families, and the education and training of professionals working in the field of addiction.
Jacquie Johnston-Lynch, director of action on addiction, said, “We’re excited that a member of the royal family has put their name to a charity dealing with addiction, which often comes at the bottom of the heap. She intends to be a hands-on patron and we are really grateful.”
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