I applaud Alfred Lubrano's recent article ("The drugs dilemma," Sunday) for its insight into the complex challenges associated with breaking the stronghold of the drug trade and the cycle of addiction in Kensington. One key barrier that the article fails to mention, however, is the difficulty many face accessing quality substance-abuse treatment.

There are many reasons for this among substance abusers: reluctance to take the first step to enter treatment; uncertainty about how to navigate the treatment system; and limited treatment options in the Kensington section of the city, particularly for youths. Programs like New Pathways, which actively recruits drug users on the streets to help them enroll in treatment and supports their recovery when they return to their neighborhoods, can help address these barriers.

Developing creative strategies to help connect individuals with substance-abuse problems to treatment - often people with co-occurring mental-health issues - must be a central component of any comprehensive approach to cleaning up neighborhoods such as Kensington and decreasing the pervasive presence of the drug trade.

Leslie Hurtig

Vice President of Behavioral Health Services

Public Health Management Corp.