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The 3-minute interview: Kim Kennedy

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Local,Len Lazarick

Kim Kennedy, president of Baltimore shipping container company K&K International Inc., was appointed this week by Gov. Martin O?Malley to serve on an expanded Maryland Drug and Alcohol Council.

A Timonium resident and recovering alcoholic, Kennedy is on the board of Baltimore Substance Abuse Systems, the organization that oversees the $53 million from all sources going to fund treatment in the city.

What don?t people understand about alcohol and drug abuse? The recovery from substance addiction is a process.

Probably 90 percent of the people in recovery today are not in recovery for the first time.

They have gotten into recovery, they have relapsed and they have gotten into recovery again.

People believe that once someone goes into a system, they should recover, and it?s a willpower thing.

But it?s not just a matter of willpower?

No, I tried that for 22 months.

I just stopped.

And it didn?t work.

And I have a tremendous amount of willpower.

I?m convinced that it?s a mental obsession and physical compulsion.

Once you take your first drink, then you have a physical compulsion that you cannot stop.

Stopping is one thing, and staying stopped is another.

What else doesn?t the public understand about substance abuse? People who don?t understand substance abuse don?t understand the opinions of recovering people.

They believe that once you treat them, that they should recover.

But it is a process, and it takes time.

It?s a process of education for everyone.

People think that spending money for 10 or 12 years on methadone treatment for a heroin addict is a waste.

I believe they save the citizens of Baltimore a ton of money [by getting them out of the gutter, out of crime and into a productive job].

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