The debate over decriminalization or legalization continues to heat up as states decide on what they want to do and families continue to object to their loved ones being criminalized over the use of marijuana and other illegal drugs. It is a question that needs the right answer but still is a long way off. View this CNN piece by David Nathan, Board certified psychiatrist and director of Continuing Medical Education for Princeton Health Care Why Marijuana Should be Legal for Adults – CNN.com.
Rethinking the War on Drugs – The Wall Street Journal, Mark Kleiman, Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken. Link by Tom M. The U.S. has reached a dead end in trying to fight drug use by treating every offender as a serious criminal. Blanket drug legalization has some superficial charm—it fits nicely into a sound-bite or tweet—but it can’t stand up to serious analysis. Mark Kleiman has ideas that provide an answer which history shows always falls somewhere in a middle ground. It is a realty based proposition; facts! View Frontline’s BUSTED, America’s War on Marijuana. and view Huffington Post’s online archive of Mark’s publications
Tom @ Recovery Help Desk talks about suboxone (subs) dos and don’ts and its controversy and a Mom agonized about finally supporting it for her son, presumably an opiate addict. Her blog is called “A Mom’s Serious Blunder”Check out the links and discussion. Suboxone like any treatment is a tool. It takes a commitment. There are many stubborn young knucklehead addicts that use it as a crutch, take sub vacations and use other opiates intermittently. They are the toughest to deal with and fuel the controversy.
Matthew Sockolov’s blog, The Easier Softer Way appears in the side bar of dadonfire.net. It’s a spiritually based personal recovery blog worth a look. Its inspiring to see a young man sharing his recovery. He posted his thoughts on his own fourth step in: Courage. Click on the link to view. It is the meat of the 12 step program. This is where an addict shares a fearless moral inventory with another human being. Spiritual practices describe the process of vocalizing one’s defects of character as a door to let go these soulful burdens. The 12 step process can do anyone, in or out of the program a lot of good. Many spiritual practices & religions use a version of the fourth step. Catholics for instance “confess” their character defects (sins) to another person. This process is fundamentally key to releasing the human flaws that fuel addiction to dangerous drugs and alcohol. Link by Matthew
What I find exceptional about David Sheff’s message, is that it is expressed in what he learned about his son’s addiction to methamphetamine and what that means to the bigger message of dealing with the scale of addiction in America. I am impressed that important people are listening. Addiction impacts almost every family in some way. David Sheff supports legalization but picks no bones about the risks of drug use. His message, in no way is intended to allude that any drug is safe. Listen to this interview: David Sheff, Author Of ‘Clean’ speaks to NPR. It’s not complicated. Addiction needs to be classified as a medical condition. To do that best, requires the decriminalization of those afflicted with this disease including their habitual use. In regards to legality, we can treat drug abuse much the same way we would with alcohol abuse. We all know drinking can be deadly.
David has the attention of important ears. Read Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s poignant CNN transcripts in a conversation with David entitled, Addiction: Life on the Edge . Listen to David discuss addiction on this short video clip in the TIME 100 most influential thinkers of 2009. “We treat the medical consequences of the problem (overdoses, car accidents, cancer, HIV, mental illnesses) but not the disease itself. Our investments in research and services for addiction treatment are a fraction of the costs associated with drug-related incarceration and lost productivity. Yet punishment and stigmatization do nothing to ameliorate the problem.” link by Marcia.
When I think of out spoken anti drug war activist, Charmie Gholson, I think of a group of Mom’s from Southern California, a fountainhead of activists who have reintroduced a vintage term very few of us remember, prohibition. Moms United is bringing to light the impact of today’s prohibition on drug use and why the war on drugs has to end. To make it clear, today’s prohibition is the drug war. What President Nixon signed into law in 1971 turned out to be a war on our own people. Charmie is a Michigan activist. She founded Michigan Moms United to End the War of Drugs. Mother’s Day is a big day for Moms United and last mother’s day Charmie wrote this: What I want for Mother’s Day: Stop Stealing our Sex Toys and go get Rapists.
Some mental health professionals are realizing that profound changes have to occur health care before we can effectively deal with the mushrooming problem of drug addiction in America. Barry Lessin is one therapist, stepping out on this issue. He makes a point in his recent article that America spends fifty billion dollars per year to wage a war on drugs that has done nothing to slow the problem. He goes on to say that failed policies focus primarily on the reduction of the supply of drugs by carrying out paramilitary operations in other countries as well as on drug users here in the United States, combined with amplified law enforcement approaches involving tens of millions arrested, and many millions incarcerated for nonviolent acts since the drug war began in the 70′s. Barry Lessin brings up a few key points that legislators need to acknowledge if Americans want their tax dollars to count for something positive, that can deal with drug addiction and lessen demand without killing or ruining lives. Please view his article by clicking on this link: An Addiction Counselor’s War on Drugs | Barry Lessin.
Members of our military returning from combat operations have high rates of substance abuse. They often exhibit a co-occurring triad of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and pain, which complicates the problems with substance abuse and leading ultimately, to addiction. Read more in Returning-Veterans-With-Addictions (PDF) For related links, see also Prescription Drugs and Our Military and Veterans Bear Brunt of Weak Treatment Options.
Denise Cullen has lived through one of the worst tragedies a mother can experience She lost her child. But if there is anything worse than losing a child, it is losing a child to a drug overdose, because grief is accompanied by stigma and blame. Read her account by the NC Harm Reduction Coalition in Daily Kos: The Stigma of Drug Overdose: A Mother’s Story.
Amy Fry writes from the UK. She summarizes recent evolutions in heroin addiction and studies depicting a trend in heroin use shifting from younger addicts to older longer term addicts often dealing with post acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Veteran heroin addicts have a very tough time walking away. She talks about acting sensation, Russell Brand, a former UK addict who keeps his own ongoing vigilance amidst thoughts of past use. He has a wealth of personal experience to share with the world on his opiate addiction. Much of Amy’s statistical data comes from the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA). Read more of Amy’s piece in Changes in Heroin Use & Treatment for Addiction. Contribution by Amy
Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains why addicts should be treated the same as anyone with a debilitating disease. View her interview in Why Addicts Shouldn’t be Criminalized by Nora Volkow Fareed Zakria, a CNN journalist talks about the over-incarceration of addicts in Incarceration Nation Ten years ago, Portugal moved a national policy forward to decriminalize drugs. Studies now shows a large decrease in drug addiction in Portugal. Read 10 years after… For a very studied case on why we move to the decriminalization and classifying addiction as an addiction read the compelling Global Commission Report
Dr. Kevin McCauley is a treatment professional who is dedicating his life to helping addicts and their families, and he makes a compelling argument for Addiction as Disease. He is a researcher with The Institute For Addiction Studies. Mr. McCauley recently contributed a comment that is worth sharing. He discusses his ongoing inquiry into the question of addiction as a Disease Model. Many who ponder the causes of drug addiction are split in their thinking with the other opinion being a morality model of choice. Take a look at his comments in the Disease Model.
One thing for certain, drug addiction is tearing up this country. From a demand of drugs adversly affecting near 30 million users when you include alcohol to as many as two-thirds of American families negatively impacted in some way or another by someones abuse of drugs and alcohol; this problem is costing us more than enough to look closely at a model of disease. As long as the argument favors a Darwinian – all for themselves – choice model of drug addiction, expect more of the destruction that Americans already witness.
Ron G. wrote the “7 Truths About My Addict That Took Five Years To Learn” as a resonating piece for the Partnership for a Drug-Free America in their blog, INTERVENE. These truths should hit home with every parent of an addict.
COMPASS HEALTH CARE INC – Arizona Gives. From midnight on March 20 and continuing until 11:59 p.m., you can go online to http://www.AZgives.org to show support for Compass Health Care Inc., an Arizona addiction recovery organization making progress one recovery at a time. You can make a contribution to help. All online donations during this effort will go directly to support Compass Behaviorial Healthcare’s Vida Nueva, a non-profit recovery home for woman. Thank you CLICK TO DONATE
Dr. Sanjay Gupta: The truth about prescription medication addiction CNN.com Blogs. Every 19 minutes someone dies because of misuse of prescription medications. Sometimes it is because they take too much. Many times it is because they forget or ignore the warning their doctor gave about combining the medications with alcohol. And tens of thousands of people die every year as a result. Click on the link above to view the article
Teenagers abusing drugs is often the beginning of a dangerous road. Kids with conflicts often become teenagers with drug problems, consequently becoming adults with serious addictions. Many of the conflicts that plague young people and lead to substance abuse are hard to handle at home. According to Mathew Kyle, home may not be enough to avert bigger problems in a teens immediate future if not dealt with in a timely manner. Mathew works with the Family Compass, a website committed to early conflicts in teen life. Mathew touches on this topic in the article below:
When Home Is Not Enough; Boarding School Help For Teenage Substance Abusers. Many of us have the idea that all you have to do is just quit drugs and/or alcohol. Adults find it very difficult. How much more difficult is it for a teenager? To coin a phrase from Nike, “just do it,” is much easier said than done. In order for most teens to quit, they need help. Most parents want to do the best thing possible for their children. Some parents believe a teenager can get all the support they need at home to kick those ugly and destructive habits. These habits sometimes combine both drugs and alcohol. There are options when home is not enough. When home is not enough to help your teenager, look into the boarding school choices that will help see your family through this time of crisis. In addition, crisis is exactly the term needed to describe this downward spiral to self-destruction. Boarding school fills the following needs…Read the rest of Mathew’s article by clicking here
What does it take to cope with the ravages of a family drug addiction. Read my contributions blog Intervene that is run by the Partnership for A Drug Free America (PDFA). So, how does America become drug free? Right now the demand for addictive drugs is going in the wrong direction. Education is key until the work of many catch on enough to impact legislation. In this great country, a fractured legal and health care system still can do little to reduce the disease of addiction. Meanwhile families take the brunt of the drug war and do what they can to survive.
With professionals like Nora Volkow bringing addiction science into mainstream visibility, how can we go wrong? She is a revolutionary! With blood ties to the infamous Leon Trotsky, this boldness is a trait we need to overcome obstacles that keep us from pushing through the big roadblocks to solving an insidious problem. She is a medical doctor with residency in psychiatry and passion for addiction science. Nora is committed to unlocking the mystery of addiction. In 2003, She was appointed the Director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, NIDA. Nora Volkow is a rock star. She attracts a lot of attention and many hope that she will make a huge difference in one of the biggest public health concerns the U.S. has known. 25 million Americans deal with addiction. She recently received an Award in Psychiatry by Baylor College of Medicine. The New York Times calls her a General in the Drug War. That’s about as mainstream as it gets, as the scourge of addiction moves closer to achieving the coveted title of a genuine medical problem; enabling the help so many addicts have been with out. Go Nora!
For an opiate addict, getting off heroin is probably one of the most difficult things anyone can do, but most people chastise addicts for not quitting. It’s easier said than done and the infamous “cold turkey” seldom works for most addicts. Replacement drug therapy had been a choice for many opiate addicts seeking to normalize their lives and get away from of the torment of addiction. With respect to reducing damage to not only society, but the life of the addict themselves, quite a few options have emerged in recent years. Methadone, a long acting opiate drug itself, has been around the longest. As pharmaceutical development progressed, Suboxone, Probuphine, and Vivitrol have followed. Vivitrol, actually not an opiate or a partial opiate like buprenorphine, the proprietary name for Suboxone. It is developed from naltrexone, originally used to treat alcoholism. Recovery Helpdesk is an excellent website, committed to explain in more detail the mechanics of making the right choices for addicts.