Screen shot 2014-10-01 at 11.24.52 AM “…At this year’s Palm Beach Moment’s of Change conference, the conference’s owner, Foundations Recovery Network, and it’s CEO Rob Waggener, have had the guts to make the subject of the 40th conference’s keynote address the famous “Portugal Experiment,” where back in 2001 officials in that country, fed up with filling their jails with addicts, decriminalized all forms of drugs – taking the police out of the equation when it comes to addiction and putting the problem in the healthcare system where it belongs…”  Article by Ted Jackson @ Treatment Magazine  for the rest of the article, view:  Foundations and Waggener Have Guts to Confront Prison Industrial Complex – Treatment Magazine.

BillWhat does a dad do after watching his son for a decade through Heroin addiction?  Can you think of anything worse?  Some say walk away!   They tell me,  “an addict needs to save their own dammed self”.  What can a dad do anyway?  Cry?  Drink?  go to a movie?  Come on!   I love this kid; so don’t all dads!…and moms.  When he squeezed out of his mother 27 years ago that made me cry. That was real joy.  That was a miracle.  A little wrinkled blue guy looking up at me through glazed newborn eyes.  I am his dad.  Wow?  Now a Dad on fire.  Owen is in Yuma now, engaged in a rehab facility called the Light House, run by Community Bridges, an Arizona Statewide social services organization that administers detox and residential services in addition to wide range of other mental health programs.  I pray as I always have, that this will be his time.  That freedom will finally be within his grasp; that he will see a glint of light at a very long and dark tunnel.  Of course my heart goes out to all the father’s and mothers that have experienced the scourge of drug addiction of one of their loved ones .  I say don’t give up.  Take as good of care of your self as possible.  Its hard; maybe the hardest thing you will ever know.

Screen shot 2014-05-23 at 12.24.55 PMI often publicize the damage that narcotic and other drugs bear on Americans.  Ensuing addiction is a massive destructive force that is destroying 7% of our population & not the least, families & taxpayers.  Now, we find that 8,000 veterans each year are dying allegedly due to overly prescribed psychotropic and/or narcotic drugs.  Is it suicide?…  overdose?… We do know.  We know its real and targeting veterans and active servicemen and women.  The Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights  is exposing the issue.  It is well worth checking out.  I also publicize the notion of elevating these issues to national prominence and demanding its attention within the framework of solutions.  Please view the film; The Hidden Enemy.

What does it take to cope with a family member’s drug addiction?  View my re-prints from the widely successful blog, “Intervene”,  that was run by the former Partnership for A Drug Free America (PDFA), recently re-formatted at the new website: Partnership for Drug Free Kids.   So, how does America become drug free?  is that possible?  The demand for addictive drugs continues to move in the wrong direction.  We know that!  Yes, education is key until the work of those that care can positively impact ways that changes the paradigm of treatment …and demand supportive judicial legislation.  In America, a fractured  legal and health care system still does little to reduce the disease of addiction.  The drug war continues to consume the bulk of our efforts.  We do the best we can but that is far from acceptable.  It is easier to keep insisting that addicts must “will” their own cures.  It does take outside intervention in the many severe cases.  It’s whole families that take the brunt of misdirected funding and a drug war in which its efforts are counterproductive.   The result we see, is American families bearing a burden of seemingly impossible and troubling pursuit;  saving their addicted loved one from the misery of addiction.  We have do what we can to survive and share that with others.

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Screen shot 2014-04-15 at 10.20.03 PMCNN.com summarizes the current state of celebrity substance abuse.  It seems each generation of stars struggles with addiction.  These are people that America worships in movies and sitcoms.  These battling stars mirror many of the problems that families struggle with everyday not the least drug addiction.  They do it often in a bigger way punctuated by frequent tragedy.  You can view CNN’s slide show in Jeremy Miller from ‘Growing Pains’ talks addiction

Screen shot 2014-05-01 at 2.29.34 PMReport: Peaches Geldof Died From Heroin Overdose – TIME.com The daughter of Irish musician Bob Geldof, Peaches Geldof shared the same tragic fate as her mother, British television personality Paula Yates, who died from a heroin overdose when Peaches Geldof was 11 years old.   Really!  If we know this, is it possible to recognize what we are doing, just is not working.

One of the things America can do better is proactively face the reality of drug use in the U.S.  We need ways of re-claiming lives seeming lost to addiction.  The affordable care act has created much more access to treatment and greatly diminishes the need for street drugs through replacement drug therapy.  Here’s a look at lives lost to our prison system:  Attorney General Eric Holder: “I back a plan to reduce some drug-related sentences” CNN.com.

Screen shot 2013-04-02 at 11.30.12 PMIt you can get by Russell’s poetic writing talent, he makes a good point even though one mitigating benefit of ACA compliance is access to treatment.  What lingers is stigma.  That is still fueled by bias not the least criminalization.  We miss Hoffman.  He was a great actor, but under our arcane laws, being an addict made him subject to criminal consequence.  Not much more has to be said to imagine all the repercussions of that and why someone could die alone.  Here is Russell’s article:  Russell Brand: Philip Seymour Hoffman is another victim of extremely stupid drug laws | Comment is free | The Guardian.

Screen shot 2014-02-03 at 10.16.13 AMWith all his money, what chance do our kids have if this guy can’t save himself.   Addictiveness illness is slowly being recognized as the disease that it is;  a serious condition that will kill if not treated.   Philip Seymour Hoffman is among many celebrities that overdosed.  It often starts with abuse of opiate medication.  3 million  suffering opiate addicts in the U.S is the factual result.  We know it wouldn’t be said to a cancer patient, but parents of young addicts, driven to the brink of madness are often told to let the addict go into a world that embodies a deep denial of humanity.  For most addicts, that conclusion is stigma,  jail and homelessness.  I respect Mr. Hoffman’s accomplishments.  Now the light his death sheds on this scourge may contribute to saving the lives of our own children who are  shrouded in the stench of  opiate addition.  Please see  Philip Seymour Hoffman, Actor of Depth, Dies at 46 – NYTimes.com.

In a major break with the past, roughly 4,000,000 people with drug and alcohol problems — from homeless drug addicts to working moms who drink too much — suddenly will become eligible for insurance coverage under the new health care overhaul.  View  Health Law Could Overwhelm Addiction Services and Impact on Addiction  links by Monica.

RELEASE THE SHAME OF ADDICTION by Elaine PawlowskiElaine writes for the Huffington Post and relates her own experience to an issue that tears apart families.  Not only are drug addiction and alcoholism denied a real treatment modality; the stigma of being a victim to addiction is numbing.  View http://www.weareshatterproof.org/ for the work of one organization seeking to confront the negativity in dealing with these real problems.  links by Elaine

Betty Ford Institute: Treatment; Brain Chemistry Clues to Why Some Relapse.  post by Monica.

Screen shot 2013-09-26 at 11.08.31 PMCameron Douglas.  Just another knucklehead drug addict?… or food for the beast?  View:  Michael Douglas slams U.S. prison system & the Huffington Post.    Current numbers projected from 2011 Wiki analysis show 2 1/2 million inmates are incarcerated in America and another 5 million lost in a legal web.  Most accounts indicates  70% of these cases are non-violent drug related crime.  The issue is political. Bill O’Rielly guests   will readily tell you that causal relationship with drug proliferation is a kin to the murder!    How about California’s precious Denise & Greg Cullen who lost a son to drugs and underlying cuases.  Listen to CNN’s  Sanjay Gupta tell you that  a person dies every 19 minutes. America should not use this tragedy to preserve the status quo for judicially and penal based jobs We need to change the lenses in our glasses?  The White-house ONDCP office acknowledges that Addiction is a Disease.  If it were law, it would be a game changer and shock to the medical and Insurance industry.  The entire judicial system will develop a model to re-purpose the same tax dollars to rehabilitate  & actually re-purpose adult addicts within a medical model.  I welcome Michael Douglas to help bring this information forward and thank him for saying it..  Michael Douglas is welcome to a world were fathers and mothers lose kids physically and spiritually to this indiscriminate beast.  We need bright and powerful people to put the message out there, that this is overkill and often unessessary.  Thanks Mr. Douglas for speaking out.  Post by Monica

“…According to National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 3.8 million full-time college students binge drink and/or abuse prescription or illegal drugs and 1.8 million full-time college students meet the medical criteria for substance abuse and dependence.  Do you and your student know and understand the alcohol and drug use policy and treatment facilities available to them in the school that they are attending? Do you know if the state in which they are attending school has a 911 Good Samaritan Law and the legal reading of that law?…”  Please view the rest of this Huffington Post article by Elaine Pawlowski in Back-to-College; Educate your Child to Call 911

Screen shot 2013-08-18 at 12.08.28 PMAmerica is criminalizing addicts to the point where it has become a death sentence for some.  Drug laws and drug courts have to adapt to new information that shows the real fall out for addicts and their families.  Here is what Elaine Powlowski has to say:  “Policy makers believe that Drug Courts and 911 Laws are the solution but in their current state they are not. True statistics and valid research is needed. As long as shaming those with a chronic illness is the true model, people will continue to die and policies will not change.   Law makers are choosing who may live or die with new policies that are misleading the public”.  Please view:   Reevaluating Drug Courts  link by Elaine Pawlowski

Screen shot 2013-08-08 at 11.46.00 PMDr. Sanjay Gupta: Why I changed my mind on weed – CNN.com.

I am always looking for  perspectives from bright and influential people who are paving the road to resolution on how America’ deals with its menagerie of addictions.  Here is another one.   This piece aired Sunday,  8 p.m. ET August 11 on CNN by the esteemed Dr. Sanjay Gupta.  His thoughts embody the compassion needed to deal with a nation that treats alcohol and drugs  liberally on the one hand yet brutally stigmatizes and criminalizes a growing minority that fall of the cliff.  I focus on that rather than the legalization of drugs.  The web blog, moreover, promotes eventual legitimacy of addiction as a medically treatable disease backed by legislation.  This has to coincide with the decriminalization of drug usage in order to embody a unified approach to accessible treatment free of fear and judgement.

Screen shot 2013-07-15 at 5.48.32 PMI recently read an article by the Calgary Herald’s Licia Corbella called Vancouver’s easy drug access may have helped kill Monteith (Cory).  She is obviously disgusted with Vancouver’s HR injection site, Insite,  and decided to make a case against it by contriving a link to Cory’s death.  This was my response:

HR (harm reduction) highlights an epidemic that justly deserves discussion.  That should be the topic.  Insite is more a reflection of a broad picture.   As much as Vancouver is a bright spot in showing new possibilities in North America for planning and social evolution, Vancouver is also showing  something born out it’s attribute of compassion.  That explains why it has a government sponsored injection site called Insite.  These type of HR facilities do not contribute to fatal drug overdose, they lessen the possibility including the proliferation of other disease.  As for obtaining street drugs, there is unfortunately immediate  wide spread availability of dangerous drugs anywhere in the  U.S and Canada including Vancouver irregardless of Insite’s existence.  Overdoses are common through out the U.S. and Canada and in fact an epidemic.   HR injection sites are actually non-existent in North America other than Vancouver.  See Insite.  Harm reduction is an illumination of the tip of a great iceberg of drug addiction and abuse that plagues North America.  The drive for the medicalization of addiction is highlighted in places like Vancouver and Dr. Gabor Mates’ work.  What most of us do not readily see is the rest of the iceberg; the greater impact of addiction.  It hides in our families,  homes, our hospitals, our jails, prisons, our streets and in our morgues.  Tragically young actor’s like Cory have to die in the context of a problem that is so pervasive, cunning, baffling, and powerful.  The solutions will be game changers and we do not know who will lead the way; maybe places like Vancouver.   More than ever, millions of parents and professionals want to see the best happen in making a difference in the bigger picture of addiction, its impact, and the flow of our common capital into the pork belly of this beast.

Screen shot 2013-07-15 at 5.56.24 PMAddiction: The disease that lies – CNN.com

Another young actor taken needlessly by addiction.  Deaths caused by addiction have risen astronomically and  drug overdose is now the No.1 cause of accidental death in the United States; more common than death by car accidents.

Uppsala, Sweden, July 4, 2013.  Orexo Labs  announced it has received approval from the F.D.A. for Zubsolv™ (buprenorphine/naloxone) sublingual tablet CIII.  Zubsolv is formulated for treatment for people suffering from opioid dependence

Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 10.50.04 AMWhat 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.

Screen shot 2013-06-25 at 9.51.06 AMThis is a documentary film intended to be an irony in portraying the drug war as an American campaign that fuels the  illegal drug trade.  Adrian Grenier with Tribeca Films produced this work that looks at a 400 billion dollar global industry feeds off the drug war.  You can view the trailer here:  How To Make Money Selling Drugs  Tribeca Films. link by Denise C.

Born Broken  is a blog worth visiting by a writer with a story to tell about addiction in his family.  Steve R. has just published a book that is an exquisitely candid account of his life experience.  You can view excerpts on Amazon’s preview feature, “look here”.  Enjoy.   link by Steve R

The scourge of addiction crosses all political and social lines.  Still, many do not talk about it.  Recently the founder of a grief site called GRASP  appeared on the conservative Bill O’Reilly Show.  The topic relates to drug use and addiction.  It touched a difficult and  profound debate that impacts thousands of young people.  I talk about it in a piece just posted on dadonfire.net.  So why does this remind me of Bill Williams.  Well,  many members of the site GRASP know what drug addiction means to their family and how that led to the loss of a child and what may stop the carnage.  So, Bill Williams is appearing on Larry G’s  Prescription Radio Show, Tuesday night June 18th 5-7PM (EST) to talk profoundly about his experience with loss in honor of his son.   Check out Bill William’s  blog for more detailed information.   You can read his story in  Ending the Secrecy of a Child’s Addiction – NYTimes.com.

kidsRecently, California Activist Mom, Denise Cullen was interviewed by Bill O’Reilly on FOX TV.   O’Rielly said in certain terms that we aren’t really locking up  many young people for drug use and petty sales.  The ones in jail are evil.  Cullen made an opposite point.  Since the start of get tough on crime in the 70’s  jails are overflowing with drug offenders that are not evil and comprise members of our families.   Ask yourself if many FOX News listeners support the path to expanding privatization of jails in America.  That’s a dangerous path, so here is more information for the fair and balanced.  Consider, California’s 3 Strikes law in a piece by Elizabeth Stewart on her 25 year son.  He got 25 to life for petty drug offense.   America’s jails still fill a valuable purpose, but have become such meat grinders for the young and drug afflicted that now we find prisons maybe be fed by what some call a  school to  jail conveyor belt.

Pennsylvania Judge Sentenced For 28 Years For Selling Kids to the Prison System.   Kids for Cash is another reason for reform People want to open doors for the treatment of drug addiction.  Can it be done without decriminalization of drug use itself?  I think too many Americans are caught up in a dilemma.  The kids for cash scandal is especially bad because it shows a pattern of locking up kids before they are old enough for adult detention for reasons other than necessity.  It shows that incarceration has become pork barrel for state job preservation.   America must find ways to spend  money needed for judicial and penal jobs more wisely.  The need for synergistic legislation that preserves jobs and deals with drug addiction is an American problem not a political problem.

Nixon’s ‘War on Drugs’ began 40 years ago,and the battle is still raging

Four decades ago, on 17 July 1971, President Richard Nixon declared what has come to be called the “war on drugs“. Nixon told Congress that drug addiction had “assumed the dimensions of a national emergency”, and asked Capitol Hill for an initial $84m (£52m) for “emergency measures”.    “Our president has said very clearly that this is the time for a deep analysis of what has happened over the past 40 years, and to learn the lessons of the mistakes that have been made,” Rodríguez said in an interview with the Observer last week. “And we have to evaluate every alternative, without excluding any possibility – from complete legalisation to a second, different, war on drugs.”

Here is someone who  looks deep into the neuroscience of addiction,  shedding some light in areas you might not have thought about.  David J. Linden is an American professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and the author of The Accidental Mind: How Brain Evolution Has Given Us Love, Memory, Dreams, and God. [1] The book The Accidental Mind is an attempt to explain the human brain to intelligent lay reader.   CLICK HERE FOR THE NPR INTERVIEW WITH LINDEN   If your interested in David’s latest book,  The Compass of Pleasure, you can go to his blog and learn more.

Gabor Maté, is an influential physician who knows what it means to think outside the box.  His efforts have provided leadership in harm reduction and uncovering the mystery of addiction.  Harm reduction is controversial.  It is a theory of practice in dealing with addiction that is hard to swallow for mainstream America, but in some circles, it is viewed as necessary.  Gabor makes sense out of it.  he has committed his practice to working in the trenches with the worst the world of addiction has to offer, primarily in Vancouver.  He does it in a way that only the context of raw addictive behavior gives it unmistakeable clarity.   In 2009, Maté published In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, a book that describes his realty of working in a Vancouver skid row addiction clinic.  The Fifth Estate is a Canadian CBC news show that did a focused film series on Maté, his colleagues and several drug addicted patients.  It included an episode about Maté’s clinic called Staying Alive.

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

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!

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