I know this guy. In the years I covered this addiction scourge, I met Richie over the phone. He was consulting for the 2010 hit movie, The Fighter with Mark Walberg and Christian Bale. The main Character played by Mark, Micky Ward had a brother, Dicky Ecklund (Bale) who was also a great boxer, but was a jail bird and suffered from addiction in the Lowell area. He was also Micky’s screwed up mentor. The drug context of Lowell is Richie’s area of expertise. He knew the lay of the land inside and out and was a boxer himself. Richie and I had a couple of great conversations and some email correspondence. I never met him face to face. In The raw and telling book, What’s Left of Us, A Memoir of Addiction, he tells his story. I remember reading the part where he as two friends purposely overdose, hoping to end it all, only to be rescued by paramedics. I believe him. I’ve seen it in my son, who overdosed more than once, each time being carted off to ER. It’s is a love-hate relationship; deadlier than the worst love affair you have ever had. Surviving it is not for the faint of heart. Today my son sits in jail. When I look into his eyes, I know he feels safe. Slowly, jails are also beginning to see their role in dealing with addiction; coming around to a bit more humanity in how addicts are seen. I could imagine my son saying something to the effect “Its like licking the breath of God” as Richie puts it. Read his book, What’s Left of Us.
Should Heroin addicts be forced into treatment? As a father of an addict, I would say it some cases, a definite yes!, but that path is still finding its definition. In the article, Compelled Drug Addiction Treatment, you get a window in the that kind of thinking. We do have the skills to know who can benefit. Conventional wisdom may work fine for easier cases.
Alcohol and Drug-Free Housing, a key strategy to breaking the cycle of addiction and recidivism, is an approach written and detailed by Susan Mandiberg and Richard Harris. This is a solid piece of research that outlines a workable path for the worst of addicts to get on board with recovery after detoxification. Please download this and read later. This is a pathway that is be part of a humane but compulsory treatment strategy. It would be based on modern screening techniques applied to addicts caught committing crimes or when those who simply ask. The old days of allowing addicts to abandon critical detox in the middle of an excruciating inhumane withdrawal seemed to be something designed to assure failure. It was a mystery to me why my son’s insurance company would only pay for detox if was quick and painful. Read the rest of this entry »
Here is a story of one man’s journey through addiction; too long to put on this page. It is a personal, unorthodox and unique in its account of what addiction means to this individual and the outcome of his recovery. “…A kid can go from a suburban high school 15 year old with an interest in computers to a dope addict in just weeks. And not just heroin, prescription drugs are grabbing a lot of kids by the balls nowadays…15% of all people are born with a lack of dopamine/endorphin production. This accounts for most attention deficit, and most of the drug problem. This also accounts for the most intelligent people you will ever meet…” Read more about what can happen in Frank’s Story
“Shawn Mahaffey, age 30 of Methuen, Massachusetts, passed away on September 6, 2015 as a result of his addiction. Shawn will be remembered as a hard worker, kind hearted, generous soul and loved by all” It’s tragic for me because I am a father of an addicted son; Shawn’s cousin and I know him. I know his father. He could be my own son and I grieve for Shawn’s dad. I just gave a big hug to him few days ago and feel his pain as if it were my own.The toll addiction takes is not waning. We all witness that current treatment policies and laws are not stopping the bleeding. Often social services workers are just earning a paycheck; hardly putting a dent in the sad rate of deaths and social carnage that persists.
Jessica Cooper of Beachway Therapy Center, writes about EMB-001, an new addiction cessation drug by the Embera Corporation. You have heard of Nicorette, a nicotine cessation, drug. This takes the idea much further. It addressess a potential cure for cocaine addiction. Go to AddictionCuringMedication to view Jessica’s research.
It is not Complicated. Buprenorphine (aka Suboxone) can be available for any opiate addict. A pervasive “They need to just quit” attitude either ends up killing our worst addicts or supporting endless incarceration and emergency health care. Folks!!! This is cheap medication for a grave addiction that otherwise forces addicts into homelessness, jails and hospitals. If our institutions were on board, the unmanageable part of the issue becomes manageable; the root cause of an addiction is examined! Moms & Dads are crying for this. We are finding that personality disorders and detachment are among root causes. this doesn’t go away with cold turkey. Please view the link below to insight into this problem.
“…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.
What 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.
I 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.
CNN.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
Report: 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.
It 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.
With 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 Pawlowski. Elaine 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
Cameron 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
America 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
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.
I 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.
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
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.