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Interesting article posted at,  RECOVERY HELPDESK bringing attention to the seriousness of detoxing off opiates while in jail and a wrongful death lawsuit.

This May 2009 report highlighted by the organization Join Together spells out taxpayer burdens in Shoveling Up: The Impact of Substance Abuse on Federal, State and Local Budgets.  Post provided by Mary S.

Dadonfire recently editorialized  Drug Czar Kerlikowske’s October Address to America’s  law enforcement leaders.   We viewed his speech as continued support for a failed drug war.  Our counterpoint  was punctuated Monday, Nov. 1st  by news that one million Mexicans are working in the drug trade to supply our eight million addicts.   That’s an industry 4 times larger than General Motors.  This doesn’t speak of a winnable war.   On Oct. 29th, the LA Times published a great piece called Mexico Under Siege. You can also download a 2008 PDF file:  Mexico’s Drug Cartels to see the same information presented to your congress.    Links by Mary Slivinski

Drug war politics emerged after Vietnam and it wasn’t just about legalization.  Dadonfire has been looking at addiction and treatment, personal experiences and access to recovery.  We support decriminalization and a shifting of America’s focus on this problem from being silent to creating solutions.  A new paradigm.  Viewers know that for better or worse, the  atmosphere of decriminalization parallels the legalization effort.  Dadonfire’s  interest is decriminalization and access to recovery.  Legalization is whole other focus sometimes synonymous with the anti-drug war lobby.  That is beyond the scope and interest of this website. We do watch some of this work and share  information emerging out of the anti-drug war effort for the benefit of viewers. chronicles  events of 2009 in a piece worth reviewing.   Others sites that  focus on drug war politics and reform are:

Drug Policy Alliance •   NORML •   Drug Truth Network •    Law Enforcement Against Prohibition •    The New American Drug War •       Drug War Facts

You be the judge.  Dadonfire views all sides of the issue in an effort understand all vantage points and to postulate what possibilities will emerge that can significantly impact the access to treatment of drug addiction.  Links by Mary S.

Replacement Drug Therapy attracts a debate between the medical and moral definition of addiction.  Is this a question of medical necessity or one’s will.  Medical research is breaking down why heroin in particular is so hard to lay down for some.  Alcohol is a progressive disease.  Peak opiate addiction happens fast and it is brutal.  I spoke with Keith a 28 year old recovering addict.  He sees two truths in the debate.  Clean, after 5 years of opiate addiction he talks about his 3 year replacement drug therapy to date.  “I am an addict and alcoholic.  I work the AA program. I have service commitments in AA and some in NA.  I also have been on Subutex for 3 years.  It works good for me if I apply recovery principals and work AA.  I am an alcoholic at heart but when I found opiates, I was off to the races” Keith say’s opiate addiction is far worst than people imagine and takes determination just to work the program he is on now.  Addiction for him is very much a medical condition.  He has explained that quitting opiates after long term use for many young addicts is near impossible and the leap to replacement drug therapy still takes iron clad determination, explaining further.  “Suboxone or Subutex (subs) work for some and not for others.  Subs make you feel normal.   There is no post acute withdrawal (PAWS).  You feel as you did before you started using; normal”…Here is the problem with many… “Most on subs do not fix what is really broken because they perceive that nothing is broken and don’t use the subs correctly”… “Some take sub “vacations” and use opiates off and on”.  This explains why so many young opiate addicts do not recover and continually relapse, even when using subs or methadone.  Keith holds on to the premise that he would would prefer the initial week of heavy physical withdrawal than the many months of the post acute phase.  For him, subs built his bridge to sobriety.

The Drug Czar is  listening.  “These latest data confirm that we must redouble our efforts to implement a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to preventing and treating drug use,” Gil Kerlikowske, Director, ONDCP. He is talking about a new survey showing kids using a little less methamphetamine and binge alcohol, more pot, and more ADHD type drugs.  Survey shows kids using more opiate based  prescription pain killers which can lead to cheaper heroin use, which is also risingRead Dave Goodman’s piece about the survey. Read “Kids and Drugs” for solutions.  Survey link by John B.

Check out NY Times, Dec. 7th, 2009,  Addiction on Two Fronts; Work and Home. …”His son had been dead from an overdose only three months when A. Thomas McLellan, among the nation’s leading researchers on addiction, got a call from the office of Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. …” (excerpt). Deputy director McLellan of ONDCP, Office of National Drug Control Policy,  knows addiction from all angles and advocates re-directing  resources   from  demand reduction efforts not reaping big gains to prevention and treatment.  The latest figures from his office estimate 25 million alcoholics and addicts, comprising about 8% of the population.  Less than 1 in 10 of these receive treatment.  The ONDCP office’s immediate goal is to triple that number.  Look for an upcoming February 2010, drug policy strategy statement.     Link from Jon R.

The cost to communities for not addressing addiction has never been fully quantified.  A single addict or alcoholic  has the potential to destroy families, communities and lives.   Read,  “Just One Addict!, Breaking the Back of a Los Angeles Budget”, to understand the magnitude of impact.  Also check out the article, “The Prison System Falls Short in Treating Drug Addiction” for a look at why it may be better to treat addicts while we have them in our hands.

As if substance addiction is not a big enough problem.  Enter; an underlying mental illness.  These are the dually diagnosed drug and alcohol addicts.  Kathleen Sciacca founder of MIDAA, Mental Illness, Drug Addiction and Alcoholism tackles the issue head on from a perspective of treatment.  Here is what she says:   “People who have multiple disorders of severe mental illness, drug addiction and alcoholism “dual diagnosis” have the same severity of addictive disorders as do people who have addictive disorders alone.  They also experience exacerbation of both their mental illness and their addictive disorder due to interaction effects. Their families experience the disruptions evoked by addictive disorders alone.  This is in addition to the stress of coping with a serious mental illness.”  Sounds like the ingredients for hell on earth.   View the Dual Diagnosis Website here for further information on the impact of addiction and mental illness.  Also view the PDF files of the World Health Report:  Investing in Mental Health and Kathleen’s Sciacca’s PDF file of her Fact Sheet on Dual Diagnosis. Links by Mary Slivinski.

A cool morning conversation with a case worker outside of C.O.P.E’s  downtown  treatment facility in Tucson this morning led to some interesting questions.  We’re talking about the world of addiction and recovery.   The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA)  and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation RWJF, took part in an HBO film series about addiction that can shed some insight.  There are 8 million narcotic, cocaine and methamphetamine addicts on the streets of America at any given time and as a totality of all drug and alcohol addiction that figure soars to 23 million people struggling as we speak.  That’s  an alarming world of dysfunction and suffering.  Of these individuals, fewer than 10% are receiving effective treatment.  These figures come from NIDA and RWJF.

C.O.P.E. has earned exceptional credit in helping those who arrive at their door step.  To ask about the majority that don’t make it is another story.  The easy answer lies solely with the addict.  When they are  ready; they show up.  What about those 20 or so million addicts and alcoholics not receiving treatment and the impact that has on families and communities.   That’s the intimidating reality that poses the hard question.  Realizing the patches on our  recovery boats are not holding is a scary thought.  The seas of addiction  are rough.  America needs a new fleet of sea worthy recovery vessels.  What that will take is a 21st century question pointing to new paradigms that we haven’t invented yet.  The impact is real.  The needs are real.  America is worth every ounce of effort.

This website, Meth Free Alliance,  is a grassroots effort that was created right here in Tucson Arizona.  The downloadable PDF format companion booklet, Tucson Meth Resource Guide is a powerhouse of information and treatment destination in the Tucson Area.   A U.S. Government level effort which works in concert with local efforts is also a great resource at

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December 2009