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This is a dark eye opening story written by Laura Lang in 2004 about the  impact of heroin on her life.  “…I have not been born again, and I didn’t die of an overdose and come back to life.  I simply decided that if I kept shooting heroin everyday I would eventually become a serious junky.  What most people don’t understand about heroin is that there are two kinds of heroin addicts…”

Read the rest of it here:

Before Walter Cronkite passed  he  wrote about the war on drugs in the Huffington Post:  Telling the Truth About the War On Drugs.  He also aired a great television series on the drug war a little over a decade ago. If you never saw it;  HERE IT IS.

Tales of Addiction “…gut-wrenching yet heart-warming narratives by people with long-standing addiction issues. Weaving the unedited stories into a theme of upliftment and hope are Dr. Sinor’s astute commentaries and observations….riveting…”  Your can read the rest of her comments on this book scheduled to be published in 12 weeks from now on Dr. Sinor’s Blog and in this download PDF review

Addiction, Whats really Going On Many know the insanity of the addiction.  This book published in 2009 looks inside a heroin treatment program.  It addresses the important questions.  …”It helps us understand the need for a “wake-up” call regarding drug and alcohol use … It declares a passion for client advocacy and discovering ways to deal with those addicted … It brings the reality of addiction out-of-the-closet….  Read it.

America’s efforts to reduce illegal drug traffic is not reaping big benefits.  It is chewing up 20% of U.S. spending.  Here is one idea that for some reform that can turn this around.   Its text  from a letter I sent to the Drug Policy Alliance who is pushing support for Senator Webb’s work.

“A big part of my concern is a costly prison system, where SUD/MH (Substance use disorder/ mental health) gets little or no address, which with screening could be a good place to start treatment for jail bound addicts.  Here’s what I see.

  • Proactive judicial and prison systems that screens offenders and inmates for SUD/MH treatment diversion.
  • Re-classification and/or dismissal of non-violent petty crimes stemming from SUD/MH, based on the success of treatment and victim restitution.
  • Re-classification of narcotic drug “use” related offenses to a civil status and a re-designation of marijuana “use” to civil or a “no offense” status.
  • Public funding and treatment of SUD/MH outside the prison system based on a sliding scale of client financial contribution and/or contributing service.

Broad reform has a realistic possibility of showing how cost is assimilated.  Regarding drug and alcohol abuse, N.I.D.A. estimates 480B is already spent on incarceration, judicial work, demand reduction and general societal damage.  A 1/3 of that goes directly to prisons.  These expenditures are firmly entrenched in federal and local penal budgets.  If a third of inmates are SUD/MH identified by screening, then that part of the job has begun.  We have them.  We keep them. We treat them.  If we don’t, we know they will be back to impact to the system.  The cost doesn’t go away. This is also known as the revolving door.

If the same energy spent criminalizing addiction is transformed into treatment, funding is already there!  The more we de-criminalize and treat, the less need for incarceration. This reduces demand for an illegal drug market.  The message needs to go to the ears of lawmakers from voices from American’s impacted by the scourge of addiction”  dadonfire

A lot of parents and families of alcoholics and addicts are patiently waiting for a mandate on SUD/MH  (Substance use disorder/ mental health) treatment coming out of health care reform.  After today’s election victory of Scott Brown it looks like the senate health bill may be in for some re-constructive surgery.  I guess it is time to quit holding my breath for Health Net Insurance to cover SUD/MH in this family.  Recovery is a tough row to hoe and it looks like we may have to plow through a lot more  hard pan and black clay for some time to come.  The American Society of Addiction Medicine did make a comparison of addiction issues in the hotly debated health reform bill.  Here it is  →  January 5th , 2010 side by side comparison. All I can say is that America deserves this.

Casey Johnson daughter of Billionaire “Woody” Johnson  (Robert Wood Johnson IV) found days after her death from possible drug related causes @ age 30 in her apartment.  Casey has a history of drug problemsPrescription Addiction Radio’s  January 10th radio show talks about drugs as a possible cause of death and ironically, a major Johnson family charity, The Partnership for a Drug Free America who may not be doing enough.  Woody  is owner of the New York Jets.  His father, Robert Wood Johnson III founded the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and was CEO of the family company  Johnson and Johnson Drug Company who has marketed the recalled, opiate based  duragesic patch. The Robert Wood Johnson’s Foundation is also known for working to find solutions to problems with drug use in America.

This is the time for change.  An opportunity to expand treatment and recovery options.  The ONDCP will complete their strategies this year and Webb’s National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009 is coming to a head at the end of 2010.  Here are Webb’s main points:  The USA has 5% of the world’s population and houses 25% of all prisoners  •  Incarcerated drug offenders grew 1200% since 1980  •   Four times as many mentally ill people are in prisons than in mental health hospitals  •  A million gang members and drug cartels operate in 230+ communities across the country  •  Post-incarceration re-entry programs are haphazard and often nonexistent, undermining public safety and making it extremely difficult for ex-offenders to become full, contributing members of society.   READ A FACT SHEET ON THE BILL HERE

Community input on the bullet points in this fact sheet are critical.  We can look at addiction and mental impairment screening of new offenders and inmates with immediate diversion of addicts to venues of compulsory treatment.  Costs can be covered by the same funds we already waste.  We can look at re-categorizing criminal charges based on successful diversion of  non violent offenders.  Right now, diversion options for drug addicted offenders to treatment misses most addicts because of their crime category.  When jailed, untreated addicts are released and continue to use.  This is the revolving door of jails and drugs.  We can also expand and fund drug courts.   Addicts not yet criminalized could have the threat of jail removed by de-criminalization of drug use, accessible treatment, alternative replacement drugs, safe detoxification with follow-up post acute withdrawal treatment and so on.  We can’t ask to legalize street narcotics, but we can  own the reality of the horrific impact drugs and trafficking has on us and reduce demand and jail populations at the same time.

In order to make an impact that helps young addicts and families, reduces drug demand, and better spends tax dollars, we need to impact law makers at all levels.  Maybe our elected officials don’t listen to activists but an America full of families affected by the scourge of addiction can convince their lawmakers.  Thanks to Senator Jim Webb for getting the ball rolling.   Lets help him.

Informative  global website on subjects including drugs   →  LOVE TO KNOW DEA traveling  exhibit, your tax dollars at work →   TARGET AMERICA

“The pain and suffering of addiction is not limited to the alcoholic or drug addict. Family members share a tremendous burden as well”  – Ed Hughes, MPS   Read his guide list:  10 Ways Family Members Can Help a Loved One With a Drug of Alcohol Problem Book by Ed Hughs and Ronald Turner.

China Executes UK Drug Smuggler.  Source: Al Jazeera and agencies:  China has executed a British man.   The execution of Akmal Shaikh by lethal injection on Tuesday morning followed last minute appeals for clemency from his family and  UK officials. (U.S. penalties)  Links by Mary S.

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January 2010