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The popular online encyclopedia, Wikipedia puts US drug policy in a nutshell.  Changing it might best be explained in CBS’s,  A New Era For US Drug Policy.  Here are two big efforts to watch in 2010 that will impact this.   First off,   S714, The Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009 will impact addiction treatment in Jail and effect de-criminalization of use.  Secondly,  Obama’s 2010 policy strategy for 2010 , handled by the ONDCP will impact recovery efforts.  You direct input can be facilitated by the  DPA’s legislative toolkit.   Check out a blog called TRANSFORM for further insights and a website called OVERCRIMINALIZED.COM which tracks S714.

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The brain chemistry of addiction has puzzled doctors and psychiatrists for years fueling a debate on whether or not addiction is a medical condition.  For that reason, in 2007  Senator Joe Biden wanted to change the name of the National Institute on Drug Abuse to the National Institute on Diseases, and change the name of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to the National Institute on Alcohol Disorders and Health.  The bill didn’t become law, but kept the debate going.  Opposing views are chronicled in:  Medical Misnomer… followed by convincing counter response written by the Institute for Addiction Study NIDA, The National Institute on Drug Abuse, claims that addiction is a chronic disease.

Do you want to know where some of the drugs are coming from in the recent explosion of prescription pain pill addiction.  Check out this August 20th piece:  Feds Begin Crackdown on Online Pharmacies.   Pharmacies in Utah and Illinois are at the heart of an illicit nationwide network providing prescription drugs over the internet, federal agents state in court papers filed in two cities.  Link by JJ

When a teen becomes an addict, that person you once knew and planned a future for has effectively checked out.  What you experience is an addict who will play you better than you can play them.  After a period of time, your teen’s brain becomes progressively “hard-wired” to his or her drug of choice, to use a colloquial term.  Re-setting and adjusting their brains requires a period of abstinence, which is near impossible for young restless addicts without early intervention.  Achieving that abstinence can’t be done with out rock hard will power.  Most of the time it is a very rough task for a young drug addict and as budgets continue to be slashed, we can’t expect too much intervention from local mental health authorities.  Jails are a different story.  See the rest of this article by clicking  here.

The frustration of a parent dealing with a teen and drugs is well known.  Here is a PDF  report that might help :  Adolescent Brain Development and Drug Abuse.   To make matters worse, 5 million adolescents suffer from clinical depression and 70% are undiagnosed.  The numbers for drug & alcohol abuse are worse.; 10% of the  1.4 million American teens with SUD get treatment…” read the article here.   Courtesy of  “The Drug and Alcohol Scene”

Actor Christopher Lawford and musician Nikki Sixx are two ex-addicts that live a sober life,  share their stories and actively spread the word that recovery is possible.  Sixx has had the courage to leave his drug life behind him and take a stand against drug abuse.  Lawford has  went on to become a leading speaker on the topic of substance abuse.   They are have both been interviewed about rehab basics in a piece called Experts cite must-haves for effective rehab.  The article cites a consensus of what constitutes sound rehab.   Everyone who has been down that road from addicts to their broken families know that good rehab is not a guarantee just because its expensive.  Basics count.

South Florida pill mills have been partly responsible in recent years for an explosion in addiction to pharmaceutical drugs like Oxycontin which we now know leads to the much cheaper heroin.  As a result, new laws and regulation are going into effect limiting pharmacy abuse and the saturation of addictive drugs into South Florida communities.    Back in March we were talking about cracking down on pill mills in   Cracking Down on South Florida Pill Mills Following the work of activists quite a few new regulations have already begun to take hold.  Where the display of pill mill advertising seemed every where, even in high schools, people are waking up.  Parents are refusing to allow their schools from placing ads from pain centers, causing pain clinic ads to be pulled from Boca Raton Schools.  Who would of thought.  Keep the pressure on.  Links from Keith and JJ.

Depending on who you talk to,  the percentage of drug addicts with serious mental  illness is as much as 53%.  That figure is from the  National Alliance on Mental Illness It is a subject that  flies in the face of state policies that define where publicly funded  psychiatric intervention can apply, which is often reserved for those who are a threat to themselves or others.  According to Dr. Glen Hanson,  drug addicts can initially mask mental health issues and later make them a lot worse.   What makes this so hard for families, is that state policies that mandate psychiatric evaluation are set up to define mental illness in a vacuum.  Drug addiction is a whole other issue.  It is defined as a self-inflicted condition based on an individuals choice.  Treatment for addiction is illusive at best.   But really came first the chicken or the egg; the addiction or the mental illness?  In the U.S., there is an estimated 5 million adolescents that suffer from clinical depression. Does this mean that these adolescents will soon make up 2.65 million more drug addicts?  Scary thought!  Mental illness is basically under diagnosed, while drug addiction stymies the efforts of parents wanting to save their kids and can’t afford specialized care; care that insurance companies have so craftily excluded from most policies.

Inspired by the death of Heath Ledger, OxyContin Blues is a raw unflinching drama about prescription pill addiction in Hollywood.

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