Members of our military returning from combat operations have high rates of substance abuse.  They  often exhibit a co-occurring triad of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and pain, which complicates the problems with substance abuse and leading ultimately, to addiction.   Read more in Returning-Veterans-With-Addictions (PDF)   For related links, see also  Prescription Drugs and Our Military  and  Veterans Bear Brunt of Weak Treatment Options.

Drug Abuse eventually turns  to drug addiction if not checked early enough.  Drug use in teens is growing faster than the we can stop it.  Why kids even start is a tough question.  We do know that opiate based prescription drugs are a big issue and are often abused by kids.  OxyContin, Oxycodone, Hyrdocodone, Lorcet, Lortab, Percodan, Typlox, Precocet, Vicodin, Darvocet, and on and on….all have the potential to be the perfect storm for heroin addiction.   Almost every middle class heroin addict under 21 started out of someone’smedicine cabinet. Read about a mothers crusade after losing her son in “Mom Pushes For Reform” A piece by Dale Wetzel talks about  kids and prescription drugs in “Youth prescription drug abuse on the rise”. The website PARENTS, The Anti Drug understanding the  signs explains what to do about it; and basic good information. See drug test links in the sidebar.  Links courtesy of Mary.

The Partnership at Drugfree.org hosts Facebook Chat with New York Times Best-Selling Author of Clean and Beautiful Boy, David Sheff.

Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 12.03.11 AMDenise Cullen has lived through one of the worst tragedies a mother can experience She lost her  child. But if there is anything worse than losing a child, it is losing a child to a drug overdose, because grief is accompanied by stigma and blame.  Read her account by the NC Harm Reduction Coalition in  Daily Kos: The Stigma of Drug Overdose: A Mother’s Story.

NoraNora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains why addicts should be treated the same as anyone with a debilitating disease. View her interview in  Why Addicts Shouldn’t be Criminalized by Nora Volkow   Fareed Zakria, a CNN journalist talks about the over-incarceration of addicts in Incarceration Nation   Ten years ago, Portugal moved a national policy forward to decriminalize drugs.  Studies now shows a large decrease in drug addiction in Portugal.  Read 10 years afterFor a very studied case on why we move to the decriminalization and classifying addiction as an addiction read the compelling  Global Commission Report

Dr. Kevin McCauley is a treatment professional who is dedicating his life to helping addicts and their families, and he makes a compelling argument for Addiction as Disease.  He is a researcher with The Institute For Addiction Studies. Mr. McCauley recently contributed a comment that is worth sharing.  He discusses his ongoing inquiry into the question of addiction as a Disease Model.   Many who ponder the causes of drug addiction are split in their thinking with the other opinion being a morality model of choice. Take a look at his comments in the Disease Model.

One thing for certain, drug addiction is tearing up this country.  From a demand of drugs adversly affecting near 30 million users when you include alcohol to as many as two-thirds of American families negatively impacted in some way or another by someones abuse of drugs and alcohol; this problem is costing us more than enough to look closely at a  model of disease.   As long as the argument favors a Darwinian – all for themselves – choice model of drug addiction, expect more of the destruction that Americans already witness.

The House I Live in  updates a 40-year-old unsolved problem.

The drug war is a problem that tears apart Americans.  The victims are millions of family members who care about someone trapped in addiction.  What it does to an addict is a torment words can’t adequately describe.  This is really a war, not on drugs, but on all of us.  It is a parasitical phenomena that relies on public silence while demanding massive cash flow; the taxpayer its host.   Dealing with addiction and ending drug demand  is antithetical to its existence.   See the film, The House I live in link by Monica

Rewiring the brain against addiction is an idea that holds the key to the answer.  Having known suffering drug addicts, its safe to say that “just quitting” is not an answer.  The Depression that goes along with addiction, often predicating the need for drugs to begin with is a key area of study.   Dual Demons! as it called,  continually feeds into the reality of repeated relapse.    Addiction is a disease that requires the equivalent focus in dollars and effort of the drug war itself.  Once we get big Insurance and big Pharma to play the game of real recovery we can start poking holes in the sails of drug trade.  De-criminalizing addiction would cripple illegal drug trade.  Imagine a world of compassion, recovery and freedom from addiction.   Links by M. Slivinski.

8 minute video – Ram Dass on Attachment & Addiction

“Addiction experts say Suboxone is so effective in treating opiate addicts it can dramatically transform people in a matter of weeks”. In Doc’s Fight to Lift Restrictions, a good point is made on State’s ability to curb opiate addiction.  Most state backed low-cost or free prescription programs for suboxone in replacement drug therapy is severely limited, effectively missing an opportunity to drastically reduce the financial and social impact of opiate addiction.  Tucson Arizona’s COPE Community Services has stated that its use of suboxone is limited to 100 addicts, deferring many other addicts to the lower cost methadone which is not as effective.  Methadone, albeit, very effective at harm reduction when used properly,  is quite addictive and its users can be more prone to relapse back to street drugs.  Talk continues about Generic Suboxone drastically cutting the sale price of its active ingredient, buprenorphine, but people are still waiting.  The point is that readily accessible replacement drug therapy will put a large dent in the ugly business of opiate addiction. That’s something States can’t afford to ignore.

“Kicking” opiates is exceptionally hard for most addicts during the first week.  If an addict succeeds the initial physical part of withdrawal, an addict will have to bear out a condition similar in some respects to methamphetamine withdrawal called P.A.W.S., post acute withdrawal syndrome.  That’s really the tough part.   It takes months and is predominately psychological.  PAWS hits a average peak in 3 months making the risk of relapse very high for the first 3-6 months.  That is why short term treatment claims can be mis-leading.    Here are some links that are very helpful in explaining the complexity and details of what treatment and recovery look like:

Opiate Addiction, A New Breed of Drug Dependency Warrants Unique ApproachUnderstanding Drug Dependence, Novus Medical Detox ♦  Treatment Options of Long Term Opiate Addiction ♦   Suboxone Assisted Treatment ♦    Aegis Medical Systems, Video Library ♦  National Advocacy ♦    Medical Assisted Treatment ♦  NIDA, Treatment Options ♦   links by Mary Slivinski

The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” — Albert Einstein

“The likelihood for addicts to get effective treatment improved greatly last month, when the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) released it’s public policy statement on the definition of addiction. Boldly stating that addiction is a “primary, chronic disease”, ASAM has established the role of neurobiology in the development and maintenance of all addictive behaviors”  Barry Lessin.  Read the rest of Barry’s article by click on title:   Addiction Really is a Disease    

Black Tar is a perfect storm for kids and adults alike getting hooked on pain pills.  As the much higher priced oxycontin continues to saturate suburban streets, black tar use is exploding.  Narco-traffickers know this and target middle American pill heads with cunning door to door delivery of cheap heroin.  Listen to Diane Sawyer of ABC News urgently report this growing epidemic in “Heroin in the Heartland” and read about yet another  huge Pittsburg Heroin Ring Bust over this past weekend.   Links by Keith.

A poignant piece by a mom, struggling to grip the grief and hind sight of missing an elusive opportunity to save a child from  a devil she could’t control. 

Expectations, A Poem by Mom vs Addiction

You have to let go of the child you once knew in the future,
The one who would without question attend college, have lots of friends, smile easily, do effortless back-flips, surrounded by the promise fog of youth.

The one whose very personality used to validate you and make others think you were so much smarter and together than you ever were.

Now that same child calls everything into question, and provides the kindling for others to re-draw you;  you worked too much, weren’t home enough, didn’t take her to the right doctor soon enough, weren’t strict enough, didn’t see the signs, live in the city, believe in the wrong God, didn’t accept help that  no one is really offering.

No one wants to know what you know—that we are all vulnerable, living in a house of cards.  Now you know that there are places so painful, so agonizing that you can’t blame anyone for excusing themselves politely from your experience.

You would run so fast, too, if only the road didn’t lead you away from your very heart.

Life goes on and you are left alone with the certainty that as you meticulously rebuild, careful to place the cards just right, in balance with your new reality, you dare not hope for too much, they will fall again.

Ron G. wrote the “7 Truths About My Addict That Took Five Years To Learn” as a resonating piece for the Partnership for a Drug-Free America in their blog, INTERVENE.  These  truths should hit home with every parent of an addict.

Screen shot 2013-04-23 at 9.48.34 PMMatthew Sockolov’s blog,  The Easier Softer Way appears in the side bar of dadonfire.net.  It’s a spiritually based personal recovery blog worth a look.  Its inspiring to see a young man sharing his recovery.  He posted his thoughts on his own fourth step in:  CourageClick on the link to view.   It is the meat of the 12 step program.  This is where an addict shares a fearless moral inventory with another human being.  Spiritual practices describe the process of  vocalizing one’s defects of character as a door to let go these soulful burdens.  The 12 step process can do anyone, in or out of the program a lot of good.  Many spiritual practices & religions use a version of the fourth step.  Catholics for instance “confess” their character defects (sins) to another person.  This process is fundamentally key to releasing the human flaws that fuel addiction to dangerous drugs and alcohol. Link by Matthew

Rethinking the War on Drugs – The Wall Street Journal, Mark Kleiman, Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken.    Link by Tom M.  The U.S. has reached a dead end in trying to fight drug use by treating every offender as a serious criminal. Blanket drug legalization has some superficial charm—it fits nicely into a sound-bite or tweet—but it can’t stand up to serious analysis.    Mark Kleiman has ideas that provide an answer which history shows always falls somewhere in a middle ground.  It is a realty based proposition;  facts!  View  Frontline’s BUSTED, America’s War on Marijuana.  and view Huffington Post’s online archive of Mark’s publications

Screen shot 2013-02-20 at 11.15.41 PMTeenagers abusing drugs is often the beginning of a dangerous road.  Kids with conflicts often become teenagers with drug problems, consequently becoming adults with serious addictions.  Many of the conflicts that plague young people and lead to substance abuse are hard to handle at home.   According to Mathew Kyle,  home may not be enough to avert bigger problems in a teens immediate future if not dealt with in a timely manner.  Mathew  works with the Family Compass, a website committed to early conflicts in teen life.  Mathew touches on this topic in the article below:

When Home Is Not EnoughBoarding School Help For Teenage Substance Abusers.  Many of us have the idea that all you have to do is just quit drugs and/or alcohol.  Adults find it very difficult.  How much more difficult is it for a teenager?  To coin a phrase from Nike, “just do it,” is much easier said than done. In order for most teens to quit, they need help. Most parents want to do the best thing possible for their children. Some parents believe a teenager can get all the support they need at home to kick those ugly and destructive habits.  These habits sometimes combine both drugs and alcohol.  There are options when home is not enough.  When home is not enough to help your teenager, look into the boarding school choices that will help see your family through this time of crisis.  In addition, crisis is exactly the term needed to describe this downward spiral to self-destruction. Boarding school fills the following needs…Read the rest of Mathew’s article  by clicking here

For an opiate addict, getting off heroin is probably one of the most difficult things anyone can do, but most people chastise addicts for not quitting.   It’s easier said than done and the infamous “cold turkey” seldom works for most addicts.  Replacement drug therapy had been a choice for many opiate addicts seeking to normalize their lives and get away from of the torment of addiction.  With respect to reducing damage to not only society, but the life of the addict themselves, quite a few options have emerged in recent years.  Methadone, a long acting opiate drug itself, has been around the longest.  As pharmaceutical development  progressed,  SuboxoneProbuphine, and Vivitrol have followed.  Vivitrol, actually not an opiate or a partial opiate like buprenorphine, the  proprietary name for Suboxone.  It is developed from naltrexone, originally used to treat alcoholism.  Recovery Helpdesk is an excellent website, committed to explain in more detail the mechanics of making the right choices for addicts.

Screen shot 2013-04-02 at 11.30.12 PMAmy Fry writes from the UK.  She summarizes recent evolutions in heroin addiction and studies depicting a trend in heroin use shifting  from younger addicts to older longer term addicts often dealing with post acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).  Veteran heroin addicts have a very tough time walking away. She talks about acting sensation, Russell Brand, a former UK addict who keeps his own ongoing vigilance amidst thoughts of past use.  He has a wealth of personal experience to share with the world on his opiate addiction.  Much of Amy’s statistical  data  comes from  the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA)Read more of Amy’s piece in Changes in Heroin Use & Treatment for Addiction.  Contribution by Amy

Heaven, Hell, Heroin:  Lessons Learned From One Young Man’s Death. Before reading; know that this is a sad real life story by Steve Damish, October 2009.  Happens more than you know.  Post by Mary S.

Screen shot 2013-03-18 at 12.19.09 AMCOMPASS HEALTH CARE INC – Arizona Gives From midnight on March 20 and continuing until 11:59 p.m., you can go online to http://www.AZgives.org  to show  support for Compass Health Care Inc., an Arizona addiction recovery organization making progress one recovery at a time.  You can make a  contribution to help.  All online donations during this effort will go directly to support Compass Behaviorial Healthcare’s  Vida Nueva, a non-profit recovery home for woman.  Thank you   CLICK TO DONATE

 

As U.S drug policy continues to rely on a counterproductive drug war, resistance to moving towards decriminalizing addiction, persists.  Of course, the losers are young addicts that can and should be rehabilitated.  many are on the road to become criminalized addicts, if not already there.  Some have a hustle; others fill our jails.  Make no mistake, many are our children and relatives.

Public and private treatment institutions remain effectively,  insignificant in dealing with the populations that need their services.  The realty is that it takes money to recover and isolation from the outside world for a typical addict.  Treatment professionals agree that a long period of abstinence is necessary for the restoration of  naturally occurring dopamine and receptor functioning.  Without this transformation and internment,  an addict exists in an emotional black hole.   The loss of 7 million Americans to addiction each year is very significant.   An alcohol and drug dependent America is dragging us down.   With exception to the Veterans Administration and  federally funded programs, our insurance and healthcare policies are ineffective.  They do not deal with co-existing mental disorders or proper treatment.  Typical insurance and health care policies consistently demonstrate rejection of proper substance use disorder (SUD) treatment.  Except for sparse and difficult public funding, insurance companies rarely pay for basic replacement drug therapy which is relatively cheap.

We live in a world that hates addictive behavior, yet silently condones the biggest drug dependent and alcoholic population on earth.  People like Governor Scott of Florida ditch prescription databases over privacy and business rights.  How does that even fit?   Our government claims to want to eradicate demand and source, yet have at least enabled or created a situation in which more pharmaceutical opiates are available than ever and our budget to fight the drug war in Mexico is as counterproductive as our U.S. job eating trade deficit.  Instead we jail addicts.   Addicts who are not violent, should be screened and sequestered in an environment geared to treatment.  Dollars spent to accomplish this can come from otherwise, redundant incarceration.  Addicts are human beings that need to be rehabilitated.  Jails and prisons are good at warehousing and worsening criminal behavior.  With an exception to federal prisons, what is missing,  is the willful intent to screen and rehabilitate.

If you  watched the 2010 world series, you may have noticed Texas Rangers Phenom Josh Hamilton who led his team to the big October showdown in the baseball world.  He has a batting average of .352 and hit 32 home-runs in 2010.  What makes this a bigger story is Josh’s journey from drug addiction to baseball stardom.  The blog “Man of Depravity” published Josh Hamilton’s story in a short bio and video you should view called Heroin to Home Runs; The Story of Josh Hamilton. Hamilton pulled no punches in laying it down to a higher power the same way he pulls no punches when he crushes a baseball.  He puts out a message to all other addicts; recovery is a possibility.  Every day is an another opportunity to stay sober.  One day at a time.  Josh has been sober since 2005 and knows intimately that successful sobriety requires daily vigilance as he follows his path of freedom from  addiction.    Link by Big Rod

Meth is a dangerous and destructive drug

Meth destroys those it comes in contact with. Meth is the number one drug related issue for law enforcement officials in Alabama. Meth is addictive and creates mental and physical effects that changes your life forever. Meth is death.

ZEROMETH is an awareness and educational campaign sponsored by the ALABAMA DISTRICT ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION, with the goal of stopping this drug and it’s life threatening consequences  –  LINKS BY DONNA

Incarceration and opioid withdrawal: The experiences of methadone patients and out-of-treatment heroin users.

Here’s a trip worth taking into ABC’s 20/20 investigative journey into dangerous drug use in the suburban streets of America!  For 40 minutes,  20/20 exposes a growing travesty of heroin use and the kids that have shared their horrific stories.   Watch the show for your self in Teens Hooked on Heroin What makes this latest effort in social journalism worth seeing is the sheer reality of addiction to dangerous drugs that perfectly normal looking teens like Ashly and other young adults have fallen victim to right under our noses.  Every parent should see this. link courtesy of Angie.

A Thief in the Family: My Daughters Addiction, Hardwired for Heroin Feb. 2009 “Death by overdose is an absolute epidemic in our society.  Thousands of young adults are dying from this horrible affliction, and it needs to be brought to the forefront of public attention. We need sweeping policy changes towards addiction.”  Marie Minnich.   Marie is shouting out for America to wake up in this poignant  book about the struggle with addiction and its toll.  Excerpt from the book

Three decades of growth in America’s prison population has nudged the nation across a sobering threshold:  more than one in every 100 adults is now confined in an American jail or prison. “Drugs are among the biggest culprit.” Read the PEW Charitable Trust Report:  One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008

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