This year actually marks the 40th anniversary of the War on Drugs and a lot has happened since it began. Let’s do a quick 1, 2, and 3 run down of the War on Drugs since it started.
- Since the beginning of the War on Drugs America has spent at least 1 trillion dollars on the drug war. It cost us, the U.S. taxpayers at least 51 billion dollars in 2009 alone at the state level and federal level. If that is too big of a number for you to get your head around let me put it this way: that is 169 dollars for every man, woman and child in America. And that isn’t counting opportunity costs or costs at the local level.
- Since the beginning of the War on Drugs we have also incarcerated millions of people for low-level drug law violations, which has resulted in racial disparities in the prison system, yet drug overdose, addict and misuse of substance is still more prevalent than ever.
- And last but not least since the inception of the War on Drugs, hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost to overdose and drug-related disease because cost-effective and lifesaving interventions are not sufficiently available. (On that note; see the first fact I mentioned above)
The War on Drugs and why it failed: My Opinion
The War on Drugs is a war with ourselves. We created the enemy, the need and the idea behind the War on Drugs. The War on Drugs may be one of the biggest mistakes, I believe this country made and continues to make even today. Imprisoning people for nonviolent drug offenses has bankrupted us as a country financially and morally. The War on Drugs has turned people with the disease of addiction into criminals and in many cases when these people serve time in jail or prison they come out worse not better because they weren’t criminals to begin with they were addicts.
The War on Drugs not only created their own enemy but to this day still continues while trying to beat the enemy, more enemies. This is why it is a war that can never be won. It is like Hercules fighting the Hydra. Take one head off; two more grow back in its place. This is why the war on drugs has failed. Example: throw a nonviolent drug offender with the disease of addiction in jail and they might just come out a gang member. Who knows? What I know is that what we need is more understanding, harm prevention and knowledge. And especially treatment for those who are using drugs.
Not only that but the harder we fight the War on Drugs the further underground the drug trafficking goes. Drug enforcement officials often cite drug-related violence as a reason that drugs must be eliminated from our society, but it is actually the system of drug prohibition that causes much of the violence.
Prohibition should have taught us something about trying to totally prohibit a substance. As soon as the United States put prohibition into effect you saw the rise of the American Mafia, corrupt police officers, and state officials; and everyone still continued to drink you just had the added violence that came with a kind of anarchy that ruled the sale of alcohol. Supply and demand people! When there is a demand there will always be someone who is willing to supply it. This is why the War on Drug will never be over. With large profit margins and people will demanding drugs. There will always be a customer base and someone who is always willing to step up and give it to them. Unfortunately, the War on Drugs made the decision that it would have to be the cartel, and the gangs, and the mafia or whoever else wanted to supply the drugs to all the people and not the FDA or government.
The War on Drugs did the exact opposite of what it was supposed to do. The War on Drugs was supposed to keep people out of danger and to slow the criminal activity. Instead the War on Drugs has created an underground violent and bloody drug trade and has also made your average Joes with the disease of addiction into hardened criminals.
The War on Drugs has thrown billions of dollars into turning addicts into criminals and pushing the drug trader farther down into the dark underbelly of our society. This is unfortunate because there are many addicts who could of used not even a fraction of that money and gotten the help they needed but instead they became a part of statistic number three I mentioned at the beginning of this post. It is frustrating to watch the United States throw money into fire of making things worse instead of looking for real solutions. Real solutions that include harm prevention, education (truth not scare tactics), treatment, and drug reform.
Luckily it seems that most of the country is starting to recognize what a disaster the War on Drugs has been for this country. Just like Hercules had to realize cutting the heads off Hydra didn’t work and come up with a new strategy; so do we. One that doesn’t have the unrealistic goal of wiping anything out forever (because you can’t) but come up with a strategy that is realistic and the most helpful or at least not harmful like it is now.
If you or your loved one is in need of drug treatment, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), formally called The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and commonly known as Obamacare, is a federal statute that was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. It is one of the most significant of laws that overhaul the U.S. healthcare system since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.
Simply put, The Affordable Care Act provides for wide-ranging health insurance reforms that will make health insurance available to many more people, lower health care costs, guarantee more health care choices, and enhance the quality of health care for all Americans.
The purpose of the ACA is threefold: to increase both quality and affordability of health insurance, lower the rate of uninsured Americans, and reduce health care cost to the individual and to the government. The Affordable Care Act also requires insurance companies to cover all regardless of pre-existing conditions or sex. Additional reforms intend to decrease costs and increase healthcare outcomes by shifting the system towards quality over quantity through greater competition, regulation, and incentives to simplify the delivery of health care. The overall aim of the ACA is to lower both future deficits and Medicare spending.
The Affordable Care Act and Addiction Treatment
The ACA has ten elements of what is considered to be essential health benefits, and substance abuse and addiction treatment is one. This means that, starting in 2014, all health insurance that is sold on Health Insurance Exchanges or as provided by Medicaid to eligible Americans must offer services for substance use disorders, such as addiction treatment.
By including such benefits in their health insurance plans, more providers can offer and be reimbursed for addiction treatment services, which then results in more people having access to substance abuse treatment. The specific substance abuse services have yet to be determined but will allow those in need to get treatment and help them with recovery.
The Need for Expanded Addiction Treatment
Over the last decade, numerous studies of the population of those suffering with mental health disorders and/or addiction have been conducted. These studies show that people with mental health and/or addiction disorders die at a younger age than those in the general population. Causes of these premature deaths are likely to included treatable health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and addiction. For example, people diagnosed with schizophrenia die from these conditions at two to three times the rate of those without these conditions. Those struggling with addictions also have the higher rates of many chronic, life-threatening conditions. A major reason for these high rates of illness and death among people with addiction or mental health conditions has been their lack of contact with primary care services.
The ACA and The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act
Under The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA), a group health plan or group health insurance issuer cannot require an additional financial obligation, such as a copayment, or restrict the number of outpatient visits or inpatient days covered on mental health or substance use disorder benefits. The ACA further makes health insurance, in general, more accessible and to more Americans and therefore can help more people who are struggling with addiction. If someone you know is struggling, give us a call at 1-800-951-6135.
If you or someone you know is looking for drug detox in Trenton, NJ, please call us at 800-951-6135.
Going to a drug detox in Trenton, NJ is an option to consider if you have found that you cannot stop drinking or drugging. Drug detox programs are meant to help you get off drugs and alcohol in a safe and comfortable way.
What to Expect at a Drug Detox in Trenton, NJ
When you first arrive, you will be assessed for your drug history. You will discuss with a staff member the drug or drugs you have been using and the extent to which you have been using them. You will also be given a drug screen so that the medical staff will know what is in your system so that they can properly treat the withdrawal symptoms you will start to experience once your drug of choice or drugs of choice leave your system.
If you are dependent on alcohol, it may be necessary to get help from a drug detox because it is not smart or safe to stop drinking cold turkey. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a set of withdrawal symptoms that kick in once you stop drinking. The symptoms can range from mild to severe and can even cause death. It is the purpose of the drug detox in Trenton, NJ to help you to stop drinking in a safe and comfortable manner.
Benzos and Barbiturates
If you are dependent on benzodiazepines (benzos) such as Valium or Xanax,or barbiturates, such as Fioricet, it is also necessary to attend a drug detox in Trenton, NJ because, like alcohol, benzo withdrawal syndrome can potentially be life-threatening. You can experience seizures or slip into a coma. The staff at the drug detox in Trenton, NJ will administer medications that will safely get you off of the benzos completely.
If you are dependent on opiates such as oxycodone, fentanyl, or heroin then more than likely you know what it is like to be dope sick. When you run out of or try to stop taking opiates, the withdrawal symptoms are so painful that many times, people go back to using because they cannot endure the pain. That is why a drug detox in Trenton, NJ is a viable option for opiate-dependent people. The detox program actually gives you medication that contains an opiate and then safely tapers you off so that your withdrawal is a lot more comfortable.
Cocaine and Crack
Unlike the other classes of drugs, withdrawal from cocaine or crack is less physical in nature. Other than crashing from being up while abusing cocaine, the withdrawal symptoms are mostly psychological. Many people who are dependent on cocaine or crack and who try to quit report experiencing terrifying hallucinations, depression, anxiety, and paranoia. The medical staff at the drug detox in Trenton, NJ will administer medications to alleviate these symptoms, as well.
If you are dependent on methamphetamine, or Crystal Meth, you will also benefit from getting help at a drug detox in Trenton, NJ. People who have been using meth and then decide to stop, will experience extreme fatigue, depression, and dehydration. Because meth is so highly addictive and its withdrawal so uncomfortable, people often relapse, meaning they go back to using it. For people who are addicted to meth, it is a good idea to get help from a drug detox in Trenton, NJ.
If you or someone you love is looking for a detox center in Nantucket, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.
Detox centers in Nantucket are a vital step towards recovery. They are the foundation upon which the rest of an addict’s recovery will be built on. This is because detox centers in Nantucket are where an addict or alcoholic goes to first get physically clean and recovery cannot begin unless an addict or alcoholic is actually off drugs and alcohol.
Detox centers in Nantucket, while they are focused on the physical removal of substances from the body, also recognize the need for something more when it comes to building a good and sold as well as clean foundation. That’s why detox centers in Nantucket also help with all aspects of life, or at least begin to. Detox centers in Nantucket will help with the actual detox process as well as help to repair self-esteem, values, responsibility, ethics, and morals; as well as improve the family life, workplace, and community involvement. While attend a detox center in Nantucket most of the work will be done on getting a clean mind and body but this process of rebuilding life again can and will start in detox if the addict or alcoholic wants it to.
At detox centers in Nantucket alcoholics and addicts can learn about alcohol recovery and relapse while sorting out and working out, or at least beginning to, workout underlying issues, traumas, and harms. These beginning steps while merely at detox center in Nantucket help an addict and alcoholic to begin to heal.
Going to a detox center in Nantucket may sound overwhelming based on everything you have just read but it really isn’t. The detox center in Nantucket is meant more to be a place for addicts and alcoholics to come and relax. If they wish to do so, most detox centers in Nantucket will offer the groups and staff for them to begin to work on things. Otherwise the detox center in Nantucket can merely be what it is best at and that is getting addicts and alcoholics safely and comfortably off of drugs and alcohol.
Drug and alcohol withdrawal can be really scary as well as painful or uncomfortable. In fact drug and alcohol withdrawal is part of the reason many addicts and alcoholics won’t attempt to get clean and will just continue on using. It also is the reason many addicts and alcoholics end up relapsing. This is why detox centers in Nantucket are so paramount. In order for an addict or alcoholic to give themselves a true shot at sobriety they need to be in a safe and comfortable place such as a detox center in Nantucket to make it through the tough physical part. If an addict or alcoholic can make it through the physical aspect at detox centers in Nantucket then suddenly their chances of staying sober rise significantly especially if they continue on with treatment past detox centers in Nantucket. Continuing on with some form of outpatient or inpatient program will greatly increase the chances that the addict or alcoholic will never have to see the inside of a detox center in Nantucket again. Especially if they are totally willing and ready to get sober.
The latest in our Drug Myths Debunked series, this one should ruffle a few feathers…
Myth: Drinking isn’t all that dangerous.
Fact: One in three 18 to 24 year olds admitted to the emergency room for serious injuries are also under the influence of alcohol at the time. Alcohol is also a major common denominator among homicides, suicides, and incidences of drowning. The World Health Organization estimates that risks linked to alcohol cause 2.5 million deaths per year from health problems such as liver and heart disease, car accidents, and cancer. All in all accounting for 3.8% of all deaths. Alcohol is the third biggest risk factor for early death and disabilities throughout the world.
Myth: Alcoholics Are Found in the Lower Depths of Society
Fact: The average alcoholic does not end up on the street or under a bridge. In fact a great many of them will be doing quite well in life. These high functioning alcoholics (HFAs) can have good jobs and a seemingly happy family life
Myth: Beer is weaker than other types of alcoholic beverages.
FACT: One 12-ounce can of beer, one 4-ounce glass of wine or one normal mixed drink are all equally intoxicating. The reality is that beer contains alcohol and some of the stronger beers can contain be high in alcohol content. This leads us to the next myth.
Myth: Beer drinkers can’t be Alcoholics
Fact: A common myth is that beer drinkers can’t be alcoholic. This view of beer can give people a false sense that beer is harmless. In fact, there are plenty of alcoholics who will only drink beer.
Myth: Alcohol use is not as dangerous as drug use.
Fact: Although there are more illicit drug users than there are alcoholics, every year there are many more alcohol-related deaths than there are drug-related deaths. There is a famous study done by researchers in Britain who designed a scoring system to decide what drug or drugs are “the worst.”
Scientists with the British Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) conducted research that took into account 7 different criteria and found that alcohol is most harmful. On a scale of 0 to 100, with 0 being harmless and 100 causing the most harm, they found alcohol to be worse than illegal drugs; alcohol scored a 72, while heroin scored a 55 and crack scored a 54.
Myth: Alcohol kills brain cells.
Fact: Although alcohol does not kill brain cells, it does cause you to lose neurotransmitters, the chemicals in your brain that allow you to do things like think and breathe. Long-term drinking can something called Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, also known as “wet brain.” It is a chronic and debilitating disease characterized by progressive learning and memory problems, such as forgetfulness frustration. Alcoholics with wet brain have difficulty with walking and coordination.
Alcoholism and Drug Addiction are Synonymous
The fact is, alcoholism and drug addiction are one in the same. The preferred substance might vary but, alcohol is, in fact a drug. So, technically, an alcoholic is a drug addict who happens to choose to specify his or her drug of choice: alcohol. A recovering alcoholic put it like this: “It’s only booze. But booze for an alcoholic is just as dangerous as crack.”
If you or your loved one is in need of treatment for alcohol abuse or addiction please give us a call at 800-951-6135.