Although we are considered the Leader of the Western World, America has a lot to learn about addiction and addiction treatment. Here are 6 ways addiction is treated differently in America.
#1. We Incarcerate People to Stop Drug Use
America holds the title of incarcerating more people than any other country in the world.
As one of the main fall-out effects from the nation’s War on Drugs approach, many people who should have been given access to treatment were, instead, dropped into the criminal justice system. As a result, we have more people in prison than anywhere else in the world.
And unfortunately, it looks like we’ll be holding this title for quite some time. Some 2.2 million Americans are locked up at any given time—compared to a mere 676,000 in Russia and 385,000 in India.
Half of all federal prisoners and 17% of state prisoners and are incarcerated for drug-related crimes, and these statistics don’t include the percentage of those who committed other crimes related to addiction problems, which would make the numbers far higher.
#2. We Rely on Prohibition-like Methods to Deter Substance Abuse
America has the world’s highest legal drinking age, and advocates of this policy argue that it has reduced accident-related deaths and high school binge drinking, which has actually declined significantly since the early 1980s.In 1983, 41% of 12th graders reported having had five or more drinks on one occasion in the past two weeks; the number for 2013 was 22%, a drop of nearly half. Deaths resulting from drunken driving incidents have also plummeted, from 21,000 in 1983 to around 10,000 in 2013.
Yet, it’s not clear that an older drinking age is the main factor in these reduced numbers. For example, Canada, whose drinking age is 19, has experienced similar declines and now has fewer deaths from drunk driving when compared to the US.
If a higher drinking age actually did encourage people to begin drinking alcohol at an older age, it might reduce the risk of alcoholism, which has been linked to early on-set of alcohol use. It’s not clear that the 21 age limit can be credited with this trend; factors such as growing up in an alcoholic family, which can independently affect risk, so postponing initiation might not help that much.
#3. Our Treatment System Is Dominated by 12-Step Programs
This not the case the world-over, where, for example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the preferred mode of treatment.
Of all the American addiction treatment programs, 95% refer patients to 12-step meetings as a matter of course and 90% base a good portion of their treatment on 12-step principles. Fundamental to treatment in this system is the idea that, complete abstinence from all “mind and mood altering” substances, is the basis of recovery. People who recover on their own are often viewed with skepticism, as possibly being “dry drunks,” and the idea that someone can stay sober without meeting attendance is seen as “denial.”
In many other countries, treatment is more varied, consists of talk therapy and may include attempts at moderation.
#4. Coercion Is a Common Route to Treatment
The majority of addiction treatment in the US is now outpatient—and 49% of all patients in these programs are referred to them, typically as an alternative to incarceration by the criminal justice system.
When it comes to long-term residential treatment, criminal justice referrals are also the main source of patients, accounting for 36% of all participants. 29% of residents in long-term treatment make the choice for themselves, while the rest are primarily referred by other treatment or healthcare providers.
#5. We Spend the Most Money on Addiction Research
The National Institute on Drug Abuse is the world’s largest funder of research on psychoactive drugs and addiction. In 2012, its budget was $1.05 billion. But that’s not the only major federal funder of addiction research in the US. We have another national institute that covers addiction research: the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, whose budget in 2012 was $459 million.
America spends nearly $1.5 billion a year, mainly on basic neuroscience research that, while generating enormous value in terms of understanding fundamental brain systems, has not yet generated much that is of direct use in treatment.
#6. Treatment is Cushier in America Than Other Places
In Russia, for example, the approach to addiction treatment is a forced approach to drug treatment.
The idea is to get addicts to just stop taking drugs and rough it out. They mostly just want to keep them clean a certain period of time so that the system cleans itself out and if they behave then they send them home. Therefore, “detox” consists of locking men in a room, where they are essentially being detained, on bunks with no way out, and only given bread and water. This is called the ‘quarantine room.’ After they have withdrawn completely, which can take up to a month or more, the men usually work a job, lift weights and cook.
In Iran, treatment of drug addicts is quite lenient, when compared to that of drug traffickers.
Iran imposes capital punishment – the death penalty – for crimes such as the cultivation certain drugs, trafficking, import, export, production, sale or distribution, or even possession (if over a certain amount).
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is a pioneer country in the fields of opium substitution therapies and prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS,” the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports on its website. Also noteworthy is that 88% of such programs are funded by the private sector and by non-governmental organizations.
Iran spends quite heavily when it comes to drug education and treatment. According to Foreign Affairs, by 2002, 50% of Iran’s drug control budget was spent on public health campaigns. Iran has also established numerous methadone clinics and needle exchanges and spends as much on treatment and prevention as it does on prohibition.
The first time you are caught for drug consumption in Singapore is one year, the second time is three years and the third time is five minimum with three strokes of the cane. Consumption just means that your urine has tested positive. They will pick up people randomly, who have a record of drug offenses so, even after you have served your sentence, you can be tested at any time.
Singapore does not respect the privacy of its citizen’s seeking treatment either. Once you’ve seen a psychiatrist for your drug issue or you have gone into a hospital for detox, public or private, your name will be surrendered to the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB). Once you complete your detox, you are likely to be randomly picked up again and tested, at any point in the future. And this could happen while you’re at your home, school, or on the job.
As far as drug treatment goes, Singapore takes the boot camp approach. After a week of detox, addicts are receive an orientation to a regimen of paramilitary discipline. After they are considered to be ready and able to quit drug use, first-time addicts are put into two weeks of intensive physical training in the tropical sun and equally intensive personal, group and family counseling.
Although there is much work to be done in understanding substance abuse and addiction, what we do know is that these are chronic medical conditions and that treatment does work. Call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist. We are available around the clock. You are not alone.
Author: Justin Mckibben
The ‘War on Drugs’ is not something that anyone would say should be taken lightly. It is true that addiction to drugs and alcohol is a dangerous disease, and it is true that it has affected the lives of so many people across the world, but drug fear mongering is dangerous as well.
All of these tactics prove ineffective because they ignore the basic realities of the circumstances they seek to overcome. That includes the fact that addiction is a disease, and that these witch-hunts for addicts as criminals or degenerates push people away from getting the help they need. Here are 3 reasons drug fear mongering is dangerous, and to prove the point we will look at details from specific examples.
- Drug fear mongering can actually (ironically) promote drug use
-Example: D.A.R.E. Program
Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) is a very popular program that was created to combat drug and alcohol addiction by trying to educate kids at a young age. Although D.A.R.E. was designed with the best intentions it is completely ineffective and sometimes even counterproductive. That conclusion was actually reached by the congressional General Accounting Office (GAO), the U.S. Surgeon General, the National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Department of Education. Because of the D.A.R.E. programs inability to actually effectively address addiction, the federal government now prohibits schools from spending their Safe and Drug Free Schools funding on D.A.R.E.
The irony of the situation is that based on the fact that after being presented with the concept of D.A.R.E. to keep an eye out for those around you using drugs or drinking, the vast majority of young people greatly exaggerate in their minds the quantity and frequency of drinking among their peers. Therefore, they tend to drink (or drink more) than they would otherwise, in an effort to “fit in.”
So because of the style of awareness D.A.R.E. tried to promote was fueled with paranoia, it actually made things worse by planting the idea to use drug into the minds of children because they believed everyone was doing it.
- Drug fear mongering creates false information and panic
-Example: 80’s Crack Baby Scare
Drug fear mongering also tends to take a ‘boogie-man’ approach to addressing the issue of drugs and alcohol. One of the worst parts of fear mongering is that quite often there is false information that is adopted as fact because the media hopes to use it as a powerful tool to draw a lot of attention to an issue by making it seem more urgent and magnifying the horrors of addiction.
Over the decades of the twentieth century, drug use has gone through cycles of intense public awareness and concern and relative indifference. For some of these decades reformers, the public, the media, or legislators focus on a specific drug which stands in for or represents the drug problem generally. The late 1980s witnessed a drug “panic,” “crisis,” or “scare” specific to cocaine, or more specifically crack cocaine. Drug use generally came to be seen as the social problem of the decade and emerged into the forefront like never before. This was strange because drug use had been on the rise for several years by the time it caught media attention in 1985, yet people were rushed into fear as if it fell out of nowhere.
Widespread use of crack cocaine during the 80’s led to the “Crack Baby” scare, when babies born to crack cocaine users sometimes had symptoms including but not limited to jitteriness and smaller heads. Studies at the time blamed prenatal drug use, and experts suggested that the affected children had irreversible brain damage and predicted dire futures for them. These reports led to widespread media coverage featuring breathless headlines and heart-rending images of tiny sick newborns hooked up to hospital machines.
In recent years experts have mostly discounted any link, noting that so-called crack babies often were born prematurely, which could account for many of their early symptoms. Studies that tracked children beyond infancy have failed to find any severe outcomes. Crack-exposed teens had lower scores on developmental tests than other children but their scores were still within normal limits, so the panic that was induced by the media was quite baseless information that was used to fan the flames of the war on drugs with fear in the 1980’s.
- Drug fear mongering promotes prisons and not proper treatment for addiction
-Example: Heroin Epidemic
In comparison to the 1980’s ‘Crack Baby’ Panic, America is currently experiencing what the media is announcing as a ‘Heroin Epidemic’ that is sweeping the nation. It is true that recently the numbers of heroin addicts recorded has increased, and the use of heroin has spread, however the real question is why it has suddenly become an ‘epidemic’.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that America had 373,000 users in 2007 and 669,000 in 2012. The increase is largely attributed to heroin being much cheaper than prescription opiates, which have become increasingly expensive due to reforms combating prescription pill addiction.
That being said, by fear mongering the drug use in this situation, we are only putting the real problem behind us, which is that the country has ineffective incarceration policies for the individuals who are arrested in possession, while actually treating drug addiction as a disease is being largely swept under the rug. Or at least it has up to this point. This kind of publicity controlled through propaganda only prohibits people from seeking help, and it makes some addicts believe they must fit into a certain stigma in order to need treatment.
By putting the fear into the American people about the use of heroin and other opiates, it may be creating healthy fear for those who are not yet using, but that is a small victory compared to the thousands of addicts out there who become terrified of getting honest about their opiate addiction and seeking treatment for their addiction.
The devastation and the evils of the disease of addiction are all very real and a lot of the truth is scary without the scare tactics. Fear mongering is counter-productive to keeping people informed and helping them equip themselves with the means to recover from their addictions. The sad part is that instead of making people afraid to use drugs, fear mongering makes more addicts and alcoholics afraid to seek help. How can you save your life when you’re scared to death? If you or someone you love is struggling from substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
By Cheryl Steinberg
The nation’s top drug-control official, Michael Botticelli, just might be the person for the job, considering his first-hand experience with substance abuse.
As the Nation’s acting drug czar, Botticelli is tasked with spearheading the Obama administration’s drug policy, which is largely established on the idea of shifting the practice from the criminal justice system as the go-to to helping people with addiction by making treatment and support programs more accessible to them. Traditionally, the position has been held by law enforcement officials, a military general and physicians. But for now, it is occupied by a recovering alcoholic.
Botticelli’s story is the epitome of the policy, and a view that he credits with saving his life.
Botticelli, 56, the nation’s acting drug czar is a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for 25 years. He decided to seek help and recovery after experiencing a series of events, common to alcoholics in their active addiction, namely waking up handcuffed to a hospital bed after a drunken-driving accident and a financial collapse that left him facing eviction.
A New Strategy
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy approach has been, Botticelli said, a “very clear pivot to, kind of, really dealing with this as a public-health-related issue of looking at prevention and treatment.” He heads an office that has now shifted away from the antiquated and highly-flawed “war on drugs” ideology and is instead expanding access to treatment for addicts and preventing drug use through education.
Previously, Botticelli was director of Massachusetts’ Bureau of Substance Abuse Services and is currently trying to expand on some of the programs he enacted at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Programs such as allowing police to carry naloxone — a drug commonly known as Narcan that can reverse an opiate overdose — and helping people who have completed treatment find housing and jobs are his focus as acting drug czar.
After several hardships including financial ruin and having his license suspended due to a drunken driving accident, Botticelli was finally ready to get help.
When he received an eviction notice, he called his brother for support. It was during that phone call that Botticelli’s brother asked if him was an alcoholic. “I finally said yes,” he said. “I remember distinctly thinking to myself, ‘If I say I’m an alcoholic, there’s no going back.’ ”
A friend brought him to his first 12 Step meeting.
“That’s the first time that I raised my hand and said that my name was Michael, and I was an alcoholic, and that I needed help,” he said. “At that point, people kind of rally around you.”
Botticelli took suggestions by staying in the middle, attending meeting after meeting, and changing people, places, and things. He said he learned something then that has guided him since: Identify with people who have a problem, but don’t compare yourself.
“When I first came here, all I wanted to do was not drink and have my problems go away,” he said, choking up. “I’m standing here 25 years later, working at the White House. And if you had asked me 25 years ago when I came to my first meeting here if that was a possibility, I would’ve said you’re crazy. But I think it just demonstrates what the power of recovery is.”
Has alcohol become a problem for you? Are you drinking just to feel normal? Have you ever experienced “the shakes” or any other withdrawal symptoms when you try to go without drinking? These are signs that you may have a drinking problem, alcohol dependence, or alcohol addiction issue. The good news is that help is available and that recovery is possible. Life can be amazing when you recover from your addiction. Call us toll-free at 1-800-951-6135 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist.
Author: Justin Mckibben
The CVS Pharmacy empire has been around for years providing medications to people across the nation, and they just recently announced that it would offer the opiate ‘antidote’ Narcan without a prescription at all of its 60 pharmacies in Rhode Island by the end of month in order to combat the growing problem with opiate addiction in the area. There is much speculation as to if this will effectively decrease the number of addicts in the area abusing opiates, but it is sure to help combat the death rate from overdose while treatment methods are developed.
What is Narcan?
Narcan (also known as naloxone) is a maintenance drug that offers immediate relief for anyone who is experiencing an overdose from an opiate drug such as heroin or even a prescription painkiller such as OxyContin or OxyCodone. If Narcan is administered in the time it takes for someone overdosing to succumb to the opiate, it can reverse an overdose by restoring the respiratory system back to normal functioning. Narcan can be administered as a nasal spray or an injection.
Friday after the initial announcement of this new policy CVS spokesman Michael DeAngelis made a statement saying,
“Over half of our pharmacies are now under a collaborative agreement that allows them to dispense Narcan without a prescription. It’s part of our commitment to combat prescription drug abuse. We think it’s a great public service.”
More than a year ago the Walgreen’s pharmacy chain began a similar program, thanks to an agreement among the Board of Pharmacy, a Miriam Hospital doctor and the drugstore.
The two giants of the prescription drug industry are responding to a drastic rise in recent deaths in the Rhode Island area due to opiate drug overdoses. According to a Butler Hospital website, Rhode Island ranks among the highest in the country in illicit drug use, including the non-medical use of prescription pain relievers and per capita overdose deaths.
Fighting Overdose in Rhode Island
The collaborative agreement in this new initiative is with Dr. Josiah Rich, an infectious disease specialist at the Miriam Hospital. Dr. Rich took note of the severity of the situation.
- 90 Rhode Islanders died in the first 4 months of 2014 from accidental drug overdoses compared to the 73 drug overdoses during the same time period in the last year, meaning there has been a 23% increase.
“Here in their home state, with one of the most devastating public epidemics to hit, they are stepping up to the plate and rolling this out,” Dr. Josiah Rich said. “This is a critically important tool to prevent overdose deaths.”
The state of Rhode Island has stepped in a few ways to try and combat the opiate overdose problem in the area, some tactics include:
- In August, Butler and Kent hospitals began distributing Narcan to patients at risk of an opiate drug overdose.
- The Rhode Island State Police added Narcan to their toolbox in early May.
How It Works
DeAngelis referred to this process as a blanket prescription. Once a pharmacist completes the training program, he or she signs the agreement with Rich. When reached for comment Rich stated,
“It’s pretty straight forward. We teach people how to recognize a drug overdose, to call 911 and how to administer Narcan.”
CVS will offer those who are experiencing an immediate need for Narcan both nasal spray or the injection as means of receiving the medication. The nasal spray is expected to be much more widely used than the injection, and all CVS pharmacists are currently undergoing training programs to instruct them on how to help customers properly administer the drug according to CVS spokesman Michael DeAngelis who added,
“It will be like getting a flu shot. You will be able to walk in and not need a prescription.”
Dr. Josiah Rich did however say that a single dose of Narcan may not be enough. He reported that as the Narcan wears off the individual may experience mild or severe withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, and that they would also urge anyone who experiences this problem to seek medical care beyond that of the CVS pharmacy. Rich applauded CVS for making a commitment to deal with a serious crisis in Rhode Island pertaining to opiate abuse and addiction. Some may question whether or not this will just create an excuse for addicts to keep using, knowing they have access to the medication they need in case of overdose on a whim.
Cocaine Detox and Addiction Treatment South Florida: What you need to know
Cocaine is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning that, although there are limited medical uses attributed to it, it is also considered to be an illicit drug with a high potential for abuse.
Cocaine can cause psychological dependence, which leads to cocaine abuse and addiction, which carry with it an increased risk to health. Cocaine abuse can lead to death from either heart failure or breathing failure. That’s why cocaine detox and addiction treatment South Florida is available and should be seriously considered for helping you to stop the cycle of your cocaine habit.
Cocaine Detox and Addiction Treatment South Florida: How Cocaine Works
Cocaine speeds up the processes of your whole body. You feel like you’re full of energy, and at first, you experience feeling happy and excited. This is the euphoric effect of cocaine. However, long term cocaine use will cause your mood to change: you become nervous, angry, anxious, and even paranoid. Once the euphoric ‘high’ wears off, you’ll “crash,” feeling tired, sad, and depressed for days at a time. You will then experience intense cravings to do more cocaine in order to feel better. Thus the cycle of abuse begins.
Cocaine Detox and Addiction Treatment South Florida: Cocaine Overdose
Cocaine overdose can happen suddenly without warning and can be devastating. Signs and symptoms of a cocaine overdose include seizure and general shakiness, referred to as tremor. Seizures and tremors can come on suddenly without warning, though they usually occur shortly after use. Risk of stroke is also attributed to cocaine use. For people using coke for the first time, they will likely experience feeling awake for a long time. For those who have used cocaine before, there is less of a wide-awake effect from the drug.
Someone who experiences a cocaine overdose and survives it can be left with permanent brain injuries, caused by either the stroke or seizures, or both, that they sustained during overdose. These occur because the drug increases blood pressure and heart rate.
Cocaine is a highly dangerous drug – no matter how it is taken. The most common serious cocaine-related problems include heart attack and stroke. Cocaine overdose can occur in someone who has been a long-term user but can even happen the first time someone uses cocaine.
Cocaine Detox and Addiction Treatment South Florida: Two Phases of Treatment
Cocaine Addiction Treatment: Phase One
The first step in the process of cocaine detox and addiction treatment in South Florida is the medical detox. During this stage, you will be assessed in order to find out how much cocaine is currently in your system as well as the length of time you have been using cocaine. You will take a drug test and meet with an intake counselor to give your drug history – the results and information you share are kept confidential. This is done in order to make a treatment plan that will best serve you. During detox, you will be kept comfortable, have your meals and other needs provided and may be given medication to assist you in your detox from cocaine in both a safe and comfortable way.
Cocaine Addiction Treatment South Florida: Phase Two
The rehab stage of cocaine detox and addiction treatment South Florida lasts 30 days and offers safe haven while you recover from the effects of your cocaine use. During your cocaine addiction treatment South Florida, you will have all your needs taken care of. At rehab, you will attend both individual and group therapy sessions where you will learn tools and healthy coping methods in order to continue to live a healthy sober lifestyle after completing your cocaine detox and addiction treatment South Florida program.
Cocaine Detox and Addiction Treatment South Florida: Benefits
At a cocaine detox and addiction treatment South Florida, you can alleviate your withdrawal symptoms from long term cocaine use in a comfortable and serene setting. A well-trained, knowledgeable staff will help you transition smoothly into the rehab phase of your treatment program in order to for begin your recovery from addiction. The program is based on the premise of holistic treatment – treating mind, body, and spirit – with both cutting-edge treatments as well as industry-recognized techniques for each client who walks through our doors. A good cocaine detox and addiction treatment South Florida provides dual diagnosis treatment for its clients who struggle with co-occurring disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. Call us toll-free at 1-800-951-6135 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist. We are available around the clock to help. You are not alone.