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Author: Shernide Delva
Until last week, bars in New York could refuse to serve pregnant women alcohol, or ban them from entering. Some restaurants even refused to serve raw fish to pregnant women. However, thanks for updated guidelines released last week by the city’s Human Rights Commission, pregnant women will now have a choice.
But should they?
The city’s Human Rights Commission aims to eliminate all forms of discrimination against pregnant women. Expectant mothers can now decide to eat or drink whatever they want, and establishments who deny them can be penalized. This new law raises an important question all throughout the nation: Should pregnant women be denied the right to drink?
For some, the answer might seem obvious. Of course, pregnant women should not be allowed to drink! After all, it has been proven that alcohol increases the likelihood of birth defects and developmental issues. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can increase the risk of a premature birth and result in negative outcomes.
Risks of alcohol consumptions during pregnancy include:
- Distinctive facial features. The newborn may have a small head, flat face, and narrow eye openings. These differences become more apparent by age 2 or 3 years old.
- Learning and behavioral problems
- Growth Problems: Children exposed to alcohol may develop slower than other kids of the same age
- Birth Defects
- Problems bonding and feeding
Despite these risks, the answer is not that simple. Some argue that denying pregnant women the right to drink undermines the right she has to choose what she does with her body. The argument points to Roe vs. Wade and pro-choice as reasons to why a woman should be able to make the personal choice of drinking or not drinking while pregnant.
“Judgments and stereotypes about how pregnant individuals should behave, their physical capabilities, and what is or is not healthy for a fetus are pervasive in our society and cannot be used as a pretext for unlawful discriminatory decisions in employment, housing, and public accommodations,” say the new guidelines.
The guidelines were created to help clarify a 2013 city law designed to protect pregnant women in the workplace. The law specifies that it is illegal to refuse to hire or promote someone because they are pregnant. It also states that it is unlawful to deny an application from a pregnant applicant.
“Accommodation of Pregnant women cannot be a favor,” said Azadeh Khalili, executive director of the Commission on Gender Equity. “It is a human right and the law in New York City.”
These two laws seem reasonable to the average person. After all, it would be a clear form of discrimination to stop a woman from working or living in a home because she made the choice to have kids. However, the new law is taking discrimination to a whole new level by stating that restaurant and bars should not have the right to refuse a pregnant woman a drink.
Still, the subject of whether a moderate amount of alcohol is “safe” for pregnant women to drink has been hotly debated for decades. While we mentioned some of the risks of drinking while pregnant, those outcomes typically come from heavy drinking consumption. No confirmed evidence shows that an occasional drink will do harm to unborn babies, especially after the first trimester.
In February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged sexually active women to stay away from alcohol unless they were on birth control. They stated that any amount of alcohol consumed during pregnancy could raise the risk of a fetus being born with developmental issues. Many women were not happy about these recommendations. Despite these warnings, studies show that 1-15% of women still drink a little alcohol during pregnancy.
Clearly, this whole topic is a controversial manner. Many argue that women are discriminated only once they look pregnant, meaning that women who are newly pregnant can make the choice to drink while those who are months along are denied alcohol. Since the most significant damage is done in the first trimester, denying pregnant women alcohol may not prevent as much harm.
Overall, study after study reveal drinking during pregnancy is not the best idea. It is always best to put the health of your baby first, rather than take the risk of any complications. Whether or not restaurants and bars should have a say in the manner is a topic that is yet to be fully explored. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Author: Justin Mckibben
This definitely isn’t the first time we have asked questions about the concept of forcing someone into alcohol or drug addiction treatment. We have examined in the past whether or not this is an effective way to address addiction and we have evaluated whether or not it is a good idea to try and force your loved ones into treatment.
While some still think that forcing someone who refuses to stop using drugs or drinking to go to treatment is the only way from saving themselves, there are still a lot of people out there who think “tough love” approaches such as this just flat out down work. A lot of people in recovery will tell you most people won’t make the necessary changes in their life until they are ready and willing to make those changes, but others will tell you that a lot of people don’t realize how serious the issue is and need to be hit with a strong dose of reality before it is too late.
Now the conversation has been brought up just in time for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS), which hasn’t met since 1998, and some new research may put this whole concept to bed once and for all. But it doesn’t just say that forced treatment is ineffective, but goes as far as to say it can be a violation of human rights.
Compulsory Addiction Treatment
Compulsory Addiction Treatment, also sometimes referred to as Involuntary Addiction Treatment, refers to the mandatory enrollment of people into drug treatment programs, typically forced inpatient treatment.
This method of treatment is still used today, and in some places in the world it is used a lot more aggressively than others. Sometimes the individuals forced into compulsory addiction treatment are not even necessarily drug-dependent.
Now there is of course a big difference between compulsory addiction treatment and coerced addiction treatment, which is when individuals are given an ultimatum to either attend an addiction treatment facility of serve jail time. Drug courts often court order this kind of treatment, but it is still an option and not forced onto someone who doesn’t want it.
New Study Stats Do Not Satisfy
When the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP) introduced its recent research to the UNGASS they showed their studies had found that compulsory addiction treatment does NOT seem to have any real benefits, and after treatment compulsory addiction treatment does not reduce:
- Drug use
In a press release given after the findings of the study were announced it was stated:
“This consistent with growing calls from experts to replace the use of compulsory treatment with voluntary, evidence-based, and human rights compliant health and social services to address drug dependence,”
The study’s principal investigator from ICSDP, Dr. Dan Werb stated:
“The evidence clearly indicates that forcibly enrolling individuals does not result in sustained, positive outcomes.”
Dr. Werb explained that this new investigation raises serious questions about the growing dependence on compulsory approaches to drug addiction, particularly in places like:
- Southeast Asia
- Latin America
The researchers thoroughly studied and revised current scientific literature available in order to assess the efficacy of compulsory addiction treatment, and in doing so they claim to have two key discoveries concerning compulsory addiction treatment.
- Compulsory addiction treatment is less effective than non-compulsory methods at promoting long-term abstention or reducing criminal recidivism
- Compulsory addiction treatment actually has negative impacts on drug use after treatment, as well as on arrests or incarcerations, compared to voluntary methods.
Human Rights Violations
When it gets down to this part, I think back to an article I wrote about forced addiction treatment in Guatemala where a team of head-hunters would be dispatched by families members to wrangle and addict and drag them off to a dingy crowded building to detox in huddles like cages animals at the slaughterhouse… So for me it wasn’t too much of a surprise when the investigators of this recent study said there is strong evidence of human rights violations in compulsory addiction treatment programs, including torture and other forms of punishment for drug dependent individuals.
Mr. Rick Lines, executive director of Harm Reduction International, made his own statement condemning the conduct of some compulsory addiction treatment centers, stating:
“The routine use of physical violence, sexual abuse, and forced labor in compulsory treatment centers seriously undermines the human rights of detainees,”
The center I wrote about in Guatemala actively forced internees to clean the floors or to work at night as forms of punishment. The treatment plan consisted only of chores, religion and sometimes violence, and individuals were often tied up in the streets and brought there to be kept behind barred windows for months or years at a time.
The team who put out this recent study recommended that evidence-based methods of treatment should be implemented as they have been found to reduce drug use and repeated criminal offenses after treatment. The more humane, compassionate and public health-oriented addiction treatment archetype will be front and center at this year’s UNGASS, and hopefully even more progress will be made in revolutionizing treatment of addiction on a global scale.
Forcing someone into treatment may seem like a last resort for a lot of families frantically trying to stop the ones they love from causing more havoc or hurting themselves, but usually the solution lies in working together to make a choice for change.
As the stigma of addiction fades away and the worlds of science, psychology and politics grow a better understanding of addiction our world changes and how we treat those who suffer changes. Effective and holistic addiction treatment saves lives with compassionate and personalized treatment, and Palm Partners believes in providing the incredible treatment to help create change for life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
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Author: Justin Mckibben
Drunk driving is a terrible and devastating issue facing the country, and far too many families and friends become victims of accidents involving intoxicated motorists, and most states fight back against those who get behind the wheel and take the lives of others into their hands.
The Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving
In 2006 as a response to the more than 13,000 people who were being killed annually in drunk driving crashes, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) launched the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, which is actually described as a blueprint for methods the nation can use to effectively eliminate drunk driving.
8 years after the launch of the campaign, tremendous progress has been made. MADD continues to build upon its successes in the fight against drunk driving, and it actively celebrates the success of some states, while calling others to action.
2015 MADD Report
MADD has recently released a report rating all 50 states individually as on 2014 on their efforts to crack down on drunk driving fatalities. The states were awarded stars for passing legislation within various categories, and rated side by side throughout the publication. This annual Report to the Nation provides an overview of legislative accomplishments, highlights reforms, and provides a glimpse of what is on the horizon for the year.
According to these ratings and the collective of the statistics, 13 states stand with 5 star ratings in the latest report, including Maine, Kansas and New Mexico, with the highest over-all belonging to Virginia. Other states such as Montana, Vermont and Kentucky fall short in the rankings with the least anti-drunk driving legislation. This list gives people an opportunity to see where their state matches up.
Certain aspects of the laws were taken into consideration during this rating, including:
Devices that measure drivers’ BAC and are installed in cars of offenders
- Roadside sobriety checkpoints
- Child endangerment laws
Specifically those that consider driving under the influence to be a form of child abuse.
Star Studded States
There were quite a few states that achieved higher ratings due to their legislation. MADD applauded many of these states, saying in the report they were honored for their continued efforts to keep the roads safe and protect the public. Here are a few examples of states that did well in the rankings.
Colorado was noted as being successful in reducing drunk driving fatalities by highly incentivizing the use of ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers through allowing a shorter license suspension period for those who chose to directly to an interlock system immediately after a conviction.
Due to the changes implemented in this state, statistics show that drunk driving deaths have shown a decrease of 19%!
The state of Florida was acknowledged for requiring interlocks for first-time convicted drunk drivers with a BAC of .15 or greater, and then in 2014 the state expanded that law to allow judges to order the interlocks for first-time offenders with a BAC anywhere from .08 – .14 in lieu of a 10-day impound.
MADD did however ask that lawmakers do more to stop drunk driving by requiring ignition interlocks for ALL convicted drunk drivers regardless of BAC.
Ohio is also doing a decent job, but MADD did acknowledge that the Buckeye State has the opportunity to do serious damage to drunk driving, since in 2014 Annie’s Law requiring ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers was introduced, but the legislation ran out of time before being approved.
Low End States
Other states were noted for having a less than proactive status as far as putting new laws or policies into effect that would further combat the death rate caused by drunk driving in their area.
The report MADD published calls Michigan out as a 2-star-state saying it has a lot of work to do to reduce their drunk driving fatalities. Lawmakers had extended the .08 BAC limit back in 2013 until 2018, but that was the only notable action according to the report.
MADD has called on Michigan lawmakers to make that .08 BAC limit permanent, and to enact some sort of legislation to require ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers. They even suggested more high-visibility in law-enforcement efforts.
Montana caught some heat as a “1-star state” for doing what MADD considers very little to reduce the danger of drunk driving in the state, claiming that last real effort put forth to try and face the issue was 12 years ago in 2003 when the state enacted the .08 BAC limit into law.
MADD has openly challenged the ligilature in their report to take action and provide law enforcement with the tools needed to address the issue of drunk driving.
MADD Making More Moves
This year MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving continued to save lives and scored its most single-year legislative victories to date! 4 states passed all-offender ignition interlock laws, including:
- New Hampshire
That makes the count 24 states in total.
MADD also boasts research on a test vehicle currently being done in Sweden with the hope that the vehicle will ultimately be brought back to the United States, and we could possibly see the first car that can ONLY be driven by a sober driver in 2015!
With MADD trying to inspire state legislatures continued effort to push for innovations and enforcement of new laws to help restrict the growing concern of drunk driving across the country, it is possible that reports showing this information could keep growing, and these next few years more star-studded states could appear as drunk driving deaths experience a drastic decline. Sometimes a DUI charge isn’t quite enough, and an individual needs to seem treatment considering their history of drunk driving.
Fatal accidents across the country claim thousands of innocent lives, and all because of those who get drunk, and get behind the wheel. If you have been arrested for drunk driving in the past, or maybe just know the risks you have taken while under the influence, perhaps it is time to consider how many lives, how many families you put in harm’s way. Alcohol abuse kills, but it doesn’t have to. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
By Cheryl Steinberg
As much as 90% of the drug and alcohol rehabs in America endorse the 12 Step approach to treatment and recovery and yet, research shows that there’s a better way: combining therapy and medication.
If you are a member of a 12 Step fellowship, you might know quite well the bias against the use of medications in recovery – and I’m not talking about narcotics. I mean things like antidepressants and medications designed to support abstinence, such as opioid blockers. The FDA has approved two different medications for use in the treatment of an alcohol use disorder.
So what are these FDA-approved medications and how effective are they?
The first medication is called acamprosate (brand name Campral) and it has been used for alcohol use disorder treatment since the 1980s in Europe; it was accepted by the FDA in 2004. The way Campral works is this: it stabilizes the initial depression as well as reducing cravings by quieting the feelings of being restless, irritability, and discontent that alcoholics experience when they first quit drinking. Acamprosate is meant to be taken daily for the first 12 months of abstinence.
The second medication is Naltrexone. Although Naltrexone is an opioid inhibitor, is has been FDA approved as a daily medication to be taken at a low dose for the treatment of alcohol abuse. Naltrexone is best if used as an emergency relapse drug. Alcoholics who take it prior to a relapse have reported significantly less negative impact of their relapse. For those who want to be abstinent, naltrexone works as a great emergency relapse drug in combination with acamprosate.
It also functions as a supplement to be taken prior to a planned drink. In fact, naltrexone works so well to reduce relapse that many alcoholics use it to successfully drink on a regular basis with very few reports of high binge drinking. Therefore, it might be entirely possible in the near future for alcoholics to simply carry a bottle of naltrexone with them for drinking occasions instead of attending an AA meeting when the urge to drink hits.
Putting It Into Perspective
If you think of these drugs being used to treat an ongoing disease like asthma, which alcoholism is, then it might make more sense. So, in this example, consider that the majority of asthma sufferers have both a daily inhaler and an emergency inhaler. Therefore, for people with alcohol use disorder, acamprosate is their daily medication and naltrexone is their emergency relapse drug.
Epidemiological Studies and Findings
Currently, clinical trials show that the combination of acamprosate, naltrexone, and cognitive-behavioral therapy have the highest rates of recovery of any system used in drug and alcohol treatment. In fact, this conglomeration of treatment approaches has been studied thoroughly over the past 10 years, revealing abstinence rates of greater than 65%. No other program, not Alcoholics Anonymous, nor SMART Recovery®, comes close to producing these rates of abstinence, and yet very few treatment programs in the U.S. are engaging in this practice.
Treating Nicotine Addiction: A Case for Medication
Abstinence rates for nicotine are at an all-time high of 82% in the United States according to the CDC. Nicotine addiction treatment has been the only drug treatment program to have significantly impacted drug use in recorded history.
So what’s happening in nicotine addiction treatment that isn’t happening in the drug rehabilitation industry?
The answer is pharmacological assistance in quitting addiction, which is to say, involving the use of medication(s) as a vital part in helping people overcome their addiction. First of all, it’s now widely known that nicotine is one of most addictive drugs in existence. Considering just how addictive this drug is, how then have smoking rates decreased so dramatically?
The answer to that is this: the use of a medical-psycho-social model of recovery. A comprehensive study from the Western Journal of Medicine in 2002 made two conclusions after scrutinizing over 6,000 articles on nicotine cessation. The first conclusion was that taking FDA-approved medication for the cessation of nicotine more than doubled success at quitting smoking. The second was that the likelihood of successfully quitting increased even further when anti-smoking medication was combined with evidence-based therapy for behavioral modification, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
There is no study that exists showing that therapy or 12-step programs alone are as effective as a combined therapy and medication program. Knowing this, it’s safe to say that any program that does not prepare recovering alcoholics with the tools of both therapy and anti-addiction medication that can lessen the impact of a relapse is unrealistic and negligent.
Consider this: of those who are attempting life-long abstinence, over 99% will drink at least once within a 20-year period. Therefore, healthcare practitioners are ethically responsible to prepare their patients with alcohol use disorder by providing them with essential information on how to mitigate relapse if it occurs.
Are you seeking recovery for an alcohol or drug addiction? Do you need help finding out where and how to start? Our Addiction Specialists are available around the clock to take your calls and answer your questions. Let us help you. You are not alone.
What is a Dover, MA Alcohol Rehab?
An alcohol rehab is a medical facility that houses a specially designed program for the treatment of alcohol dependence, abuse, and addiction with an emphasis on safety, comfort, and education. In a word: rehabilitation, which is what ‘rehab’ is short for.
Dover, MA Alcohol Rehab: Why Do I Need Alcohol Rehab?
By now, you probably have realized that your drinking has gotten a *little* out of hand; you’ve tried to stop or to cut back only to experience disturbing, even frightening symptoms that caused you to go right back to drinking just to make it stop. Your instincts are right: Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome is a very serious condition that, at best, is extremely uncomfortable and, at worst can actually kill you. That is why a Dover, MA alcohol rehab with a detox program is necessary.
Dover, MA Alcohol Rehab: The Importance of a Medical Detox
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome occurs when the central nervous system (CNS) becomes overly excited due to the sudden absence of alcohol, which has been suppressing CNS activity. In essence, your system, which in your drinking was in a dormant state, is now overcompensating. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome refers to a set of symptoms that can include seizures and delirium tremens – a subset of symptoms such as tremors, anxiety, paranoia, and panic attacks. The severity of the alcohol withdrawal syndrome can range from mild, such as sleep disturbances, like insomnia, and mild anxiety to very severe and life-threatening such as convulsions, which can result in death.
Dover, MA Alcohol Rehab: What to Expect During Detox
An alcohol detox part of rehab will start with a medical staff evaluating you to see what your drinking history is and to see how much alcohol is in your system at the time you arrive at the facility. This is necessary in order to give you the right medications and the right amount of each in order to help you detox from alcohol in a safe and comfortable manner.
After being evaluated, the medical personnel at the Dover, MA alcohol rehab will stabilize you with the use of medications so as to reduce your withdrawal symptoms and keep you safe and comfortable.
A Dover, MA alcohol rehab will evaluate you and then stabilize your condition so that you are safe and comfortable. Your alcohol detox will last anywhere from 4 to 10 days depending on your progress. A caring and nurturing medical staff will monitor your condition, checking your vitals in the morning and at night and administer your medications at these times, too. You will have your meals provided to you by kitchen personnel at the Dover, MA alcohol rehab.
The goal of the Dover, MA alcohol rehab is to detox you from alcohol which is done in a safe and comfortable environment. Comfort is of the utmost, after safety because the detoxification from alcohol is unpleasant and should never be done cold turkey and never alone.
Dover, MA Alcohol Rehab: Inpatient Rehab
The rest of your time spent at the Dover, MA alcohol rehab, which most likely will be about 30 days in all, will be filled with group and individual therapy sessions as well as on-site support group meetings, such as AA fellowship meetings.
The purpose of the group therapy meetings is to receive therapy as well as peer support to help you work through your substance abuse and any related issues. You will also meet one-on-one with your therapist to develop a personalized treatment plan to guide you in your treatment, setting benchmarks and goals while you are in rehab.
You will also have other kind of groups that are more educationally-structured. These are designed to teach you very important aspects for understanding the nature of the disease of addiction as well as ways to make major lifestyle changes and learn tools for healthy ways to cope so that you won’t feel the need to use alcohol in the future.
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse or some other substance abuse or addiction, and are looking for a Dover, MA alcohol rehab, help is available. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist, day or night. We can answer your questions and share with you our resources. You are not alone.