Safe, effective drug/alcohol treatment

All across this country in small towns, rural areas and cities, alcoholism and drug abuse are destroying the lives of men, women and their families. Where to turn for help? What to do when friends, dignity and perhaps employment are lost?

The answer is Palm Partners Recovery Center. It’s a proven path to getting sober and staying sober.

Palm Partners’ innovative and consistently successful treatment includes: a focus on holistic health, a multi-disciplinary approach, a 12-step recovery program and customized aftercare. Depend on us for help with:

Should EMTs Take Patients to Sobering Centers and Mental Health Clinics?

Should EMTs Take Patients to Sobering Centers and Mental Health Clinics?

(This content is for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

New legislation being pushed to empower EMTs may soon change the way first responders in California help patient get care while trying to ease the overcrowding of emergency rooms. A bill as proposed will allow paramedics to bring a patient to sobering centers and mental health clinics, instead of taking them to the ER. So should EMTs take patients to these alternative facilities to receive more specific forms of care?

Giving EMTs Options

When dealing with a situation, law enforcement personnel are permitted to transport individuals who are intoxicated or experiencing a mental health crisis to sobering centers or mental health clinics if deemed appropriate. Sometimes this is the best place for a patient, depending on the specific circumstances. However, under current state law in California, Emergency Medical Technicians (or EMTs) and paramedics must bring patients to the emergency room.

Some argue that requiring EMTs and paramedics to transport these patients to the ER is not only contributing to overcrowding in emergency rooms but also it is often not the best place for them. Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn is one of many who believes this is a “common sense” option for EMTs. Hahn states,

“The bottom line is that if people like you and I can take an individual to a sobering center or a mental health urgent care center, why can’t a highly trained medical professional do the same?”

Supervisor Janice Hahn has sponsored the new bill, hoping to give EMTs more options that better serve the individual. Hahn states,

“Our mental health urgent care centers and the sobering center at Skid Row were designed to provide humane, compassionate care, tailored to meet the needs of their patients,”

In cases involving law enforcement, this option allows police to choose specialized facilities instead of booking people in jail. This allows for people who may be dealing with alcohol, drugs or mental health issues to sober up and receive on-the-spot treatment without facing charges. According to Hahn, California paramedics and EMTs have their hands tied, and it is impacting hospitals and individuals.

Assembly Bill 1795

The new legislation is Assembly Bill 1795. This proposal would allow local emergency medical services agencies to lay out plans for transporting patients to:

  • Designated behavioral health facilities
  • Sobering centers that meet specific standards

Keep in mind, these patients will have to meet specific criteria in order to qualify. The bills recently amended language also states:

The bill would authorize a city, county, or city and county to designate, and contract with, a sobering center to receive patients, and would establish sobering center standards.

However, the bills current language also states that patients can instruct EMTs to take them to the emergency room and that it does not authorize them to initiate an involuntary detention of the patient.

This legislation also has support from Assemblyman Mike Gipson. He wrote an op-ed in February for the Compton Herald to support the measure. Gipson states,

“No one will deny that our emergency rooms are drastically over-crowded. Although they may be well-equipped to handle trauma, disasters or emergency physical health conditions—they are not as well-equipped to serve patients who have mental health care needs or substance abuse problems.”

Recently, Hahn herself planned a trip to Sacramento to advocate for the bill. And she isn’t the only one getting behind it. The bill is also co-sponsored by:

  • Los Angeles County
  • California Hospital Association
  • California Ambulance Association

Another supporter of the proposal is Mitch Katz, the director of the county’s Department of Health Services. Katz points out that not only could this give EMTs the power to take patients to a more suitable facility, but that these options can also be much less expensive than taking patients to an emergency room.

While hospitals, EMTs and paramedics are a crucial part of saving lives in cases of overdose and other emergencies, when it comes to getting people a means to effective treatment unique to their needs, there are better options. Giving EMTs a resource to offer substance abuse and mental health treatment options could make a huge difference in the fight against addiction. Anything that connects people with effective treatment is an important step in the right direction.

We want to hear what you think- should EMTs take patients to sobering centers and/or mental health clinics?

Communities in many other parts of the country have begun to work on better ways to connect people struggling with substance abuse or mental health conditions with specialized treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Cosmetic Surgery Addiction and Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Cosmetic Surgery Addiction and Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Once upon a time, cosmetic surgery was a little more taboo. With exception to correcting physical deformities, surgery of fashion instead of function was a little less mainstream. Today, it is widely accepted and the doctors highly trained and respected in their field. Over time, as more people have sought cosmetic surgery, another trend has come to the surface- cosmetic surgery addiction.

Often when we talk about addiction, most people instinctively think of the opioid crisis in America. It has become just a prominent issue that it has dominated the conversation when it comes to substance use disorder, treatment programs, and mental health. Yet, there are still other forms of addiction that are affecting a lot of people. Smartphones and tablets have ushered in a discussion on social media addiction, and a handful of scandals have highlighted sex addiction.

So what do we know about cosmetic surgery addiction?

Body dysmorphic disorder

While you may not be likely to become physically addicted to plastic surgery, it is still possible to develop a cosmetic surgery addiction. According to Canice E. Crerand, PhD, psychologist in the division of plastic surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia,

“It is more of a psychological issue than a physical addiction.”

The underlying psychological issue is attributed to body dysmorphic disorder or BDD. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA):

  • BDD affects 1.7% to 2.4% of the general population
  • That comes out to about 1 in every 50 people

ADAA also states that people with body dysmorphic disorder think about their real or perceived physical flaws for hours each day. Their obsessive thoughts may lead to severe emotional distress and can even interfere with everyday life.

An individual suffering from BDD can dislike any part of their body, but most often they find fault with:

  • Hair
  • Skin
  • Nose
  • Chest
  • Stomach

One study actually suggests that 1/3 of patients who receive nose-jobs show symptoms of BDD. Other reports show:

  • BDD most often develops in adolescents and teens
  • Research shows that it affects men and women almost equally
  • BDD occurs in about 2.5%of males in America
  • It occurs in about 2.2 % of females in America
  • According to the American Psychiatric Association, BDD often begins to occur in adolescents 12-13 years of age

Someone with body dysmorphic disorder can see their flaws as significant and prominent, even if they are barely minor imperfections. Still, body dysmorphic disorder is a condition that can drive people to go under the knife again and again. The desire to fix the perceived ‘defect’ can ultimately create a cosmetic surgery addiction.

Plastic Surgeons and Cosmetic Surgery Addiction

Experts suggest that while plastic surgeons are trained to perform these cosmetic procedures, they should also have the ability to identify cosmetic surgery patients who may develop a cosmetic surgery addiction.  So what are some warning signs doctors could be watching for? Crerand said a few examples may be:

  1. Patients are often unhappy with the results of their cosmetic surgeries and take their frustrations out on surgeons in extreme cases.
  2. The individual may have very unrealistic expectations about surgery, thinking it will gain them a better job or a better relationship.
  3. May be satisfied with the requested surgery, but then “suddenly realize” another feature is unacceptable and desire even more procedures.

Crerand also says there are many challenges in trying to determine if someone is suffering from BDD. But many also believe that a cosmetic surgeon has an ethical responsibility to weigh the risks and potential benefits of a surgery. If a plastic surgeon suspects that a patient may have a cosmetic surgery addiction or body dysmorphic disorder, they should refer the patient to a consulting psychologist or psychiatrist.

Another important aspect is that people who have body dysmorphic disorder are likely to have another psychiatric disorder such as:

So someone showing signs of cosmetic surgery addiction may also be suffering from another issue that is causing them to abuse drugs and alcohol as well as put themselves through repeated surgery.

Combination of Addictions

Cosmetic surgery is not the only way that people suffering from body dysmorphic disorder try to ‘fix’ their flaws. Some will turn to very dangerous drugs in hopes of improving their bodies. This self-medicating can also lead to substance use disorder.

According to the Harvard Medical School, men who develop BDD often focus on weight and muscle size. Unfortunately, the disorder prevents them from feeling as though they’ve developed an adequate amount of muscle so they may turn to steroids. Sadly, anabolic steroids are commonly associated with intense addictions that form in an incredibly short amount of time.

Women can also develop body dysmorphic disorder symptoms relating to their muscles. They may also develop preoccupations with their weight and with the size of specific parts of their bodies. This obsession can lead to the use and abuse of stimulant drugs. These substances are known as side effects that reduce the appetite and allow people to skip meals without feeling either hungry or deprived. Stimulants can also leave chemical damage behind, even when the person feels sober. All this chemical damage can cause compulsive use and abuse of drugs.

These are just a few examples of how the same issues that lead to cosmetic surgery addiction can also create serious substance use disorder. This is why dual diagnosis treatment is so important. For people who struggle with co-occurring disorders, the recovery process can be extremely difficult if both issues are not addressed. Having a comprehensive and holistic recovery program with dual diagnosis resources can make all the difference.

For people who may be dealing with cosmetic surgery addiction, there may be a much more serious disorder just beneath the surface. The best option for healthy recovery is a treatment for both. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

11 Meth Addiction Side Effects and Health Risks

11 Meth Addiction Side Effects and Health Risks

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant drug commonly referred to as meth. It is used by roughly 4% of the population of the U.S., with recent reports showing meth using rising in areas around the country.

  • 2012- 440,000 people reported using meth
  • 2014- 569,000 people reported using meth

That is a 29% increase in just two years!

  • 2014- 3,700 overdose deaths were caused by meth
  • 2015- 4,900 overdose deaths were caused by meth
  • 2016- 7,700 overdose deaths were caused by meth

Recent statistics indicate that meth is one of the most commonly used drugs in America. This illicit chemical substance is a Schedule II drug, with an elevated potential for:

  • Abuse
  • Dependency
  • Addiction
  • Long-term health issues

Using this drug is not only illegal but extremely dangerous for both mental health and physical health. Meth addiction can lead to some very serious organ problems, and can even be fatal. The risks associated with meth addiction only get worse the longer that someone uses it. More damage is done to the organs and the risks of developing other health issues continued to increase.

Meth is a highly addictive drug, and meth addiction can be very difficult to overcome without safe medical detox, professional treatment, and continued support. Due to the risks of meth use, one should not wait to get help. But how do you know someone has a meth addiction?

Here are 11 signs and side effects of meth addiction to watch out for.

  1. Meth Mouth

Xerostomia, commonly known as dry mouth, is a well-known side-effect of meth addiction. The mouths own saliva contains antibacterial properties that naturally help to maintain oral hygiene. When someone has a chronic dry mouth, less saliva is produced, causing more exposure to bacteria. “Meth mouth” is when dry mouth from meth use causes thing like:

  • Inflammation
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth loss

Regular issues with oral hygiene such as these may be an indication of frequent meth use.

  1. Hallucinations

A common side effect of long-term meth addiction is experiencing hallucinations. This may not mean they are currently under the influence of the drug. Hallucinations are not only visual either. Some people who hallucinate due to meth use experience:

  • Disturbing images or people who aren’t there
  • Hear phantom sounds and voices
  • Smell odors
  • Fell phantom sensations

Sometimes the hallucinated sensations can lead to other side effects.

  1. Open Sores

A side effect of meth use is severe itching, which can cause intense scratching that creates huge, red, open sores on the skin. The sores can happen even after the first use. Typically they show up on:

  • Face
  • Arms
  • Chest

This is because the chemicals used to make meth can dry out the skin. But the itching and scratching fits can also be caused by hallucinations created by the chemicals in the drug. Some users will think there are bugs on, or even beneath their skin.

  1. Violent Outburst

Meth addiction is frequently connected to aggressive behavior and even bursts of violence. Studies conducted among meth users have determined that:

  • 56% of meth uses admit the drug causes them to commit violence
  • 59% reported specific violent criminal behaviors, such as robbery and homicide

This powerful stimulant can exaggerate aggression. If you or a loved one exhibits uncharacteristically violent outbursts, it may be a sign of serious meth addiction.

  1. Insomnia

A signature side effect of most stimulants is that they prominently influence the central nervous system, giving an individual an energy boost. Due to the heightened sense of alertness, meth addiction often causes sleep disturbances and insomnia.

Many meth users report to staying awake for several days or even weeks at a time. Eventually, they may experience an intense crash for two or three days between extended periods of intense stimulation.

  1. Nervous/Anxious

As meth continues acting on the central nervous system, the stimulant typically makes someone feel more nervous or anxious on a constant basis.

  • Evidence shows roughly 75% of meth users have experience anxiety disorders

Anxiety is one of the most commonly reported psychiatric symptoms of people addicted to meth.

  1. Paranoia

Along with the effects of the stimulant on energy levels, meth also influences the part of the brain that controls rational thinking and emotional responses. Once this chemical acts on the brain, it can create an imbalance that causes paranoid thoughts to creep in. Other side-effects of meth can actually make it worse, including:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Increased Aggression
  • Anxiety

These various factors can contribute to a growing sense of paranoia, which could be an indication of severe meth use.

  1. Depression

Because of the effects of using meth on the brain, the stimulant also causes emotional imbalance. Some studies show:

  • 48% of meth users struggle with depression

The imbalance in brain chemicals for altering and controlling a person’s mood can lead to other mental health disorders, including bipolar disorder.

  1. Weakened Immune System

The use of meth has been connected to higher rates of inflammation and cell damage. These side effects cause many meth users to have weakened immune systems. This decreased immunity makes meth addicts more vulnerable to illnesses and diseases. Meth users suffer high rates and are at higher risk of illnesses like:

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Staph infection/MRSA
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Cancer

These are a few examples of why someone recovering some meth should seek professional medical treatment.

  1. Brain Damage

As mentioned, the potential damage caused by meth only gets worse the longer it is used. Extended meth addiction can damage blood vessels in the brain can cause fatal side effects, including:

  • Stoke
  • Heart attack

Data has also shown meth can decrease gray matter in the brain, which increased the risk of memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. Organ Failure

Methamphetamine is commonly cut with various chemicals that are very toxic to the body. These toxins put vital organs through a lot of stress, which can lead to organ failure. A very dire sign of meth addiction is organ failure, especially regarding:

  • Liver failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Lungs
  • Brain
  • Heart

Too much meth containing toxins that cannot be properly filtered or processed can cause organs to permanently shut down or cease to function, which can ultimately lead to death.

Meth Addiction Treatment

All the damage caused by meth and the chemicals combined with it should not be underestimated. This is why it is purposely suggested that those trying to recover from meth should seek out a safe medical detox in order to properly diagnose and treat related issues, and avoid further health complications. Look for a professional and personalized program that is right for you.

Beyond the physical harm, comprehensive addiction treatment should include cognitive behavioral therapy and other holistic and innovative treatment options. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, do not wait. Please call toll-free now. We want to help.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

MMJ or Molon Labe: Medical Marijuana Users Losing Gun Rights in States

MMJ or Molon Labe: Medical Marijuana Users Losing Gun Rights in States

Author: Justin Mckibben

It seems politicians are telling people- take your pick; guns or marijuana… you can’t have both.

Back in 2016, you may recall that we did an article covering the story of S. Rowan Wilson, a Nevada resident who in 2011 was denied when attempting to purchase a handgun when the gun store owner recognized her as a medical marijuana cardholder. In court, Wilson maintained that she does not herself use marijuana, but in August of 2016, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided in a 3-0 vote that if you have a medical marijuana card, you can’t buy a gun.

Recently the ideas behind this case have sparked renewed outrage and discussion over whether or not medical marijuana users should be permitted to own a firearm. The gun control debate is one that is already being consistently argued in the shadow of recent mass shootings and pushing from politicians to address the issue. But drug policy impacting gun policy adds a new perspective to the conversation.

Now there are several states cracking down on marijuana users, and it has some people up in arms about how even though states are legalizing medical marijuana use, federal law and many state governments are cutting them off from their right to gun ownership.

Under Federal Influence

According to federal law, gun purchases are already prohibited to people who are described as:

“-unlawful user and/or addict of any controlled substance.”

Back in 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) insisted that the law applies to marijuana users-

“regardless of whether [their] State has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes.”

So it seems the ATF and the federal government are pulling out all the stops when it comes to making sure marijuana users aren’t allowed to own guns.

The decision in the care of Wilson and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals includes the areas:

  • District of Alaska
  • District of Arizona
  • Central District of California
  • Eastern District of California
  • Northern District of California
  • Southern District of California
  • District of Hawaii

The Supreme Court ruled that it is NOT a violation of 2nd Amendment Rights to deny guns to marijuana patients. The impact of that ruling has now begun to spread. It would seem the federal government thus far is standing by this. Special Agent Joshua E. Jackson of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington D.C. states:

“There are no exceptions in federal law for marijuana used for medicinal or recreational purposes.”

And as far as things look now, there will be no change anytime soon to the federal government’s stance on marijuana. Especially with the current administration emphasizing so heavily a law and order approach to drug policy.

More States Against Marijuana and Guns

Even though there are 29 states and Washington D.C. that have voted to allow patients to have access to medical marijuana, several of these states are choosing to trade that opportunity for a shot at gun ownership. In fact, just this week a few state officials announced their own stance against allowing gun owners to be medical marijuana patients.

Hawaii

In a move that spurred a backlash of viral videos and other reports, Hawaii took a bold step in this effort. Last week the Honolulu Police Department sent letters to medical marijuana users saying that they will need to turn in their weapons within 30 days of receipt. According to Leafly, a copy of one of these letters states:

“Your medical marijuana use disqualifies you from ownership of firearms and ammunition.”

However, the letter also apparently says that the medical marijuana patients can get their firearms back. The stipulation being they would need a doctor’s clearance to do so.

Pennsylvania

A similar situation happened in Pennsylvania. The state police director of the Bureau of Records and Identification, Major Scott C. Price, made an announcement on Tuesday stating:

“So, in fact, an individual who is issued a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania who is a user of medical marijuana, that individual would be prohibited from purchasing or technically possession of a firearm under federal law.”

So Pennsylvania won’t allow people to even be in possession of a firearm at any time with a medical marijuana card.

Ohio

Ohio’s medical marijuana program becomes operation in September of 2018. Information from industry analysts estimate that 24% of the state’s population have qualifying conditions; that’s 2.8 million Ohioans. But just this week it was announced that people in the Buckeye State who register to legally use marijuana for medicinal purposes will also be prohibited from possessing firearms.

According to the ATF letter from back in 2011, marijuana users are also prohibited from:

  • Shipping
  • Transporting
  • Receiving
  • Possessing firearms or ammunition

So anyone in Ohio who is applying to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer must sign a form attesting her or she is not “an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.”

Under federal law, lying on the form is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Even Joe Eaton, southwest spokesman for the Buckeye Firearms Association says they are confused at this point,

““There is definitely a conflict between the state laws and the federal laws,”

Some Ohio law enforcement officials are also unsure at this point how to enforce these situations as of the moment, and are depending on their prosecutors to provide more clarification through the conflict with state and federal law.

Will Marijuana Users Go Molon Labe?

For those unfamiliar with the term, molon labe is Greek for “come and take [them]”. This declaration has been repeated by many generals and politicians to express an army’s or nation’s determination not to surrender. The motto ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ is on the emblem of the I Army Corps of Greece and the Second Infantry Division of Cyprus, and is also the motto of United States Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT). The expression “Come and take it” was a slogan in the Texas Revolution.

It is also a popular choice of words for many 2nd Amendment advocates.

The question becomes, how will the hardcore 2nd Amendment supporters react to this ruling against medical marijuana and guns? Some actually believe this may actually inspire the National Rifle Association (NRA) to become pro-medical marijuana at the federal level. Will this kind of shift in support turn the tide?

Will avid gun owners come out in strong opposition to taking away guns from medical marijuana patients, or will they agree that drug use should disqualify them from owning or possessing weapons and ammunition?

How should authorities proceed? Is this a safe political sit rep or another war of opinions waiting to happen?

Treating Marijuana Abuse

Whether or not you support gun ownership of medical marijuana patients, we should all be able to get behind having treatment resources for anyone who struggles with substance abuse.

Marijuana, much like any other substance, can be abused and have an adverse impact on the overall quality of life for many people. No matter what the legal status of any drug, it can still have a negative impact on people who grapple with substance use disorder. We know this all too well, as plenty of prescription medications helped create the opioid crisis in America.

There still needs to be resources available to help people who suffer from abuse. Supporting addiction recovery means breaking the stigma and offering holistic and effective solutions. Palm Healthcare Company is here to help. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Global Commission on Drug Policy Suggests Harm Reduction and Decriminalization

Global Commission on Drug Policy Suggests Harm Reduction and Decriminalization

Author: Justin Mckibben

The Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP) is an international institution of global leaders and intellectuals working to help study and inform initiatives on addressing drug use all around the world. This think tank offers recommendations concerning drug use and its consequences for societies across the globe.

The GCDP consists of members from various nations, including but not limited to:

  • The United States of America
  • The United Kingdom
  • India
  • France
  • Greece
  • Spain
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Canada

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter wrote an op-ed in The New York Times explicitly endorsing the recommendations of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, and the group has released various reports over the years focusing on the efforts to curb the spread of drug abuse.

Recently the GCDP released a position report on the North American opioid epidemic. In this report, the commission issues recommendations that appear to endorse the expansion of harm reduction techniques to battle the ongoing crisis.

The Turning Point for America

According to the GCDP’s new report, North America is at a turning point in the way that drug addiction is viewed. This is not too much of a surprise, considering now more than ever there has been a push for a more compassionate perspective on drug use and addiction. America now finds itself in a unique position where the stigma that has so long been attached to addiction is starting to be abandoned, and more progressive action is being taken.

Now the Global Commission on Drug Policy believes national policymakers should take advantage of this unique opportunity to reduce opioid-related deaths through harm reduction. In the report the authors state:

“While in recent years media and politicians have been more open to viewing addiction as a public health problem, leadership is needed to turn this into an urgent and commensurate response to the crisis,”

One way that the Global Commission on Drug Policy ideals clashes with that of the Trump administration, currently steering drug policy in America is that the GCDP does not endorse the old policies of the War on Drugs.

GCDP vs War on Drugs

Back in June of 2011, the GCDP stated:

“The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.”

Again, this recent report echoes that sentiment, saying that attempting to cut off the opioid supply is not the answer. The new report notes how this approach has been tried before, as the first reactions to the opioid epidemic were to limit prescriptions and to introduce pills that were harder to manipulate.

The report goes on to note that this response drove people to use cheaper and often much more potent street drugs instead of prescription pills. Fentanyl is one of the worst synthetic opioids to contribute to the outbreak of overdoses and deaths across the country.

The Global Commission on Drug Policy says cutting off the supply of opioids into the country cannot be effectively executed until after supportive measures are put in place. This means supporting not only both people battling addiction but also people with chronic pain. The report insists:

“The aim is to achieve the right balance in regulation to provide effective and adequate pain care, while minimizing opportunities for misuse of these medications.”

To reduce the harmful impacts of opioids, the commission calling for the acceptance and implementation of harm reduction strategies.

The Global Commission on Drug Policy Suggests Harm Reduction

So if they are saying that the War on Drugs did not work, and neither will bulking up borders, then what will?

Well, according to the GCDP, harm reduction is the right move. The new report calls on American lawmakers to promote programs like:

  • Naloxone Distribution and Training

As the opioid overdose antidote, Naloxone is an invaluable tool to have in the fight against the opioid epidemic in America, but the price for the drug continued to skyrocket as the epidemic got worse. Making it more available could give access to and train people with life-saving medication to thousands or even millions more.

Safe locations where IV drug users can trade old, contaminated needles for new, sterile needles to help prevent the spread of blood-borne illness like HIV.

Facilities where drug users can go to use their drugs with sterile equipment safely, reducing the number of overdose deaths by providing a place free of punishment for them to use with medical emergency resources on site.

  • Drug Checking

These kinds of programs would allow for users to check their drugs for the presence of any unknown substances it may have been diluted with. For example, most fentanyl users do not know they are using fentanyl.

Decriminalizing Drugs in America

In another aspect of the report, GCDP also makes a much more revolutionary and more radical suggestion that many may consider qualifying as harm reduction: decriminalization.

The report states:

“The Global Commission on Drug Policy also calls for the elimination of illicit drug markets by carefully regulating different drugs according to their potential harms. The most effective way to reduce the extensive harms of the global drug prohibition regime and advance the goals of public health and safety is to get drugs under control through responsible legal regulation.”

With this philosophy in mind, the GCDP made two more drastic recommendations:

  • End the criminalization and incarceration of people who use drugs nation-wide in Canada and the United States.
  • Allow and promote pilot projects for the responsible legal regulation of currently illicit drugs including opioids.

The idea is that by decriminalizing drugs, they can bypass criminal organizations and ultimately replace the current black market.

“Do not pursue such offenses so that people in need of health and social services can access them freely, easily, and without fear of legal coercion,”

We have begun to see a watered-down variation of this kind of strategy with many Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI) programs, where law enforcement is helping addicts get into treatment instead of arresting them when they ask for help.

Better Treatment Research

The report insists that more research is necessary in a few critical areas in order the effectively address the opioid crisis and the overall drug problem in America.

One of the key points of research the GCDP proposes is for finding the most effective treatments for addiction, specifically to prescription opioids. In addition, the report shows support for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and opioid substitution therapy (OST) as a means to preserve life to assist in the recovery process. While these programs are met with some of the same contentions as safe injection sites or decriminalization, the commission seems adamant about using harm reduction to keep people alive long enough to get better.

Michel Kazatchkine, a doctor and commission member, said in a recent interview:

“Repression is harmful. Wherever repressive policies are in place, people will not be in the best condition to access services.”

While he and other commission members are in no way naïve to the fact there is no way decriminalization will happen at the federal level soon in the U.S., they remain hopeful that states or cities will make decisions which don’t require federal approval, or for which they are willing to enter to fight with the federal process.

Overall, the hope of the GCDP is that these suggestions, coming from a group of world leaders fully invested in understanding the issue, will convince American and Canadian lawmakers to take a progressive approach to the crisis.

What could some of these changes mean for those trying to recover from opioid abuse? How could some of these ideas change the way addiction treatment operates within America?

One thing is for certain, in fighting opioid addiction, whether as a society, as a family or as an individual, there needs to be compassion and action. It takes courage and it takes a degree of uncertainty. But with the right resources, there is hope for a greater future. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

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