Author: Justin Mckibben
Sometimes new policy can be good. Sometimes, not so much.
The opiate epidemic in America has hit some states with staggering rates of overdose and death. The paralyzing truth gripping the nation today is that more people are dying from drug overdose than homicides and car crashes. Heroin, fentanyl and prescription painkillers collectively decimate entire communities. People from all over are starting to push officials and lawmakers for more progressive and effective solutions.
Addiction has led to an overdose outbreak that shakes the country to the core, everywhere. Now, Florida lawmakers are pushing for new legislation to try and protect and serve those who suffer from an overdose. One of the first bills on the 2017 agenda is one that hopes to change how law enforcement treats overdose victims.
Although, another bill is trying to turn things in a very different direction.
Florida HB 61 Bill
Florida Representative Larry Lee, a Democrat from Port St. Lucie, has filed a proposal titled HB 61. If approved, this piece of reform would require several new policies for healthcare providers, starting with hospitals.
- It would require hospitals to screen overdose victims to determine the need for additional health care services
- Prohibits hospitals from discharging overdose patients to a detox or treatment facility until stabilized
- Requires attending physician to attempt contact with patients primary care physician, or other treatment providers, who prescribe controlled substances to notify them of overdose
- Requires hospital to inform medical director of treatment center (if patient is currently in treatment) of the overdose
- Hospital must inform overdose victim’s family or emergency contact of overdose
- Must inform contacts what drugs they suspect to have caused overdose
- Attending physician must provide list of drug treatment providers and information about Florida’s Marchman act and Backer act in case the family or contact wishes to seek legal action to protect the addict
The Big Change in HB 61
Lastly, what is probably the most progressive part of this legislation, is the HB 61 bill would prohibit criminal charges from police officers and prosecutors against the overdose victim for possession of any drugs found on them during the incident.
This final aspect of HB 61 this writer thinks is a big deal, because from personal experience I have seen and heard many stories of individuals not calling for help in the event of an overdose out of fear of prosecution. In some cases people actually die because of the fear of criminal punishment. Adding this kind of measure to the bill is an attempt at eliminating the loss of life due to fear of discrimination. Even if it is not a perfect system, this kind of reform takes first responders and law enforcement a step closer to dealing with addicts who are fighting a fatal illness like sick people instead of criminals.
Florida SB 150 Bill Attacks Fentanyl
From across the aisle we see another push from Republican Senator Greg Steube from Sarasota. The question is, will this push go in the right direction? On December 12, he introduced bill SB 150. This is set to be a direct attack on fentanyl.
For those who are not yet familiar, fentanyl is an incredibly powerful, and lethal, opioid painkiller. It’s medical use is to sedate surgical patients and relieve chronic pain. However, being several times more powerful than heroin, it has crept into the illicit drug trade in various parts of the country. And with its arrival also came a horrifying increase in overdose and death.
This proposal means to make 4 grams or more of fentanyl a first-degree felony through:
November 20, the Palm Beach Post released an analysis of people who died in 2015 from heroin-related overdoses. Out of the 216 individuals profiled in this report, 42% of the cases were found to involve fentanyl. So of course, with Steube coming from a district hit particularly hard by the opiate epidemic, it is logical to want to do everything you can to cut the flow of fentanyl off.
Yet, some say that this kind of strategy is too close to the concept of mandatory minimums.
Is SB 150 Too Close to Mandatory Minimums?
For those who need more clarification, mandatory minimum sentencing laws were a “one-size-fits-all” strategy implemented originally back in 1951 against marijuana, then repealed in the 1970s, and refined in 1986. In 1973, New York State enacted mandatory minimums of 15 years to life for possession of more than 4 ounces of any hard drug.
The idea is that regardless of the individual or the circumstances that a certain crime will have an inflexible punishment across the board. Ever since their introduction, criminal justice advocates have fought these laws, and they have always been surrounded by debate and controversy.
Essentially, some are already saying that SB 150 will ruthlessly make addicts into victims of the already overpopulated prison system. To be clear and fair- the bill does not seem to directly require a specific prison sentence like mandatory minimums, but it’s similar in that it treats every issue related to fentanyl the same.
The issue has already been argued time and time again that non-violent low-level drug offenders have spent excessive amounts of time in prison for possession of a substance. In some cases, an individual will do more time behind bars for possessing a large quantity of drugs than someone who has actually killed someone. Some have come to the conclusion that this tactic just doesn’t work.
The fear with SB 150 is not about the manufacturers or the dealers as much as it is for the consumers. Sometimes individuals purchase drugs on the street believing it to be heroin or another substance without even knowing there is fentanyl in it. So this bill would make first-degree felons out of desperate addicts?
What is Right?
The big question we all face at the end of the day is- what is the right thing to do? How is the best way to handle something that feels so utterly out of hand?
Well, it would seem like its time to finally let go of the archaic stigma. More states and law enforcement officials are turning to compassionate and supportive progress. Many places in America are starting to do everything they can to help people struggling with addiction to find help before it is too late. So why move backwards?
In my opinion, strictly based on what has been presented so far, SB 150 seems dangerous. There are countless advocates out there who say that intensifying the punishment is not how you deter the crime. Especially when it comes to addiction, because this kind of method still suggests it is a moral failing and not a psychological and physical illness.
HB 61 seems to be trying to call health care providers to action and add more accountability on the front lines in the fight against the overdose outbreak. At the same time it seems to move in the opposite direction of SB 150 by trying to limit the persecution of addicts. HB 61 makes more room to help preserve life and offer treatment and solutions. By now we should already know, the solution isn’t a War on Drugs, it is community and compassion.
These are some of the initial responses to recommendations recently made by the grand jury. Every day there are countless people suffering. And every day there are countless more recovering and fighting to help others recover. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help. You are not alone.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
As a result of the high rates of heroin and painkiller abuse, some doctors are calling for mandatory drug tests for all pregnant women. The effects of drug and alcohol use on pregnancy is fully known to be harmful, however some argue that drug testing of pregnant women will actually cause more harm than good. Should pregnancy drug tests be mandatory?
When a pregnant woman uses drugs or alcohol throughout pregnancy, she puts her child at risk of developing neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) which produces a variety of withdrawal-like symptoms.
Common symptoms of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) include:
- Uncontrolled twitching
- Excessive and particularly high-pitched crying
- Problems feeding
- An inability to sleep
Babies exposed to opiate painkiller drugs in the womb can suffer withdrawals that are so painful, that they must be treated with morphine or other sedatives. The long term effects of babies born with NAS are still not fully known, however babies who are born with NAS are more likely to suffer from medical complications such as low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Due to the potentially severe consequences of drug use during pregnancy, many doctors have come out stating that they will require all expecting mothers to complete a drug tests. However, some argue that this will prevent those struggling from wanting to get adequate healthcare due to fear of being criminalized.
Because of this fear, doctors and health officials want to ensure that pregnant woman know they will not be punished for their drug use if the results come out negative. They want lawmakers to shield pregnant addicted mothers from punishment.
So far, legislature have taken the first step of quietly passed measures to prohibit doctors from giving results of a pregnant woman’s drug tests to police without a court order. Without laws like this becoming mainstream, many pregnant women struggling with drug addiction will be too afraid to come forward. However, the symptoms of NAS are too severe to ignore:
“Their care is very labor intensive because they’re nearly inconsolable,” said Dr. Mark Gentry, an obstetrician at Hendricks Regional Health in Brownsburg. “It’s heart-jerking and becoming much more prevalent.”
Gentry’s hospital is one in four in the state of Indiana that will start a pilot project testing pregnant women for drugs with the intention of promoting treatment, not criminalization. For now, women are allowed to opt out of the screenings since they are not legally required to do so.
Gentry states that many women will feel uncomfortable agreeing to the tests for fear of punishment. Under current law, doctors must call child welfare authorities if they feel a child is being abused. That could include cases where a child is exposed to drug in the womb, though no law specifically states this, and the state doesn’t track the number of drug-dependent newborns.
Sadly, hospitals have seen a spike in drug-dependent babies. The rate of babies born with drug dependency nearly quadrupled from 2004 to 2013. Now, every 27 of every 1,000 babies admitted to intensive-care are admitted due to drug related issues. Many states like Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina have tightened legislation to reduce the number of babies born with drug dependency. However, Gentry warn that laws like this actually scare woman away from the care they truly need.
Laws that focus on criminalizing pregnancy women struggling with drug addiction may be harmful to those who are suffering the most. Instead, laws that reaffirm women that they will not be criminalized are more likely to result in more women coming forward with their challenges.
Overall, the main goal is to prevent innocent babies from being born with NAS symptoms. Are mandatory drug tests for pregnant women the solution? If you are a pregnant women struggling with addiction, please come forward. It is not just your life, it is the life of your newborn at risk. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
It has been a long held belief that addicts and alcoholics must want to get sober in order to get sober. Or that they can’t be forced into sobriety. I can definitely see why this belief exists because many addicts and alcoholics won’t get sober until they are ready and willing to do it for themselves. But this isn’t always the case. And often times addicts and alcoholics don’t know their drug use and drinking has put them on death’s front door until it is too late. That is why court-ordered drug treatment is available.
But does court ordered drug treatment work?
Often times, yes it does. Unfortunately getting exact numbers on how court ordered drug treatment fares in comparison to a regular treatment center is difficult. This is because even the numbers for people who choose to go to drug treatment are skewed by relapse and what the definition of success in sobriety even is. Often times relapse is part of the process and it takes an individual a few times through treatment before it sticks. Once it sticks though, does that mean that the individual wasn’t successful due to the relapses? Whatever the case may be it is probably smart to assume that while the numbers or success rate for court ordered drug treatment may not be as high it is still just almost just as effective as any other drug treatment program. And that’s because even the success rates of the best drug treatment centers aren’t very high.
I believe that court ordered drug treatment serves an important purpose in the lives of many addicts and alcoholics, as well as their families. I myself was court ordered to a detox center and it worked for me. I took the next step into drug treatment afterwards. I think often times addicts and alcoholics don’t want drug treatment simply because they are comfortable getting high. I feel, if they got the chance though to see what sobriety could be like and that they didn’t have to do that anymore they might feel differently about using and drinking. Alcoholics and addicts don’t have the foresight, because of their disease, to realize how drug treatment could help them until after they have completed drug treatment. This was exactly my story. I did not want to go to detox, when I was in detox I was much more receptive once my head started to clear, and now after the fact I thank God often that I was involuntarily sent there because I probably would have never gotten help if I hadn’t been. All in all, addicts and alcoholics don’t have to want to get sober to stay sober. I am living proof of that. Sometimes addicts and alcoholics don’t know what they need and when they get it, they are glad they did.
Court ordered drug treatment can work. And the reason it doesn’t for some is because of many different factors not just that the addict and alcoholic doesn’t want it. For instance, a judge is setting the amount of time that an addict or alcoholic has to be in treatment and a judge is not a doctor. The judge may require much too short of mandatory stay than is necessary. If the addict or alcoholic stayed longer they might be more successful but often times after only a short period of time, in court ordered drug treatment or not, the addict or alcoholic thinks they are well again and they are not.
Either way court ordered drug treatment saves lives and while it may or may not have high rates of people staying sober for the rest of their lives, most treatment centers don’t.
If you or your loved one is in need of drug treatment please don’t hesitate to call us at toll-free: 1-800-951-6135
Many drug treatment centers in Garret Park, MA use a more straightforward therapy technique as well as medications to soothe cravings and ease mental distress. While these techniques are very helpful and still used by most, if not all drug treatment centers in Garret Park, MA use today, there are more and more alternative drug treatment centers in Garret Park, MA showing up everywhere including Garret Park, MA.
Drug Treatment in Garratt Park, MA includes more than just the traditional approach to drug Treatment in Garratt Park, MA. Drug Treatment in Garratt Park, MA includes therapies such as:
- Vitamin supplementation
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, about 38 percent of adults in the United States are already using some form of alternative treatment. What drug Treatment in Garratt Park, MA has done is to take those alternative therapies and apply them to the healing of drug addiction alcoholics. The whole ideal behind drug Treatment in Garratt Park, MA is to heal not just the mind and body but the mind, body and soul. The way that drug Treatment in Garratt Park, MA does this is by using treatment techniques such as those listed above. The alternative treatments listed above help to heal more than the physical and mental body but also the spiritual aspect of each individual. Drug Treatment in Garratt Park, MA focuses on things like the environment in which the treatment center resides and having a staff full of love and positivity.
There is a high chance that the treatments used in drug Treatment in Garratt Park, MA may not be used anywhere else and this is because science does not support the universal inclusion of therapies such as yoga or reiki for the treatment of addiction and alcoholism. For instance, acupuncture might be common in drug Treatment in Garratt Park, MA but not all studies have shown that acupuncture is helpful for people who need to get sober. There are other treatments, however, that do seem to have widespread support, including meditation and massage, and these aspects of care might be included in treatment programs at traditional centers.
The truth is drug Treatment in Garratt Park, MA encompasses every aspect of a traditional drug Treatment in Garratt Park, MA but with the added benefits of holistic therapies should an individual choose they want to use them or experience them. Many times the alternative treatments offered at an drug Treatment in Garratt Park, MA are things that the individual can do even after they have completed drug Treatment in Garratt Park, MA. For instance, a person who gets to experience yoga classes during their time at drug Treatment in Garratt Park, MA may want to continue their yoga practice once drug Treatment in Garratt Park, MA is over. And that is more than getting sober but also a very healthy lifestyle change. And this is really the ultimate goal of drug Treatment in Garratt Park, MA. Drug Treatment in Garratt Park, MA doesn’t want to just get people sober but offer them solutions to their life problems; with alternative therapies each individual can not only get sober but also find some outlets or tools to make some really healthy and positive lifestyle changes. The only place you can find these alternative practices is at drug Treatment in Garratt Park, MA.
Choosing a drug treatment program is a difficult and often overwhelming task. When addiction has taken over a family, many times individuals are in no state emotionally to put forth the effort to find a reliable drug treatment on their own. There are so many different drug treatment programs in Travilah for a loved one to go to that if someone is not familiar with drug treatment and the many different issues associated with drug and alcohol addiction it is almost impossible to know where to even start when it comes to drug treatment in Travilah.
Drug treatment in Travilah includes organized inpatient or outpatient treatment programs, counseling, and self-help groups to help addicts and alcoholics resist using the addictive substance again. Depending on the level of addiction, there may be steps needed before the addict goes to drug treatment in Travilah, for instance detox.
Drug treatment in Travilah usually includes educational and therapy sessions focused on getting sober and preventing relapse. These things can be accomplished in individual or group or family sessions. These drug treatment programs in Travilah are available to those with an addiction in various different settings, from outpatient to residential and inpatient drug treatment in Travilah.
Individual or family counseling with a psychologist or psychiatrist or addiction counselor is a huge part of drug treatment in Travilah and may help addict’s resist the temptation to resume using drugs or alcohol again. Behavior therapies are also a huge part of drug treatment in Travilah. Behavior therapies at drug treatment in Travilah can help addicts develop way to cope with drug cravings as well as suggest strategies to avoid using drugs and prevent relapse. Drug treatment in Travilah may also offer suggestions on how to deal with a relapse, should it happen. Counseling at drug treatment in Travilah can also involve talking about jobs, legal problems, and relationships with family and friends. Counseling with family at drug treatment in Travilah can help everyone develop better communication skills and be more supportive.
Many drug treatments in Travilah, although not all of the, tend to use the 12-step model first developed be AA. Self-help groups such as NA exist for people addicted to drugs such as cocaine, alcohol, and narcotics. The message of these self-help groups as part of drug treatment in Travilah is that addiction is a chronic disorder with a danger of relapse and that ongoing maintenance treatment which includes medications, counseling and self-help group meetings are necessary to prevent relapse. The doctors at drug treatment in Travilah may or may not be able to help locate self-help groups in the area. Listings for self-help groups are often given at drug treatment in Travilah and if not are found in the phone book, online, and at the library.
Drug treatment in Travilah can be the beginning of an entirely new life if those who are going decide they want sobriety. This is the biggest factor in how successful drug treatment in Travilah is-the addicts own want and desire to be sober. Everything else mentioned won’t make a difference if the individual doesn’t want to get sober at drug treatment in Travilah.