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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:

Does Compulsory Addiction Treatment Violate Human Rights?

Does Compulsory Addiction Treatment Violate Human Rights?

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
  • Arrests
  • Incarceration

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
  • Australia

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.

  1. Compulsory addiction treatment is less effective than non-compulsory methods at promoting long-term abstention or reducing criminal recidivism
  2. 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

When the World Unites to Change the War on Drugs

When the World Unites to Change the War on Drugs

Author: Justin Mckibben

Has the World War on Drugs truly failed? Have we as a nation been fighting a losing battle, and have our alleys themselves suffered from the inefficiencies of their own initiatives in the fight against drug abuse and addiction?

We have fought hand over fist to bring an end to violent and vicious cartels across the globe building ill-gotten empires from illegal drug trafficking, and we have struggled to stay afloat in the midst of a plague of intensifying death rates due to overdoses of illicit narcotics. But are we gaining ground?

While we have been forced to come to terms with some less than desirable realities, and with the flaws of our systems, many would say that we have also decided to learn from our mistakes and seek out new methods by which to treat the drug problem. Soon, in 2016 some of the most influential organizations of the world will meet to dictate the future of the drug war.

The UNGASS Effect

The United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) is a meeting of United Nations (UN) member states to assess and debate global issues such as health, gender, or in this case, the world’s drug control priorities.

The last time the UNGASS met on the topic of international drug policy was in back in 1998, just a couple years short of 2 decades ago. And then the officials had unrealistically (almost ironically) predicted that we would be living in a “drug free world” by the year 2008. Unfortunately that is clearly not the case.

This past month on April 30th a group of over 100 nonprofit organizations met to discuss the 2016 UNGASS on the “World Drug Problem” hosted by the Brookings Institute. Scholars Vanda Felbab-Brown and Harold Trinkunas from Brookings Institute wrote in their blog,

“the goal of UNGASS 2016 should be to inject realism into the global discussion of drug policy objectives, instead of once again setting an unattainable goal of a drug-free world.”

That is to say that instead of making a declaration promising the extermination of the drug problem and militarizing the anti-drug efforts, the nations of the world should seek a more educated and realistic approach. The growing conglomerate of UNGASS is a collective consciousness of nonprofit organizations, including big names such as:

  • ACLU
  • Harm Reduction Coalition
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Open Society Foundations

The UNGASS just released an open letter where they stae:

“Existing U.S. and global drug control policies that heavily emphasize criminalization of drug use, possession, production and distribution are inconsistent with international human rights standards and have contributed to serious human rights violations.”

The letter can be condensed into a simple and incredibly power statement when you truly read it. That last quoted segment of the open letter sounds like the UNGASS has flat out declared that the drug laws nations all over the world have been enforcing for years are actually violating the basic human rights of their citizens, and that alone screams the demand for reform- with a voice that is strained and harsh from the foot of the prison system having stood on its neck for so long.

Another firmly made statement makes a point simple enough when it says:

“Human rights principles, which lie at the core of the United Nations charter, should take priority over provisions of the drug conventions.”

What’s the Big Deal?

Just in case you missed why this is so important, the UN taking such a stance etches in time a histrionic change in policy, which as it stands is under the dominion of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Just an example of how strict and uncompromising the UNODC can be, and how much of a surprise this shift creates, the UNODC office is headed by a Russian diplomat named Yury Fedotov who has repeatedly and loudly condemned marijuana legalization in the U.S. and across the globe. So imagine the shock some express when they see that one of the UNODC’s objectives, as stated on the website, is to convince “governments to see drug use as a health problem, not a crime.”

You may be wondering why, if this isn’t happening until 2016 is this topic so important now?

Because the conflict against status quo drug policies is an arduous struggle, which is why these organizations are rallying together now.

With everything from content and priorities, to strategies that will be discussed at the UNGASS are determined months and sometimes even years ahead of time, now is exactly the time for people to speak out and tell their governments that the current tactics and statistics in the War on Drugs is NOT acceptable, and should no longer be endured.

If we want change then we need to act now to influence these organizations to understand our current drug policies are failing us, and in the end they hurt more than they help. The power needs to be taken out of punishment and put toward treatment, and those who need treatment need to have more access. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

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