On November fourth in Oregon, as in several other states, there is a vote about the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana.
As this takes place, Oregon struggles with a terrible problem with opiate use and addiction. As this opinion piece in the Portland Tribune points out:
• In the twelve years between 2000 and 2012, more than 4,000 people in the state died due to their abuse of drugs.
• Oregon’s death rate from opioid (synthetic drugs similar to morphine or heroin) has quadrupled
• Oregon’s death rate from heroin overdose has tripled
• In just medical costs, overdoses of all drugs cost Oregon hospitals more than $31 million in 2012
This is not a problem that is exclusive to Oregon. It’s a problem that extends across the country. In Essex County in Massachusetts, the comments of District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett were featured in an article about heroin overdoses: Continue reading
For nearly 30 years now, Americans from throughout the nation have been taking part in an event known alternately as the Red Ribbon Campaign or the National Red Ribbon Campaign. Since 1985, the event has commemorated the tragic death of Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena, who was brutally tortured and murdered by agents of a drug cartel while he was serving on duty in Mexico. The beginnings of the Red Ribbon Campaign were in a spontaneous movement, in which Americans of all ages and from all walks of life started wearing red ribbons as a way to commemorate Camarena and spread awareness of the violence of the war on drugs and how many lives are being ruined or destroyed by the fight between law enforcement and the drug cartels. Continue reading
“Since I began working at Narconon Louisiana, I have always gotten a lot out of watching students change throughout their programs,” says Stephen Mogavero of the Narconon New Life Retreat in Denham Springs, Louisiana. “About two and a half years ago, I made a commitment to take better care of myself by eating healthier and physical conditioning. Through dieting and exercise, I gained a lot of self-esteem, energy, and a renewed confidence.” Continue reading
What does it take to get over addiction? What kinds of barriers does an addict face when trying to get sober? How hard is it really to quit using drugs and alcohol and to make a fresh start in life? These and other questions like them are answered in The Life Cycle and Mechanics of Addiction, a new booklet published online by Narconon Arrowhead executive director Gary W. Smith. It is a brief yet information packed booklet which is available as a free download through the Narconon Arrowhead website, and it is presented in an easy to understand, accessible and highly informative format. The Mechanics of Addiction is based on Smith’s decades of experience in the field addiction treatment, and it offers a wealth of information to people who are facing the problems of substance abuse in a loved one or in their own lives. Narconon Arrowhead issued a press release discussing the new booklet, focusing on the section of the book which discusses the first barrier that a person must overcome in the fight against addiction: cravings. Continue reading
When marijuana is compared to other drugs, it’s often said that you can’t overdose on pot. It’s true that there are seldom direct deaths from using the drug. There’s a couple of men in Germany who died when cannabis triggered heart complications. A woman in the UK died from a cardiac arrest triggered by marijuana toxicity. A French study stated, “Practitioners should be aware that cannabis may be a potential triggering factor for cardiovascular complications in young people,” but it stopped short of saying that marijuana caused these deaths.
So when marijuana deaths are listed, the cases above appear on the list along with a couple of deaths resulting from psychotic episodes triggered by potent doses. The point is then made about the relative harmlessness of this drug.
But there is a critically important point that is missed when calculating marijuana deaths. And that is the fact many people start their drug use with marijuana. It may not be able to be proved that marijuana use CAUSES a person to progress on to the use of other drugs, but it’s easy to show that pot use makes this transition much easier. Continue reading
Across the broad field of addiction recovery, there are many opinions about what addiction really is. Does it really make much difference which definition is correct? It does. Different forms of treatment are based on these differing concepts and definitions of addiction. If the underlying definition of addiction is erroneous, then the treatment based on that definition may miss the mark.
For a moment, let’s look at the disease concept of addiction. This concept assumes that it is a physical illness similar to diabetes or heart disease, the diseases most commonly used for comparison. So if addiction is defined as a disease, it would seem logical to treat that problem with medication. Therefore, there are rehab programs that use prescription drugs in the beginning, middle and end of the treatment program, and after the person leaves.
But there are millions of people around the world who are involved in Twelve Step meetings. When a person succeeds in recovering from addiction this way, it casts doubt upon a definition of addiction that includes the concept of disease as the Twelve Step process includes no provision for disease.
If addiction was truly a physical disease, perhaps genetically based, housed in the physical tissue of the brain, then medication might be a good solution, as it is with when bacteria invade a person’s lungs. If it is a disease, then there would be no “moral failing” involved in addiction. A person who wishes to recover can feel that there is no need to examine the harm he (or she) has done to himself or others. After all, it is just a disease that the individual himself is not responsible for, the same as if he comes down with a cold. Continue reading
You see plenty of advertisements for alcohol and for prescription drugs on television and in magazines, but unfortunately, there’s not a matching number of advertisements for sobriety. Sure, everyone knows that sobriety is a choice we all have but one might wish that there was a little more reinforcement for this idea.
There are some celebrities who set an example for others by not using drugs or drinking. Some of them first went through their drinking or drug problems before they quit but in other cases, it was just a choice. Perhaps they looked at other people having problems and made their own decisions to stay sober. Continue reading
Over the course of the past few years, we have seen an explosion in the rate at which doctors in the United States are prescribing prescription painkillers. Medications including hydrocodone (known commonly by the brand name Vicodin) and oxycodone (Oxy Contin and Percocet), are now among the most commonly used pharmaceutical drugs in America, and they are being used by far more people now than they were in the past. Until recently, opioid painkillers were reserved almost exclusively for cases in which the enormous risk of abuse and addiction was outweighed by the severity of the patient’s condition and the likelihood that the patient would not live long enough for addiction to be an issue. Continue reading
As we moved into the final days of September this year, nearly 4,000 law enforcement agencies around the United States were getting ready. It wasn’t for any type of anticipated spike in crime rates, for training or any of the other usual situations that we expect to see the police preparing for. Instead, thousands upon thousands of law enforcement officers were finalizing their plans for taking part in the Prescription Drug Take Back Day on the 27th of September, an event sponsored by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Continue reading
September was National Recovery Month, an event with a history that dates back 25 years. National Recovery Month is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and it has gained the support of thousands of organizations involved in prevention, treatment and recovery from substance abuse and addiction. More recently, National Recovery Month has been joined on the calendar by National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, which now occurs in October of every year. The new event was launched in 2011 when President Obama issued a proclamation to designate the month of October for its observance and of the themes and messages it is intended to spread. Continue reading