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Posts Tagged ‘addiction treatment’

The Importance of Addiction Treatment for Inmates

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Addiction Treatment

DSC_0289There has been great discussion about the need for incarceration vs. addiction treatment, but for many people, the only answer is both. There are many inmates who are serving their time and are not getting the drug rehab they desperately need. Most of the time it is due to lack of funding or lack of understanding, but history has shown that simply locking someone up is not enough rehab to help them kick an addiction disorder.

A panel of experts in Rhode Island recently met to discuss this topic and to come up with solutions. The group wants to expand access to medications like buprenorphine or methadone to treat opioid addiction among prisoners, as well as Naloxone to treat overdose.

“We need a paradigm shift,” said Dr. Gail D’Onofrio at the recent meeting. “We need to treat addiction like any other disease. When they come in we need to start treatment and when they leave we need to start a community hand-off.”

It is hoped that by providing better care and rehab while in prison, and more support after release, that there will be fewer repeat offenders getting caught in this vicious cycle. Read more about Rhode Island’s panel discussion here.

What Role Does Faith Play in Recovery?

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Addiction Treatment

file000874028411According to many, faith can play a huge role in recovery from addiction. Maryland’s Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force is one group that is turning to church leaders to help curb addiction.

“Church and church concepts provide hope to the hopeless, it brings strength. Faith-based communities try and build families. Faith-based communities try to facilitate humility, acceptance,” said Dr. Finegan, a member of the task force.

As a whole, church leaders are very open to helping in any way they can. “The whole idea of redemption and words that we preach Sunday after Sunday is at the heart of any recovery. There’s always that chance of forgiveness, and there’s always that hope,” said one priest.

Participation in a faith-based program can help a person learn forgiveness, acceptance, and renewal. It can help facilitate holistic healing in the person’s mind, body, and spirit. Turning to a higher power can help take the focus off of the person’s own shortcomings and give them strength to make it through their recovery, one day at a time.

Read more about Maryland’s task force and the resources they are tapping into here.

New Jersey Celebrates Work of Addiction Treatment and Prevention

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Addiction Treatment, Government/Law

ChristieThis week marks the one-year anniversary of New Jersey’s Facing Drug Addiction Task Force. The task force was created under Governor Christie to address drug addiction through treatment and prevention. “What I’ve tried to emphasize over the years is to remind everybody that drug addiction is a disease. It is a disease. It’s not a moral failing,” Christie said. “This impacts entire families. It impacts co-workers, colleagues, neighbors, friends. It affects everyone who is in this person’s orbit so this is not a victimless crime or a single victim crime. We can’t just throw people in jail. That’s not going to work. It hasn’t worked for 30-plus years and it’s not going to work.”

When Governor Christie established the task force one year ago, he made it clear what he hoped it would accomplish. “Those suffering with addiction are often ashamed of their disease, leading to isolation from their families, communities, and friends and the access to help they need to treat and overcome their disease,” Christie said. “In this fight, we must not only improve the services available to help addicted individuals reclaim their lives, but it is just as important that we bring down the invisible barriers to seeking out treatment – ending the stigma and recognize it can affect anyone. I’m bringing together this group of experts, leaders, and individuals with first-hand experience from inside and outside of government to build on our efforts, and give recommendations on where we can strengthen our treatment services, prevention efforts, and strategies to end the stigma on this issue.”

The governor also announced the creation of a new referral source for addiction services. Called “Recovery Coaches,” the program will connect addicts who have overdosed with treatment professionals. A second new program proposed by the governor will make it easier for ex-offenders to get back into the workforce after their time served.

Many families that struggle with addiction are hopeful about the governor’s views of addiction. Our country overall is headed in a positive direction when we talk about treatment and prevention rather than fines and incarceration.

Read more about Governor Christie’s plans here.


Presidential Candidates Speak Out on Decriminalization of Drug Crimes

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Addiction Treatment, Government/Law

file000863634145At this week’s GOP debate, presidential candidate Carly Fiorina became yet another hopeful to speak out on the issue of addiction treatment over jail time. Fiorina revealed that her stepdaughter, Lori Ann, died in 2009 from alcohol and prescription drug addiction. According to Fiorina, Lori Ann battled her addiction for several years and was in and out of rehab. “As anyone who has loved someone with an addiction knows, you can force someone into rehab, but you can’t make her well,” Fiorina said in an earlier interview. “Only the addict can do that. Lori couldn’t — or wouldn’t — take that first step of admitting she was powerless over her addiction. And ultimately her body just gave out.”

Fiorina also weighed in earlier this year on what isn’t working with prosecuting young people for drug possession. “You have a lot of young people who are getting access to drugs and then they are getting arrested frequently — it’s just a bad, bad cycle. We need to create a circumstance in which people have a stake in their community — and they have a stake in their community because they believe their community offers them possibilities for a future.”

Fiorina’s opinion is like that of many other presidential candidates who are seeing the value of addiction treatment rather than incarceration.

Read more about the presidential debate here.

How Can I Help My Loved One?

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Addiction Treatment, Family Topics

file561270689520Many people live for weeks, months, or even years with an addicted loved one. Over this period of time, both the addict and their loved ones will suffer with the irresponsibility, hurt feelings, and anger that are brought on by addiction. Many people in this situation don’t know where to turn, so they continue living in uncertainty and dysfunction. In many cases, it is up to loved ones to step up and talk to their loved one and find help for the family.

The First Step is to Talk to Your Loved One

There are many reasons a family member or close friend will avoid confronting their loved one about addiction. Sometimes they are afraid of what the person will say or how it will affect their relationship. Other times they have seen loved ones get shot down when they confronted the addict and don’t want to have the same thing happen to them. Still others are unsure of what to say or how to even help the addict.

The first step toward helping your addicted loved one is to talk to them. Be honest and loving, and tell your loved one how their addiction is impacting those around them, including yourself. Tell them that you are willing to do whatever you can to help, but that you want them to get treatment for their addiction.

Consider an Intervention

If your loved one will not listen to you or other family members and friends, you need to take it one step further. Contact a treatment facility that can help you with intervention services. This will allow you and your family to talk to your loved one in a constructive, positive way, in the hopes that they will see their need for treatment. Visit the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD) website for more intervention information.

Help Yourself

If your loved one still will not listen, make sure you get help for yourself. Find a support group, counselor, or doctor that can help you with any depression or anxiety you have because of living with someone with an addiction, and to learn the best way to interact with your loved one.

In general, when interacting with an addicted love one, remember to always:

  • Set boundaries
  • Be loving
  • Protect yourself


Governor Christie’s Plan to Combat Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Addiction Treatment, Government/Law

ChristieMany politicians are now weighing in on the right way to combat drug and alcohol addiction. Governor Christie is no different. He has worked for the past several years to pass legislation that would help treat those with addiction disorders, while making it more difficult for people to get their hands on things like prescription drugs.

Christie’s own state of New Jersey is currently dealing with an opiate overdose epidemic, and this week Christie spoke out once again about how to stop this growing problem.

“The way to really win the war on drugs is to treat the addict,” Christie said in an ad campaign. “For those whose lives we have a chance to save I want us to try and save those lives. Because I believe that every one of those lives is a precious gift from God and it’s not up to us to decide when that life ends.”

How will Christie tackle such a serious problem? His actions as Governor should give us some indication. Christie believes the following will help curb the addiction problem. Some of these things he has done already, others are still in progress:

  • Establish substance abuse housing recovery program on public colleges and universities
  • Expand treatment for addiction through drug court
  • Expand the use of Narcan for opiate overdoses
  • Fund new treatment beds
  • Push insurance carriers to cover more substance abuse treatment programs
  • Expand state’s prescription drug database
  • Launch “KnowAddiction” website and public service announcements

You can see Governor Christie’s newest “Every Life” ad here. Then let us know what you think of Christie’s plan to end drug and alcohol abuse.

On the Campaign Trail: Hillary Clinton Proposes Spending More Money to Combat Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Addiction Treatment, Government/Law

23 Mar 2015, Washington, DC, USA --- Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes part in a Center for American Progress roundtable discussion on "Expanding Opportunities in America's Urban Areas" in Washington. --- Image by © Brooks Kraft/Corbis

Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton wants to spend $10 billion in new federal grants to combat drug and alcohol addiction. She, like several other candidates, has talked openly about wanting to find a way to put an end to heroin and prescription drug abuse. “It’s time we recognize as a nation that for too long, we have had a quiet epidemic on our hands. Plain and simple, drug and alcohol addiction is a disease, not a moral failing — and we must treat it as such,” said Clinton.

The real question is how does Clinton hope to accomplish the goal of ending these types of addiction? More than 23 million Americans are addicted to drugs or alcohol. New Jersey residents should pay particular attention to politicians’ ideas because the state is struggling with a surge in heroin and prescription drug addiction and overdose. According to the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, drug-related deaths in New Jersey have skyrocketed in recent years, increasing 53 percent from 2010 to 2012. More than two-thirds of those deaths were due to prescription drug abuse.

Clinton’s plan would do the following:

  • Prioritize treatment over incarceration, which would save money that can be used to pay for the program
  • Make money available to states to create programs that educate the public, treat addicts, train prescribers, and equip first responders with opiate-reversing drugs
  • Prevent nurse practitioners and physician assistants from prescribing opiates
  • Review Medicare and Medicaid to be sure they cover proper treatment

Does this proposal sound good to you? Read more of Hillary Clinton’s proposal here, and then let us know what you think!

September is Recovery Month

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Addiction Treatment

$RVB2RCLEvery year in September, organizations across the country hold events to increase awareness of substance use issues and to celebrate those who have recovered. National Recovery Month was started and is hosted by SAMHSA, but other organizations, treatment centers, and community groups are welcome to hold their own events as well.

Why is Recovery Month so important? First of all, it gets people talking about this very important issue. It shows people in recovery they have many people around them pushing for their success. It helps those still in addiction understand they are not alone and that help is available and recovery is possible. Recovery Month helps decrease the stigma that surrounds addiction disorders so that people feel more comfortable not only talking about it, but doing something about it.

This year’s Recovery Month theme is Join the Voices for Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable!. According to SAMHSA’s website, this theme “highlights the value of peer support in educating, mentoring, and helping others. It encourages individuals to start conversations about the prevention, treatment, and recovery of behavioral health conditions at earlier stages of life.”

There are Recovery Month events being held across the country. Visit SAMHSA’s website to find an event near you.

Hepatitis C a Risk for Opiate Addicts

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Illicit Drugs, Prescription Drugs

CDC-RAccording to the CDC, our country is now seeing the repercussions of the high numbers of heroin and prescription painkiller users manifested in a new threat: Hepatitis C. A new study by the CDC estimates that there has been a 12.6 percent increase in those who use syringes to inject prescription painkillers. Now, many of those people, as well as the many who use heroin, are at risk for contracting diseases like Hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne disease that affects the liver. It causes liver damage, itchy rashes, skin lesions, and extreme fatigue, and it can be passed from one individual to another through dirty needles. The CDC estimates that over 3 million people have Hepatitis C, and officials are afraid that the number will continue to rise as the opiate epidemic increases in our country.

In order to combat this problem, many are suggesting needle exchange programs. Others believe law enforcement needs to crack down on those who sell and misuse opiate drugs. The only real way to help those struggling with opiate addiction is to provide treatment in the form of rehab and therapy, and to educate the public on the dangers of heroin and prescription painkiller abuse.

Learn more about the CDC’s study and its recommendations here.

White House Develops a Plan to Stop Heroin Epidemic

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Government/Law, Illicit Drugs

file000863634145It’s what the country has been waiting and hoping for – a real plan that can finally help do something about the tragic rise in heroin addiction and overdose in our country. The White House announced this week that it will implement a plan that will focus on treatment rather than prosecution of heroin addicts.

Called the Heroin Response Strategy, the plan will work to locate the sources of heroin and prosecute dealers and distributors of the drug, but will coordinate law enforcement and public health workers in order to work on prevention and treatment, and training first responders to administer overdose-reversing medication.

“It’s something that’s very much on the president’s radar,” said Eric Schultz, White House deputy press secretary. “This is a pretty severe threat that we face and so this program is an unprecedented partnership with both law enforcement and public health officials to really get at the root of it.”

The initial $2.5 million for the program will be funded by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and will tackle the heroin problem in 15 states. “The new Heroin Response Strategy demonstrates a strong commitment to address the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic as both a public health and a public safety issue,” Michael Botticelli, director of National Drug Control Policy said in a statement. “This Administration will continue to expand community-based efforts to prevent drug use, pursue ‘smart on crime’ approaches to drug enforcement, increase access to treatment, work to reduce overdose deaths, and support the millions of Americans in recovery.”

Read more about the program here.

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