Tab Dump

Parents of drug addicts need our help – A plea for drug policy depates to consider the needs of parents of addicts.

For families carrying the burden of drug dependency, the public and political debate often centres on the rhetoric of how to send the right message to young people. It’s an empty argument for those families that are dealing with a death each day from a fatal drug overdose.

For many of these families they just want to know why this has happened to them, and, as is often the case, why their child had to die in a harsh, desperate and lonely place.

Of course there’s no real answer as to why. …

However, what we don’t have at the moment is a genuine debate about the support and help that people dependent on illicit drugs, and their families, need.

As a start, let’s first acknowledge that drug use has and always will be with us. Let’s acknowledge that it is a health problem and treat it like other health problems.

Let’s invest in a whole range of treatments that the evidence tells us can work and make it as accessible as possible for people who want it – asking people with drug dependency problems to join a waiting list for help is just plain dumb.

If you think that drugs should continue to be a battle of ideology and morals then spend some time with families that did all they could as parents and still lost a child to drugs.

A General in the Drug War – A profile of NIDA head, Nora Volkow.

Researchers now postulate that addiction requires two things. First is a genetic vulnerability, whose variables may include the quantity of dopamine receptors in the brain: Too few receptors and taking the drug is not particularly memorable, too many and it is actually unpleasant. Second, repeated assaults to the spectrum of circuits regulated by dopamine, involving motivation, expectation, memory and learning, among many others, appear to fundamentally alter the brain’s workings.

Drug Is Harder to Abuse, but Users Persevere – A report on the impact of reformulated oxycontin intended to reduce misuse.

Michael Capece had been snorting OxyContin for five years when a new version of the drug, intended to deter such abuse, hit the market last summer. The reformulated pills are harder to crush, turning instead into a gummy substance that cannot be easily snorted, injected or chewed.

Instructed by his dealer, Mr. Capece, 21, tried microwaving one of the new pills, then sniffing up the burnt remains. Other addicts have tried to defeat the new formula by freezing, baking or soaking the pills in solvents ranging from soda to acetone. Many are ending up frustrated.

“It’s too much work,” said Mr. Capece who entered a rehab program here last month. “It wasn’t anything I enjoyed.”

Smoking bans pose risk when treating other addictions – A story about a program that went tobacco free and ended up abandoning the policy.

The center had a 70 percent success rate before the ban. That dropped to 42percent by the end of the first three months under the ban. After the ban, patients stayed an average of 13 fewer days.

“That’s the challenge, and it’s juxtaposed against the importance of” getting people to quit, Gregoire said.

The researchers say that things have changed significantly in the eight years since that center’s ban.

Amethyst has been smoke-free for about five years, and experience has shown Hammond that making the transition not only is doable, but also is a step that will ensure better success for those in recovery, she said.

At least eight in 10 people in inpatient treatment smoke, Hammond said. Removing smoking as a trigger for other cravings makes it more likely that an addict won’t relapse, she said.

“There’s brain science behind that, and there’s a lot of behavioral science behind that.”

More centers are adopting tobacco bans, and some states have mandated them at treatment facilities.

But in practice, many administrators remain reluctant.

“We have studied and studied and studied this to death. We have voted and voted and voted again,” said Jann Robinson, director of nursing and patient safety at the Betty Ford Center in California.

Even in a state that has been a front-runner in restricting smoking in this country, Betty Ford officials have yet to ban cigarettes on the grounds. They do offer smoking cessation after a patient’s initial detoxification, and about 70 percent of smokers try to quit, Robinson said.

“We would really like to go smoke-free. That is someday our goal,” she said.

The lingering concern: “We would not have as many people coming in our front door. It would lower people’s access to treatment.”

Paul H. Coleman, president and CEO of Maryhaven in Columbus, said his experience with trying a smoke-free environment at a women’s center on the Far East Side was disappointing. The experiment two years ago lasted about six months.

“We listened to our patients’ voice, and it was very loud and very clear, and this is essentially what they said: ‘We signed on agreeing to stop the use of alcohol or other drugs. … We did not sign on to stop smoking, and we don’t want to do it.'”