Treating people with drug and alcohol addition is very difficult. Preventing many of them from becoming addicted in the first place is a good way to avoid many of the problems caused by drug and alcohol addition.
Iceland knows how to stop teen substance abuse but the rest of the world isn’t listening
In Iceland, teenage smoking, drinking and drug use have been radically cut in the past 20 years.
“We didn’t say to them, you’re coming in for treatment. We said, we’ll teach you anything you want to learn: music, dance, hip hop, art, martial arts.” The idea was that these different classes could provide a variety of alterations in the kids’ brain chemistry, and give them what they needed to cope better with life: some might crave an experience that could help reduce anxiety, others may be after a rush.
At the same time, the recruits got life-skills training, which focused on improving their thoughts about themselves and their lives, and the way they interacted with other people. “The main principle was that drug education doesn’t work because nobody pays attention to it. What is needed are the life skills to act on that information,” Milkman says. Kids were told it was a three-month programme. Some stayed five years.
A few factors emerged as strongly protective: participation in organised activities – especially sport – three or four times a week, total time spent with parents during the week, feeling cared about at school, and not being outdoors in the late evenings.
Elsewhere, cities that have joined Youth in Europe are reporting other benefits. In Bucharest, for example, the rate of teen suicides is dropping alongside use of drink and drugs. In Kaunas, the number of children committing crimes dropped by a third between 2014 and 2015.
The solutions Iceland experimented with can’t be copied directly for elsewhere, cultures are different. But many of the concepts and practices can be adopted elsewhere. The idea of investing in helping teenagers live happy, engaged lives instead of locking up teenagers acting out is something we would all benefit from.
Related: The Causes of Drug Addiction are Complex – The War on Drugs has been a Huge Failure with Massive Unintended Consequences – Funding Drug Addiction Treatment Would Cost 1/7 the Cost of the Current Criminal System Focused Policy – Almost everything we think we know about addiction is wrong
This sad story illustrates the cost of the ongoing opioid overdose epidemic in the USA.
A 7-year-old told her bus driver she couldn’t wake her parents. Police found them dead at home.
For more than a day, the 7-year-old girl had been trying to wake her parents.
Dutifully, she got dressed in their apartment outside Pittsburgh on Monday morning and went to school, keeping her worries to herself. But on the bus ride home, McKeesport, Pa., police say, she told the driver she’d been unable to rouse the adults in her house.
Inside the home, authorities found the bodies of Christopher Dilly, 26, and Jessica Lally, 25, dead of suspected drug overdoses, according to police.
Also inside the home were three other children — 5, 3 and nine months old.
Speaking before the state legislature last week in Harrisburg, Gov. Tom Wolf (D) told lawmakers that the opioid epidemic facing Pennsylvania is “a public health crisis, the likes of which we have not before seen. Every day, we lose 10 Pennsylvanians to the disease of addiction.
Nationwide, opioids such as heroin and prescription pain relievers killed more than 28,000 people in 2014, more than any year on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At least half of all opioid overdose deaths involved a prescription drug, the CDC said, adding that the number of overdose deaths involving opioids has nearly quadrupled nationwide since 1999.
The couple’s 7-year-old daughter asked the officer to sign her homework so she could turn it in at school the next day.
“That broke my heart,” Burton said. “She said, ‘I did my work.’ She pulled it out and showed it to us. It was math homework, (like) ‘Which number is greater? Which number is odd or even?’ … I told her, ‘Sweetie, you probably won’t have to go to school tomorrow. … But where you’re going is going to have everything you need.'”
The human cost of the ongoing epidemic of abuse of prescription and illegal opioids is hard to fathom. Addressing these challenges is not easy but stories like this should remind us how important it is for us to take on the task.
Related: President Obama Proposes $1.1 Billion in New Funding to Address the Prescription Opioid Abuse and Heroin Use Epidemic (Feb 2016) – Heroin Use Spikes Among Those Who Abuse Prescription Painkillers (2015) – Funding Drug Addiction Treatment Would Cost 1/7 the Cost of the Current Criminal System Focused Policy
Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health looked at the frequency of nonmedical prescription opioid use and the risk of heroin-related behaviors and found that past-year heroin use rose among individuals taking opioids like oxycontin, and these increases varied by race and ethnicity. The most significant rise in heroin use was among Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites, where the rate of heroin use for the latter group increased by 75% in 2008-2011 compared to earlier years.
Findings are published in a sad closed-science way even though funding was provided by National Institute of Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health (grants K01DA030449, R03DA037770, and R01DA037866) the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child and Human Development (grant HD020667) and Columbia University. I suggest you contact those organizations or Columbia if you want to see what the findings are. They need to learn blocking access to scientific research is wrong and they shouldn’t fund such activity.
Nonmedical prescription opioid use is defined as using a substance that is not prescribed or taking a drug only for the experience or the feeling it caused.
Using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a large nationally representative household sample of 67,500 people, and self-reported heroin use within the last 12 months, the researchers examined the change in patterns of past-year non-prescription drug and heroin use between 2002-2005 and 2008-2011 across racial and ethnic groups. The study also looked at the association between past year frequency of both, heroin-related risk behaviors, and exposure to heroin availability.
Vermont Quits War on Drugs to Treat Heroin Abuse as Health Issue
[Governor] Shumlin urged the legislature to approve a new set of drug policies that go beyond the never-ending cat-and-mouse between cops and dealers. Along with a crackdown on traffickers, he proposed rigorous addiction prevention programs in schools and doctors’ offices, as well as more rehabilitation options for addicts. “We must address it as a public health crisis,” Shumlin said, “providing treatment and support rather than simply doling out punishment, claiming victory, and moving on to our next conviction.”
Representative Thomas Burditt… “As everybody knows, the war on drugs is lost, pretty much. It’s time to go down a new road.”
This is one small effort, among many, to find solutions instead of continuing the failed policies used for decades. Sadly those failed policies still dominate the efforts given by governments throughout the USA. The costs to the economy and personal lives of the people is enormous. We need to experiment to find better methods to reduce he harm done to society due to drug addiction.
Related: The Death of Philip Seymour Hoffman Highlights the Increased Use of Heroin – Prescription Painkillers Kill More People Every Year in USA than Heroin and Cocaine Combined – Drug Treatment Funding Can More Than Pay For Itself With Reduced Crime Costs
We lost a great actor with the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Once again the danger of drug use has resulted in the loss of life. He sought treatment for his addiction but failed to avoid an untimely death.
Hoffman death puts focus on heroin’s comeback
Hoffman, 46, was found on the bathroom floor of his New York City apartment with a syringe in his left arm and glassine bags usually associated with heroin. Police say they are investigating substances found in the apartment to determine which drugs were present, but Hoffman has been open about his drug use, which included prescription pills and heroin, and his decades-long struggle to stay sober.
As authorities crack down on clinics that prescribe pain pills by the thousands and pharmaceutical companies change their formulas so the pills are more difficult to abuse, opiate addicts are turning to cheaper and more-plentiful heroin.
In recent years, the number of people abusing prescription pain pills has dropped steadily as heroin use increased. The number of people 12 and older who regularly abuse OxyContin dropped from 566,000 in 2010 to 358,000 in 2012, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported in December. The number of regular heroin users soared from 239,000 in 2010 to 335,000 in 2012, the survey found.
The tragedy caused by the abuse of drugs damages millions every day. We have to do a better job of reducing the damage done to society due to the abuse of drugs. Celebrities shine a light on the problem but it is a widespread problem that has an immense impact throughout society.
Related: Russell brand’s testimony on dealing with drug addiction – Prescription painkillers kill more every year in usa than heroin and cocaine combined – Eminem’s ‘relapse’ explores his drug addition and rehabilitation
Comic panels, by Stuart McMillen, of the rat park drug addiction experiment, see the full comic.
The causes of drug addiction are not simple. Like many medical issues they are a complex interaction of factors.
Drug addiction: The complex truth by Tom Stafford
Many studies have shown rats and monkeys will neglect food and drink in favour of pressing levers to obtain morphine (the lab form of heroin). With the right experimental set up, some rats will self-administer drugs until they die. At first glance it looks like a simple case of the laboratory animals losing control of their actions to the drugs they need. It’s easy to see in this a frightening scientific fable about the power of these drugs to rob us of our free will.
But there is more to the real scientific story, even if it isn’t widely talked about. The results of a set of little-known experiments carried out more than 30 years ago paint a very different picture, and illustrate how easy it is for neuroscience to be twisted to pander to popular anxieties. The vital missing evidence is a series of studies carried out in the late 1970s in what has become known as “Rat Park”. Canadian psychologist Bruce Alexander, at the Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, suspected that the preference of rats to morphine over water in previous experiments might be affected by their housing conditions.
Rats are smart, social creatures. Living in a small cage on their own is a form of sensory deprivation. Rat Park was what neuroscientists would call an enriched environment, or – if you prefer to look at it this way – a non-deprived one. In Alexander’s tests, rats reared in cages drank as much as 20 times more morphine than those brought up in Rat Park.
As the article notes more research is needed, but there should be more research into the importance of social environment on drug abuse and drug abuse treatment.
Related: Methods to treat addiction – How effective is drug addiction treatment in the USA? – Prescription drug abuse in the USA – Looking at the evidence of treating alcoholism
Overdose deaths from prescription painkillers have skyrocketed in the past decade. Every year, nearly 15,000 people die from overdoses involving these drugs—more than those who die from heroin and cocaine combined.
The abuse of prescription painkillers has risen dramatically in the last 15 years; in 1999 4,000 people were killed by these drugs (less than a third of the current numbers of deaths).
Find more information on prescription drug abuse and treatment options from the United States Center for Disease Control.
Related: Prescription Drug Abuse in the USA – Prescription Drug Abuse: Pain Killers Can Lead to Addition – Decline in the Misuse of Prescription Drugs in the USA (reported in 2008, was the data accurate?) – Brett Favre Overcomes Painkiller Addiction