Tag Archives: drug addiction

Recovery Can Be Difficult Over the Holidays

Recovery can be especially difficult over the holidays due to family gatherings and stigma against medication assisted treatment. Listen in to this opioid support group as they discuss their handling of holidays.

Discussion Guide:

Is your family or social network supportive of your medication assisted treatment?

If not, how do you handle negative attitudes against your choice of recovery?

Do you have a prepared statement which can defuse a difficult situation?

If you have a supportive and warm family how did they come to accept you and your medication?

Supplemental Reading:

Promises Treatment Center, Tips to Support Recovery During the Holidays, http://www.promises.com/articles/addiction-recovery/tips-to-support-recovery-during-the-holidays/

Do High Costs Prevent Poor People from Treatment?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 2 million people in the US are addicted to pain killers and half a million are addicted to heroin. However, there are only about 350,000 Americans utilizing methadone treatment, and 75,000 are getting treatment with Suboxone, according to Rockefeller University. Why don't more people access medication assisted treatment? Listen in to this opioid recovery support group as they discuss financial barriers to treatment.

Discussion Guide:

How much would you pay to be free of your opioid dependence?

How much are you able to pay?

Have you had difficulty accessing treatment due to lack of financial resources?

If you have health insurance, does it cover most or all of your treatment?

If your insurance no longer covered your treatment, what would you do?

Supplemental Reading:

Elizabeth Brico, The Cost of Addiction Treatment Keeps Poor People Addicted, http://talkpoverty.org/2017/11/01/cost-addiction-treatment-keeps-poor-people-addicted/

 

Rebuttal to an Abstinence Only Advocate

One of our group members wrote a rebuttal to a local newspaper column that had espoused an abstinence only view of opiate recovery. Our member wrote "It does no good to judge an addict on their form of treatment. What matters is if the treatment is successful or not." Listen in as the group discusses their views about medication assisted treatment and recovery.

Discussion Guide:

Have you utilized medicated assisted treatment for opiate addiction? If so, in your opinion, how does it compare to opiate abstinence without medication?

Have you been prevented from utilizing MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment) from someone in authority over you?

How do you combat negative and misinformed comments about MAT? What are the dangers of expounding a negative view?

How do you respond to the stigma against substance abusers as if it is a moral issue?

In what way is MAT similar and dissimilar to insulin for diabetes? Do you think it is a good analogy?

Have others implied that you should "man up" and stop using MAT? How has this effected you?

 

 

President Trump Declared Opioid Crisis a Public Health Emergency

President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. More than 140 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. The nation's Public Health Emergency Fund has a current balance of just $57,000. But the opioid crisis is a $14 billion problem, at minimum. Listen in to this opiate recovery support group as they discuss how they would approach the crisis, if they had the funds to do so.

Discussion Guide:

Are you familiar with the declaration of the opioid crisis as a public health emergency? How is a public health emergency different from a national emergency?

What are the pros and cons of this declaration?

If you were in a position to change policy and were given funds to address the crisis, what strategies would you recommend?

Supplemental Reading:

Claude Brodesser-Akner, 7 takeways from Trump's opioids public health emergency: What it really means, http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/10/5_takeaways_from_trumps_public_health_emergency_de.html

Should An Opioid Relapse Be a Punishable Crime?

Consider this scenario. You are on probation for a drug related crime, you quickly enter treatment and relapse early in your recovery. Should you immediately be subject to probation violation and sent to prison? Or, is the disease of addiction cause to deter criminal punishment? Listen in to this opiate recovery support group as they discuss their opinions on this topic.

Discussion Guide:

Is addiction a choice or a disease? 

Do you believe that opioid addiction causes you to be prone to relapses?

Does the threat of incarceration motivate substance dependent people toward recovery?

If  addiction is a medical condition and relapsing is a part of the disease, is it unconstitutional to punish the addict with incarceration?

Under what circumstances is incarceration a reasonable outcome for opioid addicts?  

What do you recommend as guidelines for the criminal justice system in making these decisions?

Supplemental Reading:

Deborah Becker, Court to Rule on Whether Relapse Be An Addicted Opioid User Should Be a Crime, http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/10/26/559541332/court-to-rule-on-whether-relapse-by-an-addicted-opioid-user-should-be-a-crime

Attitudes and Stigma Drive Opioid Treatment and Policy, Not Research

Psychiatrist, Sarz Maxwell says that one of the greatest barriers to treatment and effective drug policy are attitudes towards drugs. Addiction is not seen as a disease, but as a moral failing. Methadone and Suboxone are not drugs of choice. They are medicines. Listen in to this opiate support group discuss stigma .

Discussion Guide:

It is said that this opioid epidemic is getting worse and the stigma against opioid abusers is worsening. Why would this be the case?

Dr. Maxwell said "It is not what the person does to the drug, it's what the drug does to the person." What does this mean?

Abstinence is one of the least effective methods of treatment for opioid addiction and has the lowest recovery rate. Have you been successful with long term abstinence without medication such as Methadone and Suboxone?

"Addiction is the only disease where we expect the patient to be immediately symptom and medication free."  Do people have this expectation of you?

In a genetically predisposed addict's brain, there are too many opioid receptors and too few endorphins. This can cause people to use substances in an effort to get normal. Did you feel abnormal without an opioid boost?

 

 

 

Diversion Courts: When Good Intentions Go Wrong

Diversion courts provide an opportunity for criminal defendants to go to rehab instead of prison or jail. They hope to transform lives and ease overcrowded prisons. Although they are well intentioned, things sometimes go terribly wrong. Listen in to this opiate recovery support group as they discuss a rehab that is more like slave labor than treatment.

Discussion Guide:

Are you familiar with diversion courts?

Have you been a drug court member?

Have you been court ordered to a treatment facility that was not reputable and accredited?

How would you determine which treatment program is better than another?

What steps would you take to avoid being court ordered to a disreputable program?

Supplemental Reading:

Amy Julia Harris and Shoshana Walter, They Throught They Were Going to Rehab. They Ended Up in Chicken Plants, http://www.revealnews.org/article/they-thought-they-were-going-to-rehab-they-ended-up-in-chicken-plants/

Developing Treatment for Cocaine Addiction: TMS

Opiate addicts are fortunate to have several treatment medications that help decrease cravings, stop withdrawal, and block feelings of eupohoria from opiates. Unfortunately, there is no comparable medication for cocaine addiction. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is now being applied to stimulate areas of the brain that control impulses. This is a foreign and frightening procedure for most people. Would you be willing to zap your brain in order to be free of a cocaine addiction? Listen in to this opiate recovery group as they discuss TMS.

Discussion Guide:

Are you familiar with TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) and ECT (Electro-Convulsive Therapy)?

How do these treatments work?

Would you be willing to be zapped in an attempt to be free of cocaine?

Supplemental Reading:

Meredith Wadman, Brain-altering Magnetic Pulses Could Zap Cocaine Addiction, http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/08/brain-altering-magnetic-pulses-could-zap-cocaine-addiction

When Doctors Become Addicted

Between 8% and 12% of people will develop a substance abuse problem at some point in their lives. Physicians are vulnerable to substance abuse at the same rate as the general population yet they have higher recovery rates. Doctors with the most addiction problems tend to be anesthesiologists, emergency room doctors and psychiatrists. However, they can be more reluctant to enter treatment because of the fear of losing their professional licenses. Many state medical boards run special treatment programs for physicians and others in the health care industry. Should they have specialized treatment? Listen in to this opiate recovery support group as they discuss this special population.

Discussion Guide:

Why would a physician be vulnerable to substance abuse?

What makes physicians better able to hide their addiction?

Should they have their own treatment programs?

Why would they have higher recovery rates than the general population?

Supplemental Reading:

Soumya Karlamangla, Doctors and Drug Abuse: Why Addictions Can be So Difficult, http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-doctors-addiction-20170720-story.html

Behavioral Addiction vs. Substance Addiction

When we think of addiction, we immediately think of alcohol, drugs and gambling.  Few of us think of sex, social media or spending as addictions. The DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) does not recognize behavioral addictions, other than gambling. Behaviors such as sex, social media and spending are not included in the approved list of addictions. But should they be included? Listen in to this opiate recovery support group as they discuss the similarities and differences between behavioral addictions and substance addictions.

Discussion Guide:

Are you familiar with the terms behavioral addictions, or process addictions? What are they?

Name examples of behavioral addictions.

How are behavioral addictions different than substance addictions?

How are they similar?

Do these two types of addictions have similar or dissimilar outcomes?

Supplemental Reading:

Robert Weiss, Can You Really be Addicted to a Behavior? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/can-you-really-be-addicted-to-a-behavior_us_59938c79e4b0a88ac1bc380e

Marc Lewis, Behavioral Addictions vs. Substance Addictions https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/addicted-brains/201306/behavioral-addictions-vs-substance-addictions