In the last five posts, we have been discussing the opioid crisis. An epidemic that has taken thousands of lives and devastated thousands of families. Interdiction has not worked very well at all. Physicians limiting the prescriptions that they write for opioids and using other strategies for dealing with pain may have an impact on the epidemic. But what are we doing about the demand for these drugs? Continue reading “An Addict Among Us: Part Six”
One of the strategies in dealing with addiction is Harm Reduction. This is a strategy that has been practiced in Europe for many years. There is, however, still much resistance to doing this in our country. The strategy involves doing such things as giving people with addictions clean needles and a safe place to use. Critics say the strategy encourages and supports the addiction. The research that has been done on these programs seems to contradict that argument. Studies point out that the strategy reduces death and disease among those addicted and can encourage them to become involved in treatment programs. Continue reading “An Addict Among Us: Part Five”
Our president recommended building a wall on our southern border to keep illegal drugs out. Unfortunately, the problem is not that easy to solve. Much of the illegal drugs coming into this country come by sea or air. And a large quantity of the drugs being abused are prescription medications bought and sold on the streets of this country. Interdiction efforts have not been that successful. Many doubt they will be in the future. Continue reading “An Addict Among Us: Part Four”
As we have discussed in the previous blog post, addiction, especially opioid addiction, is a major issue for our society. And this is not just the abuse of drugs like heroin. Prescription medications are frequently abused. Patients become addicted to them very quickly when they are prescribed in large quantities for the treatment of pain. Unfortunately, medications such as oxycodone and OxyContin may be very effective in treating acute pain, but often don’t work that well for the long-term treatment of chronic pain. These prescription medications are refined to such a degree that addiction to them may come faster than addiction to heroin. Continue reading “An Addict Among Us: Part Three”
Addiction to opioids is a major issue in Maine as it is in most states. More people die from addiction overdoses than they do in car accidents. One of the problems that have been identified that we are attempting to address is in the area of public education. Many people still do not understand that addiction is a disease, not a matter of character or moral weakness. As long as this attitude continues in our society it will continue to prevent people from seeking treatment and the epidemic will grow. Continue reading “An Addict Among Us: Part Two”
In the state of Maine 400 overdose deaths occurred in 2017. This year it is likely that the number will be matched or exceeded. To say the least, opioid addiction is a major problem for our society. I recently attended a conference in Maine that focused on opioid addiction among veterans. Some of the problems identified were the fragmentation of the system of care and the limited resources for treating addiction. A major issue we talked about was the lack of understanding that the general public has about addiction. Many still view it as a moral issue and believe that those who become addicted are weak. The stigma of being addicted keeps people from seeking treatment. The skills and attitudes of resilience are ones that our society in general needs to combat a variety of problems including addiction. One of the tools that we have developed to educate the public about the different struggles that we are facing is Bounce Back, a serious game that asks participants to respond to challenges using the skills and attitudes of resilience. Continue reading “An Addict Among Us: Part One”
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