The opioid crisis in North America damages countless lives every year, and we may be making it worse in the way we talk about addiction. FiveThirtyEight decided to look into the best ways of helping addicts using a scientific approach, they conclude that love and compassion is the best approach. Addiction is a problem for addicts and there communities, which ultimately means that the way we help addicts impacts our communities at large. If somebody you know is suffering from addiction reach out and ask them what you can do to help.
Addicts need love and support not condemnation and rejection.
“The pure tough love approach does not seem particularly effective and is sometimes quite cruel and potentially counterproductive,” Compton said.
Research on a compassionate, supportive alternative, known as Community Reinforcement and Family Therapy, finds that it is at least twice as effective at getting people into treatment, when compared with the traditional type of intervention or with 12-step programs like Al-Anon for family members. In CRAFT, family members are taught how to reduce conflict and positively motivate addicted loved ones to begin and sustain recovery. Both parties are also taught self-care skills and ways to help avoid relapse. CRAFT’s technique has none of the risks of cutting a family member out of your lif
The opioid crisis in North America continues unabated. Local organizations are pushing for reform of policies and in Canada the call for safe injection sites is growing. The number of deaths from opiate addiction is too high and users have started to share information to curb the rising death count. The subreddit community r/opiates has become a place for opioid users to let each other know about tainted drugs and how to deal with addiction issues. Ultimately the community wants people to stop using, but if they are using they should at least be safe about it.
Aaron credits r/opiates with helping him learn about kratom and giving his life purpose. As a way to pay it forward, he’s provided fentanyl warnings in West Virginia.
“People’s pressing a fake 215, and crushing up ginseng pills mixing them with fentanyl and some other stuff and selling as heroin,” Aaron, who goes by the handle of Optimistic-angel1 on Reddit, wrote in a 2 February post on the website – making note of activity in neighboring Mercer County, which sits just east of McDowell.
While the overdose warnings on Reddit may be a new trend, addicts have been no strangers to information sharing, said Dr Michael Brumage, executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston health department in West Virginia. Brumage has heard of addicts setting up networks to share information on bad heroin batches in the past while working with the department’s needle exchange program.
Being a teenager is hard with all the chaos that is finding one’s identity and dealing with the incoming stresses of life. In many places around the world, teens react to these pressures by using illicit substances or otherwise “misbehaving”. Iceland was having a huge problem with teens drinking and smoking throughout the 90s, then they decided to do something about it. Today Iceland has pretty much eliminated smoking among teens and substance abuse is almost a rounding error on surveys.
The solution that Iceland discovered is to give teenagers something to do. It’s that simple. Instead of having bored kids trying to find something to kill time, give them something that they find enjoying.
“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 program. Some stayed five years.
Johann Hari wanted to find out why people get addicted to drugs and ended up making some startling conclusions. Yet, not surprisingly, all the war on drugs policies countries have implemented have only increased the addiction problem. Addiction is more complex to solve than just hurting the people who use drugs.
What really causes addiction — to everything from cocaine to smart-phones? And how can we overcome it? Johann Hari has seen our current methods fail firsthand, as he has watched loved ones struggle to manage their addictions. He started to wonder why we treat addicts the way we do — and if there might be a better way. As he shares in this deeply personal talk, his questions took him around the world, and unearthed some surprising and hopeful ways of thinking about an age-old problem.
The war on drugs is a backwards, destructive, and anti-human campaign that has destroyed lives. It was launched by Nixon and since then it the ‘war’ has negatively impacted everything it touches from people’s lives to the global economy.
The USA tries to enforce it’s inflexible approach around the world, yet at home many states are realizing that it’s a foolish approach. Vermont has now openly backed out of the ignorant ‘battle’ against drugs and is taking a more educated approach: helping people who are addicted rather than punishing them.
Vermont has passed a battery of reforms that have turned the tiny state of about 627,000 people into a national proving ground for a less punitive approach to getting hard drugs under control. Under policies now in effect or soon to take hold, people caught using or in possession of heroin will be offered the chance to avoid prosecution by enrolling in treatment. Addicts, including some prisoners, will have greater access to synthetic heroin substitutes to help them reduce their dependency on illegal narcotics or kick the habit. A good Samaritan law will shield heroin users from arrest when they call an ambulance to help someone who’s overdosed. The drug naloxone, which can reverse the effects of a heroin or opioid overdose, will be carried by cops, EMTs, and state troopers. It will also be available at pharmacies without a prescription. “This is an experiment,” Shumlin says. “And we’re not going to really know the results for a while.”