Ending The War On Drugs

war on drugsIn 1971, President Richard Nixon declared drug abuse "public enemy number one," and thus began the United States’ “war on drugs.” While there is little doubt about the insidious nature of both drug abuse and the drug trade, it has become clear that not only was the war on drugs an unwinnable campaign - it has resulted in the jailing and imprisonment of millions of Americans whose only crime was to suffer from the disease of addiction. We know that incarceration has little effect on addiction rates, mental illness requires treatment not handcuffs. The United States has been faced with an opioid epidemic for well over a decade, a public health crisis that has affected people and families from every demographic. As the nation’s lawmakers address the issue, politicians from both sides of the aisle agree that addiction treatment and education is the most effective weapon. Unfortunately, we cannot reverse the damage that the war on drugs has inflicted on countless Americans, but we can take more humanitarian approach for the future - doing away with many of the nation’s draconian drug laws. This week, Der Spiegel published an essay written by Nobel Peace Prize winner and former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. With the use of powerful words, Annan declared that the global war on drugs has done more harm than good, and has given more weight to punishment than health and human rights. It has created the perfect environment for illegal drug manufacturers and distributors to foster. He writes:
“In my experience, good public policy is best shaped by the dispassionate analysis of what in practice has worked, or not. Policy based on common assumptions and popular sentiments can become a recipe for mistaken prescriptions and misguided interventions. Nowhere is this divorce between rhetoric and reality more evident than in the formulation of global drug policies, where too often emotions and ideology rather than evidence have prevailed.”
In April the United Nations General Assembly will hold a special session on drugs, a chance Annan believes for changes to be made regarding global drug policies. He wrote four critical steps that he believes should be accepted and implemented. 1) Decriminalize personal drug use. 2)Accept that a drug-free world is an illusion. 3)Look at regulation and public education rather than the total suppression of drugs. 4)Recognize that drugs must be regulated precisely because they are risky.

Some final thoughts…

At PACE Recovery Center our men's only extended care drug and alcohol treatment program is built on the idea that by helping the client work on their underlying issues, they will be able to achieve long-term sobriety. PACE's addiction treatment team incorporates the most effective treatment modalities, which have been proven through empirical research. We will follow with interest the special session on drugs that will be conducted at the United Nations General Assembly.

Millennials Drink A Lot Of Wine

MillennialsMillennials, or Generation Y, are now all above the age of 21, the legal age to consume alcohol in the U.S. This means that researchers can now take a look at alcohol patterns for the demographic and compare these to other generations. When we think of young adults drinking, beer and hard liquor probably come to mind. The practice of drinking as much as you can as fast you can may also accompany your thoughts about the Millennials’ drinking. You may find it surprising to learn that Gen. Yers drink more wine than any other age group. In fact, Millennials (79 million Americans ages 21 to 38) consumed nearly half of all the wine in the United States last year, USA Today reports. The findings come from a study conducted by the industry nonprofit Wine Market Council. The researchers found that the age group drank 159.6 million cases of wine in 2015, 42 percent of all the wine in the U.S. That is an average of two cases per person. The study also looked at what is known as “high frequency” drinking among various age groups, according to the article. High frequency drinking is the act of consuming alcohol several days a week. Out of everyone who drinks multiple days a week, the researchers found that:
  • 20 percent were Gen X’ers.
  • 30 percent were Millennials.
  • Baby Boomers made up 38 percent.
Please take a moment to watch a short video on the subject: If you are having trouble viewing the video, please click here. It is somewhat troubling to see that Gen Y’ers were not too far behind Baby Boomers when it comes to high frequency drinking. While drinking multiple days a week does not mean that a person has a problem with alcohol, the more often a person drinks, the greater the likelihood of developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Many high frequency drinkers become dependent or addicted to alcohol. If you feel that your drinking has gotten out of hand, and is impacting your life, please contact PACE Recovery Center for help. Our experienced staff specializes in the treatment of young adult men (18-30).

FBI Film About Opioid Addiction

addictionThere is no question, the opioid epidemic in the United States is both unprecedented and insidious; however, if there is a silver lining to be found it is that the crisis has forced an evolution to occur regarding how we, as a nation, both view and talk about addiction. For years, addiction experts have said that addiction does not discriminate - an assertion that was hard for many lawmakers to accept; however, in the wake of the scourge of opioid addiction affecting practically every demographic throughout the nation for well over a decade - we are now seeing a paradigm shift with how lawmakers believe we should handle this calamity. It has become clear that we cannot arrest this epidemic away, as we tried to do during the 1980’s through the ‘90s with the cocaine problem in America. The use of draconian drug laws to combat addiction focused more on the symptoms of addiction and did little to address the disease of addiction. Addiction cannot be treated with steel bars, solutions can only be found with evidence-based, scientifically accepted methods of substance use disorder treatment. With 44 people dying from overdoses every day, there is a great need for expanded access to both the life saving opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone and to substance use disorder treatment services. In recent months, there has been an inter-agency push to get those struggling with addiction the help they need without fear of prosecution. Overdose survivors do not need to fear be arrested, and are actually being directed to rehabilitation services. In fact, the President is asking Congress for $1.1 billion to expand access to addiction treatment services; in some places, addicts who would like help have to wait up to a month to get a bed at treatment centers. While making treatment more available is huge and has the potential to save thousands of lives, there is also a need for more in the way of prevention through education. Recently, both the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) joined forces to make a film about the opioid epidemic - aimed at youth, The Washington Post reports. The goal is to prevent adolescents from abusing prescription opioids, which is strongly believed to be the link to beginning heroin use. The film: "Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict" was produced at the insistence of James Comey, the current Director of the FBI. “You will see in ‘Chasing the Dragon’ opioid abusers that have traveled a remarkably dangerous and self-destructive path,” said Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg. “I hope this will be a wakeup call for folks. Please pay close attention to this horrific epidemic. Help reverse it. Save a life. Save a friend. Save a loved one.” We hope that you will watch Chasing the Dragon below: If you are having trouble watching the film, please click here.

Many Attorneys Drink Alcohol At Unhealthy Levels

attorneys drink alcohol unhealthy levelsMillions of Americans, upon finishing their workday, will often times cap off their night with an alcoholic beverage or two. This is why drinking alcohol is commonly equated with unwinding or decompressing. The behavior of drinking alcohol after a stressful day is usually considered to be relatively benign; however, sometimes end of the day drinking can get out of hand which can become problematic - especially for those whose line of work is stressful. New research suggests that more than one-fifth of licensed, actively working American attorneys drink alcohol at unhealthy levels, The Chicago Tribune reports. The study showed that many of those same attorneys suffer from depression and anxiety as well. The findings will be published this month in the Journal of Addiction Medicine. What’s more, the research showed that younger attorneys were affected by the aforementioned problems the most. The researchers hope that the new data will result in action.
“Any way you look at it, this data is very alarming, and paints the picture of an unsustainable professional culture that’s harming too many people. Attorney impairment poses risks to the struggling individuals themselves and to our communities, government, economy and society. The stakes are too high for inaction,” said study lead author Patrick Krill, in a news release.
The data comes from a sample of 12,825 attorneys in the United States who filled out surveys designed to assess both substance use and other mental health problems, according to the article. The findings showed that 28 percent of lawyers struggled with varying degrees of depression and 19 percent exhibited symptoms of anxiety.
“This is a mainstream problem in the legal profession,” said Krill, the Director of the Legal Professionals Program at a well respected treatment facility. “There needs to be a systemic response.”
This is the first major study on the prevalence of addiction among attorneys in 25 years, the article reports. The research was co-funded by the American Bar Association and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. This research is especially important because many attorneys are unwilling to seek help for mental health problems for fear they will be disbarred or lose their position. PACE Recovery Center specializes in working with young adult males struggling with chemical dependency and behavioral health issues. During this important transitional phase our clinical team focuses on helping young adults put into practice skills gained while in addiction treatment and balance their lives as they begin to integrate back into real world settings. Our treatment program is designed to focus on and develop our clients’ life skills, including understanding when stress and anxiety can impact one’s program of recovery.

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