Suboxone Assisted Treatment
October  News-Updates 2008
"Happy Halloween
"


"Whatever we write on the hearts of our children is not erased by time. "

I'd like to take the time to welcome all of our new visitors to our monthly  news-update.  We are extremely happy you stopped to look at our website and if we can assist you in any way, we want  you to let us know.  We are here just for you and you can reach us by telephone, twenty-four hours every day of the year.  If you prefer to remain anonymous then you can e-mail us with your questions not that we require you to give  your name if you call.

 It is totally up to you but every caller and conversation is kept confidential.  If you really feel you need to talk to someone but you can't afford a long-distance call,it is no problem! You send us an e-mail with your name and phone number  and  the best time to reach you and we will call you at our own expense.  It doesn't have to be because you need questions answered or need assistance in locating treatment-providers--we provide support and encouragement to keep all of you heading in the right direction. We understand the going gets rough and all of need help from time to time.   

It's October, can you believe it?  Where has the year gone?  There are not enough hours in the day for me but I am thankful I'm busy and I have money to pay for my medication. We have received many calls lately from people who are unable to pay for their medication basically due to our failing economy.  Many are unemployed and have been unable to find any kind of work.  We talk to many parents and with most we hear the same scenario. They have adult-children with substance abuse problems  unemployed and living with them.

Many have been paying for their medication but in the last few months we have received many calls from parents because they are finding it impossible to pay for the medication. They want to know where they can find help for their children. I know it isn't easy, especially if the medication has made a difference in their lives, to tell them you no longer can afford it because most fear their children will end up on the streets using again . We actually have talked to some parents taking second mortgages out on their house.  I am not here to judge them and in some cases it may be warranted but it should never come to this.  

 I wish I had some answers for them but unfortunately, I don't.  I can say in some of the cases, I believe the parents need to cut the umbilical cord and stop enabling them. I do know as long as you are there providing for them they don't have to accept any responsibility. I believe if they are trying to help themselves and you can afford to help them financially then... but there should be limitations set upfront.   I know and understand both sides but once you are actually addicted,you lose all consciousness of what is right or wrong because you are obsessed with obtaining the medication at all cost.

Chemical Dependence
Let me define the word, "Chemical dependence is compulsive, pathological, impaired control over drug use, leading to an inability to stop using drugs in spite of adverse consequences."  Researchers have identified  the exact brain area affexted in the chemically dependent person. It's called the mesolimbic dopamine system.    

It's obvious I don't have all the answers but I believe every person should have access to proper medical care. Drugs are not going away.  We need to accept the fact and try to find a working solution to the dilemma at hand. My heart goes out to all the people needing medication and unable to afford it financially because if they have been diagnosed with "chemical dependency," their medication is needed just as much as a person with Diabetes.  

I am going to change to a more positive subject.  I would like to hear from any of you with comments and  if our failing economy is affecting you. I am really curious to know if it hadn't been for the Wall Street bailout if "The Addiction And Mental Health Parity Legislation would have passed (?) " What do you think?

 Congress, Bush Approve Addiction And Mental Health Parity Legislation 

The long-held dream of parity in behavioral healthcare is now a reality: The U.S. House of Representatives voted 263-171 to approve the Wall Street bailout bill, which includes a provisionthat mandates parity coverage for addiction and mental-health care, and President George Bush swiftly signed the measure into law.

"This legislation is one more step in the long civil-rights struggle to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to reach their potential," said Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), who cosponsored the House bill with Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-Minn). "For far too long, health insurance companies have used the stigma of mental illness and substance abuse as an excuse to deny coverage for those biological disorders. That ends today when this critical legislation outlaws the discrimination that is embedded in our laws and our policies."

The parity bill does not require health -insurance plans to cover addiction or mental health, bust insurers will now be barred from imposing any caps or limits on behavioral healthcare service that are not applied to other health conditions. Most insurance plans do incude behavioral -healthcare coverage, and advocates say that past experience shows that passage of state-level parity laws have not led to insurers dropping such coverage.

"[The] vote today ensures that people, and their families, who face mental health and addiction diseases can be afforded the opportunity to get well and live a life of recovery" added Missy Orlando, executive vice president of corporate planning and communications for Caron Treatment Centers of Wernersville, Pa.

"This victory turns the page in how our nation responds to our leading health problem--addiction to alcohol and other drugs," said Pat Taylor, executive director of the advocacy group, Faces And Voices Of Recovery. "While nearly half of Americans know someone who is in recovery alcohol and drug problems, over 22 million Americans will struggle and have yet to find new lives in recovery; the Wellstone-Domenici will help pave their ways."

Reference:  Bob Curley         Join Together                             October 3, 2008   

How Will The Economic Crisis Impact Drug Use?

Drug consumption probably won't go anywhere ----- just our patterns of how we use them.  

I know a lot about drugs and the drug war, both personally and professionally. Drugs have had, at alternating times, a positive and a detrimental impact on my life. I have laughed, relaxed and found inspiration while intoxicated. I have also struggled, fought and become despondent because of my addiction to drugs (think cigarettes).

I have spent the last eight years working at the Drug Policy Alliance, an organization working to reform drug laws. With the economic crisis in the United States dominating the news, I find myself wondering what the impact will be on people's drug use and our country's drug policies. Here are some of my reflections on these uncertain and stressful times and how my fellow Americans' drug use may be affected.

People Use Drugs For Joy And Pain, In Good Times And Bad

The New York Times Style Section had a story on September 21st about the bars on Wall Street being packed during the crazy ups and downs of the last couple of weeks. One man was quoted as saying that he and his friends came to drink when something great happened or when something terrible happened. Basically, people drink to celebrate the good and drown out the bad. People are losing their homes, their jobs and their life-savings. I have to believe that the fear and anxiety being felt by so many will lead to increased use of alcohol and other drugs to calm fears or numb pain.

We Will Likely Continue or Increase Some Drug Use and Give up Others

With people struggling to pay the bills, most of us will have to make some sacrifices and cut back on some of our expenses. For many of us, our drugs will not be one of the items cut from our lives. There have been stories about alcohol and cigarette sales holding strong, even in bad times. Many of us will still have our vodka sodas or wine, but we will drink them at home instead of paying triple the price for a drink at the local bar.

While some people feel dependent on their drugs, others who use drugs more recreationally may curb some of their drug use. I have been to spots in New York where people are out on the town and using cocaine. Some people may hold off on dropping 50 bucks for a drug they could take or leave. Some people who only smoke cigarettes socially ("only when I drink"), may stop paying nine bucks for a pack of smokes. For others, cigarettes would be purchased at any cost.

Getting Your Drugs From The Pharmacy or The Street

Despite a $40 billion-a-year "war on drugs" and political speeches about a "drug-free society," our society is swimming in drugs: cigarettes, sugar, alcohol, marijuana, Prozac, Ritalin, Viagra, steroids and caffeine. The vast majority of Americans use drugs on a regular basis. Some people get their sleeping pills or uppers at a pharmacy. Others get them on the street. If more and more people lose jobs and/or health insurance we may see a shift from pharmacy drugs to illicit drugs. Alcohol or marijuana may be a cheaper sleeping aid or anti-anxiety drugs than their prescribed competitors.

Will the Budget Crisis Lead to Smarter and More Cost-Effective Drug Policy?

There are reasons for hope and concern when it comes to our elected officials advocating for cost-effective and money-saving drug policy strategies during the budget crisis. The fear is that treatment and prevention programs will continue to be cut as states look for ways to balance their budgets. On the flip side, states can save millions of dollars by implementing and funding treatment instead of incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders. "Tough on Crime" rhetoric is cheap, but paying $40,000 per person to lock someone in a cage is not. It could be a win-win solution for states to offer treatment instead of jail for those struggling with addiction. This policy would save money and lives. Hopefully the economic savings will get our leaders to do what they already should have been doing, treat substance abuse as a public health issue instead of criminal justice one.

Bottom Line: Drugs Aren't Going Anywhere

The drug war has been waged over the last 30 years, during good economic times and bad. Currently we have 500,000 people behind bars on drug charges. Despite decades of war, incarceration rates and billions of dollars spent, drugs are as plentiful as ever and easily accessible. We have to accept that drugs have been around for thousands of years and will be here for thousands more. We need to educate people about the possible harm from drug use, offer compassion and treatment to people who have problems, and leave in peace the people who are causing harm to no one.

Reference: Tony Newman of Drug Policy Alliance
Alternet Date: 2 October 2008

Myths Of Addiction

1. Addicts are bad, crazy or stupid.
Evolving research is demonstrating that addicts are not bad people who need to get good, crazy people who need to get sane, or stupid people who need education.  Addicts have a brain disease that goes beyond their use of drugs. 

2. Addiction is a willpower problem.
This is an old belief, probably based upon wanting to blame addicts for using drugs to excess. This myth is reinforced by the observation that most treatments for alcoholism and addiction are behavioral (talk) therapies, which are perceived to build self-control. But addiction occurs in an area of the brain called the mesolimbic dopamine system that is not under conscious control.

3. Addicts should be punished, not treated, for using drugs.
Science is demonstrating that addicts have a brain disease that causes them to have impaired brain control over their use of drugs. Addicts need treatment for their neurochemically driven brain pathology.  

4. People addicted to one drug are addicted to all drugs.
While this sometimes occurs, most people who are dependent on a drug may be dependent on one or two drugs, but not all. This is probably due to how each drug "matches up" with the person's brain chemistry.   

5.  Addicts cannot be treated with medication.
Actually, addicts are medically detoxified in hospitals, when appropriate, all the time.  But can they be treated with medications after detox?  New pharmacotherapies (medicines)  are being developed to help patients who have already become abstinent to further curb their craving for addicting drugs.  These medications reduce the chances of relapse and enhance the effectiveness of existing behavioral (talk) therapies. 

6. Addiction is treated behaviorally, so it must be a behavioral problem.  
New brain scan studies are showing that behavioral treatments (i.e.psychotherapy) and medications work similarly in changing brain function.  So addiction is a brain disease that can be treated
by changing brain function, through several types of treatment.

7. Alcoholics can stop drinking simply by attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, so they can't have a brain disease.
The key word is "simply." For most people, Alcoholics Anonymous is a tough, lifelong working of the Twelve Steps. On the basis of research, we know that this support system of people with a common experience is one of the active ingredients of recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous.  Alcoholics Anonymous doesn't work for everyone, even for many people  who truly want to stop drinking.   

Source:  Adapted From The University of Texas Addiction Science  
Research and Education Center; Written By Carlton K. Erickson, PhD.

Decriminalization of Certain Drugs 

A few days ago Mexican President Felipe Calderon proposed legislation that would decriminalize the possession of small quantities of certain drugs.

Faced with a soaring drug problem(the number of drug addicts have doubles in six years) President Calderon is clearly trying to solve a pressing problem that is only getting worse. 

“The problem is not whether or not certain drugs should or shouldn’t be decriminalized,” states Mary Rieser, Executive Director of Narconon of Georgia. “The problem is the perception that drug addicts are criminal, unwanted elements of society, and using jail as a deterrent will solve the drug war.

“Neither perception is correct.

“Undoubtedly there are anti-social and destructive people who should make restitution for the crimes they have committed to society.

“However, simply incarcerating people does not solve their drug addiction, nor does it put them in a position to take responsibility for their prior actions.

Drug addiction is a terrible burden: mentally and physically affected by the drug, whether it be cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or even prescription drugs that are abused, the drug addict cannot, of course, make rational decisions regarding their conduct.

“This in no way relieves them of the responsibility of their actions, but can explain why they would act the way they do to continue to keep themselves supplied with the drug: lying, cheating, stealing.”

Studies have shown that drug rehabilitation is more cost effective, more practical, and more effective, in terms of recidivism and criminality, than incarceration.

Why would we spend tens of thousands of dollars a year to incarcerate a drug addict when for a fraction of the cost and time, these same drug addicts can be successfully rehabilitated?” continues Ms. Rieser.

"It is clear that we cannot arrest our way out of the problem of chronic drug abuse and drug driven crime.  We cannot continue to apply policies and programs that do not deal with the root causes of substance abuse and attendant crime.  Nor should we expect to continue to have the widepread societal support for our counter-drug programs if the American people begin to believe these programs are unfair," Barry R. McCaffrey, Director, Office Of National Drug Control Policy.

They [mandatory sentences] ha ve not stemmed the drug trade. The only thing they've done is to fill the prisons." - Retired Republican New York State Senator John Dunne

A judge let me use the Narconon protocol on drug offenders and drug addicts to see if rehabilitation was a better route than incarceration,” comments Ms. Rieser.
“Our results seven years ago and today show that fewer people revert to drugs or criminal behavior after completing the program than they would if they had not done a drug rehabilitation program and simply gone to jail.”

Reference: Narcanon of Georgia  Copyright 2008
http://www.drugsno.com  Phone: 1-877-413-3073

If this is your first visit to Suboxone Assisted Treatment, we hope you found what you needed. If you need questions answered, assistance with locating treatment or you need some extra support and encouragement, we can reached by phone twenty fours every day. Feel free to call us anytime day or night.

770-428-0871  Phone           770-527-9119 Cellular  

If you would like us to give you a call at our expense, we would be  happy to honor your  request.   We need you to send us your name and phone number with the best time to reach you.  Please send it to MATDirector@aol.com.  We  will  call  you  as s oon  as  we  receive and process your request usually within 24-48 hours.  If it is urgent - - -please let us know by typing urgent on the Subject line.   We  are here for you.  You are not alone. 

Until November I wish you all of you the very best.  Be careful with all the Halloween Treats. 

Deborah Shrira, Editor                13 October 2008