Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Few Thoughts on the American Opioid Crisis

Normally, I use this space to post my stirring tales of addiction and recovery. Today's post is slightly different readers. I have been contacted by two different federal agencies in the past month about my opinions on what needs to be done to address the opioid crisis. This SHOULD be a good thing. But there is a catch. These clandestine contacts with me are indicative of a much larger problem. Policies and programs are currently being crafted at the national level with little to no input from former or current consumers of opioids. This is completely unacceptable. If leaders in the field want to know what we need, we should be leading some of these conversations. Instead, advocates/former users like myself are essentially the side piece of policy leaders. You want me around in private. You just don't want to take the risk of being in public with us.

When I make these posts on reddit or my personal blog, decision makers are reading them. They want to know what we are thinking. They just don't ask us directly. If you have ideas, please feel free to post them. I will continue to pass them on.

We need our voices to be heard, not just just read.

I love you. Be safe.

3 comments:

  1. I was just listening to trumps news conference on rebuilding infrastructure. He was talking about bringing jobs back especially to the Rust Belt.

    I was thinking that it would be great if they could coordinate across government agencies where for example: and addict gets arrested – instead of just sending him/her to rehab combine that with jobs afterwards so that there is a goal and something to strive for. Obviously this is more complicated than just a couple of sentences here , but instead of hobbling addicts with felonies and records why not make it easier for them to get jobs? I don't know what could be put in place, maybe drug testing or some type of framework where the goal would be to help tge person stay employed and sober not a punitive action. In other words, strive to find that balance where people are held accountable for their actions but there is everything in place to help them.

    It is unfortunate that there is such a stigma still with addiction. Shame keeps many people from reaching out until it's too late, then they face consequences that last a lifetime.

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  2. First of all prohibition has never worked. Prohibition does not work noe and it never will work. Decriminilize drugs. In portugal instead of arresting addicts for small amounts of drugs they h must come before a board. Then they are offered treatment. They are also either fined and/or given community service. If USA would stop wasting billions of dollars on the drug war by decriminilizing or legalizing drugs it would be a huge blow to the cartels. The billions of dollars wasted on a war that will NEVER end could be poured into treatment, drug education, safe places to do untainted drugs, etc. Man has always experimented with inebriants and they always will. Lets make America great again. So much wasted money coukd also be poured into helping recovering addicts get jobs. Albert Einsteins definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Thomas Jefferson said if we are told what we can or cannot put in our bodies then we cannot claim to be a free country. We are not free at all. I certainly don"t feel free. Its time to wake up and do somdthing radically different. Try to follow Pourtugal"s example. Prohibition has created the criminal enterprises. Prohibition is ridiculous.

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  3. Great post, I agree with it all and thank you for sharing. But I believe you missed the most important piece to what Portugal is doing. They addict is brought to the board, then offered acute detox and treatment. After completing treatment, the addict is then set up with a job and training which can be extended to a career (mechanic, sales, management, etc). The government then pays up to 50% of their wages so the company they are working for only pays the other 50% for a set amount of time. All the money used for this treatment is used for good here rather than 3 hots and a cot in jail and prison. A year after this type of treatment began, the amount of drug users within major cities in Portugal was reduced by 50%. By giving these addicts simple training and purpose and direction in life, they are in effect GIVING life to a human being, rather than taking it while they rot in jail or in the streets stuck in their addiction.

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