The American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, Inc. (AATOD) has generated a five-year plan to treat those addicted to opioids. The major components to the five-year plan include supporting the treatment system, improving financial support, supporting patient advocacy, working with the criminal justice system, workforce development and organizing opioid treatment programs (OTPs) within the U. S. and internationally.
AATOD regularly works with Center for Substance Abuse Treatment and SAMHSA to develop ongoing Treatment Improvement Protocols. To read the full information, see AATOD five-year plan.
A recent UK study has concluded that addictions to alcohol or tobacco are just as dangerous to a person’s health as addictions to illegal substances including heroine, cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy. The study does not advocate for any kinds of legal or illegal drugs, but rather puts alcohol and tobacco on par with other drugs in regards to adverse health effects.
The study has caused some controversy in the United Kingdom by placing ecstasy at the bottom of the list for adverse health effects. The reason for this placement, however, is that only 10 people in the UK die each year from using ecstasy, whereas over 300 people die each year from alcohol abuse.
Illegal drug use in both Germany and Russia have hit new heights according to different reporting agencies. In Germany, according to the National Treatment Agency, people receiving treatment for cannabis abuse has risen to 22,500 in the current year. In the prior year, 13,400 sought treatment, indicating an increase of 60-percent from last year to this year.
In Russia, according to Viktor Khvorostian, the head of the federal drug control service, 100,000 people died last year due to illegal drugs. Itar-Tass Reports that in Moscow alone, there are currently 30,000 drug addicts mostly from the younger generation including students.
Representative Patrick Kennedy (D â€“ Rhode Island) has admitted to an Oxycontin addiction, which he sought treatment for after an auto accident outside the U. S. Capitol building last year that made national headlines. Kennedy checked himself into the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota in May 2006 after the crash for â€œaddiction to painkillersâ€. At that time Oxycontin was not named specifically.
Kennedy joins Rush Limbaugh as another notable with a highly publicized case of Oxycontin addiction. In October 2003, Rush Limbaugh admitted to an addiction to this prescription pain medication as the result of recovering from spinal surgery. After much talk of charging Limbaugh with â€œdoctor shoppingâ€ in Florida, prosecutors decided to drop this charge.
HBO producer Susan Froemke of the TV show â€œAddictionâ€ interviewed Congressman Patrick Kennedyâ€™s policy adviser Mike Zamore recently about a bill before Congress to provide parity in benefits for addiction treatment. The Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act amends and updates the Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 and hopes to end discriminatory practices in health plans for those with mental illnesses or addiction issues.
If health plan providers do offer mental health benefits, the bill will require the providers to maintain equity in financial requirements, treatment limits and out-of-network coverage plus cover all diseases that members of Congress are provided for under their federal employee health plan.
The bill is being called an â€œaddiction equityâ€ act on the part of substance abuse advocates. HMOâ€™s and other managed healthcare entities have been fighting against legislation like this for years for financial reasons.
According to a study just released by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), 3.8 million full-time college students (49-percent) binge drink or abuse drugs, both prescription and illicit. Of this number 22.9-percent meet the criteria for addiction.
According to CASA chairman Joseph A. Califano, Jr. â€œItâ€™s time to get the â€˜highâ€™ out of higher education.â€ According to the report, binge drinking is up 16-percent, injuries from drinking are up 38-percent and alcohol-related arrests are up 21-percent.
One of the biggest barriers to change is the perception that drinking and drugging by college students is a rite of passage into adulthood. Who can forget the famous movie â€œAnimal Houseâ€ starring John Belushi where the theme of the film was the partying of the students. Drinking and drugging by college students has been glamorized in the media for years.
If the substance abuse problems on college campuses is to get under control anytime soon, then the public perception of colleges and universities as a place for partying will have to change. Grooming young adults to be addicts instead of community leaders for the next generation is not only a moral issue, but a practical social issue of how we intend to care for one another in our society. Hopefully, publicizing awareness of this issue as an epidemic is a good place to start.
As the war rages on in Iraq, the one in Afghanistan is often forgotten about. And, when the war in Afghanistan is remembered and talked about, the focus is on fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban and not about fighting the outflow of the worldâ€™s largest supply of heroin and opium.
To make matters worse, Afghanistan’s newly appointed anti-corruption chief, Izzatullah Wasifi, has a criminal record for drug possession, spending nearly 4 years in jail in Nevada after he sold $65,000 worth of heroin to an undercover detective. Despite Wasifiâ€™s rhetoric about his commitment to curbing drug trafficking in Afghanistan, experts are expecting a record crop of poppies this year and an increase of trafficking in heroin and opium. This â€œfox guarding the henhouseâ€ scenario is not sitting well with those who wish to take meaningful steps to stop the outflow of heroin from Afghanistan to Chicago (and other large cities).
With St. Patrickâ€™s Day coming up, Boston has some good news. Addiction to heroin and Oxycontin have leveled off. Why is this good news around a drinking holiday in a city known for this celebration? Because heroin treatment admissions still account for more than those related to alcohol. And, more Bostonians die from drug and alcohol abuse than they do from murder, so any drop in use means more lives will be saved.
According to a study from the Boston Public Health Commission, heroin abuse admissions dropped by 11 percent in 2006 and Oxycontin admissions have stopped climbing. This is also good news for politicians as they have almost doubled the budget in the past 2 years (from $33.2 million to $61.6 million) for substance abuse prevention and treatment programs.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is presenting an HBO special titled â€œAddictionâ€ on March 15, 2007 at 9 pm EST. The NIHâ€™s two main arms, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), have collaborated with HBO to bring forward this documentary about addiction, a disease that is estimated to affect 1 out of 10 Americans over 12 years of age (approximately 23 million).
The documentary is being funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and will showcase the nature of addiction and promising treatments for the disease. According to the documentary, only about 10-percent of those with substance abuse issues are receiving the treatment that they need. The film consists of nine separate segments, focusing on such subjects as emergency room visits, adolescents and medications used in treatment of addiction.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is conducting a large-scale, nationwide study on those who have an addiction to prescription pain medication. According to the NIDA, six million Americans in 2005 said that they used prescription drugs in a nonmedical manner within the past month.
The nonmedical use of prescription pain medication has for the first time exceeded marijuana use in the United States. The study will test the effectiveness of Suboxone (buprenorphine / naloxone) in treating those with a prescription opiate addiction, particularly OxyContin.
The study will test both those who were using prescription painkillers for legitimate reasons and then became hooked and those, who from the outset, have used prescribed pain medication for illicit purposes.