The struggle to overcome addiction and break free from its grasp is an arduous journey, full of challenges and setbacks. And for those who’ve experienced incarceration due to substance-related offenses, this struggle is further compounded by the risk of recidivism. A comprehensive addiction treatment program is a great tool to assist in reducing recidivism.
Recidivism, which is the tendency of individuals to relapse into criminal behavior after being released from incarceration or completing a period of treatment or rehabilitation, poses a significant challenge for those seeking to rebuild their lives.
Research has consistently shown a strong correlation between substance abuse and criminal behavior. According to one study, most people entering the criminal justice system have substance use problems or are using illegal drugs at the time of their arrest. Over 80% of inmates in local jails and state prisons said they had used an illegal drug, and 55% used drugs in the month leading to their arrest.
The sad part is that many of these people commit crimes to get money for drugs. In fact, 16.5% of inmates in state prisons said they committed crimes to get money to buy drugs. Others end up in prison because of the psychopharmacological effects of the substance they abuse. For example, drugs like meth or cocaine increase the chances of engaging in violent crime.
Recidivism is a major problem in the US. A longitudinal study by the DOJ that followed released inmates from 30 states found that:
Going by the numbers, it is evident that addressing recidivism is crucial in breaking the cycle of addiction and criminal behavior. And comprehensive treatment plays a pivotal role in achieving this goal.
Comprehensive treatment combines a range of interventions and support services that targets the physical, psychological, and social aspects of addiction. This holistic approach aims to address the root causes of addiction, promote sustained recovery, and ultimately decrease individuals’ likelihood of criminal behavior. Let’s explore the various components and therapeutic strategies involved in comprehensive treatment and how they contribute to reducing recidivism rates.
The first component of comprehensive addiction treatment is a thorough evaluation and assessment. This helps identify underlying issues that contribute to one’s use of substances. This includes:
These details allow for a tailored medical care plan that addresses the specific needs of the individual. Evaluation and assessment often happen after stabilization in substance abuse treatment. It can include physical exams and specific tests for diseases or disorders per the patient’s report.
Counseling identifies and addresses the psychological, emotional, and behavioral factors contributing to criminal behavior. It helps individuals develop healthier coping skills and strategies to manage their triggers and emotions. Counseling:
Counseling is essential to substance abuse treatment and often occurs alongside other interventions such as detoxification, inpatient treatment, or outpatient programs.
Comprehensive treatment recognizes that the journey to recovery does not end with completing a treatment program. Aftercare support is crucial for reducing recidivism rates. This support can include aftercare programs, sober living homes, support networks, and ongoing counseling sessions.
Continued guidance and assistance ensure that individuals are better equipped to maintain their sobriety, manage triggers and cravings, and navigate the challenges of everyday life without relapsing. A study found that inmates who joined continuing care after release had reduced recidivism.
Successful reintegration into the community is a significant factor in reducing recidivism rates. Comprehensive treatment includes programs focusing on community integration, such as vocational training, educational opportunities, job placement assistance, and housing support.
These programs help individuals rebuild their lives, establish financial stability, and regain a sense of purpose and belonging, which reduces the likelihood of engaging in criminal activities. According to a meta-analysis of programs that offer education to incarcerated adults, 43% of those who took part in education programs while incarcerated had a lower chance of re-offending than those who didn’t.
Comprehensive treatment considers the whole person rather than their disorder or illness. A person is made up of emotional, physical, environmental, and spiritual parts. It recognizes that individuals are complex beings with interconnected aspects of their lives and aims to treat the person as a whole rather than focusing solely on specific symptoms or conditions. The goal is to achieve balance and harmony within the individual by addressing all aspects of their well-being.
The holistic approach emphasizes the interconnectedness of the mind, body, emotions, and spirit, recognizing that imbalances in one area can affect other areas and contribute to various health issues or challenges. As shown above, the approach equips individuals with the necessary tools for sustained addiction recovery. From healthy coping mechanisms to stress management techniques to relapse prevention strategies, it empowers them to navigate challenges, make positive choices, and maintain their recovery over the long term.
Comprehensive treatment also emphasizes developing essential life skills like problem-solving, decision-making, and effective communication. This may, in turn, help reduce the risk of recidivism upon release. By prioritizing comprehensive treatment and support for individuals at risk of recidivism, we can make significant strides in breaking the cycle of addiction, reducing criminal behavior, and promoting healthier and more productive lives for those affected by substance abuse disorders.
Drug testing has become a standard practice for many employers. Most of them perform drug screenings to ensure workplace safety, maintain a drug-free workplace, and, in some cases, comply with legal requirements.
While a drug screen can be an essential tool for employers to maintain workplace safety and productivity, it can also be a barrier for those in recovery from addiction. For these individuals, the fear of failing a drug test can discourage them from seeking employment that requires drug screening. And with recent layoffs and scarce employment opportunities, the pressure to find and maintain a job can be even more intense.
Luckily, many employment opportunities don’t require drug screenings. These include jobs in the following fields:
While many other options exist, these job fields are the most likely to hire without drug tests. In fact, less than 4% of candidates drug test for this position. The reason is such jobs have minimal workplace risk and can be executed with some level of independence. Generally, these jobs need self-discipline, creativity, unique skill sets, and independence.
If you’re unemployed and looking for regular jobs, getting yourself off drugs is your best bet. This included marijuana in any form. Despite legalization, some employers might still want to test for THC. Weed testing detects the presence of the concentration of THC in your body. When you stay off drugs, you won’t have to limit your chances to companies that perform these screening tests. You can be free to find a job you love.
Here’s a list of companies that don’t drug test. What’s fascinating is that most of them are arguably the most successful companies.
This article will explore some of these job options at different levels. We’ll rank them from the highest-paying jobs to the least-paying ones based on the average annual salary. Note that these can also be an ideal side hassle if you’re an artist looking for work to supplement your art and relieve the stress of not having enough money.
Average annual salary of $31,000 (source)
A cashier is an entry-level job that involves handling transactions, processing payments, and providing customer service. As a cashier, you’ll be responsible for scanning items, totaling purchase costs, and collecting customer payments. You may also assist customers with questions and help resolve any purchase issues. Cashiers need to have basic math skills, good customer service skills, and be comfortable working with a cash register or point-of-sale system.
Average annual salary of $23,000
Your work as a dog walker will involve providing exercise, companionship, and ensuring their safety. You may work independently or for a pet care service company. This job typically requires a love for dogs, the ability to handle multiple dogs at once, and the physical ability to walk long distances. Dog walkers should also have good communication skills to interact with pet owners and knowledge of primary pet care, such as feeding, administering medication, and managing behavior.
Average annual salary of $23,000
Housekeeping mainly revolves around cleaning private residences or commercial properties, including hotels, resorts, private homes, and commercial buildings. Your work will typically involve vacuuming, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, changing linens, and doing laundry. As a housekeeper, you’ll need to have good attention to detail, the ability to work independently, and be physically able to perform the necessary cleaning tasks.
Average annual salary of $99,000
Your job as a real estate agent is to help people buy, sell, and rent properties. You’ll need to have good communication and sales skills, as well as knowledge of the local real estate market.
Average annual salary of $82,000
As a general manager, you’ll be responsible for overseeing the operations of a business or organization. This can include managing employees, creating budgets, and developing strategies to increase profitability.
Average annual salary of $63,000
As a film producer, you’ll be involved in creating a movie or TV show, from developing the concept to hiring actors and crew members to oversee the post-production process.
Average annual salary of $48,525
Florists create and sell floral arrangements for various occasions, such as weddings, funerals, and special events. You’ll need to have a good eye for design and knowledge of different types of flowers.
Average annual salary of $54,000
Interior designers work with clients to create functional and aesthetically pleasing spaces for homes, offices, and other buildings. You’ll need to have a good eye for design and be able to work within a client’s budget.
Average annual salary of $44,000
As a chef, you’ll create menus, prepare food, and manage kitchen staff. Therefore, you should have a passion for food, good cooking skills, and the ability to manage a busy kitchen environment.
Average annual salary of $52,000
Your job as a journalist is to research and report on news and current events. This can include writing articles, conducting interviews, and investigating stories.
Average annual salary of $38,894
Personal trainers create personalized workout plans for clients and provide guidance and motivation to help them reach their fitness goals.
Average annual salary of $31,000
Cosmetologists provide various beauty services to clients, such as hair styling, makeup application, and nail care.
Average annual salary of $49,000
Photographers capture images for various purposes, such as weddings, events, and commercial campaigns. You’ll need to have a good eye for composition and be skilled in using photography equipment.
Average annual salary of $27,386
Your job as a dog trainer is to train dogs and their owners to improve behavior and obedience. Essential skills for a dog trainer include a good understanding of dog behavior and the ability to communicate with owners.
Average annual salary of $89,000
Mobile application developers create, design, and develop smartphone, tablet, and mobile device applications. You would typically work to create user-friendly, efficient, and visually appealing apps that meet the needs of clients and users.
Average annual salary of $73,000
IT consultants provide advice and support to businesses and organizations in various areas of technology, such as software development, cybersecurity, network design, and information management. You would assess their needs, recommend solutions, and assist with implementation and training to help them achieve their technological goals.
Average annual salary of $71,000
Computer animators use specialized software to create digital images and animations for various media, including films, video games, and television shows. In a work setup, you’ll work with a team of animators and other artists to bring characters, objects, and environments to life using modeling, rigging, and texturing techniques.
Average annual salary of $66,000
Computer programmers write and test codes for software applications and systems. Your work will involve designing, developing, and troubleshooting software to ensure that it meets the needs of clients and users.
Average annual salary of $57,000
Copywriters and bloggers create written content for various mediums, such as books, articles, websites, and social media. You would research and write about various topics, often working with editors and other writers to refine your work and ensure that it meets the needs of clients and readers.
Average annual salary of $45,000
Graphic designers build visual designs and concepts for various media, such as advertising, branding, websites, and print materials. Your work is to create designs that communicate ideas, messages, and identities effectively.
Drug testing is not a requirement for all jobs. But specific industries have made it a standard practice to ensure safety and productivity. Some typical jobs that routinely drug test include federal jobs, military positions, law enforcement, healthcare professionals, transportation workers, construction workers, aerospace and defense workers, and educators.
Drug screening is a common practice employers, schools, and other organizations use to ensure people are not using illegal drugs or misusing prescription medications. It may also be used to detect the presence of performance-enhancing drugs, like steroids, in the case of sports.
There are many types of drug tests based on the biological sample they use and the types of drugs they detect. These include urine, blood, breath, sweat, saliva, and hair follicle drug test. But unlike all other tests, hair drug test provides information on substance abuse over time.
A hair drug test analyzes a small sample of hair to detect the presence of drugs in the system. That’s because a strand of hair serves as a timeline of one’s substance intake history. You might have used marijuana weeks ago, which would be detected through a hair drug test.
The reason is that when you use drugs, the body metabolizes and circulates them in the bloodstream. As blood flows to the hair follicles, drug metabolites are deposited into the growing hair shafts. These drug metabolites remain in the hair as it grows, creating a record of drug use over time.
Hair drug tests can detect drug use up to 90 days before the test, but they can have a detection time of up to 12 months for slower-growing hair. This means that if you have used drugs in the past three months (sometimes more), the drug metabolites will be present in your hair sample.
Hair drug tests are typically used when there is a need for a highly sensitive and accurate method of detecting drug use. Here are some common situations where a hair drug test may be required:
Trying to cheat or manipulate a hair drug test can have serious consequences, including loss of employment, legal and financial penalties, and damage to your reputation. The best way to pass a hair drug test is to abstain from drug use and maintain sobriety. Here are some ways people try to cheat on the test.
The most reliable way to pass a hair drug test is to abstain from drug use altogether. However, if you have used drugs in the past and are concerned about passing a hair drug test, there are a few things you can try:
You can get a hair drug test at different places depending on the purpose. For example, if you need a hair drug test for employment or legal purposes, you may be required to take the test at a designated testing facility chosen by your employer or the legal authorities. These testing facilities may include specialized drug testing centers, clinics, or laboratories.
If you need a hair drug test for personal reasons, such as monitoring your drug use or testing a family member, you can purchase at-home hair drug testing kits from online retailers or some drug stores.
Some medical facilities may also offer hair drug testing as part of their diagnostic services, particularly if drug use is suspected as a possible cause of a medical condition.
Hair drug tests are more expensive than urine, saliva, or blood tests. According to Healthline, drug tests performed in a lab or hospital may cost between $100 and $125, while an at-home hair drug test kit costs between $64.95 and $85. The cost variation is due to various factors, including the type of hair drug test ordered, where the sample is collected, and who’s covering the costs.
Hair drug tests are highly accurate and reliable, with a detection window of up to 90 days. They are considered one of the most reliable drug testing methods, as they can detect drug use that occurred several months ago.
The hair drug test accuracy is attributed to the fact that drug metabolites are incorporated into the hair shaft as it grows and remain there, making it difficult to tamper with or cheat the test. However, false positives can occur if the person being tested has been exposed to drugs passively or if the samples have been mixed up. Generally, hair drug tests are considered very accurate and widely used in drug testing programs.
Tranq, an animal sedative, is spreading through the United States illicit drug supply and is thought to be responsible for the surge in overdose cases. The drug is now posing a new threat in the country’s ongoing battle against drug overdoses.
Tranq is appearing more frequently in synthetic opioids, particularly fentanyl, causing deaths and severe side effects. Although most jurisdictions don’t routinely test for tranq in postmortem toxicology, the DEA estimates the drug was involved in at least 1,423 overdose deaths in the south and 1,281 in the Northeast in 2021. And while the full nationwide scope of overdose death involving the drug is unknown, surveys show deaths associated with tranq have spread westward across the US.
Tranq, also known as Xylazine or tranq dope, is a sedative used to tranquilize large animals during procedures and diagnostic testing. Initially, the drug was given for household pets, but it’s now typically used for large animals like elk, cattle, sheep, and horses. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug in 1960 for animal use, but not humans.
Despite this, the drug has become increasingly common in the US illicit drug supply. It is now sold on the streets, usually mixed with other drugs like heroin, cocaine, alcohol, benzodiazepines, methadone, and fentanyl. According to officials, drug dealers and suppliers lace these drugs with Xylazine because it’s powerful, cheap, and easy to get. So, in most cases, those who buy these street drugs may be using tranq dope unknowingly.
Now, drugs like heroin and fentanyl are dangerous enough on their own, but Xylazine is making them even more dangerous. Tranq is a powerful sedative meant for animals and can leave users unconscious for hours.
It also causes more complex and potentially more deadly overdoses. And the worst part is users cannot easily detect its presence in the drug supply. Fentanyl test strips that reliably measure fentanyl in street drugs can’t detect tranq presence.
In legal sales, Xylazine is sold directly through pharmaceutical distributors and online platforms for vets. It comes in solid and liquid form or preloaded syringes, with concentrations that match the weight and size of the species. It is not classified as a controlled substance, but people need a valid prescription from a licensed veterinarian to purchase it.
Those without licenses can still obtain tranq in powder and liquid forms through other online sites. These sites often have no association with the veterinary profession and do not require buyers to prove legitimate needs.
According to the DEA, a kilogram of tranq powder can go for as low as USD 6 to USD 20. At this low price, using tranq to lace other drugs may increase profit margins for drug dealers. And the psychoactive effects may also attract buyers looking for prolonged euphoric effects.
The first cases of Xylazine misuse were reported in Puerto Rico in the early 2000s through DEA reporting and lab analysis. But it’s unclear when tranq first appeared in the illicit drug market in Philadelphia. Still, public health officials say that the drug seems to be concentrated in Philadelphia, making it the ground zero for tranq dope in the US.
Its uptick in the city’s drug market is primarily due to its ability to enhance the potency and duration of a fentanyl high. This has a substantial effect considering fentanyl ranked first ahead of heroin as the city’s opioid of choice.
According to researchers, tranq is in 91% of the fentanyl and heroin supply in Philadelphia, and the prevalence is heading west. Reports have also shown that the state of Michigan had an 87% increase in Xylazine-related deaths between 2019 and 2020. Other affected states include Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York, all of which have seen an increase in drug overdose deaths in 2021.
Tranq is a central nervous system depressant, so it slows down the process in the body’s nerve cells. It causes drowsiness and lowers blood pressure, slows the heart rate and breathing to dangerously low levels. Mixing Xylazine and opioids like fentanyl can induce hours of sleep, making it harder to determine whether the user is experiencing an overdose. The risk of life-threatening overdose is also higher when tranq is mixed with other CNS depressants like benzodiazepines or alcohol.
Besides, tranq is highly addictive and can cause physical and psychological dependence. Regular use of the drug can lead to open wounds and skin ulcers. These wounds may result in dead tissue or necrosis and, eventually, amputation of affected limbs.
That’s why it’s essential for anyone using tranq to seek help before the addiction worsens. Medical experts provide wound care and emergency services to counter the effects of tranq use.
According to experts, tranq is unsafe for humans, and even a small amount can be deadly. Humans are 10-20 times more sensitive to the drug than animals. And as mentioned earlier, tranq is not an opioid and therefore does not respond to naloxone.
Those who overdose on the drug may need breathing assistance in addition to naloxone. Naloxone is given because Xylazine is often mixed with opioids like fentanyl or heroin.
Tranq use can range from mild to severe and cause fatal and non-fatal overdoses. The following are some of the signs and symptoms of Xylazine use:
Tranq addiction presents a different form of challenge to medical professionals. Experts have raised concerns about the limited treatment for tranquilizer withdrawal for those who want to quit using the drug. According to the experts, some medical examiners have no idea what to look for or what to do if they recognize tranq withdrawal.
They may start to treat opioid withdrawal, but other unpleasant symptoms like agitation, anxiety, restlessness, and sweating start to show. Currently, there aren’t any FDA-approved treatments specifically for tranq withdrawal, but there are protocols in development to help ease patients’ symptoms.
In response to the influx of tranq overdoses, many government and health agencies are taking action. Local health departments are offering public education programs to help people understand the dangers of using tranq. They advocate for the safe and proper disposal of the drug and harm reduction efforts such as needle-exchange programs.
Medical examiners are also working to increase their understanding of tranq overdose to better recognize and respond to its signs and symptoms. Furthermore, The US House of Representatives is looking into ways to schedule the animal tranquilizer. However, this may hinder efforts to study the drug’s effects and find a solution to help patients who are overdosing.
Needle exchange programs (NEPs) or syringe services programs (SSPs) are public health initiatives that provide clean needles and other injection equipment to people who inject drugs. They aim to reduce the transmission of blood-borne infections, such as HIV and hepatitis C, among drug users. NEPs also often offer other health services, such as:
Needle exchange programs provide needles and syringes to people who inject drugs. The program allows injection drug users to safely dispose of used needles and access new sterile ones. This helps reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C, and other blood-borne diseases that can be transmitted through sharing or reusing needles. NEPs also provide additional services mentioned above.
NEPs are usually located in pharmacies, clinics, and organizations that provide health or community services. But the services can be delivered at fixed sites, outreach programs, mobile programs, and syringe vending machines.
Studies have shown that NEPs are extremely beneficial to public health. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shared a summary of information on the safety and effectiveness of SSPs, which included data from 30 years of research on the matter.
According to the report, comprehensive NEPs are safe, effective, and economical and don’t promote crime or illegal drug use. In fact, new program users are 3x more likely to stop using drugs and 5x more likely to join addiction treatment than those who don’t use SSPs. The report also points to the effectiveness of NEPs in reducing the transmission of HIV and other blood-borne diseases.
Beyond the CDC report, other bodies, including the United States Department of Health and the National Institute of Health, endorse the program’s effectiveness in reducing HIV transmission and saving lives without losing ground in the battle against illegal drugs.
In addition to harm reduction, NEPs are cost-effective. They have reduced healthcare costs by preventing HIV, hepatitis, and other infectious diseases, including endocarditis. A 2014 analysis revealed that each dollar spent on syringe exchanges saves the government about $7 in HIV-related healthcare costs.
The programs have also effectively reduced dangerous conditions in the communities where they are implemented. They do this by providing addicts with a safe, healthy place to dispose of used needles, thus eliminating the need to discard them on streets or playgrounds. This helps keep neighborhoods cleaner and reduces the risk of injury from discarded needles.
NEPs are designed to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne diseases by providing a safe place for injection drug users to access sterile needles and dispose of used ones. This can help break the chain of transmission through sharing or reusing needles, as well as connect these individuals with substance abuse services.
Some argue that NEPs encourage substance abuse. But evidence from reputable sources, including the CDC, NIH, and Department of Health, shows that NEP does not promote drug use. The few cases indicating increased drug use should be analyzed to establish the circumstances under which negative effects might occur.
However, these scattered cases should not be used as a basis for discrediting the overall effectiveness of NEPs. These programs have reduced public health risks and provided a much-needed entry point into treatment and support services for people struggling with addiction.
Syringe services programs save lives by training drug users to prevent, quickly identify, and reverse opioid overdoses. Many NEPs give drug users and community members “overdose rescue kits” and educate them on how to recognize an overdose, give rescue breathing, and administer naloxone. Based on measures like hospitalizations for drug overdoses, there is no proof that community norms change in favor of drug use. For example, there were no increases in new drug users after the introduction of NEP in New Jersey, Hawaii, California, etc.
According to studies, NEPs protect the public and first responders by offering safe needle disposal and reducing the presence of needles in the community.
SSPs do more than improve health. Because they’re so practical and far cheaper than the lifetime cost of treating HIV and viral hepatitis, they save taxpayers money. There have been a lot of politics surrounding the programs, with most states and local governments limiting or prohibiting SSPs. However, some restrictions have been lifted, providing further opportunities to assess their effects.
NEPs are effective at reducing the spread of HIV and other infectious diseases, promoting safe needle disposal, and providing access to evidence-based addiction treatments and support services. They are cost-effective and have been shown not to encourage drug use in the communities they serve. With proper implementation, NEPs can help reduce the burden of infectious diseases, drug use, and overdose-related deaths in communities worldwide.
Methadone has been used to treat people with extreme pain for decades and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat opioid addiction. According to SAMHSA, methadone can help people with opioid use disorder reduce their cravings and withdrawal symptoms, stay in treatment longer than those who are not taking it, and lower their chances of using illegal opioids.
However, some are still skeptical of its effectiveness in treating opioid addiction, citing the potential for misuse and abuse. They think that methadone can quickly become a replacement addiction and that it can still be used to get high. But proponents, who include top addiction professionals, argue broader use of methadone could help address the current opiate overdose epidemic in the US. They advocate for easier access to methadone treatment for opioid addiction, citing its potential benefits in helping people manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
This article will explore both sides of the argument and discuss the risks and benefits of using methadone as an addiction treatment.
Methadone is a powerful drug used for pain relief and opioid use disorders. It is a synthetic opioid, but unlike other opioids, it has been approved by the FDA to treat opioid addiction. It is one of the three medications approved in the US for opioid addiction treatment.
The drug works by binding to and blocking the opioid receptors in the brain, thus reducing cravings and preventing withdrawal symptoms. It is typically administered once a day at room temperature, though some people require more frequent doses. Methadone is available in liquid, powder, and tablet forms.
Methadone is extraordinarily effective if the standards of any epidemic are considered. A study found that those receiving the drug were 59% less likely to die of an overdose than those who did not receive it.
Methadone is used as part of a treatment program for opioid use disorder. Those receiving the drug to treat opioid addiction must receive it under the care of a qualified healthcare provider.
This provider prescribes the medication and supervises its use. After a period of stability, some people may be able to take the medication home and administer it themselves. However, this is an option only after they’ve gone through frequent tests and counseling sessions.
The duration of methadone treatment varies depending on the individual and the severity of their addiction. But the National Institute on Health recommends a minimum of 12 months. Some patients may need long-term maintenance. But those who are getting off the drug should work with their healthcare provider to gradually taper off the medication to avoid any life-threatening methadone withdrawal symptoms.
Methadone has long been controversial in the addiction treatment world. While advocates are proposing a significant expansion in access to the drug, the providers of methadone for addiction treatment are warning that caution should be used when prescribing the medication.
The primary concern for those who oppose expanded access to methadone is its potential for misuse and abuse. While methadone is effective for treating opioid addiction, allowing doctors to prescribe it to anyone could lead to low-quality care, abuse, and overdose on methadone itself.
At the moment, patients need to visit a methadone clinic each day for a single dose. They also need to be a part of an opioid treatment program and go through frequent drug tests, take part in counseling sessions, and prove that they’ve had opioid addiction for over a year.
Opponents of expansion strongly believe it’s essential that methadone treatment is accompanied by counseling and other services that opioid-trained professionals are qualified to offer. They also point to worrying statistics about methadone-related overdose. A recent estimate by NIDA found that methadone is involved in 3% of opioid-related overdoses.
On the other hand, advocates argue that methadone can be prescribed responsibly, with adequate monitoring and oversight. They point out that the benefits of broader access to methadone outweigh the potential risks. And that the risk of overdose is too high and that methadone can help treat addiction, reduce cravings and prevent long-term health problems caused by opioid addiction. According to the proponents, the opioid crisis has reached a level where any measure taken to reduce the number of overdoses is worth exploring.
Those in favor of expansion don’t see why increasing access should be a problem considering any healthcare provider can prescribe methadone for chronic pain treatment. They argue that strict regulation is only imposed on addiction treatment, which makes little sense and is a sign of the discrimination and stigma faced by OUD patients. Currently, no other drug is as restricted for approved use (opioid addiction), yet it has few restrictions when prescribed for pain management.
It is worth noting there have been fewer methadone-related deaths even after significant restrictions were lifted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The lift allowed “stable” patients to bring home their weeks’ worth of methadone doses instead of going to a clinic every day for an amount.
Methadone is a safe and effective treatment when taken as prescribed. Patients should work closely with their healthcare provider to find the correct dose and frequency of administration that works for them. Patients should also take precautions when taking methadone, such as:
Some common side effects of methadone include:
Methadone is generally considered safe to use during pregnancy. However, it will likely cause harmful side effects to a developing fetus and should only be used when the benefits outweigh the risks. Breastfeeding women should consult their doctor before taking methadone, as it can be passed to the infant through breast milk.
For people with opioid addiction, many facilities offer comprehensive drug addiction treatment programs. These treatment plans include counseling, support groups, medical monitoring, and other therapies designed to help patients gain control of their addiction and begin the journey toward recovery.
As part of an ongoing war on drugs, in November 2020, Oregon became the first state in the US to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of hard drugs. The measure, known as Measure 110, was widely praised by drug policy reform advocates as a progressive step that would help to reduce the stigma around drug use and provide people with drug addiction problems with much-needed treatment.
Measure 110 made personal possession of methamphetamine, heroin, LSD, oxycodone, and other drugs punishable by a $100 fine rather than jail time. This was in a bid to reduce incarceration rates and redirect funds toward addiction treatment programs. These treatment programs would be funded through marijuana tax revenue and savings from decreased law enforcement costs.
The Oregon Health Authority, one of many behavioral health resource networks, announced on September 22 that it had completed awarding the first two years of funding to nonprofits under Oregon’s decriminalization of drugs law.
According to OHA, the first round of grants totaled $302 million. Despite this milestone, experts warned that more than just services would be needed to curb the high rates of drug use and resulting societal costs in the state. Keith Humphreys told the Oregon lawmakers that the state should adjust its permissive approach as it encourages drug use without any deterrent.
“Because the West Coast has an individualistic culture with a tolerance for substance abuse, social pressures to seek treatment are often minimal,” said Keith Humphreys, the Founder, and co-director at the Stanford Network on Addiction Policy.
“So, on the one hand, we have widely available and highly rewarding drugs. On the other hand, little or no pressure to stop using them. Under those conditions, we should expect to see exactly what Oregon is experiencing: extensive drug use, extensive addiction, and not much treatment seeking.” (Source)
According to Humphreys, people struggling with addiction hardly seek treatment without pressure from loved ones, health care providers, or the law. He says this should be a concern because the state has lifted the legal pressure to stop substance abuse and seek treatment. Besides, since many people who struggle with use don’t work or keep in touch with loved ones, the pressure to quit might not come from those sources, either. (Source)
M110 allows the law authorities to write $100 tickets for personal possession of small amounts of drugs, and the charged person can just call the Life helpline line and have their ticket removed. It all seems very easy to get away with abusing drugs.
But despite that, many people who are issued these tickets still ignore them, according to Dr. Todd Korthuis, the head of addiction medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. By the end of this summer, 3000 tickets were issued, and only 137 calls were made. Even more disturbing is that most callers were not seeking treatment but only screening for legal reasons. (Source)
The Oregon voters voted in favor of Measure 110, which decriminalized the possession of small amounts of drugs and redirected 110 funds from law enforcement to addiction treatment. The measure was designed to address the state’s public health crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to proponents of the measure, it would help to reduce the number of those incarcerated for drug-related offenses and redirect funds to much-needed addiction treatment programs. In addition, by decriminalizing drug possession, the measure will help to reduce the stigma associated with addiction and make it more likely that people will seek treatment.
When the voters passed the ballot measure, they recognized drug addiction and overdoses are a serious problem in Oregon; and that the state needed to increase access to drug treatment. The health-based approach to drug use problems is not only more humane but also effective and cheaper than criminal punishments. Making people criminals because they abuse drugs or struggle with addiction is costly and life-ruining, making it hard to seek treatment.
On February 1, 2021, the laws regulating controlled substances’ possession changed from felonies to Class E violations. Measure 110 is designed to ensure that anyone who wants access, assessment, treatment, and recovery services for substance use gets it.
By all accounts, Measure 110 was set to reduce the pressure on drug users seeking treatment or help. However, going by statistics, it seems to be failing because Oregon has a nearly 20% surge in overdose deaths in the year that ended in April 2022. And according to Dr. Tod Korthuis, Oregon has one of the highest rates of substance use disorders and mental health disorders. Conversely, it ranks the least for access to treatments in the nation.
Humphreys and Korthuis don’t fault Measure 110 for the spiking overdose deaths and other drug-related issues. However, they believe these trends have outpaced the state’s addiction treatment system.
Measure 110 is the first of its kind in the United States. The only other country that has tried it successfully is Portugal, which is often cited as an inspiration. Initially, the country had harsh policies led by the criminal justice system. It needed to try something else. So, in 2001, Portugal took a radical step and became the first country globally to decriminalize the consumption of all drugs.
Speaking about what needs to be done, Humphreys mentioned that Portugal puts heavy legal and social pressure on those abusing drugs to get help. And despite the decriminalization of drugs, one can hardly see people openly using or dealing drugs, as in West Coast cities of the US. That’s because they close operations and use court pressure to lead them into treatment.
“I have spent a lot of time in Portugal, and I know the people who designed their policy,” Humphreys said. “Please take it from me; Oregon is not following Portugal’s example and will not get its results.” (Source)
Humphreys further mentioned the need for harm reduction, which emphasizes engaging directly with addicts to prevent overdose, and transmission of infectious disease, improve physical, social, and mental well-being and offer low-threshold options for accessing addiction treatment and other health care. He recommended solutions like making Naloxone (opioid antagonist) more available to reduce overdose deaths.
As the prevalence of mental health issues and substance use disorder continue to rise in the United States, the search for new and innovative treatments has become more urgent. One potential therapy that is gaining popularity is psilocybin mushrooms. Psilocybin, the main active ingredient in magic mushrooms, has shown effectiveness in treating alcohol use disorders (AUD).
A clinical study published in Jama Psychiatry found that psilocybin could help people with alcohol use disorders reduce their drinking days. The study participants were given 12 weeks of manualized psychotherapy and were randomly selected to get psilocybin or diphenhydramine during 2-day-long medication sessions at weeks 4 and 8. The results showed that over 50% of the participants who were assigned psilocybin stopped drinking entirely for months or even years.
After 32 weeks of analyzing the 93 participants with alcohol use disorders, researchers discovered that the 48 participants who got psilocybin and psychotherapy had an 83% reduction in their drinking habits within 8 months of their first dose, while those assigned placeboes had 51%. While the exact mechanism of action is not known, it is thought that psilocybin helps to break the cycle of addiction by:
The safety and efficacy of psilocybin mushrooms as a treatment for alcohol addiction are still being studied, but the preliminary evidence is promising. As a precaution, you should never consume psilocybin mushrooms without the supervision of a trained medical professional. Psilocybin may be riskier in an uncontrolled environment because your experiences may feel extreme. For example, you may feel severe anxiety while under the influence of the drug.
Other common side effects are nausea and vomiting, paranoia, and delusions. In rare cases, psilocybin mushrooms can cause psychotic episodes. Psilocybin mushrooms can also interact with other drugs and medications. For example, they can intensify the effects of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication.
It is always important to speak with a medical professional before consuming psilocybin mushrooms, especially if you are taking other medication.
Psilocybin mushrooms are a type of mushroom that contains the psychoactive compound psilocybin. Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound that is found in over 200 species of mushrooms. When consumed, it can produce powerful hallucinations and an altered state of consciousness. Some people use psilocybin mushrooms for recreational purposes, while others use them for medicinal or spiritual purposes.
Psilocybin has been shown to be an effective treatment for various conditions, including depression, anxiety, and addiction. It is also being studied as a potential treatment for PTSD and OCD. Although psilocybin mushrooms are legal in some countries, they are illegal in most parts of the world. Possession and consumption of psilocybin mushrooms can lead to jail time and heavy fines.
Alcohol addiction is a serious problem that can lead to various negative consequences, including health problems, relationship difficulties, and financial problems. In some cases, alcohol addiction can even lead to death.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol is a factor in about 95,000 deaths annually in the United States. These deaths are due to various causes, including alcohol-related accidents, liver diseases, and other health complications.
Treatment rates for alcohol use disorder are low (e.g., 7.6% in 2021), and the Food and Drug Administration has only approved 4 AUD evidence-based medications since 1947.
While these medications can help people with alcohol addiction, they have been shown to be only partially effective. Psilocybin mushrooms have shown promise as a treatment for substance use disorders and could potentially help to reduce the number of deaths due to alcohol addiction.
Although the study’s results are encouraging, it is important to note that it’s a small study with a limited number of participants. More research is needed to confirm the findings and to determine the long-term efficacy of psilocybin mushrooms as a treatment for alcohol addiction. The study only analyzed 93 participants, and only 50 were given psilocybin as such research needs to be done in a bigger and more diverse population.
Besides, the study used diphenhydramine, an antihistamine, as a placebo, which is not an ideal substitute for psilocybin. It was also observed that the participants didn’t have serious drinking problems as those who usually enrolled in clinical trials for alcohol use disorders. The clinical trial may have attracted participants who were already managing their condition. Most notably, the researchers didn’t include participants with underlying mental disorders like depression so they could establish if psilocybin-assisted therapy treats AUD and not other co-occurring disorders.
But patients with severe AUD can benefit from the therapy. This is especially true if the therapy can address other issues that underlie physical dependence and mental disorders. In this case, the treatment will simultaneously address both conditions.
Ketamine is also showing potential as a treatment for alcohol addiction. A group of researchers found that Ketamine disrupts memories to help heavy drinkers stop drinking or cut back. Ketamine blocks the NMDA receptors, disrupting the reconsolidation of memories associated with alcohol consumption. As a result, heavy drinkers who receive ketamine treatment may have fewer cravings for alcohol.
It has also been shown to be an effective treatment for various conditions, including depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.
Psilocybin mushrooms and Ketamine have shown promise as potential treatments for alcohol addiction and some mental health issues. However, more research is needed to confirm the findings. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, many resources are available to help. Never try psilocybin mushrooms or Ketamine outside a clinical setting, as they can be dangerous.
Cigarette smoking has been linked to cancer, diabetes, lung disease, COPD, tuberculosis, and other health complications. It’s also responsible for over 480,000 deaths annually in the United States. Given the dangers, many people have opted to vape or use e-cigs like JUUL to ease the transition from traditional cigarettes to not smoking at all. But is vaping a safer alternative to smoking?
Several studies have shown that while vaping is less harmful than smoking, it’s still not safe. Vaping can damage your lungs and airways and has been linked to cancer. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has also found that some vaping products contain harmful chemicals, including metals that can be toxic.
To reduce the number of people affected by these health risks, the FDA is reviewing e-cig products to ensure they are “appropriate for the protection of public health.” The manufacturers of vaping products must prove their products are an aid to traditional adult smokers and not appealing to youth and teens. This explains why the FDA has proposed a ban on all JUUL products.
On July 5, 2022, it issued marketing denial orders (MDOs) to JUUL Labs Inc. for all its products currently marketed in the US. This MDO prevents the company from continuing to sell its products in the American market. JUUL should also remove all of its products from the market or face enforcement action.
The reason is that after reviewing JUUL’s premarket tobacco product applications, the FDA established that the application did not have enough evidence to support a finding that the products are “appropriate for the protection of public health.” As the FDA puts it, there are scientific issues unique to the JUUL application that warrants additional review.
According to the FDA’s news release, the insufficient and conflicting data in some of JUUL’s study findings raised concerns that haven’t been properly addressed and prevented the FDA from executing a complete toxicological risk assessment of the said products on the JUUL application.
The FDA has yet to receive evidence to suggest that JUULpods or devices are hazardous. However, the underlying factor is that there isn’t adequate evidence to support a finding that the products are appropriate for the protection of public health. Besides, there’s no way to determine the potential dangers of using JUUL pods with a non-JUUL device or third-party e-liquid pods with a JUUL device.
The FDA is encouraging JUUL users to report any adverse effects they may have experienced after using the product through the Safety Reporting Portal and seek medical help.
JUUL is a type of electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) that is battery-operated and looks like a USB drive. It was first introduced in 2015 by two Stanford graduates, James Monsees and Adam Bowen, who are also the co-founders of JUUL Labs. The company is based in San Francisco, California.
The vaping device works by heating a nicotine liquid, which creates an aerosol vapor. JUUL says its e-cigarette is a “satisfying alternative” for adult smokers who want to switch from traditional cigarettes. The company also claims its products are not meant for youth or non-smokers, as nicotine can be addictive and harmful. However, their products come in different flavors – like mint, mango, and crème Brulee, which appeals to the younger audience.
A JUUL pod contains 0.7mL of nicotine liquid, equivalent to a pack of cigarettes or 200 puffs. The JUUL device delivers a high dose of nicotine, which is why it has been criticized for being especially addictive.
Vaping is dangerous because it increases your risk of lung cancer, lung infection, and other health problems. It is especially dangerous for young people. The nicotine in e-cigs (e-cigarettes) is highly addictive, and can harm the developing brain. Youth vaping is considered dangerous for several reasons, including:
Vaping exposes users to a range of harmful chemicals, including nicotine, metals, and other toxins which are harmful to health. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that e-cigarette users had significantly higher markers for heart damage and inflammation levels than non-users.
They also had higher levels of lung inflammation. This suggests that vaping may be harmful to your cardiovascular and respiratory health. It may also increase your risk of developing chronic (long-term) diseases such as heart disease, lung disease, and cancer.
Vaping can be addictive, especially for teens still developing their brains. The nicotine in e-cigarettes can be particularly addicting, and this can lead to health problems down the road.
Research has shown that teens who vape are more likely to start smoking cigarettes in the future. This is likely due to the fact that vaping can act as a gateway to smoking, as it normalizes the behavior and makes it seem less risky.
Electronic cigarettes, or ecigs aren’t the best smoking cessation tool. In fact, they may even make it harder to quit smoking in the long run. A recent study found that most people who used e-cigs to quit smoking ended up using both e-cigs and traditional smoking. So if you’re trying to kick the habit, it’s best to steer clear of e-cigarettes altogether.
E-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular among young people, who are attracted by the flavors and the perceived lack of health risks. But this means that more young people are taking up smoking and becoming addicted to nicotine. This is a major concern, given the long-term health risks associated with smoking.
Vaping may be harmful to your health, and it’s certainly not the best way to quit smoking. And with more young people taking up vaping, we could be facing a public health crisis down the line. If you’re struggling with an addiction to nicotine, it’s important to get help from a doctor or treatment center. There are many resources available to help you quit, and you don’t have to go through it alone.
Poverty is one of the most significant predictors of drug abuse and addiction. Individuals who live in poverty are more likely to turn to drugs to cope with the stress and challenges of their lives. At the same time, drug abuse can lead to further poverty, chronic illness, and mental health problems.
A 2019 study found that most opioid overdose cases across 17 states were concentrated in zip codes with lower education and median household income as well as higher rates of unemployment and poverty. Another UNODC study dubbed Socioeconomic Characteristics and Drug Use Disorders found that those who belong to disadvantaged groups had the highest relative level of risk of suffering from an addiction. This could be due to homelessness, social exclusion and inequality, and mental health problems that are also synonymous with poverty.
While poverty is not the only factor for substance abuse in the United States, it is certainly important. People living in poverty are more likely to be predisposed to risk factors linked to higher rates of substance abuse. They may also live in poverty-stricken areas often home to illegal drug activity, making drugs more accessible.
The link between poverty and drug abuse is complex and multi-layered. Poverty can both lead to drug abuse and be a consequence of it.
There are several ways that poverty increases the likelihood of drug abuse. For example, people who grow up in poverty may be more likely to associate with others who use drugs, making them more likely to develop a substance abuse problem. Biological factors are also at play, as people who live in poverty are more likely to experience chronic stress, which can alter brain chemistry and make someone more vulnerable to addiction. Financial issues can be a leading source of stress for many younger adults.
Here’s a quick look at some of the ways poverty can contribute to drug abuse:
Poverty and drug abuse often go hand-in-hand. Drug use can also lead to poverty in different ways.
Individuals struggling with addiction often need help addressing the underlying causes of their drug abuse. This may include treatment for addiction and mental health problems. Treatment facilities should also address underlying issues causing the addiction. This includes things like providing:
Treating the root causes of addiction gives individuals a better chance of achieving long-term recovery. This, in turn, can help break the cycle of poverty and addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please reach out for help. There are many resources available to those who need them.