Over the years, much progress has been made in reducing the stigma surrounding certain medical conditions, such as HIV and cancer. However, the same cannot be said for substance use disorders. Those struggling with addiction often face blame and shame for their condition, which can lead to a lack of understanding, support, and effective treatment. Overcoming addiction stigma is crucial to helping people get the help they so desperately need.
Despite the recognition of addiction as a disease, many individuals still view it as a personal choice or moral failure. In fact, research shows that addiction is more highly stigmatized than other health issues like mental illness. In fact:
These statistics highlight the extent of stigma and discrimination those struggling with substance abuse face. The negative attitudes and beliefs towards people with substance use disorders are deeply ingrained in society and often result in individuals facing isolation, shame, and difficulty accessing support and treatment. And when the country is waging war on drugs due to the opioid crisis, it is more important than ever to address the stigma and discrimination towards people struggling with substance abuse.
Stigma increases the risk of opioid overdose cases by discouraging people from seeking help due to fear of rejection. It can also prevent people in recovery from being able to fully reintegrate into society, impacting their employment, housing, and social opportunities. It is important to challenge these stigmatizing beliefs and attitudes toward addiction and promote empathy, understanding, and support for those struggling with addiction. Ending stigma is the best way to save lives.
Stigma refers to negative attitudes, beliefs, and stereotypes that are attached to individuals or groups based on certain characteristics or circumstances, such as addiction. Stigma can create a barrier for individuals seeking help or support and exacerbate feelings of shame, guilt, low self-worth, and isolation.
According to the 2021 survey by NSDUH, 40.7 million adults with substance use disorders did not get treatment at a specialty facility. Of this number, 39.5 million (96.8%) didn’t feel like they needed treatment, and 837,000 (2.1%) believed they needed care but didn’t try to get treatment.
Some examples of stigma towards those with addiction include:
Stigma related to heavy drinking and illegal drug use can come from various sources, including primary care physicians, friends, family, employers, media, and society. The justice system also contributes to stigma because it incarcerates those with addiction instead of helping them seek treatment.
Various resources are available for people struggling with addiction, including support groups like Alcoholic’s Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), which offer a community of peers who understand the challenges of addiction. You can also join inpatient or outpatient programs for a safe and supportive environment that allows you to focus on your recovery. Treatment centers provide a range of treatment options that include:
Remember that recovery is a journey, and it is important to be patient and kind to yourself along the way. You can overcome addiction and lead a healthy and fulfilling life with the right support and resources. Don’t suffer in silence; reach out for help today.
Harm reduction is a public health approach that aims to reduce the harms associated with drug or alcohol use, even if the individual is not yet ready to quit. Harm reduction strategies can include safe injection sites, needle exchange programs, and overdose prevention initiatives. Harm reduction efforts can help individuals manage the risks associated with drug or alcohol use and provide a supportive and non-judgmental approach to addiction.
If you are struggling with addiction, knowing that you are not alone is important. Addiction is a common issue that affects millions of people around the world. While it may feel like you are the only one dealing with this problem, many others are also struggling and seeking help. By reaching out for help, you can connect with others who understand what you are going through and provide you with support and encouragement.
Drugs and alcohol tend to influence your mind to develop ideas and thoughts you wouldn’t have if you were sober. Some people suggest that these substances unlock a suppressed level of consciousness that helps them with their painting, but this is yet to be scientifically proven.
History’s most outstanding artists created original artwork under the influence, and although they are celebrated for their work, they paid a considerable price. Most renowned artists struggled with substance use disorder, mental disorder, or both. Some also struggled with drug-induced mental illness and other health complications.
Many artists, both the successful ones and those who haven’t yet received their big break, suffer the effects of abusing alcohol or drugs. We enjoy their paintings and artwork, yet remain blissfully unaware of how the artists are addicted to drugs.
This article looks at the relationship between drugs and artistry. First, we will look at world-famous artists and their drug use. Read on.
Below are some world-famous artists that struggled with addiction.
The painter, Vincent van Gogh is known for his noticeable yellow hues and somber movement in paintings. These are often linked to his unhealthy relationship with illegal drugs.
Most people are aware that he struggled with both mental and physical illness. The world remembers him as a tragic artist, and his story continues to inspire modern art, including films and classic songs.
Van Gogh’s drug of choice was absinthe, a spirit with high alcohol content in the 19th century. He reportedly also abused digitalis, a drug that treated epilepsy at the time.
Although most people attribute his success to substance abuse, Vincent van Gogh admitted that his creativity peaked when he was sober.
Andy Warhol is another famous artist who abused drugs. Warhol was recognized for his colorful paintings, most notably his depictions of celebrities in the twentieth century.
Warhol’s drug of choice was obetrol, an amphetamine diet pill common at the time. Since obetrol is a stimulant, Warhol reportedly abused it daily to finish his projects faster.
Thomas Kinkade is famous for his depictions of landscapes and cottages. His wall art is displayed in living rooms worldwide.
Kinkade used his artwork as an outlet for emotions. But unfortunately, he had several personal problems, including financial issues and a pending divorce, leading to drug abuse.
Kinkade’s drugs of choice were Valium and alcohol. He suffered from a substance use disorder which eventually caused his death in 2012.
Most post-war artists used illegal drugs to numb their pain and enhance creativity, and Mark Rothko happened to be one of them. Rothko struggled with various issues, including depression and a troubled marriage. As a result, his artwork depicts intense emotions since it was his form of self-expression.
Mark Rothko turned to anti-depressants and alcohol to numb his emotions. Although he had several masterpieces, he succumbed to depression. On 25th February 1970, the famous artist was found dead in his house. He had cut his wrists and overdosed on drugs.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, most artists abuse drugs to improve their awareness and imagination. A well-known myth is that artists use drugs to channel their creativity and make better art, but this isn’t true because alcohol and drugs are not essential to the creative process.
Most people believe that art stems from hardship and pain. To prove the point, many of those experiencing hardship and pain abuse drugs to cope. Often, problems and pain cause mental health issues. Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, and other mental health issues are risk factors for drug abuse.
Unfortunately, artists with these underlying mental issues are more likely to use illegal drugs.
Some artists also use drugs because they are surrounded by people who themselves abuse drugs. What starts as a form of curiosity and an attempt to gain inspiration relax quickly becomes an addiction. In no time, the artist becomes 100% dependent on the drugs.
An example of an artist that tried drugs out of curiosity was Pablo Picasso, one of the most influential artists in the 20th century. The Spanish painter, famous for Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, a controversial oil painting of five nude female prostitutes in a brothel on Carrer d’Avinyó, experimented with opium between 1904 and 1908. He, however, renounced the drug in 1908 after his housemate committed suicide.
Renowned horror author, Stephen King, opened up about his battle with addiction. He noted that his biggest fear about getting sober was losing his creativity.
Stephen King said that after getting sober, he found it challenging to write, but with time, he figured out how to channel his creativity into writing outstanding books.
Most recovered artists have revealed that their creativity increased during sobriety. The main reason for this is that you are more clear-headed when sober. As a result, your judgment is not clouded, your cognitive functions are better, and you don’t waste time abusing drugs.
Here are a few things you can do to stay creative during recovery:
Deciding to get addiction treatment is often the most challenging step. However, you should know there is no shame in asking for help. Struggling With addiction has all the resources you need on addiction. Contact us if you have any questions, or search our Rehab Directory to access reputable treatment facilities near you.
The concept of ground score is simple. Someone leaves behind or improperly disposes of drugs or paraphernalia. Then, whoever finds the drug or item claims it, and it becomes theirs. Lighters, syringes, needles, pre-and post-injection swabs, masks, patches, pipes, filters and even the drugs themselves are common examples of a ground score.
Ground score is a pretty common occurrence around the country. But this doesn’t make it any less of a nuisance. When left on the ground, drug paraphernalia pose a risk not just to the environment but also to humans. We’ll look at these risks later on in this article. But first, let’s make sure we are on the same page.
A ground score is any desirable substance that’s left on the ground. In this case, it can be any drug paraphernalia that drug users leave on the ground after use, such as:
People who abuse substances – including street drugs, alcohol, and prescription drugs – are at an increased risk for dependence, addiction, or worse, overdose deaths. Drug use also has side effects that make it hard for one to act responsibly. As a result, many users either leave drug litter around or dispose of it carelessly, exposing the environment and people to wide-ranging risks.
Drug litter can cause serious health problems for those who come into contact with it. It can cause:
Adults, too, might swallow prescription pills and end up overdosing without knowing. Proper storage or disposal of drugs is the best way to avoid such predicaments.
Drug litter can be found anywhere, including the streets, neighborhoods, schools, and so on. However, you are likely to find drugs at music festivals, nightclubs, parties, and so on. That’s because party-goers indulge in illegal drugs and throw the remains all over the place. But you can also find drugs at home when a friend or loved one disposes of their prescription medicines inappropriately.
Whether intentional or unintentional, improper disposal of drugs and paraphernalia is dangerous to humans and the environment. Littering happens due to:
But since ground score poses so much danger, it might help to avoid it altogether. There are safe disposal practices that you should follow whenever you want to discard drugs and any material associated with the drugs. One of the safest ways to dump unwanted drugs is to take them to a drug take-back program. It will help if you do this as soon as you realize that you no longer need the drugs. The Food and Drug Administration recommends the following was to avoid drug littering:
Drug litter can be a gateway to drug abuse. Synthetic opioids, mostly manufactured in South America, are highly addictive and often lead to substance use disorders – both long-term and short-term. People, especially teenagers, might experiment with these drugs and end up using them more.
Drug use and misuse can cause side effects like increased heart rate and blood pressure, body temperature, paranoia, and hallucinations. Besides, drug dealers often cut drugs with a series of other substances, exposing one to the risk of overdose and overdose deaths.
Whether prescription or illegal drugs, drug litter is a dangerous problem for society and the environment. To keep your neighborhood clean and healthy, ensure you dispose of anything related to drugs responsibly.
I can bet that you have at least once in your life interacted with drug sniffing dogs, be it at the airport, while crossing national borders, traffic stops, public events, or even in public schools. These dogs diligently sniff for any illegal drugs. Some are even trained to detect other substances, including invasive insects and parts of wildlife like ivory and rhino horns. Recently, dogs have shown us their incredible power of smell can detect diseases and viruses, such as the COVID-19 virus and even cancer.
Most dog owners I have interacted with usually question how drug-sniffing dogs are trained. The onus of training a drug-sniffing dog falls on dog handlers. The handlers are typically trained, and they also do practical testing before being accredited and registered. This includes different methods than you would use to teach your dog.
Drug sniffing dogs have been used as the preferred method of searching for illegal drugs since time immemorial for various reasons. For starters, it is a fast and effective method of searching for illegal substances. Sniffer dogs are also reliable and accurate.
Another advantage is that sniffer dogs can screen a large number of people or even large areas simultaneously. Therefore, they are ideal for public events, borders and boundaries, educational establishments, multi-occupancy premises, and open-plan event spaces.
The typical way of training a sniffing dog is teaching it to associate the smell of its favorite toy or favorite treat with an illegal substance(s). By doing so, the dogs automatically link the scent of their favorite toy or treat to sourcing for drugs.
It is important to note that drug-sniffing dogs do not have an interest in the drugs. Their training program simply makes them associate the smell of drugs with a toy. All of the “urban legends” of police dogs being addicted to drugs, simply isn’t true.
Dogs have a strong sense of smell. Scientists say that their sense of smell is about 10,000 to 100,000 times more acute that of humans.
That’s because they have 50 times more receptors than humans do. They also have a strong hunting desire that drives them to look for what their trainers have trained them to find. To get a reward, the dogs make sure that they don’t give false signals.
During the early stages or training, trainers reward the dogs whenever they recognize the target scent and alert their handler. With time, the dog undergoes basic obedience training and only gets a reward when it responds to basic commands like stand, stay, sit, bark, etc.
It’s pretty much the same technique you use when training a puppy. I like to think that if you can teach your dog to obey basic commands in house training when still a puppy, you can try your luck in training drug-sniffing dogs or police dogs.
Dog trainers train drug-sniffing dogs to alert their handlers when drugs are present. There are two main ways the dogs alert their handlers, depending on the type of training they underwent.
The first way is the passive indication. When drug-sniffing dogs indicate drugs, they either stand or sit. The other way is the aggressive indication. This is where drug-sniffing dog alerts their handler by barking, pawing, or digging at the location where they have detected drugs.
Dog handlers and sniffer dogs undergo intensive training. The training lasts for several months. Once the training is complete, and the handler and dog can work as a team, they are certified. However, they still undergo retraining and testing throughout their careers.
Retraining and testing ensure that the dogs’ and handlers’ skills are up to standard and reliable. Usually, detection dogs remain attached to their handler throughout their career. They are tested and retrained together. Most dog handlers have a military or police background.
Drug sniffing dogs come in handy in various operations, including; marine applications, airports, hospitals, media stations, mental health facilities, prisons, colleges, universities, businesses, events, and schools. Individuals that want tighter security measures in their homes can also use drug-sniffing dogs. I’ve heard of instances where parents hire drug-sniffing dogs for their private use.
These detection dogs can detect drugs within buildings, individuals, open areas, and vehicles stopped for a traffic violation. I have seen several law enforcement officers walking around with drug-sniffing dogs.
You probably already know that the Fourth Amendment right protects people from unreasonable searches. So what are your rights when it comes to drug-sniffing dogs?
It is notable that in law enforcement, one of the tools that can potentially violate the Fourth Amendment right is drug-sniffing dogs. Like I mentioned earlier in the article, American police officers commonly use dogs to sniff out illegal substances.
In emergencies, law enforcement officers can only use drug-sniffing dogs when they have probable cause to search someone’s belongings, including their house and vehicle. Suppose you are convinced that an officer violated your Fourth Amendment right with a drug-sniffing dog, you can file a motion to suppress any evidence that they discovered during the violation.
If a traffic cop stops you over a traffic violation, they need probable cause that you have committed a crime other than the traffic violation for them to search your car. If the officer does not have probable cause, he needs your permission to search your vehicle or let a drug-sniffing dog sniff the outside of your vehicle.
It is unconstitutional for police officers to conduct a drug sniff at traffic stops unless there is reasonable suspicion of a crime. Drug sniffs are categorized as searches in the Fourth Amendment.
With the Fourth Amendment, courts have enhanced the protection of an individual’s home against unnecessary searches. For an officer to bring a drug-sniffing dog to your front porch, he or she needs to have probable cause since every person has a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy in their home. This right extends to the area around the house, including side gardens and porches. However, it is essential to note that once you permit the officers to search your home, you have waived your Fourth Amendment right.
Drug-sniffing dogs undergo extensive training before their handlers use them in day to day operations. They rarely give false alarm, thanks to the training and tests that they undergo throughout their career.
Let me know how your experience with sniffer dogs was in the comments below.
No, drugs are not legal but they have been decriminalized. Some illicit drugs are now decriminalized in Oregon. On February 1, 2021, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize the possession of illicit drugs in small quantities. The list of decriminalized drugs includes cocaine, heroin, LSD, meth, as well as other personal-use drugs.
Oregon voters made history by passing a ballot measure legalizing recreational drugs. On the federal level, these drugs are still against the law but in Oregon, possession has been downgraded to a civil violation. Instead of jail, a civil violation reduces penalties and may lead to a fine or court-ordered therapy.
The ballot measure turns possession of small amounts of street drugs into a violation, like a traffic ticket. “Small amount” is defined to be the following:
The measure addresses these possessions as a citation and expands access to treatment and recovery. So, instead of facing jail time, individuals found with small amounts of drugs face a $100 fine and would have to talk to an addiction treatment professional.
According to Proposed Amendments to Senate Bill 755, addiction recovery centers will be able to expand the services they currently provide. “Recovery centers will also assess and address any on-going needs through intensive case management and linkage to care services.”
Measure 110 wouldn’t have seen the light of day were it not for individuals like Hubert Matthews. Hubert Mathews is a veteran, a father, and a productive member of society. But this wasn’t always the case. For twenty years, he abused substances and committed crimes to get more drugs. Inevitably, he brushed shoulders with law enforcement, which resulted in jail or prison time, only to end up back on the streets. It was like a vicious cycle.
“I would break the law to feed my addiction, which made me an easy target for police. The judge told me one time. “Mr. Matthews, you are a drug abuser.” He wasn’t offering me any help. He just said he was going to send me to the Oregon State Penitentiary,” Matthew explained.
According to Matthew, this did nothing to help his situation. If anything, incarceration added even more trauma to his already troubled life. There was no end in sight. He would get arrested for possession of illicit drugs over and over again. And his criminal record was not helping either. No one would hire him or give him a place to live.
“I needed someone who understood that treatment would help me more than being incarcerated. Luckily, I was able to get treatment later on. That’s what saved my life,” he added.
Since his treatment began, Matthew has been clean for over 10 years. He’s now out in the community every day, trying to get people to treatment. He believes that others struggling with addiction will have an easier path now that some illicit drugs have been decriminalized.
The United States has been criminalizing drug users for decades. But today, people are starting to treat addiction as a public health problem as opposed to a criminal one. Different states now have systems in place to help treat those who are struggling with addiction. Institutions are also sensitizing everyone about addiction being a medical condition and not moral failure.
Oregon is leading the way. The state has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana as well as hard drugs. It has also joined the District of Columbia to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms.
“Measure 110 eliminates criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of drugs,” Lindsay LaSalle told Arnold Ventures. “It also increases access to harm reduction and health services, including drug use treatment and housing. At its core, the measure is tearing down the current system of punishment for drug use and creating a supportive, compassionate and non-coercive system of care to address drug use in Oregon,” she added. Lindsay is the Managing Director of Policy at the Drug Policy Alliance, which spent over $4 million supporting the measure.
Opponents of Measure 110 claim that decriminalization removes a strong deterrent to using or trying drugs, potentially driving more substance use and abuse. They argue that criminal penalties linked to drug possession can be leveraged to divert people into addiction programs they otherwise wouldn’t accept.
However, studies show decriminalization doesn’t fuel the widespread use of drugs. Countries like Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Portugal have applied drug decriminalization and seen positive changes. In fact, Portugal’s decriminalization saw a drop in the number of deaths. There was also a 20% rise in those getting addiction treatments between 2001 and 2008.
Decriminalization proponents explain that substance abuse is a public health problem. They argue that the criminal prohibition causes thousands of unnecessary, racially-biased arrests every year in the country. These arrests, according to proponents, are costly and burden the criminal justice system but do nothing to help those struggling with addiction. They say that Measure 110 prevents individuals in recovery from being stigmatized by landlords, lenders, and employers. The measure also helps them avoid drug-related offenses.
Oregon was the first state to decriminalize marijuana possession in 1973. In 2014, voters approved a ballot measure legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. After decriminalizing illicit drugs, less than 3,700 Oregonians will be or have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony possession of controlled substances. That’s roughly a 91% reduction in drug possession and arrests in the state. The law will also likely reduce ethnic and racial disparities in arrests. This is according to the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission.
Many people do not understand how criminalization builds barriers to treatment. People need more options to make different choices. Ending criminalization will prevent shame and open people up for other opportunities.
There’s a lot of stigma around drug and alcohol misuse. People with substance use disorders continue to be blamed for their illness. Although medicine has long concluded that dependence is a complex mental health issue, many employers, law enforcement, and healthcare systems, continue to see addiction as a sign of flawed character, or as a moral weakness. Oregon’s decriminalization law hopes to change that.
Thanks to the media and the heavily-politicized ‘war on drugs’, people see those who use drugs as bad people, who are deserving of punishment. There have also been policies that systematically criminalize addicts – throwing them behind bars each time they’re caught in possession of personal or noncommercial drugs. But arresting an addict repeatedly for possession because they are unable to get treatment doesn’t help. Well, at least not from the lens of Oregon’s Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act.
Oregon ranks almost last out of the 50 states when it comes to accessibility of drug addiction treatment resources. It also has one of the longest waiting lists in the United States. The latest report by the Oregon Substance Use Disorder Research Committee, shows that 1 in 10 Oregonians struggle with alcohol or drug use. And that 2 in 3 Oregonians either struggle with a substance abuse problem, or they have a friend or family member who does. The report further shows that addiction costs the state about $6 billion dollars a year in everything from policing, to healthcare, to lost productivity and other associated costs.
Going by the numbers, Oregon is in the middle of an addiction crisis. Substance use disorders devastate the state’s youth, communities, finances, and governments. Issues surrounding drug and alcohol misuse also exacerbates many of the state’s most pressing issues, like poverty and homelessness. Loss of employment, high medical costs, violent crime, and the destabilization of families are also common concerns. Other impacts include poor educational achievement, huge burdens on Oregon’s criminal justice system and the growing need for state-sponsored social services.
The aforementioned report mainly recommends treating substance abuse like a disease, as opposed to a moral failing. This is the general consensus among members of the modern medical and mental health fields. After all, addiction behaves like any other chronic medical condition. It cannot be cured easily, but with medical intervention, it can be controlled. Health care treatment is effective at helping individuals who abuse drugs, to regain control of their lives. Criminal punishment doesn’t typically help in this way. Sometimes jail time can make the substance abuse worse, over time. The modern health care approach includes an overall assessment to determine an individual’s needs. It then connects them to the services they need to turn their lives around.
Before the new decriminalization law, Oregon was treating addiction as a criminal problem. In 2017, for instance, the law enforcement officers arrested over 8000 people in cases where possessing small amounts of drugs was the most severe offense. In many cases, the same people were arrested for possession, over and over, because they were unable to get treatment for their addiction.
Unfortunately, criminalizing drugs burdens people with criminal records. These records hinder them from going to school, getting jobs, receiving licensing, housing, or even keeping their job. The criminalization of drugs in the United States typically has harsher consequences for people of color and the poor.
In a bid to address the drug issue, the Oregon State introduced Measure 110. This measure is intended to expand access to treatment services and eliminate unfairly harsh punishment for minor, nonviolent drug offenses like simple possession. This approach will allow individuals to recover more easily.
Oregon’s Measure 110 (aka, Drug Addiction and Recovery Act) seeks to make addiction to hard drugs a public health issue instead of a criminal one. When the act goes into effect on the 21st of February, 2021, oxycodone, meth, heroin, cocaine, and other illicit drugs will be decriminalized in the state. From now on, people won’t be arrested and jailed for possession of small amounts of drugs. Instead, they will get a fine of up to $100. And they can have the penalty waived, if they complete professional addiction assessment within 45 days of getting the citation.
These assessments have to happen in an addiction treatment center. In which case, the individual goes through a series of substance use disorder screenings and, upon completion, expresses the need to get treatment. At this point, the case manager works with the individual to create a personalized drug rehabilitation plan.
Oregon’s decriminalization law: Measure 110, focuses on recovery. As mentioned above, it aims at removing penalties for low-level drug possession charges and replacing them with a $100 fine. This fine can then be waived if the individual seeks treatment. On top of that, the measure tries to enhance treatment options in Oregon. It reallocates marijuana tax dollars and the savings from law enforcement making fewer arrests, to fund assessments, harm reduction, addiction treatment, and other services for people who are struggling with addiction.
According to the chief petitioner for the measure, Janie Gullickson, Oregon’s existing laws have been a failing system. It is costly and in many cases, the penalties ruin people’s lives. The decriminalization law addresses how the current laws treat drug-related crimes and how Oregon promotes and supports addiction treatment. Measure 110 makes Oregon the first state in the United States to decriminalize all drug use.
Under the measure, drug possession is a civil violation, like a traffic offense, and is subject to a $100 fine without the possibility of jail time. Initially, possessing personal/noncommercial drugs was a misdemeanor in many cases and a felony where one has more than two prior convictions of possession or any felony. But now, these offenses are termed civil violations.
Possessing large amounts of drugs like 2 grams of meth, heroin, or cocaine or 40+ Oxycodone pills was a felony that attracted criminal penalties. The new measure reclassifies these offenses as misdemeanors. But Oregon still applies strict penalties, when there is evidence of a commercial drug offense, like manufacturing or distributing drugs. Oregon will continue to charge these types of crimes as a felony. Other factors include when a person is selling drugs, or they have weapons or stolen property in their possession.
A detailed analysis by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission says that this measure should minimize 3,679 or 90.7% of drug-related convictions.
Oregon’s decriminalization law also targets addiction treatment. It redirects some marijuana tax revenue from schools and other programs into a new grant for substance use disorder treatments. Cannabis tax is projected to reach $91million between 2021 and 2023. The measure will use some of this money to develop addiction and recovery centers that will run every day to address drug users’ needs and help connect them to a wide-range of healthcare services.
In addition to treatment, these funds will cater to the housing needs of those with addiction problems and provide harm reduction services like needle exchanges. The Oregon Health Authority will appoint a committee that oversees the centers and decides how to use the fund’s money.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word meth? If you are like most people, it would probably be “illicit drug,” or “club drug,” etc. But that’s to be expected. Meth is a common street drug that never misses on parties, clubs, and even among peers. According to the National Institute on Drugs abuse, 1.6 million Americans used meth in 2017. But when is meth prescribed as a medical treatment? Does this happen often?
There actually is more to methamphetamine than it being a substance of abuse. In fact, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration classifies it as a Schedule II stimulant that makes it legally available through a non-refillable prescription. Meth is prescribed as a medical treatment for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD) and weight-loss. We’ll dive into these and more treatments later on in this article, but first, let’s make sure we are on the same page.
Meth is a strong and highly-addictive, white, odorless, and bitter-tasting crystalline powder. It is used as a stimulant and affects the body’s central nervous system. According to the NIDA, meth was developed in the early 20th century from its parent drug, amphetamine. The drug was originally applied in bronchial inhalers and nasal decongestants.
Meth, like amphetamine, stirs a range of effects. It increases activity and talkativeness, reduces appetite, and triggers euphoria or a pleasurable sense of well-being. But unlike amphetamine, greater amounts of meth get into the brain. This makes it a more potent stimulant. It also produces longer-lasting and more dangerous effects on the central nervous system than amphetamine at comparable doses. That explains why many people misuse the drug.
It’s important to note that there are variations of meth. Crystal methamphetamine – a street version of the drug meth – is more potent. It is a common “club drug” that’s hard to miss in rave parties and night clubs. Crystal meth also goes by other names like glass, ice, blade, chalk, black beauties, etc. Meth users will smoke it with a small glass pipe or swallow, snort or inject it into a vein.
Crystal meth is simply a poison that acts as a stimulant at first, but then it begins to destroy the body, systematically. It is linked to severe physical and mental health conditions like aggression, memory loss, psychotic behavior, and potential brain and heart damage. Again, the drug burns up the body’s resources, causing a devastating dependence that can only be relieved by taking more of the drug.
If an individual continues to use crystal meth, they expose themselves to a wide range of mental and physical damage. A common example of this is meth mouth. Meth users often present with severe tooth decay, fracture or loss, and a host of other teeth and gums issues. One Clinical Oral Investigation study revealed that meth users had higher levels of periodontal disease and gingival bleeding. For most users, this damage is often irreparable even after recovering from their substance use disorder.
Meth was originally used as a respiratory stimulator and nasal decongestant. It was then used to keep the army alert and their enhance mood and endurance during the Second World War. But later, it became apparent that meth was highly addictive. In the 70s, it was added to the Schedule II list of controlled substances. Meth is illegal, save for when a doctor prescribes it to a very limited number of medical conditions. These include obesity, ADHD, and narcolepsy (off-label).
Stimulants are the first course of prescription drugs for ADHD treatment. Studies show that stimulants, like Adderall can improve ADHD symptoms in about 70-80% of people. Central nervous system stimulant medications work by increasing the amounts of norepinephrine and dopamine hormones in the brain. This, in turn, boosts concentration and lowers fatigue that’s common with ADHD. Amphetamines and methamphetamine are good examples of stimulants used for ADHD treatment. Stimulants like meth increase attention and reduce restlessness in people who are:
Methamphetamine is an integral part of a complete ADHD treatment program. It’s meant to be used along with other treatments like counseling. However, this drug is available only with a health care provider’s prescription and is non-refillable. Meaning, a patient has to get a new prescription each time they need this medicine.
Along with ADHD treatment, doctors will occasionally give obese patients prescription methamphetamine for weight loss. While the drug can curb appetite, its effects on the nervous system and metabolism also seem to weigh in on its weight loss abilities. But because of the drug’s addictive nature, there’s an increased risk of addiction. So when physicians prescribe it, it’s usually only for a short period. Methamphetamine is issued alongside other interventions like exercise and diet.
As mentioned earlier, only a doctor can prescribe this drug to patients. The doctor will weigh the pros and cons of using the drug and determine whether or not it’s safe. Patients should inform the doctor about:
Doctors consider a lot of things before prescribing methamphetamine. But despite this, there’s always an addiction risk when someone abuses the drug or takes drugs prescribed for another person.
For example, a patient may notice that the original dose no longer works. So they increase their dosage, creating tolerance that leads to addiction. Or the patient finds they no longer need the drug. But once they stop, they experience intense withdrawal symptoms that often compel them to take more of the drug.
Common side effects that are linked to prescription meth include:
A patient should contact a doctor as soon as they notice one or more of these side effects.
Meth addiction is one of the hardest drug addictions to treat. But treatment programs exist to help patients with addiction problems quit using and go back to leading a healthy life. Treatments can also help patients struggling with withdrawal symptoms. Recovery from meth needs a holistic treatment plan that includes detox, counseling and therapy.