Addiction A Disease Not A Moral Failing

In a refreshing breakthrough in the US, we have seen the director of the National Drug Control Policy release a statement outlining that addiction is a disease and not a moral failing.

The statement could have some significant effects on law making and policy reform as we see more and more addicts jailed for crimes relating to their disease.

Many addicts find themselves in court

Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the National Drug Control Policy, has announced a new focus on treating drug addiction as a disease, not a moral failing, and emphasizes removing the stigma placed on drug abusers.

Speaking at the Betty Ford Center in Palm Springs on Monday, Kerlikowske declared that “this country hasn’t looked at recovery in a way that makes sense,” and that he intended to “use the bully pulpit of the White House in a way that brings it out into the open.”

Previous federal drug policies were a three-legged stool, Kerlikowske said, with criminalization, prevention and treatment serving as the foundation for national policies. Now there will be a fourth leg – recovery.

Forming the administration’s new attitude toward drug problems “meant moving beyond talking in the beltway … it meant talking to real people dealing with addiction,” Kerlikowske said.

Source: LA Times

We often stigmatise addicts, seeing them as some kind of moral failure. In many countries treatment fails so many addicts often end up within the prison system.

Focusing on recovery

One point to note is that the fact that drugs are illegal in most parts of the world, this fact doesn’t deter people from trying drugs and or becoming addicted to drugs.

It is estimated that over 90% of the prison population in the US alone are there because of drug related crimes.

As society develops an understanding of addiction, we may see a different approach to the disease starting to take shape. Addicts that find themselves caught up in the treadmill of the legal system may actually get the help they need.

Do you think this is a breakthrough in the understanding and treatment of addicts?

Heroin Use On The Rise In US

Heroin use along with other highly addictive opiates is on the rise in the US. The report released by the National Office of Drug Control Policy has indicated that the drug has been detected in blood test taken from arrestees.

Heroin use is on the rise

Federal and local data suggest an uptick in heroin use in Colorado, a troubling development for local drug enforcement agencies and treatment programs.

One new federal drug use survey, the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Annual Report, shows that street use of opiate drugs, including heroin and opiate-based prescription medicines such as oxycodone, has doubled between 2000 and 2011.

The report, released May 17 by the National Office of Drug Control Policy, tracks the blood test results of adult male arrestees in Denver and nine other U.S. cities. In Denver; Indianapolis; Sacramento, Calif.; and Minneapolis, the number of adult male arrestees testing positive for opiates, including heroin and prescription painkillers, rose from 3 percent to 4 percent in 2000 to 8 percent to 10 percent in 2011.

Source: Denver Post

Many users prefer to smoke pills

The use of legal prescription drugs such as Oxycontin is also an epidemic in the US.

Many addicts doctor shop at pain relief clinics in Florida where the drug is prescribed without any controls.

Addicts and dealers then take the drugs back to their home states to use and or sell the drugs.

Little is being done to stop the epidemic. Clearly the war on drugs is ineffective as law enforcement agencies can do little to stem the flow of illegal drugs in the US.

It has been suggested by many that drugs need to legalised. Some countries where drugs have been legalised have seen a massive drop in the number of drug related crimes.

Legalising will free up the over crowded prison systems of many nations and place much needed finances into other areas such as health care and education.

People don’t become drug addicts because drugs are illegal, nor does the fact that drugs are illegal stop people from using them!

Once an Addict Always an Addict!

Once an Addict Always and Addict seems to get bandied around a lot, especially in the rooms of N.A. In a survey done by MO addicts reveal their attitudes towards such a claim!

Labeled for Life?

MyMO  asked survey respondents to explain why they agree or disagree with the statement, “once an addict, always an addict.” Several of their opinions are listed below:

• “I know people who were an addict and they have been clean for many, many years.”

• “A person can go to rehab and come out clean and stay clean.”

• “It’s going to be really hard, but it’s possible. I know someone who was an addict and got put in prison for it and it changed his whole life. When he got out of prison, he wasn’t an addict anymore. It’s possible to stop.”

• “No matter if you get help or anything, the want is always going to be there and anything could trigger that feeling.”

• “Addiction is something you are born with.”

• “I have seen many of my friends and family get help because they wanted it and are 100 percent cured of the habit. Even if they start using them again, at one point they were not a necessity for them.”

• “Even though they are not addicted to drugs they could have another type of addiction.”

• “People can change and get a second chance.”

•“Once you’re addicted you can never stop.”

• “You can always get yourself help and if you really want to stop with drugs you can gain control and stop.”

• “People who get addicted to drugs could go to rehab and end up not being addicted to the drug or have the want/need to start another drug. However, sometimes they just can’t live without the drug because it has become a huge part of their life, which is pretty sad.”

• “If you are a very strong person, you have a chance of stopping if you get enough help and you have supportive family helping you through it.”

• “People can always change even in the most dire situation.”

• “Anything is possible with God.”

• “Some people get past their addiction completely and decide to live a better, more responsible lifestyle. Although a lot of addicts get cured and do go back to using drugs again.”

• “People can’t quit. It is very hard.”

• “One of my older cousins had smoked for many years. A few years ago, he stopped suddenly because he felt ‘it getting too expensive.’ He found a new, non-dangerous habit and has not smoked since.”

• “Rehab and counseling can help people overcome the bad choices they have made in their life.”

• “My parents were both cocaine addicts and alcoholics for over 15 years, and today they are both clean and sober. My sister was also addicted to cocaine and alcohol and today she is clean and sober as well.”

• “I think whether you quit doing drugs or not, your addiction will never go away. Just because you stop using drugs doesn’t mean that they’re not on your mind all the time. It doesn’t mean that you stop physically and mentally feel like you need it to go on. I believe the addiction is always there, but it is more than possible to quit using.”

• “They will always be addicted to that drug but that doesn’t mean they will always take it.”

• “I have alcoholics in my family, and they no longer drink; though they still struggle with it every day.”

• “It depends on if the person wanted to change in the first place or not.”

• “Yes, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible for someone with a drug or alcohol addiction to stop using drugs or drinking. It just means that they will never be able to use these substances casually again without falling back into their addiction.”

• “Even if you go to rehab if you and are still around the drugs or alcohol you’ll probably be tempted by it and want to try it again, even if you think you got over it and think one little drink isn’t going to hurt me. Everything can hurt you. Even if it is one drink or one drug.”

What do you think?

Is once an addict always an addict an accurate statement?

Hollywood and Addiction

It seems that you don’t have to be a down and out loser to be an addict! In Hollywood more and more “stars” are attending rehab to battle with their addictions.

Hollywood makes addiction seem glamorous?

All too often we hear of the tragic news of yet another Hollywood death through drugs. In this report from Hispanic Business we catch up with the feel around the subject.

Whitney Houston’s death last month from accidental drowning and the effects of cocaine use and heart disease throws a bright light on a dark corner of the world of celebrities who wrestle with substance abuse.
The toll of celebrity addiction — to street drugs, prescription medications, alcohol or a mix — is long and mournful, and it seems particularly heavy right now because of the deaths of Houston, 48, and Amy Winehouse, 27.
And not just them: In recent years, Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger and Anna Nicole Smith have succumbed to overdoses; going back further, the list includes John Belushi, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Judy Garland.
Americans these days can’t escape the steady stream of news about celebrities and their controlled substances. Take Lindsay Lohan, 25. After years of erratic behavior, multiple arrests and five stints in rehab, Lohan says she has cleaned up her act. She promised to stay away from drugs and alcohol, and she completed her comeback gig as host of Saturday Night Live March 3 (ratings were good but reviews were mixed).
Recent weeks also brought news that actor Gerard Butler (300), 42, and comedian Artie Lange, 44, both completed rehab for addiction and are back working. Yet actress Demi Moore, 49, who was hospitalized after smoking something that gave her convulsions, sought “professional assistance” for her problem. And actor Alex O’Loughlin, star of CBS’ Hawaii Five-0, has announced that he would take time off to get “supervised treatment” for pain medication prescribed after a shoulder injury.

Addiction knows no bounds. It affects anyone who cares to dance!

Do you think that being famous gives you easier access to drugs and if so making it easier to maintain a habit with out disclosing it?

I Was An Addict!

I Was An Addict!

How I overcame my addiction.

I was a homeless Junky!

I struggled with addiction for many years, slowly over time my alcohol and drug problem became so bad and so all consuming, that I eventually found myself unable to maintain any sort of normal life whatsoever. This led me to becoming a full-time homeless person, and I used to sleep on the streets in one of Australia’s biggest cities.

I don’t think anybody wakes up one morning and decides that are going to become an alcoholic or drug addict, it just happens slowly over time.

I was in my late 30s when I decided that I had a choice and the choice was to continue slowly dying and kill myself or to give sobriety a try. At this stage I tried everything else (drugs) so I thought I should at least give sobriety 12 months and if I didn’t like it I could always go back to using drugs or committing suicide.

I tried many times to get myself into a detox and after multiple attempts at staying clean and sober for about seven days, I finally decided I needed to do long-term rehab.

Doing rehab itself wasn’t that difficult it was dealing with myself I found very difficult because for the first time in my life I was aptly dealing with myself.

It was really weird for the first few months; because I had an unfounded fear that I couldn’t quite put my finger upon and then as I became more and more compus mentis I finally realised that the thing that I was actually afraid of the most was myself.

In the early days of rehab, the first 12 months seemed like there was a giant light at the end of the tunnel and that once I got 12 months clean and sober I would be able to do anything. To be honest with you, the first 12 months was easy and once I passed through the light at the end of the tunnel into the seemingly normal light of day it was then I realised that I actually had a hell of a lot of work to do myself.

I got my own place and got all OCD about my environment and cleanliness. At one stage I couldn’t even leave the house unless I could see my own reflection in the kitchen taps. I attended church groups regularly in a search for some form of spirituality or some kind of connection with God but after a while I gave that up to because I couldn’t handle the moral exhaustion that being a born again Christian entails I thought to myself God can’t be that hard.

I attended many else self-help groups such as NA AA and regular group therapy sessions where I found that sitting around complaining about my problems actually made them worse!

I was almost 2 years clean the first time when I actually relapsed. The relapse happens slowly and at first, I thought I was cured and I could smoke marijuana, snort a bit of speed shoot up little bit of heroin and have a drink every now and then, as  it wouldn’t turn into a problem. I was wrong! it took about six weeks before I was fully back in the throes of addiction and it was when I got kicked out of the house where I was living. Sitting on the beach in the rain with all of my personal belongings, I realised in that moment I was back where I started!

I had to do something serious! I was not happy! This time I wasn’t going to do rehab I felt I didn’t need to thought I will just heavily involve myself in narcotics anonymous and do all of the suggested things. This lasted for about 12 months when I finally realised that there are other people in the world with real problems that aren’t self-imposed directly fighting over a grain of rice so they can have some to eat and here I am wealthy enough and fortunate enough to be sitting around in a room full of other people with a similar problem complaining about how used to be a drug addict and how bad my life was!

It was at that point in time that I had a real-life epiphany! I needed to make a radical change in the way I think the way I feel and the things I believe in. I needed to start believing in myself! I had to start to change the way I think I had to start saying to myself the reason I don’t use drugs is because I don’t want to not because I can’t stop once I start.

From that moment in time I decided I would make a commitment to myself and start to pursue the things that I enjoyed. I started to get back into my passions and started to take care of myself. I stopped going to meetings which made me feel bad about myself and contributed to my low self-esteem I stopped associating with other recovering drug addicts!

That was about 10 years ago! And to this day I have not used a drug or a drink and have not wanted to!

That’s right I don’t want to!

I don’t want to use drugs any more therefore I don’t think about them I don’t talk about them and I don’t hang around people who do use drugs! It’s that simple I do not believe that being a drug addicts is a genetic disposition and I also do not believe that there are hopeless cases, just people who feel hopeless. I can safely tell you right now I was one of the worst drug addicts I ever met I was on the $2000 a day heroin habit, I was a cocaine addict, I was a methylated spirits drinking alcoholic! I was homeless I was a common criminal.

I am no longer today I’m a happy healthy person capable of maintaining responsible relationships, I have good friends I have a partner I love and that loves me. I do the things I enjoy and live a full life. I’m not trying to tell anyone what to do but I tell you this right now it’s very simple just don’t take drugs!

Your Teen Has a Gambling Problem?

Teenage gambling is on the rise! It seems that teens as young as 14 are becoming addicted to gambling!

Gambling is addictive!

A recent article in NBC San Diego speaks up about the issue. Parents, if you are concerned or have noticed your teen acting strangely…read on!

In any given year, 6 to 9 million Americans will have a  gambling problem but the addictive behavior can begin as early as high  school.

In fact, approximately 4 to 5% of children 12 to 17 meet one  or more of the criteria of a problem gambler while another 10  to 14 percent are at risk of developing an addition experts say.

The National Council on  Problem Gambling is using National Problem Gambling Awareness Week (March 4 – 10) to educate parents about signs of a developing gambling addiction.

Here are 13 signs your teenager may have the beginnings of a  gambling problem per the NCPG:

  • Begins to sell personal belongings.
  • Borrows money from friends and family and does not repay it.
  • Steals and lies.
  • Has large amounts of cash that cannot be explained.
  • Has a great deal of debt that cannot be explained.
  • Strangers call on the phone with increasing frequency.
  • Withdraws from his or her regular social groups and activities.
  • Makes “900” number calls to gambling numbers.
  • Appears distracted and anxious; can be moody or depressed.
  • Unexplained absences from school or work.
  • Breaks curfew regularly.
  • Spends hours on online gaming sites.
  • Obsession with sports scores can indicate a sports gambling habit.


College students are at a risk of addiction two to three  times higher than adults.

Most college students, in fact an estimated 75 percent, have  gambled in the past year weather legally or illegally according to NCPG.

While most of those students bet on sp0orts, they also buy  lottery tickets or join in card games.

Source:  13 Signs Your Teen Has a Gambling Problem | NBC San Diego

If you think you have a problem with Gambling click here!