In an article in the Washington Post as quoted by yahoonews.com on August 17th, titled White House to Focus on Treatment in New Strategy Against Heroin Use in U.S. reports that our government is finally addressing the real need for treatment over prosecution for addicts. Anyone who has been involved in the healthcare system understands that drug addiction is an illness. The body craves the drugs and as such the addict needs help to overcome the addiction, not prosecution and a jail term to make matters worse for them. Archives of General Psychiatry shows that heroin addicts have only a 50 percent survival rate making treatment even more relevant.
The reason the White House is changing its strategy is because of the huge number of overdoses that are occurring each day. There was a five fold increase in overdoses from heroin use from 2001 to 2005 according to the National Institute of Health.The death rate from heroin overdose doubled from 2010 to 2012 according to the National Vital Statistics System.
The government’s program is to be started in 15 states with $2.5 million in funding by the White House Office of Drug Control Policy to trace the sources of heroin with the deadly additive of Fentanyl.
It is now understood that people who are given addictive opioid prescription medication are 40 times more likely to become heroin addicts. Heroin is less expensive and more easily obtained, sadly making it the drug of choice.
I celebrate our government finally making the decision to both go after the people who are putting this crap out there on the streets as well as treating the illness of addiction as an illness, instead of the wrongheaded approach of incarceration.
If you or someone you are close to is given an opioid to control pain after a surgery use it with care. People who have the tendency to get addicted easily will find themselves going very quickly down the path to dependence and addiction.
If you or someone you know has a history of addiction, please let your doctor know so that the doctor can prescribe a non-addictive pain control medication. They are out there and they do work, so ask for it. It could very well save your life.
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