Listen to "TAP45 Medication Assisted Treatment with Marc Burrows" on The Addictive Podcast via spreaker.com/user/addictist…
Kratom, MAPS, couples therapy, people who come to addiction treatment, MDA, supplementation for alcohol, Duterte, the crackdown on opioids, increased death, cannabis Prop 64, other states, new data, and Seth’s adventures in the great white north were covered.
With experience in both corrections and substance abuse counseling, Patrick Heintz has worked with incarcerated populations for over 20 years. Beginning as a child care worker in a maximum security Department of Youth Services facility, he spent the majority of his career at the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department as a counselor/corrections officer.
As a substance abuse counselor licensed by the State of Massachusetts working in a variety of corrections settings, he was witness to what he calls the “revolving door and intergenerational nature of the offender population”. Patrick explains, “Early on in my career, it became apparent that to a large extent, this revolving door phenomenon was a direct result of the prevailing laws associated with the war on drugs. It became a daily frustration that no matter how service-oriented and well intentioned treatment attempts were in a corrections setting, nonsensical drug laws such as mandatory minimum sentencing, school zone violations and other punitive consequences of drug arrests kept us from being optimally effective.”
As a human service worker in corrections, it was obvious to Patrick that substance abusing and addictive personality disorders were more mental health issues than a law and order problem. He experienced an avalanche of realizations upon first hearing a LEAP presentation where the speaker pointed out that after 40 years of being at war with drugs, the percentage of the population abusing drugs remains at approximately the same level as in 1971, when the war on drugs began. Patrick contends that “Sociologically there will always be deviations from the norm including substance abuse, but they cannot be legislated or enforced away.”
On July 7, 2016, one or more individuals, including a suspect identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, shot twelve police officers and two civilians in Dallas, Texas, killing five of the officers. The shooting occurred at the end of a protest against police killings in the aftermath of the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Johnson was killed during a shootout and standoff with police, while three other suspects are in police custody. It was the deadliest incident for U.S. law enforcement since the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The drug war and the disconnect between the police and communities of color is indirectly responsible for the attacks.
The emergence of new psychoactive substances (NPS) – often called “synthetic drugs,” “legal highs,” or “research chemicals” – pose a number of challenges for policymakers, media covering these issues, medical and social service providers, and people who use these substances.
Unfortunately, current media and policy responses to NPS – a broad category that includes everything from synthetic cannabinoids such as “K2”, to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, to traditional plants such as kratom – have been largely fueled by misinformation rather than facts. For example, in New York City, concerns about synthetic cannabinoids led to misleading media coverage and targeted policing in communities of color and among the homeless, missing a critical opportunity to lead with harm reduction and public health strategies instead of criminalization.
These substances often come on the market as legal alternatives to illicit drugs. In the U.S., they are routinely banned, leading chemists to come up with slightly new formulations to evade existing laws. This cat-and-mouse game has led to a proliferation of these substances, whose potential harms (and benefits) are largely unknown.
Seth Fitzgerald from The Drug Classroom attended an important conversation about novel psychoactive substances on the evening of June 9th – 10th in New York City hosted by the Drug Policy Alliance. At New Strategies for New Psychoactive Substances: A Public Health Approach, the discussion included what is currently known about these substances, strategies for intervening when use becomes harmful, exploring new forms of drug regulation, and examining how messaging and media about NPS can become more constructive. The gathering laid the foundation for a series of recommendations for policymakers, medical and social service providers, researchers, and media.
The libertarian philosophy upholds “liberty” as its principal objective. Libertarians seek to maximize autonomy and personal freedoms based on a foundation of an individual choosing what is best for itself. They are skeptical of authority and governmental intrusion into the rights of individuals. Libertarians argue that the invasiveness of the state and the abuse by law enforcement that is likely to accompany it presents a greater threat to personal freedom and liberty then drug using behavior itself.
The Libertarian national platform indicated in 2008 that “we support the protections provided by the fourth amendment to be secure in our persons, homes, and property. Only actions that infringe on the rights of others can properly be termed crimes. We favor the repeal of all laws creating ‘crimes’ without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes.”
The Addictive Podcast is joined by Sean Mitsui, President of the Young Americans for Liberty at the University of Hawaii Manoa who provides his perspective on the drug war as someone who stands up for libertarian values which are in direct conflict to the mechanisms that have evolved out of prohibition including civil asset forfeiture, massive incarceration rates, and the personal invasion of the citizenry often through violent means and profiling; in addition to 50 to 100 billion dollars in economic costs annually to the taxpayer with no measurable improvement in personal or societal safety.
Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) is an international grassroots network of college students who are concerned about the impact drug abuse has on our communities, but who also know that the War on Drugs is failing our generation and our society. At last count, SSDP had over 4000 members on 300 campuses across 13 different countries. Glen sits down with outgoing Northwestern University SSDP Chapter President and future cognitive psychologist Caroline Naughton along her friend and special guest Cesar Almeida to discuss the social and emotional components of youth activism, and what it takes to be an advocate of change facing this issue personally and professionally.
The 2015 International Drug Policy Reform Conference was a biennial event that brought together people from around the world who believe that the war on drugs is doing more harm than good. This conference was the largest gathering of reformers ever and included over 1,500 attendees representing 72 different countries.
Therapist Glen Marshall and drug education advocate Seth Fitzgerald both attended and take you through their experiences at the conference as well providing takeaway and contact information you can use to make changes in your own communities.
Drug Policy Alliance
Students for Sensible Drug Policy (Northwestern University Chapter)
Families for Sensible Drug Policy
The Center for Optimal Living
HAMS – Harm Reduction for Alcohol
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Senator Mazie Hirono
Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
All of these popular drug myths have been pitched and pressed by the media, drug policymakers, users, or reformers alike. The fog of the drug war is thick and all sides push their agendas with a variety of propaganda. Drug education advocate Seth Fitzgerald along with addiction therapist and host Glen Marshall dispel each one and provide the facts behind the headlines so you can make better choices for yourself and your community.
The Addictive Podcast was created to save lives by providing scientifically based information in this pursuit. A special focus and rant is paid to the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) who I believe failed their membership, misrepresented addiction, ignored best practices, and passively stood by while national policy dictated patient care that led to the deaths of 40,000+ Americans in 2014.
Resources and Further Reading: