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posted by martyb on Tuesday August 18 2015, @09:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the will-it-help-or-hinder? dept.

The White House announced a new Heroin Response Strategy on Monday to combat a "heroin/opioid epidemic" across 15 states in the northeast:

The Office of National Drug Control Policy said it would spend $2.5 million to hire public safety and public health coordinators in five areas in an attempt to focus on the treatment, rather than the punishment, of addicts. The funding — a sliver of the $25.1 billion that the government spends every year to combat drug use — will help create a new "heroin response strategy" aimed at confronting the increase in use of the drug. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that heroin-related deaths had nearly quadrupled between 2002 and 2013.

[...] Once thought of as a drug used only by hard-core addicts, heroin has infiltrated many communities, largely because of its easy availability and its low price, officials said. The problem has become especially severe in New England, where officials have called for a renewed effort to confront it. Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont devoted his entire State of the State Message in January to what he called "a full-blown heroin crisis" in his state. Like the new White House effort, the governor called for a new, treatment-based approach to the drug.

[More after the break...]

Thomas McLellan, President Obama's chief scientist for drug control policy from 2009 to 2012, said $2.5 million "is not close to the financial commitment that is needed" and that use of the opiate-blocker naloxone is a squandered second chance without proper follow-up care. Executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, Ethan Nadelmann, was also dismissive of the announcement:

Nadelmann sees drug policy as existing along a continuum, from "lock'em up, hang'em, pull out their fingernails, Singapore, Saudi Arabia" all the way down to "essentially no controls whatsoever, maybe a little for kids." Unfortunately, he says, American drug policy under Obama is way too close to the hang'em end of the spectrum—and this new heroin program won't change the administration's position much in his eyes. That's because it's a bait-and-switch. It's promoted as a treatment-first program, but the details lean heavily toward enforcement and incarceration. It calls for 15 drug intelligence officers and 15 health policy analysts to collect data on overdoses and trends in heroin trafficking. Everyone will feed the data back to a joint health-law enforcement coordination center, which will distribute the data across state lines. That's great for cops. They need fresher leads on where heroin is coming from, who is moving it, and where it's being purchased. But public health officials don't need to know the intricacies of trafficking in order to respond to an ongoing epidemic.

According to a July 7th report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled from 2002 to 2013, with 8,200 deaths in the year 2013. During that period, heroin use increased the most among females (100%), the 18-25 age group (109%), and non-Hispanic whites (114%). Heroin use among households with less than $20,000 of annual income increased 62%, compared to 77% for households with $20,000-$49,999, and 60% for households with $50,000 or more. Tom Frieden, head of the CDC, said that the "epidemic" is growing out of prescription opioid painkiller abuse. He estimates that heroin is available at one-fifth the cost of prescription painkillers.

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  • (Score: 2) by Lagg on Wednesday August 19 2015, @05:32PM

    by Lagg (105) on Wednesday August 19 2015, @05:32PM (#225095) Homepage Journal

    Geez, I can't believe after this long people are still printing out more poison because of pointless taboos against any kind of psychoactive used recreationally. Like pot. I can't believe that our government and people in it like the two tools quoted in the summary are still so narrow minded that their first thought isn't something awesome and potentially fruitful like psilocibin (something already thought to erase an insane number of alcohol addictions in the first session - something like 60%) research. No. Instead they just want to hand out more synthesized bowel-blocking bullshit. This is why I no longer believe that true help for addicts can be provided without completely legalizing every other drug if for no other reason to get rid of social issues that at best stem from weakly religiously-backed morality.

    Said social issues I think are the main thing that this problem stems from. Nevermind potential issues like proper drug education but just the fact that people are gigantic cunts almost all the time. I was addicted to the painkillers for about 7 years. Pain management doctors are even bigger cunts than street dealers. People in general are also bigger cunts towards addicts than other addicts. So stop being like that first of all, second of all stop trying to dump more poison into already poisoned bodies and just give them some fucking weed. It saved my life in a multitude of ways, including post-withdrawal relief, appetite increase (I lost 25 pounds during the withdrawal), pain relief, anxiety relief. You'll notice that these are also common opiate withdrawal symptoms. Oh oh and we could also stop lumping every single drug under the general category of "drugs" while lumping the biggest collection of toxic on the planet (pharmaceuticals) under the category of "good drugs" and acting like they're any better in terms of addiction and side effects. Additionally it'd probably help quite a bit to again just give them weed.

    As someone that's experienced it I can easily see the most common scenario being people getting off of it thinking that life won't be as good and there's nothing else that can make them feel nice like the opiate can. Thankfully I was never one to believe any propaganda against drugs so I knew right off the bat that I could enjoy pot again after I finished the withdrawals - something that in itself worked as a sort of goal to reach and further helped me stay off of them. But people who don't understand that there are so many better drugs out there think that opiates are the end of the road and they won't feel that good again. You can probably understand then why so many people relapse. So all in all this entire plan as far as I can tell with what information they're giving, is just another plan that is useful to politicians and worthless to those it's supposedly meant to help.

    Of course we likely won't see any such problem solving. Partly because those most qualified to say what would help an addict usually were themselves addicts, and clearly everyone that fell under an unavoidable change in brain chemistry enjoys eating kittens. Partly because there's not much money in giving people drugs that won't make them relapse back to addictive drugs provided by the same company in all likelihood.

    I can't believe it's 2015 and we're literally torturing people because the thought of a drug that both gets people high and is harmless or even beneficial is just too goddamned scandalous.

    Oh, and speaking of basic things people have trouble admitting to: Let's also stop mentally torturing people by telling them outright that they'll be addicts for life and relapse is right around the corner. Neither me or anyone I know that has properly taken care of themselves post-withdrawal has had any feeling but disdain towards that stuff. Probably because it feels good to be healthy again and not constipated or any other 200 side effects those things have. Feels good to smoke weed too.

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