Sunday, April 24, 2016
There is a solution for reducing street crime AND improving the lives and self-esteem of hardcore addicts. Sensible and monitored programs of drug legalization works and the community is better off for it.
Vancouver Prescriptions for Addicts Gain Attention as Heroin and Opioid Use Rises
By DAN LEVIN
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Dave Napio started doing heroin over four decades ago, at 11 years old. Like many addicts these days, he heads to Vancouver’s gritty Downtown Eastside neighborhood when he needs a fix.
But instead of seeking out a dealer in a dark alley, Mr. Napio, 55, gets his three daily doses from a nurse at the Crosstown Clinic, the only medical facility in North America permitted to prescribe the narcotic at the center of an epidemic raging across the continent.
And instead of robbing banks and jewelry stores to support his habit, Mr. Napio is spending time making gold and silver jewelry, hoping to soon turn his hobby into a profession.
“My whole life is straightening out,” Mr. Napio, who spent 22 of his 55 years in prison, said during a recent interview in the clinic’s mirror-lined injection room. “I’m becoming the guy next door.”
Mr. Napio is one of 110 chronic addicts with prescriptions for diacetylmorphine hydrochloride, the active ingredient in heroin, which he injects three times a day at Crosstown as part of a treatment known as heroin maintenance. The program has been so successful at keeping addicts out of jail and away from emergency rooms that its supporters are seeking to expand it across Canada. But they have been hindered by a tangle of red tape and a yearslong court battle reflecting a conflict between medicine and politics on how to address drug addiction.
The clinic’s prescription program began as a clinical trial more than a decade ago. But it has garnered more interest recently as a plague of illicit heroin use and fatal overdoses of legal painkillers has swept across the United States, fueling frustration over ideological and legal obstacles to forms of treatment that studies show halt the spread of disease through needles and prevent deaths.
Canada and some European countries have long permitted needle exchanges and monitored injection sites. Prescription programs like Crosstown’s, for addicts whom replacement drugs like methadone do not seem to help, have been available for years in Britain, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland. All these countries have reported significant decreases in drug abuse, crime and disease.
But such programs have been stymied in the United States, where overdoses have lately led to 125 deaths per day, by concerns that they would encourage illicit drug use. In February, the mayor of Ithaca, N.Y., was criticized by some Republican officials, rehabilitation professionals and police officers after he proposed to establish the country’s first supervised injection facility.
The authorities in Vancouver, a bustling metropolis on the coast of British Columbia, say they turned to such programs after more traditional criminal justice approaches failed to stop rampant illegal drug use and sales on the Downtown Eastside, a poor neighborhood notorious for addiction and crime. “We tried to arrest our way out of it and that didn’t work,” Sgt. Randy Fincham of the Vancouver Police Department said. “Clogging up our courts and jails was not the solution.”
The city started, in 2003, with North America’s first legal injection facility, InSite, which currently serves around 800 people each day. The addicts bring their own drugs, and InSite provides clean needles and medical supervision. The organization has recorded no fatal overdoses on its premises, and said overdoses near the facility have decreased by 35 percent since 2003, compared with a 9 percent decrease throughout Vancouver.
More broadly, a study by the British Columbia Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS found that people who use safe injection sites are 30 percent more likely to enter detox programs and 70 percent less likely to share needles.
Legal injection sites do not, however, address the thefts, prostitution and other criminal behavior that participants often rely on to finance their addiction. And heroin sold on the street is often combined with — or surreptitiously replaced by — fentanyl, an opioid up to 50 times as potent that was a cause or contributing factor in 655 deaths across Canada from 2009 to 2014, according to the Canadian Center on Substance Abuse.
Participants in the Crosstown prescription program do not have to worry about the purity of their drugs.
To get a diacetylmorphine prescription from the clinic, patients must have participated in two earlier clinical trials on heroin maintenance, whose eligibility requirements included more than five years of injecting opioids and at least two failed attempts at replacement therapy, one of which with a treatment such as methadone.
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Monday, April 18, 2016
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Beautiful things are happening with the young people of Uganda. Traditional American country music is a big, big favorite.
Identity 2016: The nation in love with country music.Cowboy boots, checked shirts and country music might conjure up images of the American south, but Dolly Parton and her fellow country singers have a dedicated following across the world - not least in Uganda. The Why Factor: Radio Requests tracked down fans in Kampala for the World Service season on identity.
"I’ve been listening to country music for 10 years," says 23-year-old Maria Nakiweewa. "It’s not like Ugandan music. We love it, it’s in our blood."
Checked shirts, hats and cowboy boots are all part of the deal. Many fans even adopt country-style names instead of their own.
Fans often meet in Kampala and large numbers gather for the annual Let’s Go Country event, where horse riding and mud wrestling feature alongside live music. Last year the headline act was country singer Holly Tucker, from the American series of the TV show The Voice.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Expressive art therapy for addiction
Addiction Blog Published: December 5, 2010
PARKER LANIER: My sponsor used to tell me that if I stopped drinking and worked this program to the best of my ability things would happen in my life that I couldn’t even dream of, Of course I wanted to know what, what, what kind of things? I know now it doesn’t work that way, it is Faith. Trust the process. I guess the flowering of my creativity and the lives that have touched me because of it have been ONE of the many pleasant surprises I have known in sobriety.
I would like to tell you that I had some kind of creative “moment of clarity” but as with most things it came from doing something I wasn’t comfortable doing. My old school sponsor pushed me and had me do things I did not want to do. He said that was essential in changing the way I looked at my role in the world. One day he said he thought I should keep a journal of my meetings, thoughts, problems fear etc. After I pitched a bitch, I went to the store and bought myself a fancy new leather-bound journal. Being “King-shit of Turd Mountain”, I had to have a fancy journal. If I could have afforded a Mont Blanc pen I probably would have bought one of those too. As you may have guessed, I didn’t write much but I started drawing the other funny drunks and addicts in my meetings. I wasn’t really a doodler as a child. I do remember my dad would always turn a paper placemat over at a restaurant and draw the outline of an old car. He would then pass it around the table and we would add funny things to it. It passed the time till the food got there. Another hidden inspiration may have come from a book of Rube Goldberg cartoons my Uncle Charles would study with me. Of course MAD Magazine was a big influence as well.
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Art by Parker L.
All artwork on this web page are ©opyrighted by artist Parker L. and may not be copied, modified,
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If you are interested in learning about artwork availability or licensing one of these images,
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|The social stigma of alcoholism is
unfortunately still a part of a shame based cultural belief system.|
True recovery is full of courage, hard work and miracles - there is no shame in it.
Some participating artists have chosen to remain anonymous, not because they are ashamed to
be in recovery but because of the associated stigma and the real possibility of social and/or professional
Other more courageous individuals are not allowing the stigma to intimidate them into
concealing their identities. They believe that by putting real names and faces to addiction, it will help to
educate the public and eliminate the false stereotypes.
As seen on the website Sober Artists.
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