- Posted byon September 28, 2011 at 2:34 PM EST
“At some point it is arrested, and recovery is then possible.” The disease of addiction is arrested, halted, stopped! These words speak to the disease of addiction and recovering addicts around the world. For me, my freedom from the bondage of more than 20 years of drug abuse was my arrest in April of 2004. Because I was tired of using drugs, but didn’t know how to stop, I was grateful for those angels from the 3rdDistrict of the Metropolitan Police Departmentstarting me on my journey. The disease of addiction not only cost me my freedom, but the custody of my daughter. This arrest pointed me in the direction of the DC Superior Court’s Family Treatment Court program which gave me the opportunity to save my life, and regain the custody of my little girl. I entered the program in April 2005 and it was at that point that I admitted I was powerless over my addiction, and my life had become unmanageable.
While in rehab (treatment), I heard something that has kept me here almost 7 years: “you don’t have to do this anymore, if you just don’t use.” I don’t have to put myself or my daughter through the pain and humiliation of my disease ever again, if I just don’t use drugs. During the21 months in the FTC program, I learned how to live, to really live, to live sober; during my stay in treatment, I made the commitment not to ever use narcotics again. I’m not going to say it’s not a daily struggle, but like with any other disease-- diabetes, heart disease, obesity, hypertension and many others - life changes are required in order to thrive.
Stopping drug use is the beginning, but staying stopped is daily work. You must take certain steps to protect your recovery. Your recovery, if you are serious about it, becomes your most prized possession. You have control over what takes place in this area of your life; to use or not to use. I have found this to be where 12 Step Meetings -- a network of people who are just like me, actively working on recovery, and a sponsor who has working knowledge of the 12 steps - is the formula to fight the disease of addiction one day at a time and keep me focused on my recovery.
Today, I love my life, and I am grateful for the challenges that have come my way. Successfully overcoming these challenges has made me so much stronger and have given me confirmation that if I don’t use drugs, I can and will be able to deal with anything that comes my way. My daughter and I have a bond that I can only describe as grace from God. She is a very happy 10 year old who has very little recollection of the time before I got sober. I wish more suffering addicts could experience the joy that I feel when I wake up in the morning and I am not going through withdrawal - freedom from bondage.
- Posted byon September 27, 2011 at 10:49 AM EST
Our first priority at the MARS Project is to educate patients about opiate addiction, how medications work, and recovery. Many do not realize or have been told not to believe that opiate addiction is a chronic brain disease and not a symptom of a lack of character or moral fiber.
Located in Bronx, New York, the Medication Assisted Recovery Support Project (MARS) is a collaborative endeavor of the National Alliance of Methadone Advocates (NAMA) and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. The program offers recovery support services to patients in the outpatient methadone treatment program. These services are designed and delivered by recovering peers who have a unique understanding of the challenges and opportunities one encounters on the road to recovery. The services provided by MARS complement those provided in the treatment program, focusing on giving participants the tools they need to be more effective facilitators of their own recovery and affirming that they are, indeed, bona fide members of the recovery community, and not individuals who are, as a common myth has it, substituting one addiction for another.
As of December 31, 2010, the MARS project served 532 individuals for six months and, as a result of the program, many participants’ lives were improved. The program was able to:
- Nearly triple employment;
- Decrease homelessness by more than 20 percent; and
- Increase the rate of abstinence from drugs and alcohol by 26 percent.
MARS is proud to be the first program that serves persons in medication-assisted recovery to receive a Recovery Community Services Program grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA). These grants are made available to peer-led organizations that provide community-based recovery support services, such as recovery coaching, peer mentoring, housing and employment support. Through the MARS program, we teach those we serve that there are many pathways to recovery, and that all are worthy of celebration.
Walter Ginter is Project Director at the Medication Assisted Recovery Support (MARS) Project
- Posted byon September 26, 2011 at 8:00 AM EST
We know that the most effective way to reduce substance abuse is to prevent addition before it starts. That’s why drug prevention efforts, such as the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign and Drug-Free Communities Support Program, are important tools in our goal to reduce drug use and its consequences. Sometimes prevention can be as simple as spending time with your kids over a home-cooked meal.
To help spread this message, we are please to join The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse’s in celebrating Family Day. The purpose of the day is to encourage parents to spend time – through family dinners – with their kids, talk to them about their friends, interests, and the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Prevention is the most cost-effective, common-sense approach to promoting safe and healthy communities. Get involved today!
- Posted byon September 23, 2011 at 11:57 AM EST
Tomorrow, watch live as Director Kerlikowske delivers remarks and participates in the 2011 PRO-ACT’s Recovery Walks. Serving as a national hub for events around the country, Saturday’s event in Philadelphia will celebrate individuals who have sustained long-term recovery and honor people and organizations who make recovery possible. Tune in beginning at 9 am EST to watch the event live.
- Posted byon September 23, 2011 at 7:00 AM EST
Today, Director Kerlikowske and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan reached out to higher education institutions highlighting President Obama's 2011 National Drug Control Strategy (Strategy). The 2011 Strategy supports two of President Obama's goals for our Nation - reducing illegal drug use by ten percent within five years, and having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. The detrimental consequences of substance use on academic performance are significant. That is why the 2011 Strategy emphasizes the importance of responding to illegal drug use and high-risk drinking on college campuses, and the Department of Education's continued efforts to incorporate alcohol and other drug abuse prevention into higher education.
Given these goals, Director Kerlikowske and Secretary Duncan invite college and university leaders to join them along with other Federal agency partners to work collaboratively to prevent illegal drug use, and high-risk drinking in our Nation's college and university communities by ensuring the most effective prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery services are available to all students.
The release of the Strategy reaffirms the commitment by ONDCP, Department of Education and other Federal agencies to address substance use in the college population today, and to collaboratively work together to achieve the President's goals.
David K. Mineta is Deputy Director of the Office of Demand Reduction
Office of National Drug Control Policy Celebrates the United States’ Entry into the Open Government PartnershipPosted byon September 20, 2011 at 4:07 PM EST
President Obama has made openness a high priority in his Administration, committing his Administration to an “unprecedented level of openness in Government” on his first full day in office. Since then, the Administration has:
- Disclosed more information requested under the Freedom of Information Act;
- Made voluminous information available on government websites; and
- Used technology in innovative ways that harness government information to improve the lives of ordinary citizens.
As President Obama today signs the Open Government Partnership declaration, ONDCP is proud to highlight some of the ways that it has advanced America’s domestic open government agenda and created a more efficient and effective government through greater transparency, participation, and collaboration.
In the last eight months, ONDCP has:
- Released three data sets and developed an internal process for identifying additional data sets for public release. In support of Data.gov, ONDCP has revised the internal procedure for preparing data for release and is working towards additional, regular releases of data in machine-readable formats.
- Created centralized online resources on the Agency’s top priorities, including the National Drug Control Strategy, prescription drug abuse, drugged driving, and prevention, as well as a page outlining ways to partner with ONDCP.
- Conducted a series of external consultations and developed an online feedback form in order to facilitate direct communication with ONDCP leadership and provide opportunities for feedback on ongoing initiatives.
- Launched a new website that provides plain language information on prevention, treatment, recovery, and law enforcement initiatives. By revising and updating the website, interested citizens are now able to easily access the Administration’s policies, learn about ongoing programs, and sign-up for email updates that include opportunities to partner with the Agency.
An open and good government is much more than releasing information. It is about harnessing the skills and talents of the American people, establishing greater collaboration among Federal agencies, and ensuring that the taxpayer’s money is wisely spent.
To that end, today, ONDCP is recommitting itself to the principles that the President announced on his first day in office and exemplified in our work since then. We are currently updating and enhancing the Agency’s Open Gov Plan. The updated plan will be made available on this website.
- Posted byon September 19, 2011 at 8:52 AM EST
Our mantra at Reclaiming Futures sums up our goals for youth in the juvenile justice system: more treatment, better treatment, and beyond treatment.
While not every young person who uses or abuses drugs and alcohol is addicted, we know that addiction is a disease that usually has its onset in adolescence, so intervening early is important. But the problem is particularly acute in the juvenile justice system, which refers nearly half of all teens who enter publicly-funded substance abuse treatment. We also know that nearly one in five youth at the door of the juvenile justice system have diagnosable substance abuse disorders-- and that the percentage goes up, the deeper youth penetrate the system. Of youth in post-adjudication placements, 47% have alcohol and drug disorders. Furthermore, the groundbreaking Pathways to Desistance research on serious juvenile offenders found that substance use was strongly related to their continued criminal activity.
The good news is that substance abuse programs that involve an individual’s family in the intervention are one of the few things that reduced recidivism. That's why, in the communities we work with, we promote the expansion of treatment – more treatment – and the implementation of evidence-based screening and assessment tools, such as the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN) – better treatment. Many times, trauma or other unmet needs can be a contributing factor in a youth's negative behavior choices and need to be addressed. But evidence-based practices aren't enough. Treatment isn't enough.
Probation isn't enough. Those services eventually come to an end, and then what? Reclaiming Futures communities also go beyond treatment to focus on enhancing the positive community connections and support available to youth caught in the cycle of drugs, alcohol, and crime, from formal mentors to positive activities with supportive adults to help youth enter and stay in recovery. The Reclaiming Futures model has now been implemented in 29 communities nationwide, thanks in part to our federal partners, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). That sort of public/private partnership exemplifies the broad-based, public health approach the ONDCP has fostered, through the National Drug Control Strategy it created and administers.
We're proud to be partners in implementing the National Drug Control Strategy, which takes a comprehensive, public-health approach that can only benefit youth in the justice system. Young people deserve no less.
Reclaiming Futuresis a national initiative launched by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2001, with the aim of improving alcohol and drug treatment for young people caught in the cycle of drugs, alcohol, and crime. Local jurisdictions – led by a judge and a team of professionals, including representatives from juvenile probation, treatment professionals, and community members – use our six-step model to reinvent the way police, courts, detention facilities, treatment providers, and the community work together.
Susan Richardson is National Executive Director for Reclaiming Futures
- Posted byon September 16, 2011 at 3:20 PM EST
The Obama Administration supports a public health approach to reducing drug use in America. That is why ONDCP is working to integrate treatment for substance use disorders into mainstream health care. As part of this effort, we are addressing the challenge of ensuring that there will be enough health care professionals that are properly trained in how to treat substance abuse. Education and training will be particularly critical in the coming years. We anticipate that by 2020, about 7,000 addiction medicine doctors will be needed to care for an estimated 27 million patients who have a substance use disorder.
One of our key partners in this effort is the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) which is hosting the National Conference on Addition Disorders (NCAD) this week.
- Posted byon September 13, 2011 at 4:00 PM EST
As a child, I watched my father battle with alcoholism and vowed that I would not follow the same path. However, the path of addiction presented itself during college in the form of alcohol and marijuana use on the weekends. In dental school, the pattern of social use and abuse continued. During my junior year of dental school a classmate introduced me to 5 mg Valium pills. Combined with a few beers, the Valium took the stress of attending dental school away and would continue to do so while running my private practice in a small rural community.
While continuing to practice and abuse drugs, I attended a continuing education course and learned alcoholism and drug addiction were diseases. Additionally, I discovered there are resources to help dentists with addictions get the help they need.
However, I placed this information aside and continued down the addiction path until it got to the point that I needed help. I remembered what I had learned at the continuing education course. I began working with a dentist who was in recovery. He enabled me to choose a different path…a path into recovery.
Part of my recovery involves assisting other dentists and dental team members in the same way someone helped me. It’s important for dental team members to know that help is available and that adequate treatment does work and as a result dentists’ personal and professional lives are restored.
- Posted byon September 12, 2011 at 12:55 PM EST
In 2001, addiction recovery advocates from around the country assembled in St. Paul, Minnesota, to launch a new recovery advocacy movement. There were many ideas competing for prominence at this first recovery summit, but two achieved rapid consensus and have since become key philosophical tenets of the movement:
- Addiction recovery is a reality in the lives of millions of individuals and families; and
- There are many pathways of long-term recovery, and all are cause for celebration.
Nowhere are these ideas more clearly manifested than in local and national Recovery Month activities.
This month, more than 100,000 individuals in recovery and their families, friends, and allies will participate in public recovery celebration events. Our faces and voices will offer living proof of long-term addiction recovery and will illustrate more than any scientific study the growing varieties of recovery experience. The sights and sounds of these events will convey the rainbow of colors, classes, cultures, and languages that make up the contemporary history of addiction recovery.
This month, recovering people will stand together—transcending all manner of differences in our addiction histories; our distinctive religious, spiritual, and secular pathways of recovery; and our diverse life circumstances. We will stand as a people with a shared past and a shared destiny declaring to all: “If we can heal, you can heal. If we and our families can heal, then neighborhoods and communities can heal. And if communities can heal, then the wounds of our country and the world can also heal.”
William White is an author
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