A National Directory of Drug Treatment Centers and Alcohol Treatment Centers, Therapists and Specialists. A free, simple directory providing assistance and guidance for those seeking help regarding alcohol addiction, drug addiction, dependency and many other conditions that affect the mind, body and soul.
Call 800-580-9104 to speak with an alcohol or drug abuse counselor.

Time for Drug Treatment to Rattle Its Saber

In an effort to recast substance abuse as more of a public health problem than a crime, the nation’s newly appointed drug czar has called for an end to talk of a “war on drugs.”

“Regardless of how you try to explain to people it’s a ‘war on drugs’ or a ‘war on a product,’ people see a war as a war on them,” Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, told the Wall Street Journal last week.

But is the problem really the use of a war analogy — or should public health advocates simply learn to use the lingo as effectively as law enforcement officials do?

In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee last week, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. spoke of “targeting” Mexican drug cartels and “deploying” more federal agents to the Southwestern border, and he said a multinational task force delivered a “significant blow” to the narcotics trade when it seized 23 tons of illegal drugs during “Operation Xcellerator.”

That kind of talk gets attention — not to mention the resources for an all-out law enforcement- style war on drugs. Public health experts ought to try it.

On the same day that Holder testified, the journal Neuron published a study that was arguably more significant than any drug bust. Neuroscientists had broken new ground in the search for a medication to treat cocaine addiction. But scientific jargon doesn’t always fire the public imagination.

“We showed that blocking the activity of the sirtuins specifically in the nucleus accumbens reduced both cocaine’s rewarding effects and the motivation to self- administer the drug,” the lead researcher, Eric Nestler of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said in a news release.

Let’s put that in the context of a public health “war on drugs.” What Nestler and his team did was stage a rescue mission inside a cocaine-occupied brain. Like law enforcement officers, they used high-tech detection techniques to spot their target — a molecular drug distribution network that had corrupted a “family of genes,” causing behaviors characteristic of drug addiction.

Under normal conditions, these genes would help mediate the brain’s reward and motivation centers. But under the influence of cocaine, they began wreaking drug-craving havoc. Eventually, researchers figured out how to prevent the cocaine from affecting the genes, thereby restoring peace of mind.

Mission accomplished.

“You can see a drug as an enemy that is attacking the brain, attacking the identity of the person,” Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told me. “The term ‘war on drugs’ doesn’t necessarily equate with enforcement but can be used to communicate the devastating effects that drugs can have on a person, a family and a community.”

Nestler, whose research was funded by the NIDA, told me: “Sometimes, drug-addicted people are battling against very powerful biological forces, and without addressing those forces, drug rehabilitation and treatment programs just don’t work.”

A medication that reinforces drug treatment programs could be a decisive weapon in the war on drugs, he says.

You’d think that such a promising strategy would merit resources comparable to those given to law enforcement. But the disparities could hardly be starker. This year, the Obama administration plans to invest $700 million to “enhance Mexican law enforcement and judicial capacity,” as Holder put it. That’s more than double the NIDA’s annual budget for research.

As Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told the Senate Judiciary Committee this month, Mexican cartels have infiltrated as many as 230 U.S. cities and now represent the most serious organized crime threat to the United States. In other words, the horse is already out of the barn.

According to the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6 million people 12 and older used cocaine in the previous year, and 2.4 million were current users.

So the question is not so much how to stop the drugs from getting into the country as how to stop the drugs from getting inside of us. Reduce the demand and the supply takes care of itself.

Kerlikowske, the drug czar, said he wants to see more emphasis put on drug treatment and less on incarceration for nonviolent drug offenses. “We are not at war with people in this country,” he told the Journal.

But a battle rages nonetheless. And he’ll need to rally the troops. For the foe is cunning, capturing the brain. In a war, that would be the strategic high ground, and it must be retaken if we are to win.

source: Washington Post

More Treatment & Detox Articles

5 Ways to Find Affordable Drug Rehab

free rehab

Seek Out Affordable Treatment “According to N-SSATS, some facilities offer substance abuse treatment at no charge or a sliding fee scale based on income and other factors” (SAMHSA). Seeking out affordable treatment can take some time and research, but it can be very beneficial to your overall treatment. Someone who does not feel the pressure….

Continue reading

Drinkers Warned About Risk Of ‘Shakes’

People who consume three alcoholic drinks every day double their risk of getting the “shakes” in later life, researchers have found. Essential tremor, a common neurological disorder, affects an estimated 650,000 people in the UK. Although there are a number of factors which can cause the condition including an overactive thyroid and Parkinson’s disease, alcoholics….

Continue reading

Holistic ADHD Treatment Options

treating Adhd naturally

Finding alternative treatments for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be risky and frustrating. No conclusive medical evidence currently exists that supports holistic ADHD treatment options, but this should not stop you from investigating non-traditional methods in conjunction with a licensed medical professional. There are promising studies (Mayo Clinic) that are bringing hope to families….

Continue reading

Concern over teenage alcohol abuse

A campaign group has called for more research into the way alcohol can affect teenagers’ health. Alcohol Concern said it was worried that a rise in teenage drinking would lead to more people suffering alcohol-related illnesses at younger ages. The organisation called for further study as it emerged that a 22-year-old man was dying in….

Continue reading

The long reach of alcoholism within the family

Millions of Americans suffer from the psychological and physical disease of alcoholism. The resulting emotionally destructive impact on the children of alcoholic parents and the family unit is enormous. Alcoholic parents usually act out their addiction in one of two negative ways: violent and abusive behavior or emotional unavailability and neglect. People who grow up….

Continue reading