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 Who Answers? to speak with an alcohol or drug abuse counselor.

To help, or at least do no harm

Canada’s Health Minister urgently needs an education in harm reduction. Announcing his intention to shut down Insite, the supervised injection facility serving drug addicts in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Tony Clement told the House of Commons health committee that “supervised injection is not medicine; it does not heal the person addicted to drugs.”

Mr. Clement got one thing right: Supervised injection does not heal addiction. It is, however, completely in line with accepted medical practice.

Consider other areas of medicine. Prescribing inhalant medication to open airways and reduce lung inflammation in smokers also does not “heal” nicotine addiction: It only saves lives and improves quality of life. Similarly, quadruple bypass surgery in overstressed type-A business executives does not heal workaholism; insulin does not cure people whose eating patterns and sedentary habits have triggered diabetes, and intestinal bypass surgery in relief of morbid obesity does not cure food addiction. But all of these medical interventions are harm-reduction measures.

Harm reduction is often seen as being inimical to the ultimate purpose of helping addicts to transcend their habits and to heal. People believe it “coddles” addicts, enabling them to continue their destructive ways. It’s also considered to be the opposite of abstinence, which many regard as the only legitimate goal of addiction treatment.

Such a distinction is artificial. The issue in medical practice is always how best to help a patient. If a cure is possible and probable without doing greater harm, then cure is the objective. When it isn’t – and in most chronic medical conditions cure is not the expected outcome – the physician’s role is to help the patient with the symptoms and to mitigate the harm done by the disease process.

In rheumatoid arthritis, for example, one aims to prevent joint inflammation and bone destruction and, in all events, to reduce pain. In other words, harm reduction means making the lives of afflicted human beings more bearable, more worth living. That is also a goal of harm reduction in the context of addiction.

Given the chronic and relapsing nature of injection drug use among hardcore addicts, cure is not often achieved. That leaves us with the need to reduce the depredations of the condition on the afflicted person and that’s what supervised injection does: It minimizes disease transmission and affords first-line access to health care.

As the physician at Onsite, the detox facility attached to Insite, I can assure Mr. Clement that staff do their utmost to steer clients toward abstinence and recovery. Many people have entered recovery programs owing to their contact with health personnel during supervised injection. For all too many addicts, Insite is their first exposure to a caring, compassionate and non-judgmental model of medical care.

Mr. Clement told the Commons health committee that “government-sponsored supervised injection sends a very mixed message to young people who are contemplating the use of illicit drugs.”

Does the minister have any evidence for that astonishing assertion? No one “contemplates” addiction and no one becomes addicted because of such “messages.” The chronic condition of severe substance addiction is caused, in most cases, by the distorting effects of early childhood abuse or stress on the developing brain, often in the context of multigenerational trauma and social dislocation.

Much more could be done – and much more needs to be done – to prevent addiction, and much more to cure it.

Harm reduction programs such as Insite are a small but necessary step, a practical way for our health-care system to extend compassionate treatment to those who most need it.

Gabor Maté is author of In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction.

________
source: The Globe and Mail

More Treatment & Detox Articles

Co-occurring disorders

Co-occurring disorders treatment

Co-occurring disorders, as the name suggests are the type of disorders that occur again. These disorders are mostly related to mental health problems and therefore the chance of the disorders affecting again is high in the patients who suffer mental imbalance or have self destructive tendencies or are impulsive in their behavior.    The co-occurring….

Continue reading

10 Consequences of Cocaine Abuse

cocaine addiction effects and consequences

About Cocaine According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, cocaine is a highly addictive and a commonly abused illegal drug. Cocaine is a stimulant, and is currently a Schedule II substance. Stimulant drugs heighten a user’s body’s activity, including increasing their energy, alertness, heart rate, and blood pressure. The most commonly used form of….

Continue reading

Pain Killers And Stimulants Less Risky Than Cocaine, More Risky Than Marijuana, According To College Freshmen

prescription pain killers addiction

First year college students believe that occasional nonmedical use of prescription pain killers and stimulants is less risky than cocaine, but more risky than marijuana or consuming five or more alcoholic beverages every weekend, according to a new study published in the September issue of Prevention Science, the peer-reviewed journal of the Society for Prevention….

Continue reading

Administrators urge students to ask for help with alcohol

When Rosalie Cebreros went out with friends Thursday evening, she found herself in a place she least expected: the Addiction Recovery Center. It wasn’t even the freshman’s first visit to the ARC this fall semester. Cebreros, an open-option major, spoke from the audience about her experience with excessive alcohol consumption during a panel discussion on….

Continue reading

Primary Care for Alcoholics

In treating alcohol abuse and alcoholism, “we haven’t yet reached the Prozac moment,” says Dr. Mark Willenbring, referring to the drugs that radically changed the treatment of depression. But Dr. Willenbring, an expert on treating alcohol addiction, predicts that the day is not far off when giving a pill and five minutes of advice to….

Continue reading

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by one of our treatment partners below.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by ARK Behavioral Health, a paid advertiser on TreatmentCenters.com.

All calls are private and confidential.

I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOWI NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOW 800-580-9104Response time about 1 min | Response rate 100%
Who Answers?