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 888-647-0579 to speak with an alcohol or drug abuse counselor.

Who Answers?

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

You want treatment?

I had an interesting Blog Comment from Pavel Nepustil, a Czech republic NGO worker and PhD student, currently in Houston, USA, on a Fullbright Scholarship. Pavel came over to see us in Cardiff last year and we decided we would work together. He is one bright ‘cookie’ and very dedicated to this field. He got….

Continue reading

Alcohol abuse adds significantly to costs of doing business

Ensuring Solutions has come up with some sobering facts about alcohol abuse and its impact in almost all facets of our society. Excessive alcohol use by employees and their family members has a substantial impact on the cost of doing business. It costs U.S. employers billions in lost productivity and additional health care costs every….

Continue reading

Boozing Blunts Ability to Read Faces

Heavy drinking can affect the ability to recognize other people’s facial emotions, a new study has found. Researchers used functional MRI to monitor brain activity in 15 abstinent long-term alcoholics while they looked at images of faces with positive or negative emotional expressions. The brain scans revealed decreased activation in the amygdala and hippocampus, regions….

Continue reading

Anti-binge drinking campaign reminds people to know their limits

A new advertising campaign including a video which confronts young people with the reality of their drunken behaviour was unveiled by Home Office Minister Alan Campbell today. The centrepiece of this year’s Know Your Limits campaign is a new internet viral advert which shows footage of people’s sober reactions when asked to behave as they….

Continue reading

The Need for Integrated Treatment at Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers

co-occurring disorders treatment

Alcohol and drug addictions can slowly destroy a person’s life from the inside out. People in drug addiction treatment contend with ongoing pressures and challenges brought about by the long-term effects of drug use. When recovering addicts must also contend with a psychological disorder, the recovery process becomes that much more difficult. Within the addiction’s….

Continue reading

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed, each of which is a paid advertiser: ARK Behavioral Health, Recovery Helpline, Alli Addiction Services.

By calling the helpline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses. There is no obligation to enter treatment.

I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOWI NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE NOW 888-647-0579Response time about 1 min | Response rate 100%
Who Answers?