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Topic: Policy Makers

Policy makers at all levels are being called on to do something about the opioid crisis. Lives depend on the decisions made and funding is never sufficient to do everything. There is no single solution, no matter what some may claim: there are many pathways of recovery and each entails best practices and successful actions. Understanding all the options helps prioritize next steps. To make the best decisions, you need the best data.

Does ASAM oppose “drug-free” and “abstinence-based” paths to recovery?

June 29th, 2022|

The posts answered a message from a practitioner who said "I work as the Medical Director at an "abstinent based" facility. I am Board Certified in Psych and ASAM certified... I am struggling to accept the abstinence based treatment philosophy." In responding to this message, ASAM said (among other statements) that, "Patients appropriately taking a physician prescribed medication are abstinent from their substance of misuse."

The Harms of Constructing Addiction as a Chronic, Relapsing Brain Disease

June 24th, 2022|

As an international network of historians and social scientists who study approaches to the management of drugs across time and place, we have noticed the effort to redefine addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disease (CRBD). The CRBD model is promoted as a route to destigmatize addiction and to empower individuals to access treatment that works within that model’s terms.1 CRBD usefully recognizes that brain-based neural adaptations place individual brains in chronic states of readiness to relapse. But brains are housed inside of people. Substance use is biological, social, and political; our concepts and approaches to complex questions surrounding substance use must be, too.2,3 By overlooking the sociopolitical dynamics and inequalities bound up with substance use, the CRBD model can paradoxically further marginalize people who use drugs by positing them as neurobiologically incapable of agency or choice. We are concerned that the CRBD model paints drug users as individuals whose exclusion from social, economic, and political participation is justified by their biological flaws and damaged brains.

Former NIMH Director Makes a Case for Abolishing Psychiatry

June 15th, 2022|

A new book by Dr. Thomas P. Insel, who for 13 years ran the United States’ foremost mental health research institution, begins with a sort of confession. During his tenure as the “nation’s psychiatrist,” he helped allocate $20 billion in federal funds and sharply shifted the focus of the National Institute of Mental Health away from behavioral research and toward neuroscience and genetics. Dr. Insel, 70, who left N.I.M.H. in 2015, calls the advances in neuroscience of the last 20 years “spectacular” — but in the very first pages of his new book, he says that, for the most part, they haven’t yet benefited patients.

British Columbia to decriminalize small amounts of cocaine, heroin, meth and ecstasy

June 7th, 2022|

TORONTO — The possession of small amounts of several illicit drugs, including cocaine and opioids such as fentanyl or heroin, will be temporarily decriminalized in British Columbia, the federal government said Tuesday, in what it cast as a “bold” step to “turn the tide” in the province’s overdose crisis.

White House 2022 drug strategy includes recovery support services

June 2nd, 2022|

President Joe Biden sent his Administration’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy to Congress at a time when drug overdoses have reached a record high. The Strategy delivers on the call to action in President Biden’s Unity Agenda through a whole-of-government approach to beat the overdose epidemic. It proposes targeted actions to expand access to evidence-based prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery services while reducing the supply of drugs like fentanyl.

Making the Case for Multiple Pathways to Recovery

May 25th, 2022|

The typical coverage of addiction treatment and recovery tends to obscure the fact that many people recover from addiction. While the pain and anguish experienced by the families and friends of those who do not recover is undeniable, it is likewise undeniable that many do recover. To the casual observer, who only follows popular depictions, this might not be apparent.

Congress weighs in on pharma industry conflicts of interest

May 18th, 2022|

Global consulting leader McKinsey & Company drew unwanted attention in 2020 when a bankruptcy proceeding revealed that it guided the marketing strategy for disgraced opioid seller Purdue Pharma. Now McKinsey is under scrutiny from Congress after revelations that at least 22 employees who were consulting for Purdue and other opioid producers were also doing work for government agencies tasked with regulating opioid use.

Doctors, companies push to keep looser rules for prescribing opioid treatment drugs

May 13th, 2022|

WASHINGTON — It got a lot easier for patients with opioid addiction to get their medication remotely during the pandemic — and now addiction doctors and telehealth companies are pushing Congress to make those flexibilities permanent. Before Covid-19, patients had to see a doctor in person for prescriptions to help them with their addictions, like buprenorphine. Now, at least temporarily, they can get them via telehealth appointments. Experts say loosening the rules helped eliminate longstanding barriers to addiction care, like a lack of transportation or a shortage of clinicians who prescribe medically assisted treatment, especially in rural communities. But the changes are temporary, tied to the state of “emergency” associated with the pandemic — and proponents want them made permanent.

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