Advocacy

Posted on July 8, 2010. Filed under: AlAnon, Intervention, Parent of an Addict, Treatment Centers, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

I’m baaaaack!  I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from blogging.  I’ve been busy supervising/managing a bedroom/bath remodel project, spending 5 days with family over the Fourth of July, tending to my 93 yo mother who lives two hours away, doing a bit of contract work, and – well –  living my life.  As Hayley continues to progress in her recovery program, I’ve decided to shift my focus.  I want to educate myself, as much as I can, on addiction issues as they impact our health care system, what role they have, if any, in the development of a national public health care policy, and examine/debate current approaches to dealing with drug addiction in our society.

For some time now, I’ve wanted to write about the topic of advocacy and how we, as a society, can more effectively and compassionately ‘treat’ drug addicts.  One of the best sites I’ve run across, as a comprehensive resource for both general and drug specific information about addiction, book reviews, advocacy ideas and links for more humane/compassionate treatment of drug addicts, and reporting on and monitoring the ‘pulse’ of our society in regards to illicit drug use, is Bill Ford’s blog, Dad On Fire. “This web log is inspired from my own experiences with my alcohol and substance abuse early in life and my current struggles with my own children who have or are currently suffering from the ravages of substance abuse.” Bill’s focus is raising public awareness about the damaging economic, social, and personal effects that drug addiction has on our society and the urgent need for solutions.

Bill Ford is a Tucson resident and Architect by profession. He is available for interviews and has become a local encyclopedia of information regarding the damages and costs of substance abuse on the family and on the community.  If you’re short on time, Bill’s blog could be a “one-stop-shopping” site for drug addiction resources, provocative conversation, and new perspectives.

A couple of weeks ago, I listened to a fascinating interview on National Public Radio, “Tackling America’s Drug Addiction” with Joseph Califano, founder and chairman of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

Califano talked about the appetite for drugs in the U.S. and what’s being done to curb it.  Here are a few interesting bytes and shocking stats:

•The U.S. comprises 5 percent of the world’s population, yet we consume two-thirds of the world’s illegal drugs.

NORRIS: Let me ask you about the war on drugs right now. The current administration is trying to focus on a balance between interdiction and treatment: drug courts, for instance, followed by mandatory treatment, things like that.

Will that shrink the domestic market for drugs – since when you’re talking about treatment, there are so many issues surrounding access to treatment?

Mr. CALIFANO: You’re absolutely right. The rhetoric of the administration is good, but the dollars haven’t changed. We’re still putting roughly two-thirds into interdiction and enforcement, and one-third into treatment and prevention. Interestingly, when President Nixon started the war on drugs, his first budget was two-thirds for prevention and treatment, and one-third for interdiction.

The drug courts are great. We’ve analyzed them at our center. They work. And the prison population is important because 65 percent of the people in prison meet the medical criteria for drug or alcohol abuse and addiction. Thats a wonderful – in a sense, a captive audience. But we don’t provide much treatment for them.

NORRIS: Is the U.S. serious enough about the war on drugs?

Mr. CALIFANO: No, we’re not. I’ll tell you – we’re not serious. The government is not serious enough. You can barely hear any of the leaders in the government talk about it. The medical profession is not serious enough. The public-health profession is not serious enough.

Click on the interview title  to read or listen to the entire thought-provoking interview.

On a more personal note regarding advocacy, my deep gratitude to Tom, at Recovery Help Desk.  His words, . . . enabling recovery requires action . . . inspired me to ‘give it a shot’ and make a valiant effort to try to get my heroin addict daughter in to a treatment program.  As of today, Hayley has been clean and sober for 60 days, and is embracing her recovery with passion and commitment.  I believe that, for 31 year old Hayley, the timing was right, along with a few other critical factors.  However, when I recently asked her if she could have found help on her own, she said “no”.  She needed a ‘hand up’ out of her deep, dark hole.  I encourage others to trust their intuition and facilitate your addict’s desire to change their lives and seek recovery.

An Aside: Wow!  Almost 21,000 views of my blog since September 2009.  And what’s with this – 565 views in one day, on Monday, April 26, 2010.  Was it in response to my Take A Seat post on April 25th?  Don’t know – but I’m fascinated by who stops by this blog, what they’re looking for, what they find helpful, and how I can help them feel not so alone.  A heartfelt thank you to all of my blogger friends, fans, ‘regulars’, and all who leave comments.  I’ve learned so much from you , and am am inspired by your own stories. Your support has been instrumental in sustaining my hope, humility, humor, and SANITY over the past year. I am eternally grateful.

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6 Responses to “Advocacy”

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Thanks for your nice words! I’m glad to hear Hayley is doing so well!

I’m really excited to hear that you will be working on drug policy issues. It’s an area I feel very strongly about too. I’ll look forward to your future posts.

Tom – I always look to you for guidance and perspective. Hayley is doing very well – yet, her “real” work will begin when she leaves the structured treatment environment. Hayley will hopefully be in a sober living arrangement for at least 6 months after her 90 days at Safe Harbor. She seems very committed to her 12 step recovery program, has a strong relationship with her sponsor, goes to daily meetings. She’s starting to think about getting some kind of part time work. However, she has so much facing her: huge debt, legal issues, suspended driver’s license, etc. My own anxiety level regarding all of this is on ’tilt’. How can Hayley possibly handle all of this without triggering her addictions, once again, to cope? I would appreciate any advice/’tips’ you could offer. Best, Peggy

On the subject of addiction and recovery in our children, I have just finished reading “Imperfect Birds” by Ann Lamott. I wonder if anyone else has read it and your thoughts and comments.

Donna – I would love to hear your review of this book. I’ll post it on my blog. One of my future posts will be about this book, as well as a few others on which I’ve recently read reviews. Did I tell you that I’m currently reading Mary Karr’s memoir, “Lit”? She’s a beautiful writer. Is it possible that the alcohol and drugs enhanced her creative talent?

What an inspiration to others you are. I am so happy that Hayley has decided to live and recover from this horrible disease that has taken our daughters away from us. 60 days is wonderful. My daughter just celebrated her 6 months and went away with a bunch of NA people she has become friends with. I am so glad you are trying to do something to help the situation in this country. I wish I had the gumption to do something like that. I will work on that. I was asked by the PA State Drug and Alcohol Force to help with the issue in our area when I called to complain about the lack of help getting into treatment. Maybe I will repursue that. You always inspire ((hugs))

Great information and thoughts about changing the system/world we currently inhabit; and wonderful personal asides. I missed you!


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