On addiction: What can we do about addictions?

Mikky Locke
For the Lakeside Leader

What can we do about the near epidemic condition of the disease of addiction to mind altering chemicals? It seems to me that a lot of people think the whole thing is about just one drug: fentanyl. So get rid of it? Impossible, even if we wanted to. It has been around for ages and ages. It is used medically for moderate to severe pain and listed as such in the year 2000 edition of the Compendium of Pharmaceuticals and Specialties.
So what can we do? The following is from Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary: “Support groups for alcoholics, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, have reported the highest rates of treatment success.” They “… are trying to help themselves and others abstain from alcohol by offering encouragement and discussing experiences, problems, feelings and techniques.”
The following is another quote from that dictionary. “The entire family is assisted to develop a long-term plan for follow-up and relapse prevention, including referral to organizations such as A.A., Al-Anon and Alateen. The family involvement in rehabilitation helps reduce family stressors and tensions.” It goes on to say “…social services or other appropriate agencies may assist with rehabilitation efforts. These may involve job training, sheltered workshops, half-way houses and other supervised facilities.”
There are two open meetings here in Slave Lake; the times and places are in this paper. Go. Be informed.
God is referred to in the 12 Step program of recovery. Some people, therefore, claim it is a religion and use that as an excuse not to join A.A. or N.A. They “know not of what they speak.”
It is God as we understand Him. N.A.? A.A. started in the days when alcohol was the drug of choice. As other drugs entered the picture some felt the use of the word ‘narcotics’ was probably more valid. In name only it was changed for those who wanted it.
There is something wrong, isn’t there? I would guess that we have right here in Slave Lake far more people age 15 plus years who could tell you who to talk to if you wanted an illicit drug …? Far more than if you asked for the name of a person who was drunk or stoned half the time but was now a respected member of the community.
Coincidentally, as I was writing this (August 12) I read an article in the New York Times which quotes the Governor of New York in speaking about a State Senate Leader and he says “… he deserves our respect and support for seeking help and for talking about it as an example for others” (August 6, 2017). A version of this article appeared in print August 7, 2017, on page A17 of the New York edition with the headline ‘Senate Leader Sought Help for Alcohol Use.’
As an addiction counsellor for the last 25 years I have seen our treatment centres having less programming and higher costs. The latter is probably justifiable but at the expense of at least half of the program being eliminated?
Treatment centres across Canada have to have a license to operate and they can change them.
Take care.


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