Drug Abuse Essay: Its a common misconception among many people that the harmreduction approach to drug use encourages drug use and is not effective. Theharm reduction approach maintains that drug abuse is here to stay and societyneeds to accept the responsible use of psychoactive substances. The U. S. drug policy should incorporate harm reduction for the benefits of heroinaddicts.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-Category:MiscellaneousPaper Title:Drug AbuseText:Its a common misconception among many people that the harm reduction approachto drug use encourages drug use and is not effective. The harm reductionapproach maintains that drug abuse is here to stay and society needs to acceptthe responsible use of psychoactive substances. The U. S.Order now
drug policy shouldincorporate harm reduction for the benefits of heroin addicts. For more than thirty years, methadone has been used effectively as treatmentfor heroin addicts. (Zickler) Unfortunately, for every ten heroin addicts, thereare only one or two methadone slots (Torr, 39). Methadone treatment has beenshown to be beneficial for addicts.
Those that are untreated die at a rate tentimes more than those in methadone treatment do, (Zweben, 20). Some people gointo treatment simply to reduce the frequency and amount of their use; otherpatients make a full commitment to a lifestyle change, (Zweben, 2). The goal ofopioid maintenance therapy is to get rid of drug craving and create homoeostaticstability making the person able to focus on lifestyle changes, (Zweben, 3). Heroin use declines slowly once patients go in to treatment over a period oftime (Zweben, 3). Its been found that 67% of patients who are in the treatmentfor six months are less continued to still do heroin while only 8% of long termpatients still used, (Zweben, 3).
This is a significant difference. It isestimated that there are 810,000 heroin addicts in the United States; only138,000 to 170,000 people receive methadone or Levo- Alpha-Acetyl-Methadone as apart of an addiction treatment program (none, 4). There is about 900 methadonetreatment programs, including programs approved for Levo- Alpha- Acetyl-Methadone treatment in the United States (none, 4). Methadone therapy helps keepover 100,000 addicts off heroin, welfare, and on tax rolls as productivecitizens, Without these programs, these people would be back on the welfare andback on drugs, (none, 3). In licensed clinics, methadone is given orally andeffects generally last 24 to 36 hours, (Zickler, 6).
Many clinics administerfixed doses instead of adjusted doses according to the needs of the patients. (Zickler,6) Methadone has a little of injected heroins effect on mood and cognitionwhen taken orally. (Torr, 62) Methadone is to street heroin what nicotinepatches is to cigarettes-with an addiction benefit of legality. (Torr, 64) Somepeople feel that this is a problem because it encourages addicts.
Doctor Straindid a study involving 192 patients, investigating the effectiveness of high dosemethadone treatment. (Zickler, 2) Doses were increased weekly until the 8th weekwhich half were receiving a moderate dose and the other half a high dose. (Zickler,2) Patients in the high does groups used opiates significantly during thetreatment then the moderate dose, reporting using once a week compared to themoderate dose patients who used 2-3 times a week. (Zickler, 2) Doctor Strainconcluded that s high dose-80 to 100 mg per day- was more effective in thereducing heroin use than a moderate dose of 40-50 mg per day. (Zickler, 2) Themost important aspect if our research from a therapeutic and public healthperspective is that methadone treatment over broad range of doses results insignificant clinical improvement for opioid-addicted patients he says. (Zickler,3) Though only 10% are ever able to get off methadone treatment, this treatmentis proven to be entirely beneficial.
Another serious problem for heroin addicts is the spreading of viruses fromdirty needles. Thirty-three Americans are infected from dirty needles everyday. (Fuller, 1) In fifty-five American cities, there are at least 75 needle giveaway programs. (Torr, 36) The Dutch were the first to tell drug users the risksinvolved in sharing needles and to collect sterile syringes available.
(Torr, 3)Addicts in some European cities are permitted to exchange used syringes forclean ones at local police stations without fear of prosecution. It is estimatedby the Center for Disease Control that fifty percent of the new HIV infectionsin the U. S. stem from injection drug use. (Torr, 37). Aids was leading killer ofAmericans ages 25-44 for most of the nineties.
It is now number 2 (Torr, 42).This problem is continuously .