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CANADA: Police dogs trained to detect human remains - Clearwater Times

Drug News Bot - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 00:08
clearwatertimes.com (US) Police dogs trained to detect human remains - Clearwater Times The first two RCMP canine teams to be taught to sniff out human remains have graduated from the force&rsquo. (Wed Nov 08 02:08:28 2017 PST) [$drug_related(100%), $drugwar_propaganda(80%), $propaganda_theme2(75%), $propaganda_theme3(50%), $propaganda_theme7(80%), $illegal_drugs(100%), $drugs(95%), $prohibition_agency(75%), $drug_dog(75%), $legalization(80%), $chemicals(75%), $opioid(100%), $depressant_intoxicant(75%), $narcotic(100%), $alcohol(75%), $various_drugs(95%)]
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CANADA: B.C. gender-equality groups get federal cash - Chilliwack Progress

Drug News Bot - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 00:07
theprogress.com (US) Fraser Health CEO takes on issue of addictions outreach and overdoses in Chilliwack ... (Wed Nov 08 02:07:45 2017 PST) [$drug_related(100%), $drugwar_propaganda(80%), $propaganda_theme1(50%), $addiction(60%), $propaganda_theme2(75%), $propaganda_theme3(65%), $propaganda_theme6(75%), $propaganda_theme7(80%), $illegal_drugs(100%), $drugs(95%), $legalization(80%), $chemicals(75%), $opioid(100%), $depressant_intoxicant(75%), $narcotic(100%), $alcohol(75%), $various_drugs(95%), $school(100%), $aggrandizement(100%)]
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CANADA: Kelvin Gawley, Author at Chilliwack Progress

Drug News Bot - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 00:07
theprogress.com (US) [MLA Darryl Plecas kic...] ... (Wed Nov 08 02:07:45 2017 PST) [$drug_related(95%), $drugwar_propaganda(80%), $propaganda_theme1(50%), $propaganda_theme2(70%), $propaganda_theme3(80%), $propaganda_theme5(60%), $propaganda_theme6(50%), $dehumanization(50%), $prohibitionist(95%), $government_prohib(95%), $youth(60%)]
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CANADA: Cut down on court delays by supporting victims of crime: ombudsman - Chilliwack Progress

Drug News Bot - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 00:07
theprogress.com (US) O'Sullivan said could be helped by involving everyone in the justice system, from police officers to the federal go... (Wed Nov 08 02:07:45 2017 PST) [$drug_related(100%), $drugwar_propaganda(80%), $addiction(60%), $propaganda_theme2(75%), $propaganda_theme5(60%), $propaganda_theme6(75%), $propaganda_theme7(80%), $moral_imperative(100%), $illegal_drugs(100%), $drugs(95%), $prohibition_agency(75%), $drug_dog(75%), $legalization(80%), $opioid(100%), $narcotic(100%), $various_drugs(95%), $incarceration(100%), $mandatory_minimums(100%), $youth(60%), $school(100%)]
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CANADA: EDITORIAL: Cannabis conundrum - where will smoking pot actually be allowed? - Editorials - Opinion - Cape Breton Post

Bot - Cannabis - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 00:06
capebretonpost.com (US) EDITORIAL: Cannabis conundrum - where will smoking pot actually be allowed? ! Editorials ! Opinion ! Cape Breton Post EDITORIAL: Cannabis conundrum - where will smoking pot actually be allowed? ! Editorials ! Opinion ! Cape Breton Post EDITORIAL: Cannabis conundrum - where will smoking pot actually be allowed? ! Editorials ! Opinion ! Cape Breton Post EDITORIAL: Cannabis conundrum - where will smoking pot act... (Wed Nov 08 02:06:26 2017 PST)
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CANADA: EDITORIAL: Cannabis conundrum - where will smoking pot actually be allowed? - Editorials - Opinion - Cape Breton Post

Drug News Bot - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 00:06
capebretonpost.com (US) EDITORIAL: Cannabis conundrum - where will smoking pot actually be allowed? ! Editorials ! Opinion ! Cape Breton Post EDITORIAL: Cannabis conundrum - where will smoking pot actually be allowed? ! Editorials ! Opinion ! Cape Breton Post EDITORIAL: Cannabis conundrum - where will smoking pot actually be allowed? ! Editorials ! Opinion ! Cape Breton Post EDITORIAL: Cannabis conundrum - where will smoking pot act... (Wed Nov 08 02:06:26 2017 PST) [$drug_related(100%), $drugwar_propaganda(100%), $propaganda_theme2(70%), $use_is_abuse(100%), $propaganda_theme4(100%), $propaganda_theme5(60%), $propaganda_theme6(75%), $illegal_drugs(100%), $drugs(90%), $drug_law(100%), $plants(100%), $sedative(55%), $euphoriant(55%), $intoxicant(100%), $cannabis(100%), $poppy(55%), $tobacco(100%), $various_drugs(90%), $incarceration(100%), $youth(60%), $school(100%), $aggrandizement(100%), $jury(100%)]
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CANADA: Financial News - Investment and Money News - Economic News - Real Tims Stock Quotes - Financial Planning - Retirement - Money Calculator

Drug News Bot - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 00:05
canada.com (Canada) [ ...] ... (Wed Nov 08 02:05:52 2017 PST) [$drug_related(100%), $drugwar_propaganda(60%), $propaganda_theme3(50%), $propaganda_theme5(60%), $illegal_drugs(100%), $drugs(90%), $plants(100%), $intoxicant(100%), $medical_cannabis(100%), $cannabis(100%), $various_drugs(90%), $dea_prime_contractor(80%), $incarceration(100%), $for_profit_prisons(100%), $youth(60%), $school(100%), $aggrandizement(100%)]
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CANADA: B.C. gender-equality groups get federal cash - Barriere Star Journal

Bot - Cannabis - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 00:02
barrierestarjournal.com Exploring the usefulness of pot A Thompson Rivers University professor aims to unlock p... (Wed Nov 08 02:02:04 2017 PST)
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CANADA: VIDEO: Jagmeet Singh pushes Trudeau to decriminalize all drugs - Barriere Star Journal

Bot - Cannabis - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 00:02
barrierestarjournal.com VIDEO: Jagmeet Singh pushes Trudeau to decriminalize all drugs - Barriere Star Journal VIDEO: Jagmeet Singh pushes Trudeau to decriminalize all drugs NDP leader has been vocal about the opioid overdose crisis NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to consider decriminalizing all illegal drugs in an effort to combat Canada&rsquo. (Wed Nov 08 02:02:04 2017 PST)
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CANADA: B.C. gender-equality groups get federal cash - Barriere Star Journal

Drug News Bot - Wed, 11/08/2017 - 00:02
barrierestarjournal.com Exploring the usefulness of pot A Thompson Rivers University professor aims to unlock p... (Wed Nov 08 02:02:04 2017 PST) [$drug_related(100%), $drugwar_propaganda(80%), $propaganda_theme1(50%), $propaganda_theme2(75%), $propaganda_theme3(65%), $propaganda_theme6(75%), $propaganda_theme7(80%), $illegal_drugs(100%), $drugs(95%), $legalization(80%), $chemicals(75%), $plants(100%), $intoxicant(100%), $opioid(100%), $depressant_intoxicant(75%), $narcotic(100%), $alcohol(75%), $cannabis(100%), $various_drugs(95%), $school(100%), $aggrandizement(100%)]
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Employers brace for legal cannabis, liability issues - Vancouver Sun

Google - Cannabis - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 15:47

Vancouver Sun

Employers brace for legal cannabis, liability issues
Vancouver Sun
The federal government is aiming to legalize recreational cannabis by July 1, 2018. While rules requiring business owners to accommodate medical marijuana users are established, rules for dealing with users of legal, recreational marijuana are not.

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Marijuana to be sold through private stores in Manitoba - The Globe and Mail

Google - Cannabis - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 15:16

The Globe and Mail

Marijuana to be sold through private stores in Manitoba
The Globe and Mail
Pallister unveiled some of the major points of the plan for marijuana sales Tuesday, which he said is aimed at cutting into the black market and keeping cannabis away from kids. The government will maintain a wholesale monopoly and regulate ...
Cannabis plan reaction: Hopeful retailers prepare for business as city ponders regulationsCBC.ca
Hybrid Models and Lock-Boxes: Manitoba and New Brunswick Reveal Cannabis-Plan DetailsLeafly
Pallister's marijuana plan doesn't stir the potWinnipeg Free Press
Straight.com
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California Proposes Armored Cars to Transport Cannabis Tax Money - Leafly

Google - Cannabis - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 13:47

Leafly

California Proposes Armored Cars to Transport Cannabis Tax Money
Leafly
An owner of a medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles prepares his monthly tax payment in this June 27, 2017 photo. California should use armored cars to transport hundreds of millions of dollars in cash tax payments expected next year with the ...
California treasurer proposes banking strategies for cannabis industrySanta Rosa Press Democrat

all 32 news articles »
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Joint Venture: What marijuana legalization could look like in Nova ... - CBC.ca

Google - Cannabis - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 13:46

CBC.ca

Joint Venture: What marijuana legalization could look like in Nova ...
CBC.ca
While the federal government has announced it plans to legalize cannabis next summer, Nova Scotia still has to answer questions about its own plans for what ...
N.B. government outlines regulations ahead of cannabis legalization ...CTV News

all 2 news articles »
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IBM Has a New Blockchain Idea: Tracking Marijuana Sales - Fortune

Google - Cannabis - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:43

Fortune

IBM Has a New Blockchain Idea: Tracking Marijuana Sales
Fortune
Companies are using the digital ledger technology popularized by bitcoin in banking, insurance, and contracts—but how about using a blockchain to track marijuana sales? Canada is planning to legalize cannabis sales next year, with some regulation of ...
IBM urges BC government to track marijuana sales using blockchainToronto Star
IBM pitches blockchain for cannabis sale - BBC NewsBBC News

all 13 news articles »
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Holding Co-Users Responsible for Fatal Drug Overdoses Is Draconian and Ineffectual

Alternet - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 10:38
Click here for reuse options! While overdose deaths are skyrocketing, these laws only compound the tragedy.

A new report from the Drug Policy Alliance shines a harsh spotlight on a strategy that some police, prosecutors and elected officials are embracing in response to the opioid overdose crisis—charging sellers with drug-induced homicide, which the evidence suggests is intensifying, rather than helping the problem.

The opioid overdose crisis is real enough—a record of more than 60,000 people died of drug overdoses last year, most of them from opioids—but claims that charging drug sellers with murder is an effective deterrent are unproven, according to the report, An Overdose Death Is Not Murder: Why Drug-Induced Homicide Laws Are Counterproductive and Inhumane.

Instead, such laws actually deter people not from selling drugs but from seeking life-saving medical assistance in case of overdose. That's because drug-induced homicide prosecutions typically don't target high-level kingpins, but zero in on the very people best positioned to actually save lives in the event of an overdose: family, friends and low-level drug sellers, often addicts themselves.

Like Amy Shemberger. In August 2014, she took a ride to score some heroin for herself and her boyfriend, Peter Kucinski. She snorted one bag on the way home and gave the other to Kucinski when she got home. Suffering from severe alcohol withdrawal, he needed the heroin to feel better. He snorted a $10 bag, then stopped breathing. Shemberger called 911, but it was too late. She lost her boyfriend of 18 years. Their 5-year-old son was later taken into custody by child protective services.

Two months later, Shemberger was charged with drug-induced homicide for sharing her score with her life partner. She's now serving seven years in state prison.

Amy Shemberger is not an outlier. Police and prosecutors routinely abuse their discretion by going after people best positioned to actually save the lives of overdose victims—their friends, family members, fellow drug users, and small-time drug sellers. The report offers several examples: In New Jersey, 25 of 32 drug-induced homicide prosecutions in the 2000s targeted friends of the victims who were not involved in significant drug sales. In Wisconsin, 90% of the most recent cases targeted friends or relatives of the victim. In Illinois, a study of these prosecutions found that prosecutors typically charged the last person known to be with the victim.

As with everything else in the war on drugs, it's worse if you're not white. Hampered by a felony record, when James Linder, 36, lost his job at a bakery, he resorted to selling small amounts of drugs, making enough money to get a haircut for his son and to help out his sister. But in January 2015, he sold three packets of heroin to Cody Hillier. Hillier's girlfriend, Danielle Barzyk, died of an overdose later that same day. Despite never even meeting Barzyk, Linder was charged with drug-induced homicide in her death. He was sentenced by an all-white jury in rural Illinois. Unlike Shemberger, he didn't get seven years; he got 28 years in prison.

Drug-induced homicide laws, originally passed in the depths of 1980s drug war excess, lay largely dormant until rising drug overdose numbers led police and prosecutors to revive them. Currently, 20 states (Delaware, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) have drug-induced homicide laws on the books. Other states without such laws also manage to charge these people with the offense of drug delivery resulting in death under various felony-murder, depraved heart, or involuntary or voluntary manslaughter laws.

"This is a wasteful, punitive policy that compounds the tragedy of an overdose by locking up even more people in the name of the failing war on drugs," said Lindsay LaSalle, senior staff attorney at the Drug Policy Alliance and author of the report. "By placing the blame for an overdose death on the single person who supplied the drugs, all the structural factors that lead to addiction and overdose are ignored, as are the solutions that could actually make a difference. While there’s no evidence in support of the effectiveness of drug-induced homicide laws, the good news is that there are proven health and harm reduction interventions that can save lives."

Those include policies and practices such as 911 Good Samaritan laws, which protect people reporting drug overdoses from arrest; expanded access to the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan), expanded access to opioid-assisted treatment, and expansion of harm reduction programs such as supervised drug injection sites, where users can shoot up under medical supervision and be connected with social service agencies.

There is no national database of drug-induced homicide prosecutions, so the Drug Policy Alliance report relied on media mentions of such cases to chart their spread. It found 363 articles mentioning such cases in 2011, but by 2016, that number had jumped to 1,178, a 300% increase in just five years. And this without any evidence of their effectiveness in reducing drug use or sales or preventing overdose deaths.

The resort to drug-induced homicide charges varies from state to state. Midwestern states such as Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, and Minnesota have been the most aggressive in prosecuting drug-induced homicides, with northeastern states Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York and southern states Louisiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee rapidly expanding their use of these laws. And the move remains politically popular: This year alone, elected officials in at least 13 states (Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia) introduced bills to create new drug-induced homicide offenses or strengthen existing drug-induced homicide laws.

But the increased criminalization of people who use and sell drugs only exacerbates the very problem prosecutors are supposedly trying to address. It increases stigma, drives people away from needed care, and will likely result in the same racial disparities now synonymous with other drug war tactics. 

"This is no time to ratchet up enforcement responses to addiction and overdose; we can’t afford to repeat the mistakes of the past," warned LaSalle. "Overdose deaths are skyrocketing and it could be your loved one who dies from a preventable drug overdose, simply because someone was too scared to call 911."

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"Narcan Party" Hysteria Puts a Value on Drug Users' Lives

Alternet - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 08:43
The real objection is that Narcan for laypeople--especially drug users--allows them to save lives without the cessation of drug use as a requirement.

While the country is obsessing over the idea of “fake news,” let’s talk about some actual fake news: Narcan parties. Increasingly, media outlets are publishing stories with attention-grabbing headlines such as Narcan Parties Becoming Disturbing Trend, Police Say and People Intentionally OD to be Revived at ‘Narcan Parties.’ The stories usually involve grave reports that the increasing availability of Narcan (naloxone), a medicine that reverses opioid overdose, is causing people to overdose on purpose because they know that Narcan can be used to save them. The reports often originate from paramedics and law enforcement responding to overdose-related 911 calls, though most harm reductionists and drug users vehemently deny the existence of so-called Narcan parties. So who is telling the truth?

As with many controversial issues, the story of “Narcan parties” starts with a truth, which then becomes distorted. Here’s what’s real: Yes, people often use drugs in groups or at parties. That’s not new. Drug use at parties has been happening long before Narcan became easily accessible. What is new is that Narcan is increasingly available to the public and used by laypeople to reverse an overdose. So when first responders arrive at the scene of an overdose they might see a party and they might see that Narcan was administered to the overdose victim, hence the term “Narcan party.”


But from there, facts get twisted.

First, some articles claim that “people are overdosing in houses or public places, knowing responders are nearby with Narcan.” I admit I have trouble keeping a straight face when I hear this. There are two things most drug users avoid at all costs: withdrawal and police. Overdosing and having first responders show up to administer Narcan summons both. Narcan blocks the effects of opioids, provoking the rapid onset of withdrawal symptoms such as pain, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramping, hypertension, and anxiety. That’s not an experience anyone would invite on purpose. Plus, the relationship between most illicit drug users and law enforcement isn’t exactly chummy. Neither is the relationship with many paramedics. Under the best-case overdose scenario, an opioid user could wake up in agony and possibly handcuffs. Under the worst case, they could die. So no, people aren’t overdosing on purpose because paramedics and police might be nearby with Narcan.

No one engages in risky behaviors just because first responders are a phone call away. People don’t leave their doors unlocked thinking that if someone tries to rob their home while they’re away, neighbors can call the police. People don’t light fires in their fireplaces in the winter believing that if their house goes up in flames, someone will call the fire department. People leave their doors unlocked and light fires because they believe nothing bad will happen. And in most cases, they’re right.

The same logic applies to drug use. Except in cases of suicide, people who take drugs do not think anything bad will happen. Yes, they know there is a risk of death if they overdose. Yes, they may have overdosed in the past. Yes, they may know someone who died of an overdose. But before you start thinking that drug users are irrational and deserve what they get, consider your own thought process every time you step into a car. You know car accidents are one of the leading causes of unintentional death. You may have had an accident in the past. You probably have known of someone who died in a car accident. Yet you still drive because it’s convenient and because you feel sure that nothing bad will happen—not because you feel comforted that if you do have an accident, nearby paramedics might pull you from the twisted wreckage of your car.

Because of stigma and misinformation, people inflate the risks associated with taking drugs and consider drug users more reckless than non-drug users, who also take deadly risks every day. Eliza Wheeler, Director of the DOPE Project of the Harm Reduction Coalition in Oakland, California, points out that no one claims that EpiPens cause people with nut allergies to gorge on peanuts. She explains, “The concept of ‘Narcan parties’ became distorted because drugs are involved and so everyone immediately thinks something bad must be happening. Instead of EMTs saying, ‘Hey, we responded to a call today and someone else had already saved a life with Narcan. That’s great!’ they think, ‘Oh, we responded to a call today and someone had overdosed on purpose because they had Narcan.’”

Another media claim distorted by stigma is that during “Narcan parties,” a designated person is standing by to revive people who overdose, thus allowing party-goers to engage in riskier drug use, knowing a friend will save them. This claim is false. The rumors originate from the concept of a designated driver, a person whose presence may indeed encourage some people at parties to drink more alcohol, knowing they will not have to drive home. But there is a major difference between driving someone home and giving them Narcan. As mentioned above, Narcan induces agonizing opioid withdrawal, something that opioid users avoid at all costs. Drinkers do not fear the consequences of being driven home by a sober friend after a fun night of drinking.


People are not overdosing on purpose to be revived with Narcan, although, yes, more drug users carry Narcan now and may use it if an accidental overdose occurs. But guess what? That’s a good thing!

Lee Hertel, Director of Lee’s Rig Hub, a syringe exchange program in Minneapolis, Minnesota, explains, “People who have Narcan on hand when using in groups are doing exactly what they should be doing. The golden rule of harm reduction is to never use alone and to have Narcan around if you use opiates. People who keep Narcan on them are looking out for each other and saving lives. Isn’t that the whole point of making Narcan available in the first place?”

Yes, having a life-saving antidote on hand in case of an accidental overdose is the entire point of making Narcan available to laypeople. But the controversy surrounding “Narcan parties” persists due to fears and misconceptions that drug users will take anything and misuse it. For example, the media peddles stories of drug dealers selling Narcan and dope as a package deal. In fact, many drug dealers do sell Narcan along with heroin or other opiates—but how is that any different from physicians co-prescribing Narcan with opioid pain relievers? In both cases, the goal is to prevent patients or customers from dying of an accidental overdose. But while physicians are actively encouraged to co-prescribe Narcan, when drug dealers do the same, the story is twisted to sound sinister.

I admit that as a harm reductionist, I sometimes feel a sense of fatigue that derives from constantly having to point out the obvious: Drug users make decisions based on perceived risk and reward, as we all do. It is the unique stigma against drugs and people who use them that causes drug-related decisions to be viewed as irrational and fundamentally different from the ways in which non-drug users engage in other risky behaviors every day.

I think the real pushback against the widespread availability of Narcan is not about whether it encourages riskier drug use. Empirical studies have disproven that theory time and time again. The real concern is that Narcan access for laypeople--especially drug users--allows them to save lives without the cessation of drug use as a requirement. It means we believe in saving the lives of people who might use drugs again. And again. And again. To many people, this outcome is unacceptable, so they propose policies like limits to the number of times Narcan can be administered to the same person, or forcing people into treatment after an overdose and other measures that imply that only a person who does not use drugs (or will stop immediately) deserves to be saved.

There is certainly a place for compassionate, voluntary intervention after an overdose, and evidence-based treatment options such as medication-assisted treatment should be more affordable and more available. But no one is arguing against that. The real disagreement is over whether or not drug users have the right to make their own choices about what they put in their bodies. Spreading false stories about parties where people overdose on purpose is exactly the kind of news that can whip up anger against harm reduction and create public support for punitive policies that once again show drug users that their lives are considered less valuable than those of non-drug users.

 

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3 Harmful Myths About the Opioid Epidemic

Alternet - Tue, 11/07/2017 - 08:18
These myths about opioids, addiction, and people with substance use disorders persist and may even prevent people from getting treatment, say experts.

Between 2015 and 2016, drug overdose deaths went from 33,095 to 59,000, the largest annual jump ever recorded in the United States. That number is expected to continue unabated for the next several years.

Myth #1: Opioid addiction is just a psychological disorder and people who are dependent simply need better willpower.

“It’s important to define opioid addiction carefully, because the stigma is so strong. Someone who is prescribed opioid medications for pain for prolonged periods may develop tolerance, which means they need a higher dose to get pain relief. Or they may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the medication. But these are not considered cases of opioid addiction.

“Opioid addiction, or technically ‘opioid use disorder,’ is defined as loss of control over use of opioids. This means that the person continues to use opioids despite negative consequences or is unable to stop using opioids despite wanting to. This person may also have a preoccupation with using opioids, obtaining opioids, or craving for opioids. These patients may also develop tolerance or experience withdrawal when they stop using, but those symptoms by themselves do not define an opioid use disorder.

“Some people think that an opioid addiction is just psychological or a weakness of character, and that people who are addicted simply don’t have the willpower to stop. But it’s more complicated than that.

“Long-time use of opioids in an addictive way actually alters brain functioning. It causes chronic and lasting changes in the brain reward system, causing the person to feel less motivation and get less pleasure from other, naturally occurring rewards. Opioids become the primary reward and the primary focus of the person’s life, and they need more of it to activate the reward system.”<

—Richard Schottenfeld, psychiatry

Myth #2: The best way to combat an opioid addiction is without medication.

“The idea of treating opioid addiction without medication is attractive, especially because such programs can be effective for some patients with alcohol use disorder. A lot of people think that the goal of treatment for opioid use disorder is not taking any medication at all. However, the truth is that the many people in abstinence only programs for opioid use disorder will relapse.

“Research shows that medication-based treatments are the most effective treatment. Opioid use disorder is a medical condition just like depression, diabetes, or hypertension, and just like those conditions, it is most effectively treated with a combination of medication and counseling.

“There are two common medications used to treat opioid use disorder: methadone and buprenorphine. These medications help address patients’ withdrawal symptoms and block the reward or the ‘high’ that people get from using opioids. They help restore ‘normal’ brain functioning. In certain cases, other medications can help improve impulse control and treat any underlying psychiatric disorders.

“Buprenorphine and methadone are opioids agonists. This means that they bind to the same opioid receptors in the brain that opioids like oxycodone, heroin, and fentanyl do, and provide relief from withdrawal symptoms. Some people misinterpret that to mean that we’re just replacing one addiction for another. However, this is not the case.

“Most of the time, patients use opioids not to get high, but to avoid the withdrawal symptoms such as body aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramping, muscle aches, insomnia, abdominal pain, and anxiety. Buprenorphine and methadone help patients avoid withdrawal symptoms, but don’t offer the high, which means they are less addictive. Their effects also last much longer (24-36 hours), which allows patients to get on with their day without having to think about their opioids.

“In addition, with buprenorphine and methadone, the risk of overdose is much lower for patients receiving these medications through a treatment program.”

—David A. Fiellin, internal medicine

Myth #3: It’s ok if we call people with opioid use disorder ‘addicts,’ ‘users,’ or ‘junkies.’

“The words we use to describe addiction and people with addiction are important. Negative terms such as ‘addict,’ ‘user,’ ‘junkie,’ and phrases such as ‘needs to get clean’ contribute to stigma against people with opioid use disorder and create barriers to accessing effective treatment. This can ultimately contribute to overdose.

“When we talk about people with diabetes, we don’t talk about them being ‘dirty,’ we talk about their sugars. Similarly, we should focus on measurable changes to health for people with opioid use disorders.

“Studies have shown that people who were referred to as ‘substance users’ were more likely to be considered a threat or be responsible for their condition, whereas people who were referred to as having “substance use disorder” were more likely to be seen as needing help. This is a really key component to getting people into treatment and stemming the opioid crisis.

“A person is not defined by their disease. We need to keep that in mind as doctors, media, and lay-people when thinking about the opioid crisis.”

--Jeannette Tetrault, internal medicine

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