Marijuana: Misinformation and Poly-Behavioral Addiction

January 22, 2007 by  
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By James Slobodzien

Fact or Fiction

1. Marijuana is a very harmful, highly addictive, dangerous, illegal, gateway drug that currently has no accepted or proven medical use.

(Read the rest of this article …)

Methadone and Its Unintended Consequences in Society: A Historical Perspective

January 14, 2007 by  
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By William L. Smith Ph. D.

It has been more than forty two years since Dr. Marie Nyswander and Vincent P. Dole, a husband and wife team, announced a scientific breakthrough which was considered, at that time, the most advanced step in the American Medical community. This advanced discovery was a synthetic drug that would enhance medical supervision of drug addicts and their heroin addiction. Dole and Nyswander indicated that the use of methadone by heroin addicts appeared to alleviate their hunger for heroin, thus reducing the necessity for crime against property; and the need for addicted individuals to enlist new converts to the drug culture. “Methadonia,” a documentary by filmmaker, Michel Negroponte, recently aired on HBO created a renewed interest in the synthetic opiate methadone. During the 1960’s methadone was used primarily to block the euphoric effect of heroin addiction and to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawl from heroin. Mr. Negroponte’s film focused mainly on recovering addicts at the New York Center for Addition Treatment Services, which is located on Broadway at Houston Street.

The 90 minutes film followed the addicts through their murky world of addiction while respecting their efforts to stay clean. The film also shows how methadone can lead to an addiction worse than heroin or other addictive drugs. The documentary highlighted a trend in which methadone users often develop secondary additions to prescription drugs. These prescription drugs, combined with methadone, produce a euphoric rush and, too often, an addiction that is more life-threatening than caused by heroin addiction. Before proceeding further, my readers should understand what methadone is. Methadone is a synthetic chemical discovered by Germany during World War II, when their supply of pain killing opiates were in short supply. Today, in some instances, it continues to be used as a pain-killer. Methadone is addictive as is all other opiates such as heroin, demerol, morphine, barbituates, and alcohol. Therefore, abuse or over-use of these drugs will result in two major consequences; (1) systemic bodily tolerance, and (2) specific physical withdrawal symptoms that occur with discontinued use.

Since the discovery of methadone, the treatment of drug addiction in the United States has reached the level of mega business. It is now an intrinsical part of the Nation’s economy, and becoming more entrenched each day. In the process, the intimate doctor/patient relationship originally sought in the methadone clinic been overturned. In its place is the current interest in Medicaide reimbursement; client’s return visits, and policing clients for strict adherence to drug abstinence.

Unintended, Unforeseen Consequences in Society It would appear that the chemists, who discovered methadone, and those who introduced methadone to the United States in 1947, intended its use to ease the pain and suffering that was the by-product of war and injury. Dole and Nyswander intended goal was to used methadone to stem the tide of heroin addiction and its social ills in the United States. However, they could not foresee methadone someday being partly responsible for society’s further deterioration, socially, economically, and, politically. This social phenomenon of unintended results of human action in society is described by sociologist, Max Weber, Robert Merton, and Robert Nisbet. The American sociologist Robert Merton refers to this concept as manifest and latent functions. The former are the desired and intended function of social processes, and the latter the unintended undesireable processes. Robert Nisbet, was most direct in explaining this theme:

In the popular view…we have a tendency to think of social problems as the consequence solely of evil or undesireable elements. For centuries a large part of Western ethics has been based upon the view that only good can come from good; only evil from evil. If there is crime, it is because of evil persons, evil groups, evil values. Yet…much of what is associated with our social problems is closely related to things we deem good. (J.M. Martin and J.P. Fitzpatrick, Delinquent Behaviors, Random House, New York, 1964, pg 5).

In a further search of the litersture, I found that sociologists Peter L. Berger, Emile Durkheim, Robert Merton, and Max Weber all discuss this sociological dysfunction. To improve our understanding of the drug problem, we should view it from the sociologist’s platform. In other words, we must be knowledgeable of how the problem is sustained through social and political interaction. For example, Peter Berger informs us that a sociological problem is quite different from a social problem. Social problem is the official interpretation and explanation when something in society does not work the way it should. The sociological problem, on the other hand, is understanding the social interaction. Therefore, it is not important why something goes wrong, according to the authorities, but how the system works as a unit; and by what means it is held together.

To echo Berger once again, he further points out that, the fundamental sociological problem is not crime but the law, not divorce but marriage, not racial discrimination but racial stratification, not revolution but goverment. If we accept Berger’s concept then the foundamental sociological problem in this instance is not addiction but methadone.

In light of this theory we may conclude that the drug problem in the United States is a sociological problem and not a social problem as it is commonly defined by authorities. It appear the problem is born out of the unenforceable laws and ineffective political bureaucracies, and not the inherent qualities of individuals. Naturally certain personality types such as the passive-dependent are disproportionately associated with addiction. These personality types and their association with drug use are often explained by the socio-psychological process leading to addiction.

Historically, this society has been inundated with bureaucratic decisions to institute criminal law to regulate private morality.

In 1914 the Harrison Act, was passed to control all opiates. This legislation defined all addicts as criminals and many doctors prescribing opiates as law violators. The limited effectiveness of the law is often seen as the first step in the institutionalization of drug use as a socially created evil. Later, the Marijuana Tax Act and other punitive regulations compounded this effect. These ineffective and inappropriate legislations represent an attempt by moral entrepreneurs to control social morality.

Sociologists has concluded that the social cost of seeking criminal law solution to control social morality greatly outweighs any social benefits that might result. If we examine the situation very carefully, we will discover that the same kind of bureaucratic decision making philosophy is at work in an effort to resolve the drug problem. The difference this time is that the approach is not law but chemical; as witnessed by the widespread proliferation of methadone maintence clinics across the Nation.

Update: Dr. Vincent P. Dole, Methadone Researcher, Is Dead at 93, New York Times.com August 3, 2006.

References:

Berger, Peter L., Invitation to Sociology. New York, Doubleday Company, 1963.

Weber, Max., The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. New York, Charles Scribner’s & Sons, 1968.

Dr. Smith is a Psychologist and personal consultant with over three decades of working with individuals and groups, specializing in all personal issues related to quality of life concerns. I have had broad successes working with individuals who had experienced Incest, and other Sexual Trauma, Adult Children of Alcoholics. These experiences often manifest themselves symptomatically as depression, anxiety, stress, eating disorders, cigarette and related addictions, but more commonly relationships are problematic on all levels. For additional information contact Dr. Smith at:

insightconsultant.com

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Can Online Counseling for Drug and Alcohol Addiction Problems Be Effective

December 12, 2006 by  
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By Jan Edward Williams

The answer to the question in the title of this article is: “Yes, but with the need to understand the limits of online help.”

Definitions

The words “alcohol dependence” or “addiction” are often used without definition. So, let’s first define some terms. As used in this article, alcohol or drug addiction means that a person’s alcohol or other drug use has reached the point that the person cannot use without loss of control over use of the substance and/or cannot use without producing adverse consequences in significant life areas. The addicted person has developed a psychological and/or physical dependence upon the substance. An addicted person will continue to use the substance in the face of adverse consequences.

The term alcohol or drug dependence is often used interchangeably with addiction, but here I use the term dependence to mean physical dependence on a substance, meaning that stopping use of the substance will result in withdrawal symptoms. A person can develop dependence on a substance without developing addiction; the best example of this physical dependence would be the person who takes a narcotic analgesic (pain killer such as oxycodone or morphine) as prescribed by a doctor long enough to be physically dependent on the drug, a natural, inevitable consequence of chronic use of such a drug. Under these circumstances, abruptly stopping use of the substance will result in the withdrawal syndrome typical for the class of substance involved. Most persons with addiction (for ex., alcoholism) are NOT physically dependent on their drug and will not experience the full blown physical withdrawal for the substance. They will, however, experience cravings, sleeplessness, and other symptoms caused by their psychological dependence on the drug.

Diagnosis

Alcohol or other drug problems fall within two diagnostic categories: abuse or addiction (as I said, often called dependence). Abuse basically means the person has developed a pattern of use of the substance in the face of adverse consequences in significant life areas (medically, financially, legally, problems in relationships). Addiction is summarized in the first paragraph of this article.

Treatment

Alcoholism and other drug addictions are devastating disorders which negatively impact affected individuals and all who care about them, physically, emotionally and mentally, and spiritually. For persons diagnosed with full blown addiction, I favor an abstinence based treatment model, meaning a model whose basic ultimate (it may take a while to get there) goal is abstinence from use of alcohol or other drugs. This model should include education, cognitive behavioral counseling, and use of Twelve Step (for ex., AA) spiritually based principles. Online addiction treatment can be helpful in itself and/or as part of a comprehensive treatment program that includes traditional face-to-face counseling and other treatment interventions.

Treatment of Severe Addiction

Successful treatment of persons with full blown alcohol or other drug addiction may require a comprehensive treatment program, with services provided by professionals face-to-face. This treatment would be beyond that offered by online addiction treatment. Such a comprehensive program should be staffed by helping professionals from many disciplines. Staff should include physicians to address medical issues such as withdrawal, mental health professionals such as psychiatrists or psychologists, to treat co- or pre-existing psychiatric disorders that may be present, and last but not least, certified, licensed addiction counselors, preferably a significant number of whom are in recovery themselves. Such a Treatment Program should also provide individual and group counseling, educational groups, and, as important as any of the treatments, access to Twelve Step self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon and Nar-Anon (for loved ones), and ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholics), to name but a few.

An evaluation will reveal the extent of the treatment required. This evaluation can be performed online by a qualified addictions counselor.

Online Treatment or Counseling

Online help for persons with full blown addiction problems can be helpful, but the comprehensive programs outlined under Treatment of Severe Addiction may be necessary depending upon the seriousness of the problem. A comprehensive evaluation of the addicted person is needed. Such an evaluation can be done online, leading to recommendations for the appropriate treatment. Persons who are already involved in any stage (intensive outpatient, continuing care, aftercare) of traditional treatment programs can use online services as a supplement to their treatment and to Twelve Step Program attendance. Persons who have completed traditional treatment can also benefit from these services.

Loved Ones of an Addicted Person

Spouses, lovers, friends, co-workers, parents, brothers, sisters, and sons and daughters, to name a few, can be concerned that the person they care about may have an alcohol or other drug problem. When adult children are concerned about use by a parent, the term “Adult Child of an Alcoholic or Addict” (ACOA) may apply. Persons close to an individual with a drug or alcohol need help for their natural feelings of confusion, hurt, anger, and loneliness. Online services can provide support, education, and recommendations for these concerned persons.

Cautions

Persons with serious emotional or psychiatric conditions (such as, but not limited to, eating disorder, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia), not stabilized through traditional treatment by a qualified mental health professional are not appropriate for the help offered online and should seek help from such professionals before accessing online services. These patients can, when stabilized by appropriate treatment, benefit from online counseling. Persons who are depressed and thinking of harming themselves or others are also not appropriate for online help and should get help immediately by calling a crisis line, going to the Emergency Room of a hospital, or seeking other immediate help. These patients can, when stabilized by appropriate treatment, also benefit from online counseling Persons who have a pattern of using addictive substances on a daily or almost daily basis need to access face-to-face evaluation and treatment service providers to address possible medical and other problems associated with withdrawal that may accompany physical dependence, before using online services available here.

Limitations 1. By its nature, internet counseling can be interrupted by technological difficulties beyond the control of either the counselor or the client. Before services are provided, the client will be given suggestions for alternative methods for contacting the counselor should disruptions in the client’s service occur (for ex., a public library). The counselor should pledge that should technical difficulties result from his/her personal computer or other internet access, the counselor will have alternative internet access readily available. 2. The visual and auditory cues available during face-to-face counseling are, of course, not available in internet counseling. Therefore, it is vital that both the client and the counselor be diligent in seeking clarification of any communications, as needed. 3. The addictions counselor must at the outset of the counseling relationship help the client to identify local therapists and other treatment providers, including crisis services. 4. The addictions counselor must include safeguards to keep client information confidential and protected from unauthorized access. Client information, including history, diagnosis, treatment recommendations, and progress notes, should be for the counselor’s eyes only. No one else must have access to this information. The information should be retained on a safeguarded CD for one year after the counseling relationship has ended, or for a longer or shorter period of time dictated by the client.

Under the circumstances outlined in this article, online counseling of persons with drug or alcohol abuse or addictions can be effective.

In addition to his law degree, Jan Edward Williams has a Master of Science degree in pastoral counseling, and is a licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor. He has personal and professional experience to aid him in helping persons with alcohol and other drug problems. He is in recovery himself, with over 29 years of continuous sobriety, and has been working in the drug and alcohol field for 27 years. Recently Jan has developed an online drug and alcohol abuse counseling service, called AlcoholDrugSOS Services. This service is aimed at helping persons with drug abuse or addiction problems or alcohol abuse or addiction (alcoholism) problems. His web site is www.alcoholdrugsos.com/, and his e-mail is jwilliams@alcoholdrugsos.com.

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Quit Smoking Lozenges – The Secret to Quit Smoking is Simply Using the Right Supports

August 9, 2006 by  
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Quit Smoking Lozenges – The Secret to Quit Smoking is Simply Using the Right Supports

By Mark Tern

Stop smoking is a difficult task. You are going to encounter any kind of psychological and physical discomfort and this will make you more and more uncomfortable until your decision weakens and you finally restart smoking.

These discomforts can be lightened recurring to appropriate quit smoking products. Quit smoking lozenges are one of such products and a very popular one for many reasons.

A reliable quit smoking product has to satisfy all the following:

* It must be easy to carry with you; quit smoking lozenges are OK as they are in the form of a small candy.
* It must deal with the nicotine addiction symptoms (nervousness, anxiety, sweating, headaches, depression, etc) that make smoking cessation an impossible task for many smokers. Quit smoking lozenges can help you with these. Soon after you start taking the quit smoking lozenges you will discover that your cigarette desire diminishes and so does the nicotine addiction.
* It has to reduce the withdrawal symptoms and especially the cravings. The use of quit smoking lozenges will in fact reduce the cravings (which are may be the hardest part of all).
* It must help you if you are a fast early-day smoker (i.e. you wake up in the morning and then you light up your first cigarette in less than half an hour); quit smoking lozenges are particularly good for these people as most lozenges come in various forms depending on this time-factor.
* Should possibly give you a way to avoid undesired quit smoking effects that are threatening your success. I’m referring especially to weight gain, a typical ex-smokers problem that tends to prevent women to stop smoking. * Quit smoking lozenges are helping you also with this issue, as they will not only keep your mouth busy, but they will reduce your appetite.
* Should be easy to access and buy. The most popular quit smoking lozenges are available at most of the drug stores and in many online shops including Amazon. You can find online promotions to save some money and auxiliary services and support to help you quit smoking.

So quit smoking lozenges are a very good product that supports your quit smoking efforts. You can find a review of other popular quit smoking products at quit-smoking.thesolution2.com/Main/Quit-Smoking-PRODUCT01-W-quit-smoking-product.php.

As usual, remember that quit smoking lozenges (as any other quit smoking products) can help only if you want to match your quit smoking desire with engagement and a change in behaviour. The quick version of this is: “Just decide to stop smoking, do it and stick to it”. Maybe your first week will be terrible but if you survive without your cigarettes, you will discover that it is really not that hard to stop smoking.

Mark Tern is the author of the Quit Smoking Special Report you can get for free at quit-smoking.thesolution2.com/ where you can discover How to Leverage Your 5 Resources to Quit Smoking. Check also his quit smoking blog at quit-smoking-solution.blogspot.com for articles about quit smoking.

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Ricky Williams Suspended

May 4, 2006 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

The Miami Herald reports that RB Ricky Williams is interested in playing for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League. Williams has been suspended by the NFL for violating their Substance Abuse Policy and will miss the entire 2006 season.

[MORE: Ricky Williams | NFL Football at CBS SportsLine.com]
[MORE: Miami Dolphins, Ricky Williams, National Football League – CBS SportsLine.com]

No shortage of methadone say addiction treatment officials

March 16, 2006 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

Last updated Mar 14 2006 09:53 AM EST
CBC News

Methadone treatment centres across Ontario are assuring their patients that there is no shortage of the drug, despite recent fears clinics would run out after two major suppliers were shut down.

Monday was the deadline for two Kitchener-based suppliers to stop shipping methadone to clinics across the province, including to those in Toronto.

The Ontario College of Pharmacists ordered them to cease the shipments after accusing the suppliers of professional misconduct for sending the drug to clinics without appropriate supervision.

Methadone is a drug that is given to patients suffering narcotic addictions. It’s considered the most effective way to treat heroin addiction.

On Tuesday, the Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres (OATC) said there is still an adequate supply of methadone available.

“Published media reports in recent days have indicated that there might be a shortage of methadone for OATC patients,” says a message posted on the OATC website.

“This is not the case. Your methadone prescription will continue to be available as usual.”

OTAC supplies daily doses of methadone to 2,000 people across the province.

Source

Copyright © CBC 2006

Genetic Technologies Reports Breakthrough in the Genetic Basis of Drug Addiction

March 16, 2006 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

3/14/2006 9:24:00 AM EST

Genetic Technologies Limited (“GTG”) (Nasdaq:GENE) (ASX:GTG) is pleased to refer to a “breaking news” item released in London yesterday by BBC News. BBC reported a significant breakthrough had been made in understanding the genetic basis of cocaine addiction, quoting a scientific paper just published online by the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (“PNAS”).

The report announced a genetic variation had been identified which could significantly increase the risk of an individual developing cocaine addiction or dependence. The discovery also validates the logic of a new basis for the design and use of novel drugs to treat cocaine abuse in the future.

The BBC article stated that this research was funded by the British Medical Research Council.

What is especially relevant to GTG stockholders is that this research was in fact co-funded by GTG, that the genetic variations identified by this project are non-coding, that new patents have just been filed on the relevance of these genetic variations to cocaine addition and that GTG has secured world-wide exclusive rights to commercialize these new discoveries. Indeed, this whole project arose from the foresight of King’s College London, who took a license to the GTG non-coding patents in 2004.

This project is yet another example of the original GTG non-coding patents today spawning new research, new discoveries and new patents and creating new opportunities for GTG into the future.

By way of further background information, the UN Office for Drug Control estimates the number of illegal drug users now exceeds 150 million worldwide. However, other studies suggest this is an under-estimate. Until now, the global pharmaceutical industry has not made treatment of substance abuse a priority. The current market is estimated to exceed US$1.1 billion, and is expected to grow to US$1.3 billion by 2008. Industry experts see this market as having great potential. It is also an area where fundamental patents are likely to prove extremely valuable, especially when combined with new genetic testing methods (genotyping), which will permit cheap and efficient whole genome scanning for susceptibility to cocaine addition.

About Genetic Technologies Limited

Genetic Technologies was an early pioneer in recognizing important new applications for “non-coding” DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid). The Company has since been granted patents in 24 countries around the world, securing intellectual property rights for particular uses of non-coding DNA in genetic analysis and gene mapping across all genes in all multicellular species. Its three-pronged business strategy includes: 1) the global commercialization of its patents through an active licensing program; 2) the expansion of its dominant commercial genetic testing business in Australia; and, 3) the commercialization of its various research and development projects aimed at generating further intellectual property of global commercial significance.

This announcement may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934 with respect to the financial condition, results and business achievements/performance of Genetic Technologies Limited and certain of the plans and objectives of its management. These statements are statements that are not historical facts. Words such as “should,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “believes” or similar expressions, as they relate to Genetic Technologies Limited, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty because they reflect Genetic Technologies’ current expectations and assumptions as to future events and circumstances that may not prove accurate. There is no guarantee that the expected events, trends or results will actually occur. Any changes in such assumptions or expectations could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.

CONTACT:
Genetic Technologies Limited Dr. Mervyn Jacobson or Tom Howitt, +61-3-9415-1135 tom.howitt@gtg.com.au www.gtg.com.au or Investor Relations Contacts: Lippert/Heilshorn & Associates Kim Sutton Golodetz / Lisa Lindberg, 212-838-3777 kgolodetz@lhai.com / llindberg@lhai.com or Bruce Voss, 310-691-7100 bvoss@lhai.com www.lhai.com

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© 2006 Genetic Engineering News, All Rights Reserved

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.