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What is Trending in Sober News?

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at July 20, 2016

A lot of press across the board within the Substance Use Disorder and recovery housing space. Here is what is trending lately:

1. Recovering addicts talk to law enforcement about addiction

The Winchester police chief wanted to show his officers “the face of addiction”

Friday marked the end of a week-long effort by a local police chief to show his officers that those who are drug addicts can become productive members of the community – as long as they get the proper care.

“Enough with the drugs! Let’s do something different; let’s try to reevaluate how we can come together and how we can really make a difference. Instead of talking about it, let’s do something about it,” said pastor Bradley Hill.

Hill said he’s impressed with Winchester’s police chief, Kevin Sanzenbacher’s efforts to answer that call.

Hill was one of the last three recovering addicts invited to the Winchester Police Department to tell his story to officers, and show them that there’s person behind an addiction.

“We’re trying to get our officers to understand that it’s our job, when they’re in that tunnel to give them some help, and sometimes that help means arresting them,” Sanzenbacher said.

2. Our Opioid Crisis Reveals Deep Racial Bias In Addiction Treatment

Congress passed last Wednesday (7/13/16) the most sweeping comprehensive drug addiction legislation in decades, which, among other things, expands prevention, seeks alternatives to jail, and calls on prisons to treat its addicted inmates—a far cry from the militarized over-policing, Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign and the iron-fisted mandatory minimum sentencing laws the federal government doled out to poor, black crack users back then.

Researchers, by and large, have refrained from making any conclusions about the effects of prenatal opioid use.

Deeply conservative states, like Alabama and Tennessee, which have historically led on the criminalization of pregnant women’s drug use, are now abolishing or softening punitive policies in favor of treatment.

We haven’t seen—nor will we ever—an entire generation of white babies be regarded as criminals-in-waiting.

More important, even prosecutors and police officers, like former undercover detective Eric Adams of New Hampshire, who once viewed addicts solely as problems to be locked up, suddenly think they’re “people” who “have a purpose in life.”

3. Palm Beach County (FL) State attorney’s sober home task force focuses on four areas

Armed with $275,000 and a legislative mandate, State Attorney Dave Aronberg on Thursday welcomed his task force charged with finding ways to clean up the sober home industry.

The task force of prosecutors, lawyers, doctors and industry operators met Tuesday and Thursday, with an eye on four key areas: regulation, clarifying existing law and reconsidering sober home policies and marketing approaches. Its final report is due at year’s end.

Nearly all participants agree that Florida’s Department of Children and Families, which oversees drug treatment centers, doesn’t have the resources to do it adequately. Instead, the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration, which licenses health care facilities, is widely considered the most appropriate department for the job. The task force will look at whether a change can be made.

But the industry wants that cleared up, too. Attorney Jeffrey Lynne said licensed interventionists are worried about how they can be paid for their work without violating patient-brokering laws.

“That’s what their job is, to do intake and where to place someone,” Lynne said. “Their whole profession has been tainted by this concept of marketing.”

4. Change in Utah law is cleaning up the substance abuse treatment industry
More than 120 adult substance abuse treatment centers in Utah have received provisional certification from the state to ensure patients and their families that they provide high-quality services.

At least 46 programs that treat adolescents are also in the process of obtaining certification.

“I think we have a lot of work to do to help the public understand what effective treatment looks like,” Brent Kelsey, assistant director at the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, told the Health Reform Task Force on Thursday. “It’s very difficult to know where to send someone for help when you don’t understand that addiction is a brain disease and that medications are important.”

5. Texas Tech student deaths bring focus to substance abuse in the community

For students struggling with substance abuse problems, the lack of routine upon entering college increases boredom, which in turn heightens the potential for drug use or relapse, said George Comiskey, associate director for external relations for the Texas Tech Center of Collegiate Recovery Communities,

Agreeing with this statement, Lubbock area medical and law enforcement professionals weighed in on opioid dependency in the region and offered input on how to get help.

For a local man, Comiskey’s statements also hold true as he said his recovery has thrived due to structure.

Sitting in an office, “William,” who agreed to talk with A-J Media anonymously due to his new found sobriety, described what he called the irony of speaking out on addiction in Lubbock.

“Here we are talking about the stigma,” William said, “and I can’t even use my real name.”

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