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Harvard Health Blog
Safe injection sites and reducing the stigma of addiction
- By Scott Weiner, MD, Contributor
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My views on addiction changed when I became addicted to opiates in 2007. I was fortunate in that my drug addiction only lasted 3 years ending in 2010. I may not be addicted to opiates any more, but I will always be an addict. That said my views on addiction and my judgments of addicts changed with my addiction. Using substances at first may be a choice, but at some point it changes and it becomes a physical and psychological need. Addicts need compassion and understanding non judgment and criticism. I am with Dr. Weiner, 11 years ago I would disagree that SIFs were part of the solution. So far some interventions have helped some people but we still have a long way to go.
There is NO comparison between Juvenile Diabetes and Substance Abuse Disorder. As a parent of an 18th month old child diagnosed with Type I Diabetes, is a nightmare at the thought of missing or not adhering strict regimen of 24 hours vigilant monitoring of constant fluctuating blood sugar level and balancing it with the correct dosages, activities, food intake (calorie counts) and illnesses (minor cold, plain diarrhea).
My child will die or have permanent brain damage if I don’t or miss any strict life sustaining regimen. The permanent damage of the pancreas, his only available option is the INJECTION and poking fingers for blood sugar level (thank GOD for new innovations).
Substance abuse I get it – TO FEEL GOOD VS to sustaining life.
How on earth would you compare between the 2 diagnosis.
Not to start a debate, but that is one of the misconceptions about addiction, that most do it “to feel good”. At first it may, but it doesn’t last long. Then the use is simply a way to not feel sick. I cannot speak for Dr. Weiner, but I do not think he is comparing addiction as a disease to diabetes as a disease, that is apples to oranges. I think more it is about people’s perception of what addiction is and how it is treated/viewed as a society today.
Please consider an opposing view from a nurse who has been in the trenches since 1982.
brianne fitzgerald NP, MPH
Thank you for sharing this interesting piece. I’d encourage everyone to read Ms. Fitzgerald’s article as well. Lots of good thoughts/ideas. I think we’re in agreement that we need to be creative and bold if we’re going to save lives.
I was addicted to heroin for 20 years. I never injected it but it still changed my life in many ways. I now have 27 years clean thanks to treatment and AA. I think a SIF is a good idea and methadone patients should be watched too. I was on a minimum methadone dose and it almost killed me twice. Any exposure we can give addicts to treatment options should be implemented. THANK YOU to the Doctors, professionals and recovering ex-addicts who help all the people who need recovery.
Very enlightening piece. For some further context on the subject please see my article from September of last year https://healthcareinamerica.us/opioid-crisis-the-u-s-b1796c671427
Safe Injection Facilities (SIF) and related services are an effective and practical model towards addressing substance use and associated problems. Research indicates that SIFs are credited with a reduction in community problems related to injection drug use such as public drug use and littering of needles , reduction in overdose related mortality, and a reduction in communicable disease transmission. In addition, SIFs have facilitated and improved access to ongoing addiction treatment. SIFs actually reduce drug use and addiction.
Great, it is helpful for the addicts. It does not cure them but it has reduced harm. If I may there are currently no sure way to treat any addictions effectively by any government programs, medical treatment, law enforcement and even family counseling. Because one need someone that is higher and greater than the one of the world. I know of at least one preacher who has helped thousands of addicts on TV channels freely and effortlessly. His message is also available on his own website every day and on Youtube. His following are from different countries and his Facebook is almost 4 millions. Main thing is it work for those families.
Hi, i’m christopher hannah from orlando florida. my son grew from taking spice to becoming an addict to “flakka”.he goes insane acting like a zombie. looking possessed.Destroying properties of our neighbors and slamming his body on my husband’s car. seeking to devour or destroy anything that comes his way. we had to lock him inside his room till he tries to get a hold of himself. whenever he feels like taking them he steals from me or sells some of my property.this made him move with bad peers. this got my husband and i worried and disturbed knowing his state of mind. fortunately i came across a testimony of a mother who had similar issue with her husband until he got prayed for by diviner peterson of newgracefoundation. i also contacted him for prayers. now my son is doing fine in less than a week after he got prayed for by diviner peterson. he is totally free from flakka and spice. i’m so glad and urge anyone facing similar or any problem at all to also contact him for prayers via email address:email@example.comHola,
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