Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Helping Heroin Addicts Heal and Thrive
This week I was planning on continuing thoughts on reading in the Summer until I heard Senator Rob Portman from Ohio on a news show about his Anti-Heroin Bill. He was discussing the travesty of ruined lives and negative impact on families and society from the scourge of heroin addiction. I was glad to see that his bipartisan bill, The Comprehensive Addiction & Recovery Act (S. 524) was passed 94-1.
In the report on the bill passage the purpose is stated to:
•Expand prevention and educational efforts—particularly aimed at teens, parents and other caretakers—to prevent the abuse of opioids and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery.
•Make naloxone more widely available to law enforcement agencies and other first responders to help in the reversal of overdoses to save lives.
•Provide resources to promptly identify and more effectively treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction disorders.
•Increase the number of disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of our children and adolescents.
•Launch an evidence-based opioid and heroin treatment and interventions program and promote treatment best practices throughout the country.
•Strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs to help states monitor and track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals access services.
(From -- www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=press-releases&id=642FECC3-DF06-4D8D-8E21-A54624B7F347 )
In my book, Living More Than OK, I share the importance of seeking natural highs instead of quick drug induced highs. Drugs like heroin offer a quick get away from the problems of life and quick good feelings which our impulsive society pushes on young people. What is hidden from young people is the downward spiral into larger problems that occur through drug use.
In my book I promote a group out of California called Natural High. I promote it in my blog as well. I will again do a shout out about it now. I have used their website naturalhigh.org with counseling teen clients who are becoming involved with drugs. Their videos of successful people who enjoy a natural high is often eye opening to them. I use their videos as well with my college students. Again it opens eyes up to that there is more to enjoying life than ingesting drugs.
Check out this video from their site about one of my favorite bands, Switchfoot. Here is the link -- http://naturalhigh.org/video/switchfoot-grammy-award-winner-2-2/ . In the video the lead singer Jon Foreman reminds us that Natural Highs are not about saying no to drugs but saying yes to positive passions in one’s life. This reminds me of Dr. William Glasser’s concept of positive addictions. In his writings Dr. Glasser reminded us that it is not good enough to help someone stop a negative addiction but instead to find a positive addiction for the person to inculcate into their lifestyle. I also like Drew’s comment of how no one on drugs will say drugs were the best decision in my life. When I went to 12 step program when I volunteered at a drug center in Brownsville no one praised how being addicted to drugs helped them and their families. Instead they shared personal pain and family pain drugs had caused.
I am thankful for resources across the country that are dedicated to help those who are battling drug addiction. One I would like to mention is The Ranch at Clear Springs near Waco, Texas. Their website is www.clearspringsranch.com You can look at their website to see the services such centers provide. Every state has such centers and they need to be promoted for their help of people struggling with addiction. I wanted to give Clear Springs a shout out as the Director is Kito Holtzman, who I was privileged to have as a professor when I took my Drug Counseling course for my Masters in Counseling, at University of Texas at Brownsville, (now University of Texas Rio Grande Valley). Kito had and still has a passion for helping alcohol and drug addicts stop the downward spiral so they can spiral up to a better life.
Going back to the Portman bill it is good to see when politicians get it right. I just hope the follow through from Washington, helps in a practical manner. We all though need to be involved in promoting natural highs to help end the scourge of drugs on our country. If you know school counselors let them know about the organization, Natural High. If you have family or friends struggling with addiction let them know they can find treatment centers to be of help in moving in a positive direction.
Reflection: What is your natural high? You can have more than one. Mine are reading, music, and hiking. Watching the Natural High videos is there a new natural high you would like to try out?