Canadian Doctors Taking Unconventional Approach to Combat Drug Addiction
Once drug addiction takes control of someone’s life, it’s extremely difficult to combat. Anyone who has experienced dependency on drugs, or who has been close to someone who struggles with those issues can attest to how debilitating drugs can be.
While there has been great advancement in how addiction is viewed and treated, more research and treatments still need to be done to find the most effective approaches. The discovery of how closely linked mental illness and drug abuse is has helped pave the way for more effective treatments of co-existing disorders.
More and more, addiction experts are beginning to realize they need to treat the person and not just the disorder to find the best results. In Canada, doctors are taking this a step further by taking an unconventional approach to combatting drug addiction.
These approaches may be extremely controversial, and once again highlight people’s complicated relationship with drugs and finding the most relevant treatments.
Helping Or Hurting?
Traditional wisdom when it comes to drug addiction, particularly dangerous drugs like heroin or cocaine, is that an addict needs to completely detox before able to truly be on one’s way to becoming sober. When someone is genuinely trying to become drug-free, it’s been believed that all associations of the drug must be stopped to avoid relapsing.
While police officers in San Francisco are reducing their focus on drug-related offenses, doctors in Canada are taking an even more radical approach to drug treatment. They are implementing a program where people who are seriously addicted to heroin may be medically prescribed heroin by medical professionals.
The reasoning behind this program is that they are trying to find another way to treat chronic addicts who have failed to respond favorably to other more traditional types of drug treatments. This leads the way for a new type of thinking about drug-related issues, which is that serious drug addicts won’t benefit from prison, but may benefit from drug programs and treatments targeted at people who have failed to respond to other types of treatments.
Reducing Drug-Related Crimes
Another benefit that comes from this type of treatment is the belief that these types of programs reduces the amount of drug-related crimes that may happen. Instead of being reduced to robbery or other petty crimes that may eventually lead to violence, by being under a regulated program where they are distributed heroin there won’t be as much crime.
There may be other benefits to these types of programs, which claim that people who take part are more likely to keep the same job, not be homeless, and removes the stigma that traditionally surrounds people who have become addicted to illegal drugs. The belief is that by reducing the stigma associated with these drugs people will be more willing to seek treatment, and thus more likely to be able to lead a more normal life, that will keep them away from committing drug-related crimes and becoming homeless.
While initially these types of treatment programs were banned by the health minister of Canada, Rona Ambrose, the treatments are now legal. Although this will continue to be a very controversial type of approach to drug treatment, it seems like slowly but surely attitudes towards drug addiction and how to treat it are changing.
Instead of jail as always being the first solution, a more treatment based type of viewpoint is being applied to drug addicts. And people who advocate for these types of treatments claim that society will also be helped, with less drug addicts falling through the cracks, and able to find ways to lead more productive lives even within the confines of a drug addiction. While only a small number of people are legally prescribed heroin, if it proves to yield positive results, the numbers may grow.