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Unread 02-06-2015, 03:18 PM   #1
NancyB
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Default Federal Government Set To Crack Down On Drug Courts That Fail Addicts

This is really great news!
Thank you jimash55 for sending it to me!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/0...n_6625864.html

WASHINGTON -- The federal government is cracking down on drug courts that refuse to let opioid addicts access medical treatments such as Suboxone, said Michael Botticelli, acting director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, on Thursday.

Drug courts that receive federal dollars will no longer be allowed to ban the kinds of medication-assisted treatments that doctors and scientists view as the most effective care for opioid addicts, Botticelli announced in a conference call with reporters.

"Part of what we've been working on at the federal level is to strengthen our contractual language around those grants," he said. The new language will "show that if you are getting federal dollars that you need to make sure that people, one, have access to these medications [and two], that we’re not basically making people go off these medications, particularly as a participant of drug court."

Botticelli said the drug czar’s office would coordinate with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to make sure the policy had the broadest impact.

"We've made that clear: If they want our federal dollars, they cannot do that," said Pamela Hyde, SAMHSA’s administrator. "We are trying to make it clear that medication-assisted treatment is an appropriate approach to opioids.”

Last week, a Huffington Post investigative story on the heroin epidemic reported that drug courts in Kentucky forced addicts off medications like Suboxone as part of a statewide court policy. Defendants who wish to participate in Kentucky’s drug court program, which can defer prison sentences and place individuals in treatment, may only seek abstinence-based treatment.

Suboxone is a semi-synthetic opioid that eliminates an addict’s cravings, largely prevents overdoses and, if used properly, does it without causing intoxication. Its use to combat heroin and other opioid addiction is widely endorsed by the medical establishment. But many courts are uncomfortable with letting heroin users take such medication.

"It sounds terrible, but I don’t give them a choice. This is the structure that I'm comfortable with," Judge Karen Thomas, who handles felony drug court in Campbell County, Kentucky, told The Huffington Post. (Watch an interview with Thomas above.)

Thomas said her defendants relapse between 10 and 15 times; many of them end up back behind bars. In Northern Kentucky in 2013, a majority of opioid addicts who died from overdoses lost their lives shortly after leaving jail or after having at least some experience with an abstinence-based program, a HuffPost analysis found. Meanwhile, heroin addicts in the region -- and across the country -- face waiting lists to get medications like Suboxone.

"As the Huffington Post article pointed out, we have highly effective medications, when combined with other behavioral supports, that are the standard of care for the treatment of opiate addiction. And for a long time and what continues to this day is a lack of -- a tremendous amount of misunderstanding about these drugs and particularly within our criminal justice system," Botticelli said on the call.

In addition to the bias against opioid-based treatment, federal restrictions play a key role in limiting access to Suboxone in many areas of the country. Doctors must be certified to prescribe Suboxone and are barred from treating more than 100 patients at a time -- and the Drug Enforcement Administration is watching.

A prosecutor in Ohio told HuffPost on Thursday that "whether we permit Suboxone use or not [by defendants] is irrelevant if no local doctor is willing or able to prescribe it. And our clinicians feel that Suboxone is unlikely to be effective in this community with the lack of integration in the health care system. Even if we were to allow participants [in drug court] to use Suboxone, there would have to be significant structural changes before it would be recommended."

In Minnesota, state Sen. Chris Eaton (D), whose daughter died of a heroin overdose in 2007, is trying to make such state-level changes legislatively. To get movement on the federal level, she said she plans to talk to Minnesota's two U.S. senators.

A spokesman for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, elaborating on Botticelli’s initiative, said that applicants for drug court grants will be required to affirm that they will allow access to medications such as Suboxone and will not force defendants to ween off the medication as a condition of participating in court programs.

The drug courts, he said, will be provided the following notice: "Under no circumstances may a drug court judge, other judicial official, correctional supervision officer, or any other staff connected to the identified drug court deny the use of these medications when made available to the client under the care of a properly authorized physician and pursuant to a valid prescription and under the conditions described above."

The federal policy tying funding to access may not affect all of Kentucky’s drug courts. They're mostly funded by the state, according to Leigh Anne Hiatt, a spokeswoman for Kentucky's Administrative Office of the Courts. She noted that a few counties, however, have received some federal funding for their drug courts.
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Unread 02-06-2015, 07:02 PM   #2
jenm
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So happy to hear this!! Although it does not affect me directly, I am so grateful for those that it does. Jenm
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Unread 02-06-2015, 08:08 PM   #3
gotoffmdone
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The fear of jail and even going to jail does not stop most who are addicted to opiates from using. Jail does not address underlying problems and does not stop cravings. You cannot scare addiction out of folks.. In jail addicts usually come away with even more drug related contacts.

I just wish the affordable care act legislated that providers of Sub or Methadone had to take a person's insurance and, thus, satisfy the financial desires of the Drs by raising the patient limit. More people could access treatment and the Drs could satisfy their cravings as well.

wayne
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Unread 02-07-2015, 09:02 PM   #4
maxxx
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Default Federal Government Set To Crack Down On Drug Courts That Fail Addicts

Wow, This is great news.It seems the tideis slowly turning. The article lastweek may have been the Best work written on Sub treatment and this countrys view on recovery..

the changes are loug over due. Meds and other recovery tools can keep an opiate addict in remission. ..max
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Unread 02-08-2015, 03:34 PM   #5
theswan
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Glad to hear it. The hatred of addicted people is still a major issue. I am sad to say one of the worse places for this perception is in treatment. Many counselors look down at the lowly addict as "less then" or at least until the get some "clean time under their belt" this holds true in 12 step groups to some degree (in some groups a great degree)

I admit I had some of this bias as well early in recovery but at least my excuse was a lack of sobriety to see the truth.

Now extend this bias to judges who well, judge! and of course they can have a very low opinion and see the addicted as "less then"

I have worked in treatment and volunterred in treatment and as far as opioid recovery goes-suboxone is hands down the best! I do not begrudge anyone's method of recovery but for ease of both detox and maintainence, sub works!

I think in time it will be the number one treatment but I also fear there is fear of change in the field and it may take time

Glen
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Unread 02-08-2015, 05:25 PM   #6
gotoffmdone
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see a drunk walking down the street and people snicker hear of someone popping pills and they whisper how is it the most abused drug in the world got so socially acceptable and fashionable not to mention the havoc it wreaks in car crashes by killing or maiming innocent lives I would ride with a person who took a pain pill before getting in the car with a drunk any day

STIGMA kills just as easily as alcohol

wayne
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Unread 02-09-2015, 10:05 AM   #7
justright
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We have a judge doing Drug court that doesn't allow MAT and i think he should be charged with manslaughter! So many have died trying to avoid prison with abstinence where suboxone or even methadone could have given them a chance to get their life in order. With addiction counseling and accountability I believe many would have been able to live long enough to change their life. I understand not everyone would change for the better but taking away or not allowing MAT is a crime in itself IMO.
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Unread 02-16-2015, 11:05 AM   #8
maxxx
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Default Federal Government Set To Crack Down On Drug Courts That Fail Addicts

It will take time,to much time,for those in power to see how this treatment works. Our country has been doing this one way for so very loug that what doesn't work for the many is the norm. A Goto said, STIGMA does kill ,we have all seen it. Hopefully our new US drug czar will help show the way aloug with places like HAZELTON, BETTY FORD,and the trickel down effect that those two giants could give.
I Hate the Stigma of all of this...
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Unread 02-19-2015, 08:20 PM   #9
NancyB
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jimash55 sent this pdf link to me to add to this post:

Legality of Denying Access to Medication Assisted Treatment In the Criminal Justice System

http://lac.org/wp-content/uploads/20..._12-1-2011.pdf

Thanks Jim!

Nancy
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Important disclaimer: Any information in this post is not and does not constitute medical advice under any circumstances. Addiction Survivors, Inc. does not warranty or guarantee the accurateness, completeness, adequacy or currency of the information contained in or linked to the Site. Your use of information on the Site or materials linked to the Site is entirely at your own risk. NEVER take any online advice over that of a qualified healthcare provider. Any information contained on AddictionSurvivors.org should only serve to inspire further investigation with credible, verifiable references sources such as your physician or therapist.
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