Grieving the End of Addiction

Maureen MurdockAddiction2 Comments

This is a guest post by Helen Jenkins about the stages of grief experienced by some who give up an addiction When we force a loved one in rehabilitation to immediately be happy or pick up where they left off, we deny them the right to grieve. Systemic therapist, Lindsay Kramer, notes that drug use can be intimate in nature: … Read More

Surgeon General: Addiction is a Disease of the Brain, Not a Moral Weakness

Maureen MurdockAddiction1 Comment

Remember the 1964 Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health that first linked cigarettes to cancer? Well, even if you don’t, it led to a successful national campaign against tobacco use. Yesterday, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued a call for a cultural shift in how we think about addiction in his 426 page report “Facing Addiction in America.” In it, … Read More

Four Traits that Put Kids at Risk for Addiction

Maureen MurdockAddiction, Adolescence1 Comment

On Tuesday, voters approved the legalization of marijuana in California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and most likely in Maine, although that may face a recount. I did not support the initiative to legalize pot in California because I have seen too many students lose their edge and ambition as a result of heavy pot use and become passive zombies. Maia Szalavits, author … Read More

Smaller than a Snowflake

Maureen MurdockAddiction5 Comments

A synthetic drug called carfentanil, in an amount smaller than a snowflake, is killing people. More than 200 people in the Cincinnati area have overdosed on the drug in the last three weeks leaving 3 people dead. Similar overdoses have occurred in Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and the Gulf coast of Florida overwhelming ambulance crews and emergency rooms. Carfentanil is … Read More

CDC Takes Action to Stem Deaths from Drug Overdoses

Maureen MurdockAddiction4 Comments

addiction and prescription drugs

There is an epidemic of deaths from drug overdoses in nearly every county across the U.S. driven by an increase in addiction to both prescription painkillers like OxyCondin, Vicodin and Percocet as well as heroin. The number of these deaths reached 47,055 people in 2014, equivalent to 125 Americans everyday. West Virginia, which has many blue-collar workers who tend to … Read More

Drug Overdoses for Young Whites an Epidemic: Police Chief’s Solution

Maureen MurdockAddiction, Criminal Justice System13 Comments

young woman contemplating syringe

The mortality rates for heart disease, HIV and cancer have decreased for young whites aged 25-34 while drug related deaths due to both oxycontin and heroin have skyrocketed. At the same time, the death rate for young blacks due to overdoses is falling. Young whites death rates for overdoses for both illegal and prescription drugs are the highest since the … Read More

Heroin: The Worst Drug Overdose Epidemic in United States History

Maureen MurdockAddiction19 Comments

Graph of increase in heroin deaths and overdoses

Addiction to heroin, and deaths from heroin overdoses has gained much needed attention from the public, legislators and law enforcement. Why? Nearly 90% of those who tried heroin for the first time in the last decade were white. Deaths from heroin use rose to 8,260 in 2013, quadruple that of 2000. New Hampshire is one of the hardest hit states; … Read More

De-Stigmatizing Methadone Treatment

Maureen MurdockAddiction11 Comments

Methadone chemical composition

We are being told that there’s a heroin epidemic in the United States that is killing scores of young people. The Midwest has become one of the hot spots of heroin use where it’s as easy to order it with your cell phone as it is to order pizza. Part of the reason there’s an increase of opiate use is … Read More

Overdose Deaths from Pills and Heroin Surpass Traffic Fatalities

Maureen MurdockAddiction8 Comments

Did you know that overdose deaths from pills and heroin now surpass traffic fatalities? Isn’t that astounding? If this is true, we are in the middle of our worst drug plague ever, apart from cigarettes and alcohol. How has this happened? Part of the reason you haven’t read about this before is that the victims are mostly young, white, well-off, … Read More

The Aftermath of California’s Prop. 47

Maureen MurdockAddiction, Criminal Justice System14 Comments

The passage of Proposition 47 in California reduced felonies for low-level crimes like drug possession to misdemeanors thereby decreasing prison time from several years to up to a year in jail instead. The intention of Prop. 47 was to use the money saved from incarcerating drug offenders to rehabilitating them in programs for both substance abuse and mental illness. Nearly … Read More

Yoga and Addiction Recovery

Maureen MurdockAddiction, Criminal Justice System8 Comments

Prisoners doing yoga

I have been taking a yoga class in Santa Barbara from Mike Lewis, an instructor in recovery who also volunteers as a yoga instructor for inmates in the Santa Barbara County jail. As I have written before, Governor Brown has reduced the funding for rehabilitation classes in California’s jails and prisons so services such as yoga to help inmates deal … Read More

Fixing Our Criminal Justice System

Maureen MurdockAddiction, Criminal Justice System8 Comments

Photo of man behind bars and scales of justice

Bill Keller of the New York Times recently wrote an opinion piece entitled “America on Probation” about the current effort to fix our criminal justice system. It’s about time because our prisons are an international disgrace. The following are some of the remedies he cited: Sentencing: The 70’s crack epidemic set off a binge of punitive sentencing laws which resulted in … Read More