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

Caretaking: Is Taking Action Helpful or Harmful?

Maureen MurdockAddiction, Mental Illness11 Comments

I have been to many NAMI and Al-Anon meetings over the years that were attended primarily by mothers and grandmothers dealing with their son’s or daughter’s mental illness and/or addiction. I’ve always wondered why there were so few fathers in attendance. Were they afraid to acknowledge their child had a problem? In general, it seems that mothers take on the … Read More

Addiction is a Disease Not a Moral Failure

Maureen MurdockAddiction7 Comments

The best way to reduce the stigma of addiction is to recognize it is a disease and treat it as such. One of the reasons parents like myself find our child’s addiction so bewildering is because of the changes in their behavior. From seemingly well-adjusted, happy, fun-loving children they become deceptive, manipulative and dishonest adolescents and young adults. Every parent … Read More

Treatment is Not the End, It’s the Beginning

Maureen MurdockAddiction, Mental Illness3 Comments

Drug Rehabilitation

William Cope Moyers, son of Bill and Judith Moyers, struggled with addiction to alcohol and drugs for 15 years and has written an excellent book on recovery entitled “Now What? An Insider’s Guide to Addiction and Recovery” reviewed by Jane E. Brody in The New York Times. When he gave up trying to get clean “his own way” he finally … Read More