During the Uprising in Baltimore, police said more than 27 pharmacies and two methadone clinics were looted for pain medications and other prescription drugs. City officials estimate that, as a result of looting, there are now more than 175,000 doses of prescription pain medications available for black market purchase.
In cities and suburbs across America, we are seeing the dire consequences of increases in opioid use, and national leaders are clamoring for answers. Addiction does not differentiate between the young or old, black or white, working class or white-collar professional.
One of the Open Society Institute-Baltimore’s first priorities when we opened our doors in 1998 was to make certain that anyone who needed drug addiction treatment was able to get it—whether or not they had health insurance.
Maryland’s preparation for the full implementation of health care reform on January 1, 2014 offers an exciting opportunity to make significant changes to our substance abuse treatment system. Open Society Institute-Baltimore and our grantees have spent many hours working to ensure that comprehensive substance abuse services are part of the essential health benefits in Maryland. This is an enormous step forward and will undoubtedly increase the number of individuals who are able to access substance abuse treatment next year.
You’ve probably heard about the term “gateway drug.” Generally, the theory posits, a gateway drug is the first drug a person takes that then leads them on the way to “harsher” drugs and ultimately leads the way to addiction. Recently, a report was published in the Journal of School Health concluding that alcohol is the new gateway drug, displacing marijuana from this infamous label.
The White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy last year came out with the report Epidemic: Responding to America’s Prescription Drug Abuse Crisis. Its four central recommendations focused on education, tracking and monitoring, proper medication disposal, and enforcement. This is another glaring example of our 100 years of failed drug policy. Supply reduction has not worked and will not work. If this new “crisis” is truly an epidemic, then there should be a health response to it.
Addiction is truly a brain disease and not simply a behavior that someone can stop automatically. It is neurochemically driven, and not due to “moral weakness” or lack of “will power.” Unfortunately, it is one of the few chronic diseases where normally caring health care providers treat patients poorly because of misguided notions like “it’s their own fault, they should just stop using drugs.”
Health Care for the Homeless was pleased last month to release a new report exploring the relationships among homelessness, incarceration, and re-entry in Baltimore. Student interns, HCH staff, and dozens of people who have themselves experienced homelessness and incarceration spent long hours listening to more than 400 men and women who had been released from jail or prison within the past ten years.
In 1982, Betty Ford founded the nation’s first licensed addiction hospital, the Betty Ford Center, saying publicly about her own addiction at the time, “This is not a lack of willpower; this is a disease.” Nearly 30 years later, the medical world finally seems to be putting that revolutionary view into practice. In July, 10 […]
If you have big goals for significant and lasting change in Baltimore, you need to be audacious. But in addition, you have to partner with patience and persistence—and with the many others in our city who share the vision of opportunity for all. So our goals for 2011 are the same as they have been […]