“‘Force is the Best Medicine’: How America Overdosed on Drug Courts”

by Maia Szalavitz:...If doctors were to deviate this far from the standard of care in treating patients, they would face malpractice judgments and, in extreme cases, criminal prosecution. But drug court judges face no such accountability, even though they generally acknowledge that addiction is a disease and make final decisions on which treatments are permitted. “A judge’s decisions cannot be mucked about with unless they’re illegal or a total abuse of discretion,” says Peggy Hora, a retired … [Read more...]

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Hi, I’m Stercorius and I’m an Addict

HI STERCORIUS.I was in Russian class, trying to describe a character from a movie I watched recently. "Он наркоман," I said--he's a drug addict."Он страдает от наркомании," my teacher corrected me. He suffers from addiction.I was reminded of being at last year's Harm Reduction Conference, where you'd sometimes hear about the need to stop saying "addict" and start saying "person struggling with drugs," or similar variations. At first I was all, Oh come on, please let me speak English a … [Read more...]

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“Sublime Recovery and Banal Recovery”: I’m in AmCon

sketching: This week I’m preparing to go to the 10th National Harm Reduction Conference (which I’ll be reporting on for TAC), and also reading for the first time David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. The conference and the novel offer strikingly different narratives of addiction and recovery–both of which are gaining cultural ground in different ways. more … [Read more...]

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“Most People With Addiction Simply Grow Out of It–Why Is This Widely Denied?”: Maia Szalavitz

because it's boring? But no, this is a great reason for both friends and governments not to immediately leap to, "Maybe you have a problem and need help," when somebody has their first realization that they have maybe strayed into 1 Party 2 Many territory. I've made the over-interventiony mistake at least once (I think it's fairly normal for those of us who actually did need to completely quit drinking/using) so it's worth keeping in mind that most people who think, "Whoa okay, I need to get it … [Read more...]

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“The New York Times’s Coverage of Other Drugs Still Doesn’t Cut It”: Maia Szalavitz

at Substance.com: ...Schwarz goes on to describe how deputy/pharmacist Logan sometimes actually jumps over the counter and arrests people “on the spot” if they come to one of his stores with a forged or otherwise illegitimate prescription. That’s a real health-care pro in action!And throughout, Schwarz tells the story of one of Logan’s arrests, describing a sobbing mother—the one he’d holstered his guns and put on his bulletproof vest to go out and arrest—now in jail. She was charged with “d … [Read more...]

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“Ten Ways Addiction Is Different in America”: The Invaluable Maia Szalavitz

at Substance: We Americans like to think of ourselves as exceptional, the land of the free and the home of the brave, the City on the Hill and all that. When it comes to the politics and culture of drugs, we are indeed special—or at least dramatically different from the rest of the Western world. Too often, however, we are special for the wrong reasons. more … [Read more...]

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“This Is the Beginning of the End of the War on Drugs”: Maia Szalavitz

at the intriguing new site Substance: For anyone interested in addiction and drug policy, the last year or so has been the most fascinating period in recent memory. Having kicked heroin and cocaine in 1988 and written about the subject ever since, I can’t remember a time when public opinion and actual policy have changed so quickly—and in such a rational direction.I’m not just talking about marijuana—although the fact that the Obama administration has allowed two states (Colorado and Washing … [Read more...]

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