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An Open Letter To Russell Brand… | Students for Sensible Drug Policy UK

An Open Letter To Russell Brand… | Students for Sensible Drug Policy UK | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
Dear Russell, Having watched your recent BBC documentary End the Drugs War, we felt that it was necessary to address some of the points and messages
Shaun Shelly's insight:

This is a great open letter and should be read by all.

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Of Course Marijuana Addiction Exists. And It's (Almost) All in Your Head. - Substance.com

Of Course Marijuana Addiction Exists. And It's (Almost) All in Your Head. - Substance.com | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
The polarized legalization debate leads to exaggerated claims and denials about pot's potential harms. The truth lies in between.
Shaun Shelly's insight:

Again Maia and I are on the same page: I commented on the recent Substance article “Ten Things that headlines say are addictive as Heroin and Cocaine”: “Well, on one level all these things can be as addictive as cocaine and heroin. Or rather the headline should say heroin could be as addictive as falling in love….. After all, it is not drugs that cause addiction. They may differ in levels of toxicity and risk of forming a dependence, but that is not addiction. Anything can be as addictive as anything else – depends on the life experience of the individual and their relationship with that drug or activity.”

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'I like the way MDMA gives you a deep sense of connection to your friends'

'I like the way MDMA gives you a deep sense of connection to your friends' | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
An anonymous drug user reveals why he regularly takes cocaine and ecstasy, and says it is time to talk honestly about the pleasures - and perils - of drugs
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Can moderation join abstinence as an addiction therapy? | Lifestyle

Can moderation join abstinence as an addiction therapy? | Lifestyle | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
Shaun Shelly's insight:

Great article about the work of Adi Jaffe and Marc Kern. I think their approach makes a lot of sense.

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Addiction Information: Myths of Addiction

Addiction Information: Myths of Addiction | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
Shaun Shelly exposes some of the myths around addictive disorders, such as drugs cause addiction, once an addict always an addict, addiction is progressive and abstinence is needed to initiate treatment or achieve remission.
Shaun Shelly's insight:

My recent talk on the myths of addiction.

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It’s Time to Clean Up the Language of Addiction

It’s Time to Clean Up the Language of Addiction | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
In the biz, you hear a lot less language like “druggie” and “crack head” to describe clients, but there’s still too much verbiage floating around that isn’t productive.
Shaun Shelly's insight:

Good article by Anne Fletcher on language in the treatment of addictive disorders,

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Why Don’t We Have More Non-Abstinence Programs?

Why Don’t We Have More Non-Abstinence Programs? | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
Offering non-abstinence programs is not about giving people permission to drink – it’s about giving permission to reduce their drinking, rather than getting no treatment.
Shaun Shelly's insight:

I am finding Dr Jaffe's articles to be a refreshing voice in the world of addiction treatment. As many of you know I have long supported the integration of harm reduction into the treatment spectrum, and I feel that non-abstinence based approaches encourage more people to enter into treatment. Paradoxically we have found in our setting that this sometimes leads to a stronger commitment to abstinence for some people. Given the space to make informed and concious choices, they are able to make the best choice for themselves.

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The Abstinence Violation Approach - Practical Recovery

The Abstinence Violation Approach - Practical Recovery | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
Relapse is often a part of recovery efforts. One approach is to teach clients how to handle "slips" and keep moving. Dan Galant, PhD, discusses the benefits of this approach.
Shaun Shelly's insight:

Thanks Tom Hovarth of Practical Recovery for posting this on facebook. I always tell patients that if you get on a train to travel from station A to station Z, and happen to get off at station D, E, H, and/or L along the way, you don't have to start from A again! Instead of counting consecutive days of meeting using goals (abstinence or not) we keep records of x number of days per month where goals were achieved - and that really seems to help.

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U.S. Moderate Drinking Limits Are Completely Unrealistic

U.S. Moderate Drinking Limits Are Completely Unrealistic | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
Heavy drinkers outlive abstainers because heavy drinking is defined wrongly
Shaun Shelly's insight:

Good article by Ken Anderson of HAMS on how we define heavy drinking, and the importance of understanding how it is reported.

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'This is working': Portugal, 12 years after decriminalising drugs

'This is working': Portugal, 12 years after decriminalising drugs | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
Twelve years after Portugal eliminated criminal penalties for drug users, experts are pleased with the results.

Via Matthew Gleeson, Andrew Tatarsky
Shaun Shelly's insight:

Portugal is leading the way in decrimanalisation - we should be following their example. The results speak for themselves.

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My Hostile Breakfast With Gabor Maté - Substance.com

My Hostile Breakfast With Gabor Maté - Substance.com | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
Despite his commendable work in Vancouver, I find Maté's flawed theory and methods to be contrary to the philosophy of harm reduction. The reverence he inspires is testament only to his sleight of hand.
Shaun Shelly's insight:

Stanton Peele does a good impression of a crotchety old man, once again, in this article, but he does have some good points. I do find Mate's book to have a lot of good points in it, which even Stanton agrees with. And I like Mate's emphasis on being present and the fine work he has done in Vancouver.

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Scientists probe 'sex addict' brains

Scientists probe 'sex addict' brains | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
The first study to investigate brain activity in sex addicts finds remarkable similarities with scans of people addicted to drugs.
Shaun Shelly's insight:

Of course there are similarities. Addiction can be conceived as a relationship and as such shares many of the same systems as sex and love. Why should this be a surprise?

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Recovery and Harm Reduction in Philadelphia

Recovery and Harm Reduction in Philadelphia | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
Few discussions within the addictions field have generated more vitriol than the extremely polarized debates between advocates of harm reduction and advocates of abstinence-based approaches to addiction treatment and recovery support. The chasm between these ideological poles has widened over...
Shaun Shelly's insight:

I have always believed that the future of addiction treatment for the majority lies in cumulative continuum based interventions situated within our communities. These would integrate harm reduction and abstinence based approaches into a single setting.

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A Struggle for the Soul of Addiction Treatment - Substance.com

A Struggle for the Soul of Addiction Treatment - Substance.com | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
As opposition to the war on drugs grows louder, a movement to challenge traditional ways of treating—and doing treatment with—people who have difficulties with drugs is also reaching critical mass.
Shaun Shelly's insight:

Good article by Scott Kellogg that raises some interesting points. My comments are in the comments section.

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We Need to Normalize Drug Use in Our Society—Deal With It! - Substance.com

We Need to Normalize Drug Use in Our Society—Deal With It! - Substance.com | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
After the disastrous misconceptions of the 20th century, we're returning to the idea that drugs are an ordinary part of life experience and no more cause addiction than do other behaviors. This is rational and welcome.
Shaun Shelly's insight:

I don't think the headline for this article is great, but the article certainly is. Peele makes many of the points I have tried to make - the addiction field is rife with tautology. The study of process addictions will show as that drug are not the problem - addiction is a natural coping mechanism when things are out of kilter. It is a relationship that fulfils a need. Once we realise this, we can start to treat effectively.

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Carl Hart on the High Price of the Drug War

Carl Hart on the High Price of the Drug War | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
Our guest this evening is Carl Hart Ph. D., professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Columbia University and author of High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society.
Shaun Shelly's insight:

Ken Anderson interviewing Carl Hart on Blog Talk Radio - well worth a listen.

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The Training Manual for US Addiction Counselors Is Full of Myths - Substance.com

The Training Manual for US Addiction Counselors Is Full of Myths - Substance.com | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
The study guide for our most-used credentialing test for addiction counselors contains outdated information and debunked theories. How can professionals work effectively when they are this misinformed?
Shaun Shelly's insight:

Good article by Kenneth Anderson showing how myths are perpetuated.

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Healthcare workers worry injecting heroin on increase | Groundup

Healthcare workers worry injecting heroin on increase | Groundup | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
Shaun Shelly's insight:

Thanks to Ground Up for this article! Much needed!

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Ten Freaky Freelapses: Stories of Accidentally Breaking Sobriety - Substance.com

Ten Freaky Freelapses: Stories of Accidentally Breaking Sobriety - Substance.com | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
When you're sober but get buzzed through no fault of your own, it's a bummer. Substance.com asked 10 "freelapse" victims how it happened—and where they went from there.
Shaun Shelly's insight:

This story shows that most people will not relapse just because of a single using episode if they have created a meaningful life and developed healthy relationships. It takes more than the absence or presence of drugs to develop addictions.

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7 Ways to Prove People Aren’t Born Addicts

7 Ways to Prove People Aren’t Born Addicts | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
Alcoholism and addiction are rarely permanent—they are more likely to be so if you are convinced that they are. People working in the addiction field who don’t know this are guilty of malpractice...
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Only in the Netherlands Do Addicts Complain About Free Government Heroin | VICE News

Only in the Netherlands Do Addicts Complain About Free Government Heroin  | VICE News | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
Using free heroin has now become so easy, addicts are beginning to feel like society has given up on them.
Shaun Shelly's insight:

Ultimately harm reduction and abstinence should be presented as an option to all drug users who meet the criteria for an addictive disorder. To presume someone must be abstinent or cannot be abstinent is not the most helpful approach in most settings and for most patients. Rather the treatment program should assist the individual in making concious, informed choices around their substance use.

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Most of Us Still Don't Get It: Addiction Is a Learning Disorder - Substance.com

Most of Us Still Don't Get It: Addiction Is a Learning Disorder - Substance.com | Addiction Information | Scoop.it

Addiction is not about our brains being "hijacked" by drugs or experiences—it's about learned patterns of behavior. Our inability to understand this leads to no end of absurdities.

Shaun Shelly's insight:

This totally aligns with my thinking. I have laid out a challenge to many of my colleagues: Please name one brain change that is the exclusive domain of addiction. There is NONE! Addiction is an adaptive process that works on feed forward and feedback systems that are used in all forms of learning and adaption. Second challenge: Please name one long-term brain change that can be considered “damage” or “disease” that is attributable to addiction. Again there is NONE.

The myopic world of addiction treatment has marveled at brain scans and behaviours that they regard as their exclusive domain. These are all human conditions, and we need to understand them in the wider context, as extensions and manifestations of normal changes and behaviours in abnormal conditions. I believe that these constant references to “xyz behaviour being like addiction” are exposing the tautology that has dominated the field for so long.

When we conceive addiction as an adaptive process, we need to then look deeper, and understand why we are adapting – and we see then that it is often due to psychodynamic reasons, such as Alexander’s well reasoned belief that addiction is rooted, both on an individual and population level, in an attempt to resolve psychosocial dislocation.

This may all seem arbitrary, but this view will benefit those seeking help with addiction by informing new treatment modalities that help patients develop and learn new pathways, both neurologically and in their lives. It will also help debunk many of the myths that often mislead the patient and result in iatrogenic consequences.

Ultimately it will help the treatment field view those with addictive disorders not as “addicts”, but as people, who given the right treatment and circumstances, can develop healthier relationships, with themselves, others and drugs and behaviours, and thereby find full recovery.

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Center for Optimal Living

Center for Optimal Living | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
Shaun Shelly's insight:

Andrew Tatarsky's Center for Optimal Living has a really pragmatic and useful approach to dealing with substance use - I think the treatment field should take note - start where the person is at, not where we think they should be!

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Addiction Information

Addiction Information | Addiction Information | Scoop.it
Information about addiction, treatment of addiction & drug policy written and compiled by Shaun Shelly, an addictions specialist working in Cape Town.
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