US drug czar promotes shift to treatment-driven strategy by telling own story about addiction


  • Article by: DAVE KOLPACK , Associated Press

“We are actually spending more now on domestic public health strategies than we are on incarceration strategies,” Botticelli said. “There’s a large acknowledgement that we can’t arrest and incarcerate our way out of the problem.”


MINOT, N.D. — As the nation’s drug czar continues to warn people about the potential death and destruction from substance abuse, he’s also encouraging them to tell their stories about treatment and recovery. Usually he starts with himself.

Michael Botticelli, acting director of the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, also embraces another title: “I’m one of 23 million Americans in recovery who have gone on to live productive lives.”

He has been sober for a quarter of a century. He has been drug czar for a quarter of a year.

“We’ve been encouraging, not just with me, but with other people, to tell their stories,” Botticelli said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. “Tell me a family that hasn’t been affected by substance abuse. I haven’t met one.”

Botticelli, who was in North Dakota to announce updates to the administration’s northern border control policy and focus on combating drug crimes in the oil patch, said his office has seen a dramatic shift from a justice-driven strategy to a treatment-driven one. Federal funding for prevention, treatment and recovery is at its highest level in 12 years, he said.

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What We Can Do about Depression

blogheader-copyBy Ken Duckworth, NAMI Medical Director

Rest in Peace Robin. We shall all miss you.

6451507269_b5ecde6802_oI am one of many who would say that Robin Williams was among my favorite actors.  His portrayal of a psychiatrist in Good Will Hunting is my all-time favorite. A colleague of mine told me her kids said to her last night, “Mrs. Doubtfire is dead.” They were crushed by this news which seemed so unbelievable based on their experience of the character. He was a figure that transcended generations. It was a very sad day for many, and my heart goes out to his family, who will bear the incredible pain of his death long after the news cycle ends.


I recalled that he had a history of struggles, but I was still shocked to hear that he had died by suicide. He was a genius and had many supports. But of course depressiondoesn’t calculate those things. Severe depression distorts rational thinking and can lead to the fixed idea that hopelessness and pain are to be your experience forever. I have heard this from patients who have lived after suicide attempts. They told me they had lost all perspective and simply wanted to end their pain. They often reported simply losing a sense that they mattered to other people and forgot that they too were loved.

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Robin Williams, Bipolar Sufferer, Dead at 63 Due to Suicide




When a person chooses suicide, it’s hard to accept that choice.

Comedian and award-winning actor Robin Williams apparently made that choice earlier this morning. Robin Williams has long suspected to be a sufferer of either depression or bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mental illness where the person fluctuates between episodes of extreme energy, focus and productivity (mania) and severe depression. Apparently, he was in one of the episodes of depression when he took his own life.

We mourn his loss.

The coroner said that Williams’ death was “a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made.”

Williams had long struggled with addiction and mental illness. 1 “Do I perform sometimes in a manic style? Yes,” Williams told Terry Gross on the “Fresh Air” NPR radio show in 2006. “Am I manic all the time? No. Do I get sad? Oh yeah. Does it hit me hard? Oh yeah.”2

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What Exactly Are Designer Drugs?

Designer Drugs?

What are “designer drugs”? No, it’s not a band – it is a term first made popular during the explosion of the rave and club scene in the 1990s. The idea was to create synthetic drugs mimicking the effects of older illegal drugs, but with a slightly different chemical structure, in order to stay inside the law.

Altering or blending the properties of illegal drugs, mixing them with chemicals which can be bought over the counter, a new drug is created! Yes, some illegal drugs can be modified at the molecular level, essentially turning a highly regulated substance into a legal one! These copies of the “real” drugs are unfortunately just as dangerous – and maybe even more, since they were never before tested!

Just one of these designer drugs, known as “Molly”, is responsible for more than ten thousand emergency room admissions – in one year. If a chemical is (for now, at least!) considered legal, that does not mean that it is safe! Many people fail to understand his fact!

Since designer drugs are made from legal components, these can be freely imported into the United States. The vast majority is coming from China. The US Customs authorities can do almost nothing to stop them!

Most of these designer drugs are created in home labs or in concealed locations. They are being sold legally since they are marked for purposes other than human consumption, such as plant food or insect repellant (or like notorious “bath salts”).

“Spice” – which is synthetic marijuana, “N-bomb” – synthetic LSD, and some other synthetic drugs were outlawed a few years ago, but the problem remains. New, slightly altered versions are constantly being created in order to replace the banned ones. Older designer drugs readers may have heard of include amphetamines, LSD, GHB, ketamine, rohypnol and ecstasy.

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The dangers of painkillers


Special report: The dangers of painkillers

Every year, Percocet, Vicodin, and other opioids kill 17,000 Americans and acetaminophen sends 80,000 people to the ER



America is in pain—and being killed by its painkillers.

It starts with drugs such as OxyContinPercocet, and Vicodin—prescription narcotics that can make days bearable if you are recovering from surgery or suffering from cancer. But they can be as addictive as heroin and are rife with deadly side effects.

Use of those and other opioids has skyrocketed in recent years. Prescriptions have climbed 300 percent in the past decade, and Vicodin and other drugs containing the narcotic hydrocodone are now the most commonly prescribed medications in the U.S. With that increased use have come increased deaths: 46 people per day, or almost 17,000 people per year, die from overdoses of the drugs. That’s up more than 400 percent from 1999. And for every death, more than 30 people are admitted to the emergency room because of opioid complications.

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Heroin Addicts CAN Be Good Mothers!

Newsflash – Heroin Addicts CAN Be Good Mothers!

I was eight years old when I accidentally walked in on my mum injecting heroin in the kitchen. I’ll never forget the confused look on her face – the warm embrace of the opiates blunted any acute feelings shame and panic, leaving her with an ugly, dumbfounded grimace. Luckily, this episode was the turning point in both our lives; she knew that she needed to find help and enter rehab, otherwise she’d either OD or I’d be taken away from her. Sadly, not everyone is blessed with the same foresight.

Without knowing what kind of parent Peaches Geldof was it’s really hard to comment on the latest revelations about her death without sounding like a sanctimonious hack, but in my experience of growing up with a junkie for a mother, I’d like to make two points: 1: Being addicted to heroin does not necessarily mean you’re a bad mother and 2: They fuck you up your mum and dad (to paraphrase Philip Larkin).

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One Thing Obamacare Can’t Fix: Bad Addiction Treatment

By   Nov. 13, 2013

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After weeks spent offering up increasingly desperate excuses for the glitchy rollout of Obamacare’s insurance exchanges, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius seemed elated to change the subject, at least for a moment, when last week she announced regulations that will mean that almost all Americans with health insurance will be fully covered for the treatment of mental illness, including addiction, at least as well as they’re covered for physical diseases. The regulations were trumpeted as part of the President’s plans for curbing gun violence, but they have enormous implications for untreated addiction, which alone costs the nation $420 billion a year, mostly in health care, criminal justice and lost productivity.

(MORE: Viewpoint: We Need to Rethink Rehab)

The new rules are comprehensive, but it’s impossible to know how they’ll be interpreted, monitored and policed. Treating mental illness isn’t easy or cheap, and treating addiction can be even more complex. Research has shown that addicts who drop out of treatment before 90 days have relapse rates similar to those who stay in treatment only a day or two. After 90 days, however, relapse rates drop steadily the longer they stay in treatment. Few physical illnesses require three-plus months in the hospital. Even after a long stint in an inpatient or outpatient program, most addicts require aftercare that may continue for one to many years. Will insurance now pay for those who need long-term stays in sober-living houses or outpatient programs? What if they relapse, which is common for sufferers of this chronic illness? Will insurance pay for another three-month stint? And another? Will they cover addiction medications like methadone or buprenorphine, even though some patients must stay on them for years or even a lifetime (just as some must stay on blood-pressure medication or insulin throughout their
Read more: David Sheff: Obamacare Needs to Overhaul Addiction Treatment |

Read more:  One Thing Obamacare Can’t Fix: Bad Addiction Treatment 

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‘Spice’ is a deadly ingredient


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July 31, 2014

Family of teen who died after smoking synthetic pot warns others to stay away from the powerful and unpredictable drug.



Loved ones of 19-year-old Connor Eckhardt, from right, his mother Veronica Eckhardt, aunt Terri Mehrguth, sister Sabrina Eckhardt, 18, father Devin Eckhardt and close friend Jaclyn Westfall, 20, look on as a helicopter carrying Connor's heart flies off from Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach on Thursday. (KEVIN CHANG, Daily Pilot / July 17, 2014)

By Emily Foxhall

July 26, 2014  |  8:02 p.m.

Veronica Eckhardt bent over the hospital bed, sponging paint onto the sole of her son’s left foot.

“Connor would not like what we’re doing,” she remarked, but his foot did not twitch.

Doctors had declared Connor Eckhardt brain-dead the day before, at age 19. Machines breathed for him in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit at Hoag Hospital.

Veronica’s husband, Devin, held his son’s leg steady as she continued to apply a mixture of brown and blue, Connor’s favorite colors.

Their son’s decision to donate his organs had allowed the couple extra time at his bedside. Tests needed to be run. Appropriate organ recipients had to be identified.

On the day of his surgery, Veronica had been thinking of footprints they made when Connor was little. She wanted to make another set, so her mother and father-in-law went to buy supplies at Michaels. These painted prints would commemorate his end.

“Although his footprints will no longer be walking on the earth, his imprints will still be there in so many peoples’ lives,” she said.

The clock ticked past 2 p.m. Connor’s organs were scheduled to be removed in two hours.

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Synthetic drug is hard to trace

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What is DXM?

Dextromethorphan (DXM) and Cold Medicine

fod_dextromethorphanDextromethorphan (DXM) is the active ingredient found in many over-the-counter cough and cold medications. Taken in the recommended amount, these medications are safe and effective. But taking high doses can be dangerous, and other active ingredients found in these medications can add to the risks.

Read more about DXM, how it is abused, consequences of abusing DXM and more..


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Drug Overdoses Kill More Than Cars, Guns, and Falling


Sara Bellum


June 11, 2014

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 105 people in the United States die every day from drug overdoses.

“It will never happen to me. I’m not addicted, I’m just partying.”

CDC OD Deaths_Infographic

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but this picture is all about the numbers. With 38,329 people dying from drug overdoses in 2010, it’s hard to really grasp the lives lost, the families and friends in mourning, or the generations that will never be, for those who took too much of a drug or who fatally mixed two drugs together (including alcohol). Deaths from drug overdoses have been increasing since the early 1990s—fueled most recently by a surge in heroin use.

Recent deaths—Philip Seymour Hoffman this year, Cory Monteith the year before, Whitney Houston the year before that, and so on—remind us almost annually of the dangers of drug use. But for every famous person that dies, tens of thousands of people who were only known by their schoolmates, friends, and families die as well.

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