Jesse Costa / WBUR
Heroin began rewiring and controlling Will’s brain in the early 2000s at the age of 40.
“At that time, when you used drugs, people didn’t want to have anything to do with you,” Will recalls. “People gave up on me.”
You lose almost everything, including jobs, driver’s licenses, cars, marriages, homes, and more. He paid the rent for the room, ate a meal, and found enough temporary work to steal the goods and resell them in cash.
“Nourish the addiction,” he says. “Feed that monster.”
We use Will’s name only, as future landlords and employers may not take him based on his records.
Almost three years ago, one morning, Will withdrew without heroin or money to buy. This former basketball player, once at his best, dragged the street in search of a deal. He had some cracks that could be sold. The buyer was a sting operation.
“That was the game changer,” says Will.
Instead of a prison, Will was sent to Massachusetts’ daily probation program. Community fix.. This is one sign of what has changed in the 50 years since President Richard Nixon declared the war on drugs. We’re targeting people with black or brown skin, like Will.
“In the early 1970s, when this so-called war on drugs began, it actually functioned as a war against drug addicts,” says Dr. Stephen Taylor, an addiction psychiatrist in Birmingham, Alabama.
The Massachusetts program was launched 25 years ago as a remedy for prison overcrowding. However, attitudes towards drug users were also beginning to change.
Vin Lorenti, Director of Regional Correctional Affairs, Massachusetts Probation Office, said:
From Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, Will needed to participate in counseling and other addiction treatment elements. He had classes on anger management, problem solving and vocational training.
Massachusetts has 18 such centers. Today, three-quarters of people sent to Massachusetts orthodontics have a history of substance use. The cost is only part of the imprisonment because they live at home. And only about half of the people in this program re-offend compared to those who leave prison.
Jesse Costa / WBUR
Gap and disparity
Mark Levin of the Criminal Justice Council states that most states have alternatives for drug users charged with misdemeanor charges.There is Police station Providing immediate placement for addiction treatment, Drug court And Other community-based options Such a thing is included. However, while some drug users are offered treatment instead of punishment for misdemeanor, others are still being sent to jail, Levin said.
“For these alternatives, we really have to hit the accelerator,” says Levin, who directs council policy. “They are listed in books across the country, but when you actually look at their use, especially in rural areas, you can see gaps and inequality.”
Lorenti says the war on drugs still casts a shadow over programs that guide drug criminals to treatment.
“Some people may think,’Oh, well, it’s criminal and soft,'” says Lorenti. “But if you know someone who is suffering from substance use disorder, you know that pursuing your recovery is neither easy nor soft.”
It emerges from community corrections trained for work aimed at helping drug users through that struggle. He is a recovery coach. Will walks the streets where he was buying drugs, distributes Narkan and leaflets about safe drug use, helps people participate in detox programs, takes clients to AA meetings, and if necessary. Connect with lawyers and medical care.
“It’s a daily battle and challenge, but it’s satisfying,” says Will.
Treatment and management
I work at the Lynn Community Health Center office north of Boston. Donated clothing, shoes, diapers, backpacks and toiletries are piled up. There are condom drawers and syringes.Providing a clean drug supply is still illegal in some communities But encouraged According to the Massachusetts Public Health Service.
Jesse Costa / WBUR
Health Center CEO Dr. Kiamemahaniah hired his first recovery coach just a few years ago and paid them with a grant.
“It’s only recently that people with a living experience are valued as the most important members of the team because of their living experience,” he says. “Now it’s unimaginable to think that you can work without a recovery coach.”
And drugs are changing the cure for people like Will, an opioid addict.
“Addiction can be treated and managed,” says Taylor, a member of the board of directors of the American Addiction Medicine Society. “The results when we provide people with treatment for addiction are about the same as those for people who have been treated for other chronic conditions.”
Many studies have proven drugs prescribed to treat opioid addiction Prevent overdose and save lives.. Mahania trusts these drugs by relieving the symptoms of addiction so that patients can focus on rebuilding their lives.
“Compared to 40 years ago, the difference in landscape is amazing,” he says.
“The sky is the limit”
Take the oldest of the three approved medications, methadone. He must go to the designated methadone clinic to get his dose. Will says he still feels fired by some people who see him there and know he has used heroin for many years.
“Many people are very critical,” he says. “They want to say,’He won’t do anything useful.’ If you don’t give someone a chance, how do they get it done in life?”
Jesse Costa / WBUR
Will, now 56, says he is grateful to the people who gave him a chance, and to his church, which he calls the basis of his two-year recovery. He is gradually reducing methadone and plans to continue his recovery without methadone by the end of summer. He bought a car. And he enrolls in class this fall and is increasing training on addiction recovery so that he can help others return to a healthy and productive life.
“I’m happy with myself now,” he says. “I just pray to God that I can keep doing this for a while. The sky is the limit.”
He lost almost everything in his addiction. The arrest then changed his life: NPR
Source link He lost almost everything in his addiction. The arrest then changed his life: NPR