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The Ways to Think about and Talk about Addiction: A Community Conversation on Stigma

Recent news is full of stories about addiction, and not just the reports about arrests and overdoses. The good news is that more and more, we view addiction as a health-care condition, and we understand and support the life-saving measures available to manage the physical dependence. The media reflects this shift in attitude and covers things like new approaches to treatment and recovery; legislative efforts like the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and bills to combat the nation’s opiate crisis to ensure medical support is available to people struggling with substance abuse; more specialized programs, like Vermont’s Hub and Spoke provider system which supports people in medicated-assisted recovery from opiate addiction; programs like pre-trial services that redirect people to treatment rather than court when the situation allows it; and peer-recovery services that help people not only stop destructive behaviors but adopt healthy practices to thrive.

Bring your questions and comments a community conversation entitled “The Ways to Think about and Talk about Addiction: A Community Conversation on Stigma.” This event will be held on Thursday, June 2, 2016 from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. at Brooks Memorial Library, 224 Main Street Brattleboro. Dr. Geoffrey Kane will moderate the conversation, hosted by the local Community Opioid Response Committee. This committee arose from Governor Peter Shumlin’s 2014 State of the State address on Vermont’s opiate crisis. That June, he convened a statewide Opiate Forum, and then charged local communities to continue the work. The Community Opioid Response Committee is a collaboration between various community partners including the Vermont Department of Health, Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition, Turning Point of Windham County, Nar-Anon Family Groups, Brattleboro Retreat, and community members—everyone who shares a concern about how our community deals with addiction and supports individuals and families who are affected by substance-abuse issues.

It will be a safe environment to ask questions. BCTV will be live-streaming the conversation. Contact bapc802@gmail.com or 257-2175 for more info.


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The Other Stigma

This country is addicted to addiction.

For a long time addicts were treated as dangerous criminals who were little more than fodder for lock ups and dehumanization. Drug addicts in more recent times, however, are very economically useful to all manner of funded nonprofits, corporate industries and government organizations. Drug addicts create jobs and infrastructures in a wide variety of the business sectors: medical, mental health, insurance, court systems, enforcement, media, publications - why, drug addicts are bigger than US Steel.

But deep down inside, what most programs cannot talk about is what does using any drug that alters consciousness make them feel like in positive ways. Instead of always dwelling on the negative aspects we should begin to investigate why it makes them feel good and how can we channel that drug positivity of mind into a constructive approach to drug use.

That idea is not new but I'm not talking about a Timothy Leary turn on, tune in and drop out catchphrase. "What we have here is a failure" to understand that humans are fundamentally drug consuming animals, not drug free. Biologically we are very much attuned to chemical reactions in our bodies, and therefore, in our minds.

Moreover, as long as we keep thinking of drug use predominately in the context of drug abuse and addiction, then we are just putting a spin on it that favors only the negative effects and ignores that fact that most drug users are "not" abusers or addicts.

It's time to treat the majority of drug using populations who are not abusers or addicts with fairness and accuracy by creating cogent policy to protect them from falling in the chasm of unwarranted stigma.


Live stream link Addiction:Community Conversation on Stigma

Here is the live-stream link if you are unable to attend but want to listen in: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDXseAKlG_qks0lwRFXR4saIrKewsgVrm


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