The common approach used by governments to stop drug use is: Prevention; Enforcement; Treatment. Mostly it doesn’t work because it is not based on the way people respond. People use drugs because they like the effect.

Illicit drug use is difficult for a user to stop because it has become a habit. Breaking a habit is usually impossible because a habit is not controlled by the conscious mind. Habits become habits because the mind comes to know the expected reaction of the individual and control is filed away as it were, in the sub-conscious where it is beyond the reach of the conscious mind. The body develops a craving. The sub-conscious directs behavior to satisfy the craving. The key to stop the use of drugs is to re-direct the subconscious. That takes a long series of correct responses when the craving appears. Eventually the sub-conscious will become re-programmed. See: Learning to do Drugs on this website under the Newsletter tab http://www.billoneill.info/?p=656

A habit involves the mind and the body.

A HABIT IS AN AUTOMATIC RESPONSED DIRECTED BY THE SUB-CONSCIOUS. When the conditions for drug use present themselves, the sub-conscious searches the results of previous situations and as fast as the speed of light commands the body to do what it always has done when similiar conditions occurred. The solution is more psychological than physical but unless the formation of habits is understood the cure may be illusive.

The steps below are my suggested method. the steps can be useful to get the sub-conscious under control. So far as I know no person, persons nor any organization has identified re-directing the sub-conscious as a solution to get drug use under control. © See if it makes sense and if it can help habitual drug users come to make the right decisions sometime then I believe it’s worth trying.  

1)       We admitted we had lost our ability to control our decisions to take drugs and other chemicals — that our lives had become unmanageable. We have the ability to control our drug mis-use but that ability is lessened every time we take a drug and our wrong actions get progressively worse each time we use any drug.  It does not matter what drug was at the center for us when we began the process to manage out actions and make good decisions.  Any drug we use will overcome our ability to control our lives all over again.  We gain control over our decisions by applying our Twelve Steps.  Our recovery must be consistent with our steps.  We identify our recovery process by using the words “clean,” “clean time,” and “recovery,” which imply no particular drug or chemical.

We understand the therapeutic value of working with otherswho have gained control over their decisions to take drugs. We share their successes and challenges in controling drugs and living drug-free productive lives through the application of the principles contained within the Twelve Steps. These principles are the core of the recovery of our ability to control our lives. Principles incorporated within the steps include:

(a)    admitting there is a problem;

(b)   seeking help;

(c)    analyzing the causes and effects of our compulsions by self-examination;

(d)   confidential self-disclosure;

(e)    learning and using a new set of principles

(f)    making amends for harm done; and

(g)   helping other drug users who want to recover.

2)      We understand that following the wrong principles became the excuse for the wrong decisions and that caused the compulsions to take drugs.

3)      We made a conscious decision to understand the sub-conscious forces within our minds that caused the repeated, compulsive nature of our actions and the inability to manage our lives.

4)      Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5)      Admitted to ourselves, and to another person the exact nature of our wrongs.

6)      Were entirely ready to remove all these internalized principles that had mis-led us.

7)      Understood there is only one person who has the power to control our actions — ourselves.

8)      Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9)      Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10)   Continued to take personal inventory and when we were right we admitted it and when we were wrong promptly changed.

11)   Sought through our internal conversations to improve our conscious contact with reality to develop the power within ourselves to overcome the inability to make the right drug decisions.

12)   Having developed a new and correct set of principles to guide our behavior as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to drug abusers, and to practice these principles in all our affairs

Get the help of a “Clean Coach” or a “Clean Companion” , someone who has recovered from a drug habit and who can help overcome the craving for drugs.

Drugs induce a psychosis-distortion or disorganization of a person’scapacity to recognize reality, think rationally, or communicate with others. Some users experience devastating psychological effects that persist after the trip has ended, producing a long-lasting psychotic-like state. Drug-induced persistent psychosis may include dramatic mood swings from mania to profound depression, vivid visual disturbances, and hallucinations. These effects may last for years and can affect people who have no history or other symptoms of psychological disorder.

Learning to pay attention to hidden costs and benefits; to delay gratification, and to acoid unwise gambles are important parts of the process of “Growing Up”. The capacity to act well in such circumstances is not inate. No one acquires the appropiate skills easily or completely.  Classically they are identified as “virtues” the capacity to endure present pain or danger when endurance is required ic called “Courage” The capicity to resist the lure of pleasure when accompanied by subtle costs in called “Temperence”. the capacity to recon with risk is part of “Prudence”. The capacity to assimilate delayed costs on benefits into current actions is called; “Foresight”. Prudence and foresight together make up “wisdom”. Growing up means a person has acquired the ability to make the right choices and using drugs is an indicator that a person has not grown up.

One idea is to help another drug abuser stop doing it is to get a “Clean Coach” or a “Clean Companion”. Another idea is to help someone else get control of their lives. Become a Clean Coach or a Clean Companion

From Wikipedia “Drug Rehabilitation”  Cognitive models of addiction recovery

Relapse prevention

An influential cognitive-behavioral approach to addiction recovery and therapy has been Alan Marlatt’s (1985) Relapse Prevention approach. [20]. Marlatt describes four psychosocial processes relevant to the addiction and relapse processes: self-efficacy, outcome expectancies, attributions of causality, and decision-making processes. Self-efficacy refers to one’s ability to deal competently and effectively with high-risk, relapse-provoking situations. Outcome expectancies refer to an individual’s expectations about the psychoactive effects of an addictive substance. Attributions of causality refer to an individual’s pattern of beliefs that relapse to drug use is a result of internal, or rather external, transient causes (e.g., allowing oneself to make exceptions when faced with what are judged to be unusual circumstances). Finally, decision-making processes are implicated in the relapse process as well. Substance use is the result of multiple decisions and the collective effects over time and multiple decisions result in consumption of the intoxicant. Furthermore, Marlatt stresses some decisions—referred to as apparently irrelevant decisions—may seem inconsequential to relapse, but may actually have downstream implications that place the user in a high-risk situation.

Consider this example. As a result of heavy traffic, a recovering drug abuser may decide one afternoon to exit the highway and travel on side roads. This will result in the creation of a high-risk situation when he realizes he is inadvertently driving by his old dealers corner. If this individual is able to employ successful coping strategies, such as distracting himself from his cravings by turning on his favorite music, then he will avoid the relapse risk (PATH 1) and heighten his efficacy for future abstinence. If, however, he lacks coping mechanisms—for instance, he may begin ruminating on his cravings (PATH 2)—then his efficacy for abstinence will decrease, his expectations of positive outcomes will increase, and he may experience a lapse—an isolated return to substance intoxication. So doing results in what Marlatt refers to as the Abstinence Violation Effect, characterized by guilt for having gotten intoxicated and low efficacy for future abstinence in similar tempting situations. This is a dangerous pathway, Marlatt proposes, to full-blown relapse. Figure 1 presents a schematic diagram, adapted from Marlatt & Gordon (p. 38) [20], which has been modified to present examples of the cognitive and behavioral processes that may occur at each juncture of the model.

[edit] Cognitive therapy of substance abuse

An additional cognitively-based model of substance abuse recovery has been offered by Aaron Beck, the father of cognitive therapy and championed in his 1993 book, Cognitive Therapy of Substance Abuse.[21] This therapy rests upon the assumption addicted individuals possess core beliefs, often not accessible to immediate consciousness (unless the patient is also depressed). These core beliefs, such as “I am undesirable,” activate a system of addictive beliefs that result in imagined anticipatory benefits of substance use and, consequentially, craving. Once craving has been activated, permissive beliefs (“I can handle getting high just this one more time”) are facilitated. Once a permissive set of beliefs have been activated, then the individual will activate drug-seeking and drug-ingesting behaviors. The cognitive therapist’s job is to uncover this underlying system of beliefs, analyze it with the patient, and thereby demonstrate its dysfunctionality. As with any cognitive-behavioral therapy, homework assignments and behavioral exercises serve to solidify what is learned and discussed during treatment.

[edit] Emotion regulation, mindfulness, and substance abuse

A growing literature is demonstrating the importance of emotion regulation in the treatment of substance abuse. For the sake of conceptual uniformity, this section uses the tobacco cessation as the chief example; however, since nicotine and other psychoactive substances such as cocaine activate similar psychopharmacological pathways, [22] an emotion regulation approach may be similarly applicable to a wider array of substances of abuse. Proposed models of affect-driven tobacco use have focused on negative reinforcement as the primary driving force for addiction; according to such theories, tobacco is used because it helps one escape from the undesirable effects of nicotine withdrawal or other negative moods. [23] Currently, research is being conducted to determine the efficacy of mindfulness based approaches to smoking cessation, in which patients are encouraged to identify and recognize their negative emotional states and prevent the maladaptive, impulsive/compulsive responses they have developed to deal with them (such as cigarette smoking or other substance use). [24]

From Alcoholics Anonymous:

“They realized that repeated lack of drinking control, when they really wanted control, was the fatal symptom that spelled problem drinking. This, plus mounting emotional disturbances, convinced them that compulsive alcoholism already had them; that complete ruin would be only a question of time.”

“I now conceive the psychiatrist’s job to be the task of breaking down the patient’s inner resistance so that which is inside him will flower, as under the activity of the A.A. program.”

“Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks—drinks which they see others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.”

“The classification of alcoholics seems most difficult, and in much detail is outside the scope of this book. There are, of course, the psychopaths who are emotionally unstable. We are all familiar with this type. They are always “going on the wagon for keeps.’’ They are over-remorseful and make many resolutions, but never a decision.

There is the type of man who is unwilling to admit that he cannot take a drink. He plans various ways of drinking. He changes his brand or his environment. There is the type who always believes that after being entirely free from alcohol for a period of time he can take a drink without danger. There is the manic-depressive type, who is, perhaps, the least understood by his friends, and about whom a whole chapter could be written.

Then there are types entirely normal in every respect except in the effect alcohol has upon them. They are often able, intelligent, friendly people.

All these, and many others, have one symptom in common: they cannot start drinking without developing the phenomenon of craving. This phenomenon, as we have suggested, may be the manifestation of an allergy which differentiates these people, and sets them apart as a distinct entity. It has never been, by any treatment with which we are familiar, permanently eradicated. The only relief we have to suggest is entire abstinence.

This immediately precipitates us into a seething caldron of debate. Much has been written pro and con, but among physicians, the general opinion seems to be that most chronic alcoholics are doomed.

What is the solution? Perhaps I can best answer this by relating one of my experiences.

About one year prior to this experience a man was brought in to be treated for chronic alcoholism. He had but partially recovered from a gastric hemorrhage and seemed to be a case of pathological mental deterioration. He had lost everything worthwhile in life and was only living, one might say, to drink. He frankly admitted and believed that for him there was no hope. Following the elimination of alcohol, there was found to be no permanent brain injury. He accepted the plan outlined in this book. One year later he called to see me, and I experienced a very strange sensation. I knew the man by name, and partly recognized his features, but there all resemblance ended. From a trembling, despairing, nervous wreck, had emerged a man brimming over with self-reliance and contentment. I talked with him for some time, but was not able to bring myself to feel that I had known him before. To me he was a stranger, and so he left me. A long time has passed with no return to alcohol.”

Wikipedia Coerced Drug Abstinence

Coerced abstinence is a drug rehabilitation program than can dramatically reduce recidivism rates among chronic drug users[citation needed], especially those on probation and parole. Most probation agreements mandate drug treatment but a coerced abstinence program mandates only abstinence through regular, predictable drug testing. Under this system, failed tests result in a swift and brief period of incarceration. This policy option is advocated by crime policy expert Mark A. R. Kleiman [1].

Currently, most drug courts require defendants to attend drug treatment and to return to court periodically and report progress to a judge. The extent of progress influences later sentencing. These programs are often not available to serious offenders. Drug court programs place as much emphasis on program attendance as they do on abstinence. Because these programs have limited resources and the focus is treatment rather than abstinence, those in treatment must merely figure out the odds of being tested and then take the risk of continued use. Although the penalty for getting caught is quite high, the chances of being tested are usually quite low.

Behavior in the face of risks tends to follow what is known in psychology as prospect theory; people are more concerned with how often they win or lose than with how much they win or lose. According to Prospect Theory, coerced abstinence is effective at getting people off drugs because the frequency and certainty of a sentence is a much more significant deterrent than severity of the sentence. In other words, if virtually every time probationers fail a drug test, they go immediately to jail (even for just a few days) probationers will use less drugs than if they are only occasionally caught even if the penalty is significantly higher.

One problem with implementing a coerced abstinence program is that initially the scope of the program must be sufficiently small to track down those who do not show up for tests. Probation officers are already overworked and police do not make warrant service a high priority. Designing a good program is quite difficult since sanctions must be swift and sure. Another problem with coerced abstinence is political feasibility. Because the program ascribes neither to the disease model of addiction (which requires drug treatment) nor to a moral-model (which mandates long and hard sentencing), it may simply be too ideologically neutral to be a successful part of a political platform.’

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