Developing Drug Cases: Investigation of Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Offenses – Part 2 (1974)

0 Developing Drug Cases: Investigation of Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Offenses   Part 2 (1974)

Drug rehabilitation (often drug rehab or just rehab) is a term for the processes of medical and/or psychotherapeutic treatment, for dependency on psychoactive substances such as alcohol, prescription drugs, and so-called street drugs such as cocaine, heroin or amphetamines. The general intent is to enable the patient to cease substance abuse, in order to avoid the psychological, legal, financial, social, and physical consequences that can be caused, especially by extreme abuse.

Psychological dependency is addressed in many drug rehabilitation programs by attempting to teach the patient new methods of interacting in a drug-free environment. In particular, patients are generally encouraged, or possibly even required, to not associate with friends who still use the addictive substance. Twelve-step programs encourage addicts not only to stop using alcohol or other drugs, but to examine and change habits related to their addictions. Many programs emphasize that recovery is a permanent process without culmination. For legal drugs such as alcohol, complete abstention—rather than attempts at moderation, which may lead to relapse—is also emphasized (“One is too many, and a thousand is never enough.”) Whether moderation is achievable by those with a history of abuse remains a controversial point, but is generally considered unsustainable.

Certain opioid medications such as methadone and more recently buprenorphine are widely used to treat addiction and dependence on other opioids such as heroin, morphine or oxycodone. Methadone and buprenorphine are maintenance therapies used with an intent of stabilizing an abnormal opioid system and used for long durations of time though both may be used to withdraw patients from narcotics over short term periods as well. Ibogaine is an experimental medication proposed to interrupt both physical dependence and psychological craving to a broad range or drugs including narcotics, stimulants, alcohol and nicotine. Some antidepressants also show use in moderating drug use, particularly to nicotine, and it has become common for researchers to re-examine already approved drugs for new uses in drug rehabilitation.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), patients stabilized on adequate, sustained doses of methadone or buprenorphine can keep their jobs, avoid crime and violence, and reduce their exposure to HIV by stopping or reducing injection drug use and drug-related high risk sexual behavior. Naltrexone is another long-acting opioid antagonist with few side effects, and it’s usually prescribed in outpatient medical conditions; even though initiation of the treatment begins after medical detoxification in a residential setting. Naltrexone blocks the euphoric and all other effects of self-administered pills, reducing with this the craving or addiction to the drug. It also works as treatment against alcohol addiction. Specialists claim that Naltrexone cuts relapse risk during the first 3 months by about 36%. however, as a downside it’s less effective in helping patients maintain abstinence. Acamprosate, Disulfiram and Topiramate are also medications that help patients treat alcohol addiction. Acamprosate has shown to work in patients with severe dependence, since they can keep abstinence for several weeks to months. Disulfiram (also called Antabuse) produces a very unpleasant reaction when drinking alcohol that includes flushing, nausea and palpitations. It works better on patients with high motivation and some addicts use it just for high risk situations.

Drug rehabilitation is sometimes part of the criminal justice system. People convicted of minor drug offenses may be sentenced to rehabilitation instead of prison, and those convicted of driving while intoxicated are sometimes required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. There are a number of ways to address an alternative sentence in a drug possession or DUI case; increasingly, American courts are willing to explore outside-the-box methods for delivering this service. There have been lawsuits filed, and won, regarding the requirement of attending Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step meetings as being inconsistent with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution, mandating separation of church and state.

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