Raleigh, NC has seen some changes in drug policy in the past few months. Let’s take a look at some of the news relating to addiction, recovery and how the government wants to help. For quality drug rehab in Raleigh NC, be sure to call Legacy Freedom. We can help you or a family member kick addiction.
Clean Needle Exchange Programs
Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill that will go into effect on Oct. 1 that allows for clean needle exchange programs to be established in North Carolina. The bill does not have any financial backing but it will allow more sites to open throughout the state.
These programs are a service that allows people who use injectable drugs to get hypodermic needles and related paraphernalia at little or no cost. The theory is that it reduces the spread of diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. In order to receive the new syringes, the user has to bring in the used needles.
The Western North Carolina Aids Project in Asheville already has a program in place. They exchange over 10,000 syringes a week. While they will not receive funds to operate the program with the new legislation, they will be able to advertise and possibly open more locations. They hope to have their program less centralized so that they can reach more people.
The director of the program, Jeff Bachar, said, “It allows us to operate legally and it reduces a lot of the stigma so more people that need to come in can do so without feeling so stigmatized."
The programs have been around since the 1970s, but the motivation to increase the number of places where it was available came during the outbreak of hepatitis B and the AIDS pandemic. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that about one fifth of new HIV cases and the majority of hepatitis B cases where related to the use of injectable drugs. The CDC supports needle exchange programs.
"It's a huge opportunity to advertise more and open up sites across 18 counties and have it less centralized,” said Bachar. “This one would still stay open but through our partnerships and collaborations around the region we will have other sites pop up.”
At Legacy Freedom Treatment Center of Raleigh, we know that the struggles of each person are different, so we offer many options for recovery. We also offer outpatient programs so that you do not have to stop working or give up your other responsibilities in order to get the help you need. Call us today if you feel that you need help with drug or alcohol addiction.
Earlier this year the governor also signed a bill that makes naloxone, the drug that prevents an opioid overdose, more accessible. The bill makes it legal for any pharmacy to dispense the drug to anyone eligible, such as first responders and paramedics. North Carolina is the third state to pass a law like this.
Over 1,000 people die every year from opioid overdose, whether through pills or heroin. It has increased over 300 percent from 1999 through 2014. The passing of the bill shows that the legislature sees that opioid addiction has become a public health issue.
Gov. McCrory also included more funding in his budget for mental illness and substance abuse. The Department of Human Health Services Secretary Rick Brajar is working with the governor to allow more addiction treatment to prevent those overdoses. He also wants to give more money to recovery courts, which send people with addiction problems, who have been charged with having illegal drugs, into recovery programs rather than jail.
Task Force Recommendations
The Governor’s Substance Abuse and Underage Drinking Prevention and Treatment Task Force, which is focused on reducing underage drinking, released recommendations that they hope will help them accomplish goals within the program. The task force was created in 2014. They targeted three areas to consider for future goals: underage sales and use of alcohol, risky behaviors and substance abuse among college students, and provisions of treatment and recovery services for people with addiction problems.
The task force hopes to further their cause through collegiate recovery programs, server training and alcohol and research into the effects of alcohol on the adolescent brain.
They want to continue to grow the collegiate recovery programs by having dedicated staff in North Carolina universities to help students with recovery. They want to change policies to allow students to still be part of college while in recovery rather than taken out of classes and activities. They also hope to expand the program to help students who live off campus. Lastly, they aim to market the programs so that students know they are available.
Server training is also a part of the recommendations. They aim to train people who work in bars or in stores that sell alcohol so that they are able to spot fake IDs to reduce the number of underage sales. They are particularly focused on establishments near college campuses.
The third area in which they want to improve is further research on the effects of alcohol on teenagers’ brains. The findings will be used to educate parents and teens in order to help reduce underage drinking. The task force believes that parents who can provide information to their kids on the dangers of underage drinking are more effective at preventing it.
The task force also created a new campaign called “Talk It Out” that reinforces the importance of communication between parents and their children. More information, including tips for parents to “start the conversation,” can be found at www.talkitoutnc.org
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