For the past couple of decades, America’s solution to the drug crisis has been criminalization. Most pundits agree that this approach has failed spectacularly, ruining millions of lives and indirectly channeling billions of dollars to the criminal enterprises behind the drug trade. Millions of Americans who would have benefited from medical treatment were branded as criminals and forced to spend years of their lives in prison.
The result is a country that largely views drug addiction as a criminal rather than public health issue. According to a top federal health official, the United States will have to overhaul its approach to drugs if it has any chance of reducing the stigma of addiction and putting an end to the substance abuse crisis.
Speaking in a recent blog post, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) director Nora Volkow said addiction treatment is desperately in need of change, especially in regards to identifying “pre-addiction.” This change would provide people with the resources they need to seek help before they develop addictions.
However, the impact of decades of drug criminalization still rears its ugly head as there is plenty of stigma and fear surrounding misuse disorders and their treatment. Since personal drug use is still criminalized in most states, people who stand to benefit from drug misuse treatment avoid programs that offer such treatments.
Volkow wrote in the blog post that “rebranding mild to moderate substance abuse disorder” as a common pattern of behavior rather than a criminal one could destigmatize substance use while increasing awareness of the negative effects of using drugs. Furthermore, she stressed that interventions for people who meet pre-addiction conditions should be destigmatized to ensure these individuals seek treatment.
She mentioned providing legal protections for people who disclose past or current use of illicit drugs to their doctors. Ideally, such protections would allow patients to talk about drug use without fear of legal reprisals, thus increasing the number of people who seek substance misuse treatment.
Fear of disclosure will remain a significant hindrance to addressing substance misuse as long as drug use is criminalized, Volkow wrote. She has talked about the harms of drug decriminalization on numerous occasions in the past, stating in a 2021 interview that there was no justification for putting people who use illicit drugs in jail.
Volkow also sent a letter with the head of the National Institute of Mental Health to senators arguing that criminalization was making it hard for scientists to research the possible benefits of psychedelics.
If cannabis and psychedelics are decriminalized or even legalized federally, companies such as Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX), which makes equipment to facilitate the indoor cultivation of various plants including cannabis, could see significant growth in the years to come.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/ACTX
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