Treatment Advanced

Last Updated: Sep 20th 2019

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

A continually common belief in a good portion of the public, regardless of they’ve gone through substance abuse treatment in Florida or not, is that addiction is not only a moral failing but requires a moral dispositional shift in order to kick the habit. The War On Drugs policy, instituted in 1971 by Richard Nixon, is still ongoing and was built on this viewpoint. It has damaged not only research into addiction, but also dispersing the most up to date information about it and in the process, treating addicts as morally bankrupt criminals instead of what has actually happened which is a change of brain chemistry and introduced a synthetic mental illness it’s resulted in destroying not only the lives of addicts themselves but the families they belonged to.

Not many people who have been in a 12-step program realize that the entire premise is of moral correction. The primary focus of programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is to attempt to not only remove the autonomy of a person’s ability to make good decisions by having them accept that they don’t make good decisions, but that the only way to make good decisions is by submitting to a ‘higher power’. These days, it groups are more or less non-religious and don’t specifically harp on God or Christianity, but many will still use the term G.O.D., a shorthand for ‘Good Order and Discipline’. The overt spirituality, however, remains in nearly all 12-step programs which has been repeatedly found in medical and scientific communities to have very little positive results, especially in the long term.

While it is unfortunate that the opioid epidemic has occurred, one heavily racial element of it is that it has overtaken white communities and kickstarted a resurgence of trying to publicly take a new understanding on how substance abuse disorder actually works beyond the moral angle. While in the 80’s, the prison population, particularly with non-whites, exploded, making America the number one industrialized nation with the highest amounts of incarceration due to the scare of crack, today the opioid and by extension the heroin crisis has shaken an ever increasing portion of America out of it’s stone-aged view on what addiction actually is.

Medical research advancements have progressed to the point where brain imaging can even identify without even asking the patient what kind of drugs they are addicted to. Drugs have been developed for certain kinds of substance addictions that not nullify the effects of use while reducing cravings themselves. Some of these, such as naloxone, can even reverse a certain-death overdose situation. While these methods of imaging and treatment are new and very limited in use, as the public’s perception and research evolves, addictions of all types may be understood to the point where the disease is seen as just a serious ‘nuisance’, like the flu.

South Florida rehab centers like First Step Behavioral Health try to use the most accepted forms of medical and psychological substance abuse treatment available. Call (866) 971-5531 for more info about options like oxycodone treatment.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

Brittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is the Assistant Clinical Director at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.