This is a great article pulled from Psychology Today that follows up on last week’s topic of Cory Monteith. There is a lot of news related to his death, but it’s important to understand why is it so meaningful and resonating with so many? One important point that summarizes this article so well is what is said at the end.
What Montieth was told in treatment was never to use—or drink—again: a road most graduates fail at some point to adhere to. Montieth should have learned how to stay alive and to avoid the narcotics-alcohol combination as an essential life-preserving fact in drug treatment.
This is an interesting debate because so many programs like AA use the 12 step program, which is great for some people, but there are others who aren’t ready for that kind of program because it focuses on immediate abstinence. Particularly for people who have other mental illnesses that may be going on, the focus may first need to be on harm reduction, such as what is described in the article. Harm reduction simply helps meet people with where they’re at and reduce further problems (Marlatt & Witkiewitz, 2002). The ultimate goal may be abstinence, but that’s not always immediately possible.
For a taste of this article, here is the beginning of the article with a link for more at the bottom:
Although Cory Montieth is widely reported to have died of a heroin overdose, radical drug researcher Carl Hart finds this highy unlikely. Nearly all such cases, as I have reported, are the result of combining heroin and other “downer” drugs—and primarily alcohol—a lethal mix that depresses the nervous system in ways that reinforce and exacerbate the effects of either drug alone. Was Montieth aware that using heroin and alcohol together was a bad idea? Having just emerged from drug and alcohol treatment at the Betty Ford Center had he been informed to avoid such a combination?
In fact, even after he died, users and the public alike were not informed about this risky behavior. Instead, we got the message: “Let Cory stand as an example, so that everybody will learn how bad addiction is.” According to Dr. Marvin Seppala, the chief medical officer of perhaps America’s top 12-step factory, Hazelden…
Rubin Khoddam, Clinical Psychology PhD student at University of Southern California, founder of Psych Connection.
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