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DWI Texas Law Could Change behind Legislation in 2011!

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Bill proposes deferred adjudication in Texas DWI cases

 

 


 

 

Associated Press

 

AUSTIN, Texas – A new legislative proposal would allow first-time drunken drivers in Texas to be acquitted if they complete supervision and treatment, a move supporters say would reduce court backlogs and shift the judicial system's focus to punishing repeat DWI offenders.

 

Rep. Todd Smith, R-Euless, filed the proposal that would allow for deferred adjudication for first-time DWI offenders. Repetition of the offense would become grounds to increase future punishments.

 

The bill, which has supporters including Mothers Against Drunk Driving, prosecutors and defense attorneys, would be a change from the state's stance that all drunken drivers should face fines and jail. In the mid-1980s, deferred adjudication for such offenses was abolished in the state. Opponents at the time, including MADD, had argued that the form of probation was being accepted for repeat offenders.

 

"It's a needed change," said Richard Alpert, a Tarrant Countyprosecutor. "It's not like they are getting a free DWI, but a type of probation that would not technically be a conviction. If they don't reoffend, they can say they have not been convicted. But if they do reoffend, it can be used to enhance their punishment."

 

Supporters say that by routing cases out of courtrooms, the plan could ease court backlogs. Also, they say, it could improve efforts to track and punish repeat DWI offenders and remove the threat of jail that makes some first-timers refuse guilty pleas.

 

"Generally we do not support deferred adjudication bills, but we are going to support this one," Bill Lewis, public policy liaison for the Irving-based nonprofit group MADD, told the Austin American-Statesman. "Right now, we are hearing that many cases are not getting prosecuted for DWI but for a bogus charge. We hope the practice of reducing charges will be reduced if this bill does indeed pass."

 

Supporters of the bill also say it could give prosecutors a new negotiating tool.

 

Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley said that the plan would still require supervision of the defendant and could enforce fines and allow a judge to impose jail time as a condition of probation.

 

"This would be a first step to putting some sanity in that system as long as people make sure to retain it only for the true first-time offender," Bradley said.

 

While the proposal has been in front of the Legislature before, Alpert said there is plenty of support this time.

 

"I think there is some momentum for this," Alpert said. "It would give people who want to take responsibility an incentive to plead guilty, as opposed to setting these cases for trial. We have too many cases on the docket."

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Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com

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The Effects Of Spirituality In Alcoholics Anonymous On Alcohol Dependence

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New research shows that attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings may increase spirituality and help decrease frequency and intensity of alcohol use

  • Alcoholics Anonymous is a widely known 12-step program that can help individuals control their dependence on alcohol, and spirituality is a large part
  • A new study shows that spirituality does increase over time, which can lead to better alcohol outcomes and an improved rate of recovery
  • These results indicate that spirituality is an important factor in the multi-faceted recovery from an alcohol-use disorder

Addictions, whether it is to drugs or alcohol, are a very difficult hurdle for individuals to overcome. But, there are ways to help people with their recovery through 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Many of these organizations, including AA, highlight spirituality as a very important factor, but the data surrounding its effectiveness have often been contested. 

However, new research shows that as attendance of AA meetings increase, so do the participants spiritual beliefs, especially in those individuals who had low spirituality at the beginning of the study. 

The results will be published in the March 2011 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View. 

John F. Kelly, lead author of the study, Associate Professor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Associate Director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, said that while spirituality is an important aspect of AA recovery, it is not the only way they can help individuals. 

"I've heard it said that AA is too spiritual, and I've also heard it said that AA is not spiritual enough for some people. Although this is not the only way that AA helps individuals recover, I think these findings support the notion that AA works in part by enhancing spiritual practices," Kelly said. 

The researchers assessed more than 1,500 adults throughout their recovery process, with data being gathered at three, six, nine, 12, and 15 months. The study utilized data on their attendance to AA meetings, their individual spirituality/religiosity practices and overall alcohol-use outcomes to determine if spirituality is indeed a mechanism of behavior change. 

The results indicated that there was a robust association between an increase in attendance to AA meetings with increased spirituality and a decrease in the frequency and intensity of alcohol use over time. One of the most interesting aspects of the research was that the same amount of recovery was seen in both agnostics and atheists, which indicates that while spirituality is an important mechanism of behavioral change for AA, it is not the only method used. 

"Many people will be surprised that alcoholic patients with little or no interest in spirituality attended AA and seemed to change even more than did those who had a pre-existing, strong sense of spirituality," said Keith Humphreys, a Career Research Scientist with the Veterans Health Administration and Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University. "AA is thus much more broad in its appeal than is commonly recognized." 

The researchers also noted that while spirituality is an important aspect of recovery, it is still not known how these beliefs work in complement or competition with other recovery methods, as there are multiple. 

"We have also found that AA participation leads to recovery by helping members change their social network and by enhancing individuals' recovery coping skills, motivation for continued abstinence, and by reducing depression and increasing psychological well-being," said Kelly. 

"Down the road it will be important to conduct more qualitative research as well as further quantitative replication of our findings in order to understand more about how exactly spiritual practices and beliefs influence coping and behavioral change in recovery from addiction

Source: 
John F. Kelly, Ph.D.
Center for Addiction Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital 
Keith Humphreys, Ph.D. 
Stanford University 
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research

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Parents of recovering drug addicts!

Parents of recovering drug addicts have many things in common. They share the struggles of watching their own children struggle with the addiction and if they get the opportunity to see their children seek help, they get to see the daily success of recovery. Often parents of drug addicts share similar experiences and emotions, which in turn creates a bond between parents.

Many parents describe a fear, that their children will die at a young age. Sometimes anger is present because of the addict in their addiction lies so frequently to the parents. The family hopes that recovery will come or better yet that their children will seek help in an addiction treatment facility.

If a relapse occurs anger and frustration can happen all over again, creating despair and hurt feelings. The financial pressures of trying to fix the problem sometimes makes the relapse even more intense. Some families that can afford treatment find themselves going to extremes to help the addict get clean and sober.

Many families do not know that help is available for parents. A program called Nar-Anon Family Groups can help families of addicts. Please visit the site at    http://www.nar-anon.org

 

 

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Alcoholics May Stop at One Drink With Lundbeck Pill but what about the second drink,third and so on?

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Alcoholics may stop one drink with new pill. What about the second drink? In Europe a new medication is being used to help the fight of alcoholism. For many years the search for a pharmacological treatment answer in the fight against alcoholism has been sought. The drug, nalmefene from H. Lundbeck A/S in Valby, Denmark, blocks brain signals that make activities such as sex and drinking feel good. Should trials succeed, the medicine may win clearance in Europe as early as 2012, becoming the first new alcoholism treatment approved there in more than 15 years.
Most of the current medications are geared to fighting relapse once a person stops using alcohol. The focus of the new drug promises an attack of the problem from a different angle. The individual continues to drink while using this medication. Currently the method of abstinent is required for most people to become free from alcohol.
This new method of treatment raises many questions on it's effectiveness to stop alcoholism. The addiction treatment communities are champions for new tools, medications, tecniques and approaches to the treatment of alcoholism. However, much concern exist when you hear of the magic pill cure to fight alcoholism. It does not take long for the addiction professionals and the treatment and recovery community to get cynical about the idea of giving a pill and continued drinking.  
New ideas are always evaluated and researched in the addiction treatment industry. So while we watch this new approach to medication and alcoholics develop I hope more people will focus on the education of alcoholism.  


By Scott Kelley LCDC
More information on article found at business week.
via www.businessweek.com


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How to pick a good addiction facility for a loved one?

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Addiction treatment programs are vast across the internet. When searching for a good addiction treatment program sometimes consumers can get overwhelmed. Sober Sky has great pointers to help you in picking out the best addiction treatment programs.

 

  • Pick a program that has an experienced staff treating your loved one. It is important to find out how long the staff has been treating addictions. The longer a program has been in business treating addictions is always a good start.
  • Will the program that you send your loved one be exposed to 12- step approaches? Pick a program that introduces and individual to the 12- step programs. More people get sober and stay sober because of the 12-steps. All other promises or modalities are simply not proven and you should be cautious of any other claims.
  • The staff is the most important aspect of any good treatment program. In other words the people that treat your loved one need to know what they are doing. Once again experience is the best indicator of a great addiction treatment program.
  • Medical detox and counselors on staff are very important. A program that does not have licensed staff needs to be scrutinized. Some programs do exist that do not have licensed staff, but they are usually recovery centers and will not be using counseling. I recommend facilities of this nature under the section recovery centers. They are a totally different type of program. They are not treatment programs. Please go to section on recovery centers for more information on this type of program.

 

This is a short pointer list but can help you in picking a great treatment program. If you need assistance in finding a great program feel free to e-mail me at texasscottkelley@aol.com I am always available to help you in finding a good program.

 

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Sober Sky Recommends Summer Sky Treatment Center

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Sober Sky is about people finding addiction treatment. Since starting Sober Sky I have toured and meet up with some great addiction treatment programs. I look forward to updating consumers on some of the best addiction facilities in the nation. Right, now I want to highlight one great addiction treatment program that is making so much progress, that I want to share what they are doing. In the great State of Texas is an addiction rehab that is changing the face of addiction treatment. They are using innovative treatment modalities and bringing great success to the field of addiction treatment. Recently they opened an intensive outpatient program in Stephenville, Texas that is serving the local community needs. This great facility is called Summer Sky Treatment Center. If you are looking for a great program start by visiting this site. You can reach them at 1-888-857-8857.

 

Scott Kelley LCDC     


Alcohol more harmful than heroin or crack

Alcohol more harmful than heroin or crack'

Sacked government drugs adviser David Nutt publishes investigation in Lancet reopening debate on classification

 

Teenagers drinking alcohol

Heroin causes harm to users, but alcohol causes considerably more harm in the wider community, study finds. Photograph: Action Press/Rex Features.

 

Alcohol is the most dangerous drug in the UK by a considerable margin, beating heroin and crack cocaine into second and third place, according to an authoritative study published today which will reopen calls for the drugs classification system to be scrapped and a concerted campaign launched against drink.

Led by the sacked government drugs adviser David Nutt with colleagues from the breakaway Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, the study says that if drugs were classified on the basis of the harm they do, alcohol would be class A, alongside heroin and crack cocaine.

Today's paper, published by the respected Lancet medical journal, will be seen as a challenge to the government to take on the fraught issue of the relative harms of legal and illegal drugs, which proved politically damaging to Labour.

Nutt was sacked last year by the home secretary at the time, Alan Johnson, for challenging ministers refusal to take the advice of the official Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which he chaired. The committee wanted cannabis to remain a class C drug and for ecstasy to be downgraded from class A, arguing that these were less harmful than other drugs. Nutt claimed scientific evidence was overruled for political reasons.

The new paper updates a study carried out by Nutt and others in 2007, which was also published by the Lancet and triggered debate for suggesting that legally available alcohol and tobacco were more dangerous than cannabis and LSD.

Alcohol, in that paper, ranked fifth most dangerous overall. The 2007 paper also called for an overhaul of the drug classification system, but critics disputed the criteria used to rank the drugs and the absence of differential weighting.

Today's study offers a more complex analysis that seeks to address the 2007 criticisms. It examines nine categories of harm that drugs can do to the individual "from death to damage to mental functioning and loss of relationships" and seven types of harm to others. The maximum possible harm score was 100 and the minimum zero.

Overall, alcohol scored 72 – against 55 for heroin and 54 for crack. The most dangerous drugs to their individual users were ranked as heroin, crack and then crystal meth. The most harmful to others were alcohol, heroin and crack in that order.

Nutt told the Guardian the drug classification system needed radical change. "The Misuse of Drugs Act is past its sell-by date and needs to be redone," he said. "We need to rethink how we deal with drugs in the light of these new findings."

For overall harm, the other drugs examined ranked as follows: crystal meth (33), cocaine (27), tobacco (26), amphetamine/speed (23), cannabis (20), GHB (18), benzodiazepines (15), ketamine (15), methadone (13), butane (10), qat (9), ecstasy (9), anabolic steroids (9), LSD (7), buprenorphine (6) and magic mushrooms (5).

The authors write: "Our findings lend support to previous work in the UK and the Netherlands, confirming that the present drug classification systems have little relation to the evidence of harm. They also accord with the conclusions of previous expert reports that aggressively targeting alcohol harm is a valid and necessary public health strategy."

Nutt told the Lancet a new classification system "would depend on what set of harms 'to self or others' you are trying to reduce". He added: "But if you take overall harm, then alcohol, heroin and crack are clearly more harmful than all others, so perhaps drugs with a score of 40 or more could be class A; 39 to 20 class B; 19-10 class C and 10 or under class D." This would result in tobacco being labelled a class B drug alongside cocaine. Cannabis would also just make class B, rather than class C. Ecstasy and LSD would end up in the lowest drug category, D.

He was not suggesting classification was unnecessary: "We do need a classification system – we do need to regulate the ones that are very harmful to individuals like heroin and crack cocaine." But he thought the UK could learn from the Portuguese and Dutch: "They have innovative policies which could reduce criminalisation." Representatives of both countries will be at a summit in London today, called drug science and drug policy: building a consensus, where the study will be presented.

UK reformers will be hoping the coalition government will take a more evidence-based approach to classification and tackling drugs than Labour did. The Liberal Democrats supported Nutt over his sacking, while Conservative leader David Cameron, who got into trouble at Eton, aged 15, for smoking cannabis, acknowledged the Misuse of Drugs Act was not working during his time as an MP on the Home Affairs select committee.

Nutt called for far more effort to be put into reducing harm caused by alcohol, pointing out that its economic costs, as well as the costs to society of addiction and broken families, are very high. Taxation on alcohol is "completely inappropriate", he said – with strong cider, for instance, taxed at a fifth of the rate of wine – and action should particularly target the low cost and promotion of alcohol such as Bacardi breezers to young people.

Don Shenker, the chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said : "What this study and new classification shows is that successive governments have mistakenly focused attention on illicit drugs, whereas the pervading harms from alcohol should have given a far higher priority. Drug misusers are still ten times more likely to receive support for their addiction than alcohol misusers, costing the taxpayer billions in repeat hospital admissions and alcohol related crime. Alcohol misuse has been exacerbated in recent years as government failed to accept the link between cheap prices, higher consumption and resultant harms to individuals and society."

"[The] government should now urgently ensure alcohol is made less affordable and invest in prevention and treatment services to deal with the rise in alcohol dependency that has occurred."

The Home Office said last night: "We have not read the report. This government has just completed an alcohol consultation and will publish a drugs strategy in the coming months."

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "In England, most people drink once a week or less. If you're a women and stick to two to three units a day or a man and drink up to three or four units, you are unlikely to damage your health. The government is determined to prevent alcohol abuse without disadvantaging those who drink sensibly."Two experts from the Amsterdam National Institute for Public Health and the Environment and the Amsterdam Institute for Addiction Research point out in a Lancet commentary the study does not look at multiple drug use, which can make some drugs much more dangerous – such as cocaine or cannabis together with alcohol – but they acknowledge the topic was outside its scope.

They add that because the pattern of recreational drug use changes, the study should be repeated every five or 10 years.

 

 

 

 

 


17 Years sober and still growing

Recovery- a lifetime process and a delightful experience for thousands before me and millions to come. I still recall the day, I was sitting in an addiction treatment facility thinking that the end of life was upon me. In my self- pity I had somehow convinced myself that life as I knew it had ended. Hit with a wave of denial and the thought that I don't belong here was racing in my head. The process of grief was starting to take place. Letting go of the usage of chemicals and starting the process of detox from alcohol was not a pleasant experience, but it was necessary experience. Little did I know that I was to know a freedom that I had never known in my life. The pain and suffering of addiction would slowly end and a whole new purpose for life would begin to dominate my thought life. Now 17 years latter I have a family and two lovely children and the most wonderful wife. I actually have a life filled with abundance and joy. So if you are thinking about seeking treatment for your addiction or you are wanting to help a loved one seek help for an addiction? I have one short message. Do seek the help! You will be so grateful you did. One great program I recommend is Summer Sky Treatment Center in Stephenville, Texas. Check out there website and see what they offer.    


Summer Sky Treatment Center Houston Texas!

Summer Sky Treatment Center attended the 2010 Spectrum Conference hosted by the Houston Chapter of the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals. This years conference was The Thirty Seventh Annual Conference on Addiction Studies. It is a honor to help support such a great organization and be apart of addiction professionals serving those with substance use disorders across the State of Texas. Summer Sky recently opened up the new Detox Now Program. The Detox now program is created for those who do not want a 30 day stay in treatment, but desire to have detox take place. It is really geared to those who have had previous treatment or have a history of relapse. Please take a look at there website at http://www.summersky.us or call them at 1-888-857-8857.    


Recovery Month 2010

Recovery month was very exciting this year. Every day in recovery is exciting to me, however it is a special time of the year when the President, Governor and the major of the city I live in all give proclamations in support of Recovery month. The myth of addiction is truly becoming known that people do recover from addictions and move forward with life. So to all in recovery i wish you all the best ending of 2010 as you trudge the road to happy destiny.

 

Scott Kelley