VOLUME 7, ISSUE 3 - Fall 2013
Substance Abuse in Our World: Then, Now and Future - Part II
In our increasingly connected world, events and trends that originate in one country, region or state impact us all. Globalization influences almost every area of our lives. Even in the realm of substance abuse, what happens in Australia affects what happens in Arkansas. Constantly changing, tumultuous and dangerous, drug abuse and its associated harms present tremendous social, political and economic challenges to the world as a whole and to each effected region. In this edition of the Journal, we present two pieces on important substance abuse issues, written by authors from opposite sides of the globe, which have the potential to affect substance abuse policy and practice world-wide.
We offer a piece on a specific area of substance abuse treatment that describes the use of morphine to reduce the severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms while undergoing rapid opiate detoxification (ROD) from methadone under medical supervision. The results and conclusions are based on a pilot study and a later main study and suggest that the use of morphine for 10 to 14 days prior to detoxification among methadone-dependent patients significantly reduces the severity and duration of withdrawal and diminishes the severity of delirium.
Also included in this edition of the Journal is a commentary on the issue of marijuana legalization in the U.S. The author discusses the impact within the states that have already passed marijuana initiatives, Washington and Colorado, and the implications for the rest of the U.S. He points out that these initiatives are in conflict with US international treaty obligations and violate federal law. Further, the author suggests that the policy crisis triggered by marijuana legalization must be used to create a new, improved and more comprehensive drug policy.