Don't jail addicts. Overdose prevention sites work, and the US needs to get on board. []


Today, 200 Americans likely will die from a drug overdose. Most of them will die alone. 

The government's modern-day response to our nation's overdose epidemic has been woefully inadequate. Rather than relying on medical science, our leaders have been influenced by the same misguided approaches that undergirded the “war on drugs” in the 1980s — fear, stigma and racism. 

We need a smarter strategy that reduces harm and saves lives. This starts with prosecutors ending the criminal crackdown on drug users — pushing for treatment instead of pressing charges; encouraging law enforcement to change street approaches; and, most of all, calling for the development of overdose prevention sites where people can consume substances under supervision, get clean needles, and get access to treatment and counseling. 

[For more on this story by Miriam Aroni Krinsky and Dan Satterberg, go to]

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Beth- You’re spot on! The same can be said for perinatal substance use - the “forth trimester” is a particularly vulnerable time. We need to do more to help women and men as they transition to becoming parents. Often their own history of ACEs contributed to their substance use, so positive parenting and learning to cope with stressful situations without using is not familiar. Being a new parent is HARD! Trying to be a new parent while staying substance free is extra hard! Let’s do all we can to provide the Post Recovery Support Services that women, children and families need to be successful. This “two-generation” approach has the potential to break the intergenerational cycle of ACEs and substance use. Thanks for sharing your experiences, Beth! Karen 

Actually, there needs to be a 5th pillar in addition to prevention, harm reduction, treatment and law enforcement.  That 5th pillar is recovery support services.  To be truly abstinent in a culture that loves its alcohol and other drugs makes one the misfit in many situations, including one's own family.  As a person in long term recovery (28 years) I can report that without the support of other recovering people, I would not have remained sober, nor would my life look the way it does today.

Beth is a storyteller, consultant, and advocate, having retired from her previous careers as an educator and as an addictions counselor.  She is the author of "Distilling Hope: 12 Stories that illustrate the 12 Steps of Recovery." Parkhurst Brothers Publishers, 2017

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