Sunday, February 24, 2013

Comment from a local writer

Abstinence-based methods of dealing with addiction have been marginalized by a billion dollar industry based on philosophical abstractions.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Port Coquitlam Med Pot Delights

Read this story and watch the video and then consider the following:

1.The grower already had a warm and wonderful track record of speeding, reckless driving and leading the cops on a high-speed dangerous chase.

2. The grower is significantly violating his allowed production.

3. The comments that follow the story are a small revelation as they reveal our current community values.

4. Everybody and his stoner dog is pushing for legalization.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Thank you for your support of our organization in preventing the sexual exploitation of children and youth. I’m writing to introduce you to our upcoming event in celebration of the 15th Annual Provincial Stop the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth Awareness Week

Children of the Street Society is a Provincial Society and Federal Charity founded in 1995. Our mission is to take a proactive approach through public awareness, education and early intervention strategies to prevent the sexual exploitation of children and youth, while offering support to families. Our vision is a world where children and youth are safe and free from all forms of sexual exploitation. Over the past 2011/2012 year, we delivered 542 workshops to 22,546 children and youth across British Columbia. On average, we also support 70-80 families in the Lower Mainland with a child who is at risk of or is sexually exploited.

As the leading organization on the issue of sexual exploitation for over 17 years, we continue to move forward by building and strengthening relationships with stakeholders that are working towards providing a safe environment for children and youth within the BC community. Since this issue often involves the role of many community stakeholders, partnerships are critical in order to prevent sexual exploitation among our children and youth.

Due to the advancement and accessibility of technology, children and youth in British Columbia are at risk of sexual exploitation now, more than ever before. In fact, research shows that 1 in 5 youth aged 10-17 years have been solicited sexually online and 75% of them did not tell a parent. Child pornography offences in Canada have increased by 900% over the past 5 years, while Canada remains second in the world to hosting child sexual abuse images online, next to the United States.

Children of the Street Society feels that our work together can make a difference in children’s lives and as such, I would like to cordially invite you to our Annual Celebration of Success and Fundraiser to learn more about our organization as well as new partnership opportunities. The event details are as follows:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM
At Hycroft Manor in Vancouver, British Columbia

There will also be a silent auction with great prizes including hotel stays, retail gift certificates, personal training classes and much more! New this year, we will also be hosting a grand prize raffle draw for two return tickets anywhere in WestJet’s world, courtesy of WestJet! 

This event will take place during the Provincial Stop the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Youth Awareness Week which takes place from March 11th to March 17th, 2013. The evening will consist of appetizers, refreshments and critical conversation around the issue of the sexual exploitation of children and youth. The event is led by our Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Bill Good from CKNW as well as our keynote speaker, Daphne Bramham from The Vancouver Sun. Together, we hope this discussion will inspire a sense of responsibility and commitment towards the prevention of sexual exploitation of children and youth, and provide an opportunity for you to learn about our work.

Attached, please find your invitation to the event. If you cannot attend, we encourage you to pass the invitation along to a representative from your organization that could attend on your behalf.  This will be a great opportunity to network with others who are like-minded in improving the social, emotional and physical well-being of children and youth.

Please RSVP no later than March 4, 2013 to me at 604-777-7510 x 105 or We look forward to seeing you that evening.


chrysabelle choe fund development coordinator
Children of the Street Society
208 – 1130 Austin Avenue, Coquitlam, BC Canada V3K 3P5
Transform a Life. Stop sexual exploitation of youth.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013




                      May 2, 2013 – Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver

                      Tickets: $200 or $2,000 for a table of 10

Special Guest Speaker: Ashley Judd

Last year's GALA with Rob Lowe was a fantastic event.



Thursday, February 7, 2013


From a NEW YORK TIMES blog, thanks to our friend, Susan Heyes.
February 4, 2013, 2:17 pm

Effective Addiction Treatment

Countless people addicted to drugs, alcohol or both have managed to get clean and stay clean with the help of organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous or the thousands of residential and outpatient clinics devoted to treating addiction.

But if you have failed one or more times to achieve lasting sobriety after rehab, perhaps after spending tens of thousands of dollars, you're not alone. And chances are, it's not your fault.

Of the 23.5 million teenagers and adults addicted to alcohol or drugs, only about 1 in 10 gets treatment, which too often fails to keep them drug-free. Many of these programs fail to use proven methods to deal with the factors that underlie addiction and set off relapse.

According to recent examinations of treatment programs, most are rooted in outdated methods rather than newer approaches shown in scientific studies to be more effective in helping people achieve and maintain addiction-free lives. People typically do more research when shopping for a new car than when seeking treatment for addiction.

A groundbreaking report published last year by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University concluded that "the vast majority of people in need of addiction treatment do not receive anything that approximates evidence-based care." The report added, "Only a small fraction of individuals receive interventions or treatment consistent with scientific knowledge about what works."
The Columbia report found that most addiction treatment providers are not medical professionals and are not equipped with the knowledge, skills or credentials needed to provide the full range of evidence-based services, including medication and psychosocial therapy. The authors suggested that such insufficient care could be considered "a form of medical malpractice."

The failings of many treatment programs - and the comprehensive therapies that have been scientifically validated but remain vastly underused - are described in an eye-opening new book, "Inside Rehab," by Anne M. Fletcher, a science writer whose previous books include the highly acclaimed "Sober for Good."
"There are exceptions, but of the many thousands of treatment programs out there, most use exactly the same kind of treatment you would have received in 1950, not modern scientific approaches," A. Thomas McLellan, co-founder of the Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia, told Ms. Fletcher.

Ms. Fletcher's book, replete with the experiences of treated addicts, offers myriad suggestions to help patients find addiction treatments with the highest probability of success.

Often, Ms. Fletcher found, low-cost, publicly funded clinics have better-qualified therapists and better outcomes than the high-end residential centers typically used by celebrities like Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan. Indeed, their revolving-door experiences with treatment helped prompt Ms. Fletcher's exhaustive exploration in the first place.

In an interview, Ms. Fletcher said she wanted to inform consumers "about science-based practices that should form the basis of addiction treatment" and explode some of the myths surrounding it.
One such myth is the belief that most addicts need to go to a rehab center.

"The truth is that most people recover (1) completely on their own, (2) by attending self-help groups, and/or (3) by seeing a counselor or therapist individually," she wrote.

Contrary to the 30-day stint typical of inpatient rehab, "people with serious substance abuse disorders commonly require care for months or even years," she wrote. "The short-term fix mentality partially explains why so many people go back to their old habits."

Dr. Mark Willenbring, a former director of treatment and recovery research at the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, said in an interview, "You don't treat a chronic illness for four weeks and then send the patient to a support group. People with a chronic form of addiction need multimodal treatment that is individualized and offered continuously or intermittently for as long as they need it."

Dr. Willenbring now practices in St. Paul, where he is creating a clinic called Alltyr "to serve as a model to demonstrate what comprehensive 21st century treatment should look like."

"While some people are helped by one intensive round of treatment, the majority of addicts continue to need services," Dr. Willenbring said. He cited the case of a 43-year-old woman "who has been in and out of rehab 42 times" because she never got the full range of medical and support services she needed.
Dr. Willenbring is especially distressed about patients who are treated for opioid addiction, then relapse in part because they are not given maintenance therapy with the drug Suboxone.

"We have some pretty good drugs to help people with addiction problems, but doctors don't know how to use them," he said. "The 12-step community doesn't want to use relapse-prevention medication because they view it as a crutch."

Before committing to a treatment program, Ms. Fletcher urges prospective clients or their families to do their homework. The first step, she said, is to get an independent assessment of the need for treatment, as well as the kind of treatment needed, by an expert who is not affiliated with the program you are considering.

Check on the credentials of the program's personnel, who should have "at least a master's degree," Ms. Fletcher said. If the therapist is a physician, he or she should be certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine.

Does the facility's approach to treatment fit with your beliefs and values? If a 12-step program like A.A. is not right for you, don't choose it just because it's the best known approach.

Meet with the therapist who will treat you and ask what your treatment plan will be. "It should be more than movies, lectures or three-hour classes three times a week," Ms. Fletcher said. "You should be treated by a licensed addiction counselor who will see you one-on-one. Treatment should be individualized. One size does not fit all."

Find out if you will receive therapy for any underlying condition, like depression, or a social problem that could sabotage recovery. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states in its Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment, "To be effective, treatment must address the individual's drug abuse and any associated medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal problems."

Look for programs using research-validated techniques, like cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps addicts recognize what prompts them to use drugs or alcohol, and learn to redirect their thoughts and reactions away from the abused substance.

Other validated treatment methods include Community Reinforcement and Family Training, or Craft, an approach developed by Robert J. Meyers and described in his book, "Get Your Loved One Sober," with co-author Brenda L. Wolfe. It helps addicts adopt a lifestyle more rewarding than one filled with drugs and alcohol.

This is the first of two articles on addiction treatment.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

This is How We Spend Public Money

Recovering alcoholics' body language can be a sign of whether or not they may fall off the wagon, says a UBC study. (Alamy)

VANCOUVER - Recovering alcoholics always hope they won't fall off the wagon, but researchers say they have now found a way to predict if that plunge will occur, and how bad the bender will be.
Observers at the University of British Columbia watched the body language of problem drinkers during two videotaped interviews and found newly sober drinkers who showed signs of shame were much more likely to hit the bottle again.

The study is the first to link physical signs of shame, such as slumped shoulders or a narrow chest, to predictions of relapse over the next three to 11 months in people who struggle with substance abuse.
University of B.C. psychology Prof. Jessica Tracy said the amount of shame displayed is also directly tied to the number of drinks an alcoholic will have on that first binge after giving up sobriety.

Forty-six drinkers recruited from Alcoholics Anonymous meetings completed questionnaires about their physical and mental health. Tracy and a team researchers also assessed their body language in interviews, videotaped four months apart.

Study co-author Dan Rangles said participants who displayed a stronger response in the second interview had consumed more drinks.

"On average they consumed an additional 10.6 drinks between the four months," he said of the study to be published this week by the Association for Psychological Science journal Clinical Psychological Science.

Participants were asked to respond to the question: "Describe the last time you drank and how you felt about it."

Researchers analyzed the first 10 seconds of their response, mostly because people would express their strongest emotional reactions immediately after being asked the question, Randles said.

The study found that unconscious physical mannerisms are a powerful sign of future relapse, while written expressions of shame offer almost no clues because people may repress painful behaviour.
Randles said that while some U.S. states have issued marked licence plates for people convicted of driving under the influence, it's not clear if such public shaming promotes positive behaviour.

"Our research with this sample suggests that may not actually work and it may have the opposite effect, encouraging (people) to feel like this is a permanent part of themselves, which, according to our data may make it more difficult for them to overcome the problem."

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The following two posts - Now Boys & Girls and One Point of View - demonstrate that there are still many who believe that a reasonable and useful response to drug use is another drug use. Bless their hearts.

Now, Boys & Girls

One Point of View


On Monday, we got together with the BC Association of People on Methadone (BCAPOM) and VANDU to launch our new Methadone Patient’s Rights Card in front of the Executive Airport Plaza in Richmond.  Inside, provincial health authorities and addictions researchers were meeting to discuss how to improve methadone treatment in B.C.

As of last year, 13,894 people in the province were on Methadone Maintenance Treatment program (MMT).  Members of BCAPOM wanted to express to those in the meeting and the public that it is necessary for decision makers in government to hear from actual methadone patients when discussing how to improve and fix the MMT program.

1297369718644_ORIGINAL.jpgMMT delivery in British Columbia has been criticized for many years by BCAPOM as a system fraught with corruption and stigmatizing to those it is intended to help.

There are a lot of misconceptions about methadone. Even a fairly sympathetic story in the 24 Hours newspaper covering the launch of the rights cards perpetuated the idea that accessing methadone is more akin to illegal drug-seeking activities than to accessing other prescriptions for chronic conditions. They ran the story with the opening line “Methadone users having trouble getting their fix have a new method to report complaints …”

Stigma and misunderstandings about the nature of MMT, combined with the fact that methadone can be a very lucrative niche market for pharmacists and doctors, has resulted in a situation where people who are prescribed methadone face discrimination, exploitation and unreasonable limits on their ability to manage their own health. The most highly publicized methadone scandal in B.C. in recent years was the case of George Wolsey, the former pharmacist and SRO hotel owner who, among other things, forced his tenants to get their methadone prescriptions filled at his pharmacy under threat of eviction.

While the Wolsey case was an extreme example of exploitative practices, patient stories of abuse and concerns about the quality of service they receive are common. Complaints range from being treated disrespectfully to receiving watered-down medicine. Even long-term, very stable methadone users face restrictions on travel because they are not allowed to carry doses of their prescriptions with them (leading some methadone patients to refer to the treatment as “liquid handcuffs”). There are also many examples of patients having their prescriptions reduced or cut off by their doctor for “non-compliance,” which includes missing doses, not renewing prescriptions in a timely fashion, or experiencing a relapse. These issues are not only a problem in terms of patients’ rights, they also undermine the very goal of MMT, which is to reduce the harms associated with opiate addiction by retaining patients in the treatment program.

In response to the case of Mr. Wolsey, Vancouver City Council set up a task force to look at abuses in the delivery of MMT. We worked with the task force over the past year and a half, and the City supported Pivot and BCAPOM to produce and print 10,000 rights cards.

We believe that knowing your rights is the first step to advocating for and upholding those rights. The cards are meant to help methadone users confront unfair physician and pharmacist practices, as well as offer guidance for filing complaints with the regulatory bodies that control MMT. BCAPOM and VANDU have included their contact information on the cards and will help patients file complaints. However, we know that there is still a long way to go to improve B.C.’s MMT system. Not only can the complaint process be onerous for marginalized populations even with support, there also needs to be an effort to break down the stigma that is still attached to methadone among health care providers and the general public, and to ensure that patients accessing the program have a seat at the table in discussions about the nature and delivery of their healthcare.

Check out the rights card here

And, take a look at this story in Tuesday’s Globe and Mail about the cards, including an interview with BCAPOM member Laura Shaver about her experiences as a MMT patient.

We can't continue to do this great work without your support.  You can help us to keep fighting injustice and stigma by making a donation.


Scott Bernstein