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Mandatory Treatment Violates Human Rights, Inadequate for Reducing Drug Use – Study

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The current global trends of mandatory treatment of substance abuse problems are not effective and are against the tenets of human rights, says a recent study. Moreover, the researchers found that the mandatory treatment was not effective in reducing drug use.

The researchers felt that the mandatory treatment, defined as “treatment ordered,” motivated or supervised under the criminal justice system and done without a patient’s informed consent, is in gross violation of human rights. It does more harm than good to the patients, the researchers found.

Researchers Bulat Idrisov, M.D., M.Sc., and Karsten Lunze, M.D., M.P.H., DrPH, from the Clinical Addiction Research and Education Unit at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University School of Medicine collaborated with other researchers in Canada and Malaysia and after accessing the global data found that countries lack the capacity to treat substance use disorders.

The study, published in the BMJ in June 2016, stated that countries lack in offering diagnostic and therapeutic modalities to patients. Besides, there is also a lack of trained professionals required for effective treatment of addiction problem. They argued that in the absence of these measures, the treatment cannot be effective and may not provide long-term benefits.

Effective measures as suggested by the study

The authors suggested that the countries need to implement measures that are based on rigorous scientific studies. It is only then that a country can expect to successfully reduce substance use disorder rates.

Some of the strategies recommended by the researchers include:

    • Community-based opioid treatment: The study advocates that community-based opioid treatment can greatly help tackle substance use disorder in a country. Successful implementation of methadone and buprenorphine can form the basis of a success story.
    • Needle exchange programs: The researches said that harm-reduction programs like needle exchange also go a long way in reducing the rates of substance abuse in a community. There is constant monitoring of patients in such programs and addicts are always within the purview of clinicians and care providers. Such programs also manage to reduce other risk factors for diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis in addicts.
  • Imparting education: With knowledge comes awareness, which in turn sets the onset of a positive development. It is paramount to impart education and give information regarding medications, such as naloxone, for overdoses to addicts as well as their families. With increased awareness, there would be corrections and people would at least ponder before acting on an impulse.

Even the senior adviser to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Fabienne Hariga, M.D., M.P.H., in a recent meeting in New York, applauded the findings. “The evidence presented in this article provides additional argumentation supporting the position of all U.N. organizations that mandatory treatment settings do not represent a favorable or effective environment for the treatment of drug dependence,” said Fabienne.

“The United Nations therefore calls on States to transition from mandatory drug treatment and implement voluntary, evidence-informed and rights-based health and social services in the community.”

Available treatment options

Early treatment intervention holds the key to a long-term recovery and successful treatment for substance use disorder patients. If a loved one is grappling with any substance abuse problem and you are looking for drug rehab centers, the Florida Drug Addiction Helpline can assist you. Call 24/7 helpline number at 855-982-2401 for immediate assistance.

Our experts can guide you to one of the best addiction treatment centers where recovery is complete and long-term. The drug treatment centers can ensure that there is no relapse for patients availing treatment. Treatment Experts will help connect to various drug rehabs programs.

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