Home » Side event: New Paradigm of Addiction Recovery – A Model of hope for overcoming the challenges in drug treatment recovery

Side event: New Paradigm of Addiction Recovery – A Model of hope for overcoming the challenges in drug treatment recovery

Organized by Sri Lanka

Wadih Maalouf, Drug Prevention and Health (UNODC): Working in prevention of drug use is prevention standards.  Main paradigm for policy makers is to focus on individual and not the drug as the problem.  Focus on individual means there is a science that can help him/her, no need to improvise, every single program has to help that child.  Programs that support language, emotional and cognitive competencies.  This varies in age and context that the child needs to adulthood.  That paradigm is recognizing that every person has own character, personality traits, mental health, stress, etc.  That human being has own characteristics but don’t exist in vacuum.  Has environmental structures that interact with that person. That family might be living in conflict situation or where there is poverty or different level of stress. That person also reacts to vulnerability in a different way.  There is different spectrum of care. The field of treatment is not too far off but there is important additional element.  There is psychoactive substance that is affecting that person’s reactivity and structures around them.  The programs that can support the child, social and emotional learning are key.  We find more and more literature coming to how mindfulness is integrated in programs in reducing emotional and behavior and internalizing problems that individuals have.  We can see how the two paradigms are in tune.  Family can really improve how mindfulness is affected. When family is engaged in treatment of substance use we see how these two things are capitalized to improve resilience.  Whenever we see added program, that program added another layer of resilience.  There is no one program that fixes all the vulnerability that the person is exposed to.  There is a need of integration of different sort of services that support social and emotional growth of that person.

Dr. Laknath Welagedara, National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB): Sri Lanka is highly concerned on complexity of the world drug problem. Finances and human resources have been mobilized on prevention and control of drug abuse through people centric, scientific, and evidence based, especially for youth. Despite advancement in treatment models there are still many challenges.  Sri Lanka review new treatement models based on science and in line with treatment and rehabilitaiton standards. Mindfulness program conducted study on mindfulness on ability to regulate emotions which is cause of reducing drug addiction.  The new paradigm of mindfulness based practices lead to new addiction recovery and create a world free from drugs.

Documentary video: Drug problem significantly affect welfare of people causing death and drug related mental disorders.  Problem of drug abuse becoming more complex. New synthetic drugs remain unrecognized in toxicology screens. Drug problem becoming real threat to socio-economic.  NDDCB established to conduct research, coordinate, provide education, etc. It has ultimate goal for a country free from drug abuse.  Treatment professionals still face many challenges. New models on treatment must adapt in a timely manner. Mindfulness based practices incorporate bio-psycho approach. Program has been identified as effective tool to overcome drug problem.

Ms. Pabasara Weerasinghe, Assistant Director, NDDCB: Addiction is a biopsycho disorder by use of drugs.  A number of psycho social factors contribute to addiction.  1964, term dependence used instead of addiction.  In modern science, addiction is explained as positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement.  Addiction starts with triggers- sights, smells, thoughts, body sensations.  Chocolate tastes good- positive reinforcement.  Learning that good idea to have chocolate when have negative moods. Start to form habit and becomes addiction ultimately.  In the sense of drug use, the drug users it is fixed that drugs are good.  Whatever the root cause for negative, they continue to use drugs even though they know that it is not a healthy habit.  Mindfulness adverses cravings. Cravings is the core of drug problem.  Drug addicts may say if I don’t take drugs my head will explode.  These are all sensations.  If we focus on sensations, we can see how cravings come and go.  Without reacting to the cravings, they can identify on the sensations. Pilot study did on effectiveness of mindfulness. There is outside world through sensory organs, we get the sensations as triggers.  Within the body, the drugs take in create changes in brain.  It might be pleasant or unpleasant. Through these changes in the brain chemical and neuropath image, they create thoughts that are mentally construct.  Most of demand reduction strategies focus on secondary problems which are not the root causes.  The current drug problem has many complexities. In 2017, there are 85,000 deaths due to drug use.  With emergence of new psychoactives, they are more potent. International standards on drug treatment recovery, there are indicators to effective treatment recovery. We initially did a preassessment and after 4 weeks we did a post assessment.  53% reduce in drug craving and frequency of drug craving has been reduced by 53.4% and length of drug craving decreased by 47.83%.  With perceived stress scale, measure nonspecific perceived stress.  For psychological wellbeing measurement increased by 13%.  With cognitive and affective mindfulness scale increase by 7%.  Attention and awareness increased by 15%.  There are also many research in this field of mindfulness recovery.

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