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Dr. Cali Estes of TACA: Anthony Bourdain…Heroin, Cocaine and Harm Reduction

Anthony Bourdain…Heroin, Cocaine and Harm Reduction

www.theaddictionscoach.com  1.800.706.0318


Anthony Bourdain

We have all seen Anthony Bourdain on his television show, traveling all over the world introducing us to other cultures and the many different foods that they eat. He and his tv shows have been highly successful for years and there appears to be no slowing down for Mr. Bourdain. But like many other success stories there were hard times for Anthony Bourdain. At one point he seemed to have lost it all. Apparently Mr. Bourdain had a “soft spot” for many illegal drugs, especially Heroin. In his twenties, Bourdain had worked his way up to the executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in New York. This was a very prestigious job that came with a lot of responsibility and also introduced Anthony to an alternative lifestyle that included late night drinking and drugging. After his heroin use escalated to a point where he couldn’t function professionally and personally, Bourdain checked himself into rehab in New York. Rehab put Anthony’s life back on track, especially professionally, but this is where some in the addiction profession (both recovering addicts and counselors, coaches, etc) take issue with Mr. Bourdain’s recovery and the method he used and continues to use to remain Heroin free. For those of you familiar with Bourdain’s television shows, you are well aware that Anthony drinks alcohol in many of the episodes with his food. Some of which he is obviously intoxicated. How can this be for a man terribly addicted to heroin for years? For a 12 stepper this is straight blasphemy! Well, Mr. Bourdain has been heroin free for over two decades and he stands by the alternative and very controversial method known as HARM REDUCTION. Now, here at www.theaddictionscoach.com we use the HARM REDUCTION method on select clients and have EXCELLENT results, but this method requires intensive screening before a client is deemed a good candidate and can be extremely counterproductive, if not deadly, for a person who is not a “fit” for HARM REDUCTION. Lets take a look at the actual principles of the HARM REDUCTION method of drug and alcohol treatment. Harm reduction incorporates a spectrum of strategies from safer use, to managed use to abstinence to meet drug users “where they’re at,” addressing conditions of use along with the use itself. Because harm reduction demands that interventions and policies designed to serve drug users reflect specific individual and community needs, there is no universal definition of or formula for implementing harm reduction. However, The Harm Reduction Coalition considers the following principles central to harm reduction practice:
1) Accepts, for better and or worse, that licit and illicit drug use is part of our world and chooses to work to minimize its harmful effects rather than simply ignore or condemn them.
2)Understands drug use as a complex, multi-faceted phenomenon that encompasses a continuum of behaviors from severe abuse to total abstinence, and acknowledges that some ways of using drugs are clearly safer than others.
3) Establishes quality of individual and community life and well-being; not necessarily cessation of all drug use–as the criteria for successful interventions and policies.
4)Calls for the non-judgmental, non-coercive provision of services and resources to people who use drugs and the communities in which they live in order to assist them in reducing attendant harm.
5)Ensures that drug users and those with a history of drug use routinely have a real voice in the creation of programs and policies designed to serve them.
6)Affirms drugs users themselves as the primary agents of reducing the harms of their drug use, and seeks to empower users to share information and support each other in strategies which meet their actual conditions of use.
7) Recognizes that the realities of poverty, class, racism, social isolation, past trauma, sex-based discrimination and other social inequalities affect both people’s vulnerability to and capacity for effectively dealing with drug-related harm.
8)Does not attempt to minimize or ignore the real and tragic harm and danger associated with licit and illicit drug use.
 We here at www.theaddictionscoach.com have always believed in creating a PERSONALIZED treatment plan and method for our clients and this controversial method known as HARM REDUCTION has been a very successful method for us personally. And it seems to be producing very positive results for Anthony Bourdain!
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