I am Casey’s mom and the initiator of Casey’s Law. Every effort to intervene on his disease was stymied because he was over the age of 18 and was not in the criminal justice system. After he was arrested, I pleaded with the court to order treatment for Casey. He was released on his own recognizance and warned that he could receive a summons within ninety days to appear in court to face drug-related charges. Casey received that summons on the day of his funeral. It was too late.
After Casey’s passing I called the courthouse for the address of the judge who had released Casey. I explained how I had wanted treatment ordered for him, and was told that I did not understand how the system worked. My response was, “if that is how the system works, there’s something wrong with the system”. Thus began the work to initiate Casey’s Law for the state of Kentucky which became effective July 13, 2004, two years after his passing.
Each time I hear Dr. Volkow speak she reaffirms for me what I have come to understand about the disease of addiction and why there needs to be an intervention that will keep an individual in treatment long enough for healing to take place. Dr. Volkow has said that we are willing to accept research on every other level except when it comes to the disease of addiction. We know that the prefrontal cortex, the brakes, are not working and that the reward center, the go system, is working overtime. It’s not that they do not want to put the brakes on. They CAN’T put the brakes on, continuing to use “despite catastrophic consequences”.
Prior to Casey’s death, I spent days on the phone with anyone and everyone who I thought might be able to help us. Regardless of who I called, the mantra was the same, “he has to want to, lose enough and hit bottom”. Because many of them were ‘experts’ in the field, I believed what I was being told. I know now that these are ‘myths’. (www.drugabuse.gov) That is contrary to the best practices for treatment of any other chronic progressive potentially fatal disease. With other diseases, we know that the sooner the disease is recognized, the longer it’s treated, the better the chances for recovery.
Granted there may not be a myriad of studies to prove the efficacy of involuntary treatment. However, at least one that I have seen concludes no significant difference between voluntary and involuntary treatment. Regardless of how a person gets into treatment, a good indicator of success is staying in treatment.
Treatment works if you stay in treatment, a fact that informed my decision to initiate Casey’s Law. As a young man in treatment said to me, “I think it would be easier if I knew I had to be here”. The only hope that many of addicted individuals have is that someone will do for them what they are incapable of doing for themselves because of this brain disease.
Note from NKYHatesHeroin.com: Charlotte has been an inspiration to many people including members of our own family. She has her own blog to continue telling her story and sharing her experiences. Check out Charolette’s blog here.