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Changing habits


Albany, NY – Vancouver, Canada has made news as a way-station in the drug trade. But with rampant drug use and trafficking have come innovative treatment approaches. One controversial technique is the injection site - safe, clean places where drug users bring illicit drugs like cocaine and heroine. Nurses administer the drugs, ensuring that the people using the drugs do not die from an overdose or contract diseases like AIDS from dirty needles. Not everyone agrees with injection sites, arguing that the money spent to run them should be spent encouraging drug users to quit their habit. But Lorraine Greaves and Nancy Poole do think these injection sites are a good idea. Greaves and Poole run a women's health center in Vancouver, and recently released a book about women and drug use. I spoke with them to find out more about cutting-edge ideas in the drug recovery field and talk about women's unique issues when it comes to drugs.

Women battling drug addiction often have low levels of self-esteem. Some programs in the U.S. have come up with inventive ways to inject meaning and purpose into recovery. In a purple basement of New Haven's Hill Health Center in New Haven, Connecticut, women who have battled drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness, violence and abuse get together each week to help each other get control of their lives. And they are doing it in a way that's unusual, they're sitting at sewing machines. Julia Corcoran has the story.

Many of us have preconceived notions of what a drug addict looks like. But Shannalee Otanez of Salt Lake City had to come to terms with the fact that her grandmother, who preferred not to disclose her name, underwent a 20 year struggle with abuse. In this piece, Otanez interviews her family members to get a full picture of her grandmother's addiciton and recovery.

Every once in awhile on 51%, we spotlight other programs in public radio. This next piece comes from the public radio essay series This I Believe, produced by Jay Allison. It was so compelling and spoke so closely to today's theme, we decided to re-air it this week. In the essays on This I Believe, there is often an exchange of belief between generations. Writers credit their parents as the source of their conviction, and parents write of the beliefs they've acquired in raising their children. But sometimes that acquisition is painful, as it was for Ann Karasinski of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Here she is with her essay for This I Believe.