Thursday, August 16, 2007

NY bans smoking at rehab centers

If alcoholics and drug addicts want to kick their habits, they'd better be ready to snuff out their cigarettes.

Indoors and outdoors, smoking will be banned at 1,400 recovery centers throughout the state starting next summer. In place of their butts, patients will be offered free treatment for their nicotine addictions.

The $8 million program offers addicts an "entire recovery plan," said Karen Carpenter-Palumbo, commissioner for the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

"We know that 92 percent of those addicted to alcohol or drugs are smokers," said Carpenter-Palumbo, who was in Middletown yesterday to meet with officials from Orange Regional Medical Center and Catskill Regional Medical Center.

"We know it's a trigger to alcohol and drug addiction. And we know smoking kills 25,000 New Yorkers each year."

But some counselors are concerned the smoking bans will stop some addicts from getting treatment.

"It's easier for the state to make this rule than for people to follow it," said Amado Valdes, supervisor at Restorative Management Corp. in Middletown. "I've helped people kick heroin, cocaine and alcohol. Maybe it's too much to ask them to do."

Repeat offenders of the smoke-free edict could be booted from state-certified programs under the new regulation.

"If they continue to smoke, they'll be moved to a different program or discharged," said Carpenter-Palumbo.

Monroe Bussey, program director at Catholic Charities Community Service in Newburgh, says that would be a mistake.

"We wouldn't want to kick anybody out for smoking," he said. "We need to understand that the needs of the client come first."

Bussey's center is among the 70 percent that currently allow smoking on the premises. He favors providing care for nicotine addiction along with treatment for alcoholism and drug dependency — but he wonders how difficult it will be to get patients and counselors to obey the new rule.

"We have a lot of staff that smokes," he said.

"They'll have to get used to the idea they can't smoke on the property. Nicotine is probably the most addictive substance in the world."

source: Times Herald-Record


Krista said...

This issue sends me back and forth. I've been a smoker for 7 years, quite for 3, started again, quit during pregancy, started again and just had a cig. I think its kinda F-ed up to ban cigs in rehabs when it might be the one release that an addict/alcoholic can enjoy while trying to kick much more severe habits in their life. One on hand, I think it should absolutely be allowed in designated areas... The one good thing about this proposed ban is seems they will be providing the patch or gum or something. Step 1 of the patch is a large dose of nicotine and you practically get a buzz from wearing it. Everytime I quit, the patch was my savior, it really helped me battle the physical urges to smoke. However, this doesn't work for everyone it seems. And here I am smoking again. But smoking really is bad for you and can take years off your life- I really want to quit. But let me get a handle on my alcoholism before I get my pack ripped away. I've noticed though, since I haven't had a drink for 5 days, that I tend to want to smoke less. Still, it needs to be an individual decision- wouldn't wanna go to that center.

Anonymous said...

I think that is ridiculously harsh, but maybe that is just my cultural conditioning speaking up since nicotine is still a drug that kills. It doesn't mess up your life like drugs, but it will likely take it. I dunno. Very radical move, though. I really hope it doesn't stop people from getting help.