End of Philadelphia’s smoking ban at drug treatment centers

The ban applied to 80 inpatient drug treatment programs, including nine drug treatment centers, 32 short-term rehabilitation programs and 31 long-term rehabilitation programs and eight halfway houses.

In January 2019, the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services (DBHIDS) in Philadelphia implemented a tobacco-free policy, which included vaping, at drug rehab centers. When the measure was announced, DBHIDS Commissioner David Jones cited research from the National Institutes of Health indicating that people with substance use disorders (SUD) were less likely to relapse if they also quit To smoke.

Of course, the actual data indicated quite the opposite. A study of 112 people with substance use disorders (SUD) in the US city of Philadelphia found that the vast majority of those who left rehab facilities prematurely did so because they didn’t. could not smoke during treatment. “Huge setback for recovery, it sucks! Said one of the study participants.

The damage caused by banning smoking during drug treatment

Study author Dr Casey Bohrman, a researcher at the University of West Chester, said about 56% of people with SUD are smokers. “Of those who quit treatment prematurely, 85% said not being able to smoke was part of their reason. “

In addition, 46% of participants said that a smoking ban had an impact on their decision whether or not to undergo drug treatment. “If I can’t smoke I’m scared to quit AMA”, “Bad enough you have to quit fentanyl so they want you to quit smoking” and “The stress of quitting smoking something else me hold back, ”were some of the comments from participants.

Bohrman said based on the results, the measure should be suspended. “While this study is exploratory, it does indicate that smoking bans are a barrier to accessing and completing treatment for some people with substance use disorders … In the midst of an overdose crisis, any barrier to accessing treatment is of concern. Based on the results of the study, I would suggest putting the policy on hold until more research can be done. “

In support of these conclusions, an article on WHYY, relayed the story of Brad Wienczkowski. A 26-year-old who did not want to quit treatment. He had just finished rehab and still felt sick from the withdrawal symptoms. He didn’t feel ready to be alone yet, but he was caught smoking and was therefore fired.

“I was afraid to consume it if I left,” he said. “And that’s exactly what happened.” After the dismissal, Wienczkowsk overdosed and woke up in the hospital. He again sought treatment at another facility where he was able to smoke. This time he finished the program.

Prohibition lifted

Fortunately, the ban that applied to 80 inpatient drug treatment programs, including nine drug treatment centers, 32 short-term rehabilitation programs and 31 long-term rehabilitation programs, and eight halfway houses, has been lifted.

An article on Filter pointed out that after years of defending its policy by saying it is evidence-based, DBHIDS has not provided an explanation. Instead, its commissioner, Dr Jill Bowen, said in an interview: “I don’t think this was ever meant to be a ban.”

Filter pointed out that this was false, as a December 2018 press release from DBHIdS itself stated, “Philadelphia bans smoking in drug treatment programs,” and the story was picked up by mainstream media. .

The relationship between smoking and mental well-being

About Antoine L. Cassell

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