Do you think acupuncture is helpful to you in treatment?
Brooklyn focus group participants had mixed feelings about acupuncture;
some liked it, while others got nothing out of it.
- It helped.
- Very relaxing.
- I dont know if I had it long enough.
- I mean, I felt something.
- I got something out of it. It made me relaxed. It took a lot off my
mind. . . . It helps you.
- I got nothing out of it. What did she say about relaxing? I find I
can do that without having to be stuck.
- Acupuncture for me was pretty good because I kind of had a lot of stress
at the time . . . and when I began acupuncture, it seem like the stress
start reducing. It helped me stop smoking . . . I wasnt getting
no sleep . . . In a 1-hour session I slept pure, real good.
- I didnt like acupuncture cause for one I didnt like
the music; I didnt like to be stuck.
Las Vegas participants were not neutral about the role of acupuncture
(referred to as needling) in their treatment:
- I think the needling is cool.
- It helps me to the point where, well, it wasnt really helping
me cause I really didnt feel anything, but when I went in
there I saw things happening to other people.
- The only thing I did notice was that at the very beginning when I started
and was still doing drugs that the needles hurt more going in when I was
on drugs than when I wasnt.
- I feel its gotta help some cause the Chinese people been
using it for years.
- Like it would be relaxing now. I fell asleep, you know, I fell asleep
watching the moving thing. I fell asleep every time.
- I didnt get anything out of it. I was smoking cigarettes at the
time and it helped me quit smoking. I guess maybe I dont know. .
. . But I did come in on a Saturday when they
have that Chinese lady here cause I have disc problems and she
put it in my wrist, in my jaw, in my back. . . . Oh, Ive for the
first time in like 3 years I did not have back problems.
In contrast, a number of Las Vegas focus group participants expressed
negative opinions about needling.
- I hate it.
- Feel nothing.
- I didnt like the needling cause it didnt do anything
- I havent noticed anything with it but the thought of it justI
had a fear of needles, so I never did dope with needles or anything. But
it got me over the fear of needles, which you have to stick in your head
for a while.
- I mean, you know, that kept asking, Are you having withdrawal?
You know, this can help you with withdrawal. I dont agree,
you know what I mean. . . . I never noticed any as far as detoxification
except for the fact that it makes you not want to smoke cigarettes before
you come in.
- You feel like a voodoo doll.
- I havent noticed anything either.
- I think its a joke . . . I cant believe they even use it.
- It gives me an anxiety attack.
- No it doesnt hurt. Just my chest hurts, you know, I get really
- I think its unconstitutional and cruel and unusual punishment.
About half of the Miami focus group participants expressed a positive
view of acupuncture:
- Acupuncture you dont mind . . . you dont mind . . . you
dont talk to anybody.
- Acupuncture is good. . . . It makes me sleepy.
- What the acupuncture does for me is calm my nerve.
Several of the participants said that they were frightened at first by
the prospect of acupuncture.
Other participants noted that it gave them something to do, a hurdle
to jump over, something to fill their time, so they were not using drugs:
- I was scared at first cause I didnt know what acupuncture
was. . . .
- It took the craving away. . . . At first I didnt like it.
- It didnt bother me that much.
- I didnt really like the needles getting stuck in.
- Itll work as long as you want to make it work for you. Personally,
I dont see the needles going in how thats really gonna help
. . . you. I read up on it and really understand it. . . . As far as I
know I dont really see. . . .
- Its something getting done to you other than getting highyou
kinda turn it this way. I cant say it did anything for me but, like
he said, I wanted to get anything that would work.
- You dont do no dope but you do acupuncture.
One Miami participant did not view acupuncture as making much of a contribution
to his treatment progress:
- But the acupuncture, just for me, didnt do anything.
- It helped me a little that first week, but after that not really.
- I dont see it. If you want to stop doin dope, you gotta
stop when you ready.
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Chance: Perspectives on Drug Courts