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Friday, December 29, 2017

New Year's Eve Fun In Recovery

Those of you still new to working a program for addiction recovery must have a plan for Sunday—New Year’s Eve. It’s paramount you stay close to your support network, whether it be at meetings or at recovery gatherings for bringing in the new year. There’s a good chance you are dreading NYE, most people in recovery would let loose during this time in years past. This year, your goal is to stay clean and sober; which means you won’t want to be in the company of heavy alcohol use. The good news is that people in recovery are not sticks in the mud, we thoroughly insist on enjoying life.

It’s possible to ring in the new year with a bang without the use of mind-altering substances. Your peers in the program have experience partying sober as the minutes tick down to midnight. It’s customary for several members to host gatherings at their homes; providing a safe environment for people in recovery to congregate. If you have yet to create a plan for Sunday, please make haste; when you attend a meeting today or tomorrow, ask your peers what they are up to for NYE. They will probably invite you, and if they didn’t, please don’t take it personally; just request an invitation, surely, they would love to have you in their company.


Sticking to Your Routine in Recovery

Getting to a meeting or two on particular days of the year is crucial. Even if you are going to be around program peers on Sunday, make sure you find time to attend a meeting, preferably your “homegroup.” You have spent ample time fostering relationships with people in your homegroup, both oldtimers, and some newcomers; when you go to your homegroup on significant days of the year, it is a way of being accountable.

Your support group delights in seeing others succeed, and they are rooting for you whether you know it, or not. Those who get to meetings on pinnacle days of the year are less likely to encounter pitfalls that could jeopardize their program. If recovery is the essential thing in your life today, then you will want to be present at your homegroup over the course of the weekend.

It’s is also vital that you reach out to a newcomer and ask them what they have planned for NYE. There is a good chance they will tell you that they’re day-planner is empty on the 31st. Invite them to join you on Sunday, making them feel included will mean the world to them and might be what keeps them sober. Extending an invitation to newcomers will also help you stay on track this weekend.


A Recovery-Focused 2018

Hope by The Sea would like to wish everyone who is working a program a safe and sober New Years. We also hope that 2018 is a year marked by progress. Be proud of your efforts this last year, and commit to staying the course of lasting recovery, evermore.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Gaming Addiction Added to International Classification of Diseases

Many young men and a significant number of young women spend an unbelievable amount of time playing video games. Simply put, Millennials love technology; they welcome any modern device that can capture one’s attention. It’s not exactly anyone’s fault per se, after all many people who grew up in households in the 1980’s and `90’s had a video game system of some kind. While most people seem to grow out of video games, opting to stare at social media on their smartphones instead, Millennials are drawn, and in many cases dependent on the internet for varying levels of escape.

gaming addiction
There has long been a debate in the field of addiction medicine regarding both internet and gaming addiction. First, is it a real condition? Do people exhibiting signs of dependence require treatment? Naturally, it depends on who you ask; but for many years support for the reality of "tech addictions" has been on the rise. In 2018, the International Classification of Diseases published by the World Health Organization (WHO) will include gaming addiction in its diagnostic manual, The Independent reports. The inclusion is a big deal in many ways, given that this is the first time the manual will see an update in 27 years.


 Growing Body of Research on Gaming Addiction

The general public isn’t likely to frown upon tech addictions in the same way they would other mental health conditions, such as alcohol and substance use disorder. One isn't expected to associate video gamers with crime and premature death. However, mental illness of any kind that is left untreated puts the afflicted at significant risk of adverse effects.

Despite the fact that the conditions exact wording has yet to be revealed, according to New Science. The ICD-11 draft does list specific criteria, such as when a person gives increasing priority to gaming “to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests, and that they will continue.” Other symptoms of gaming addiction include anxiety, withdrawal symptoms, and antisocial behavior.

“Health professionals need to recognize that gaming disorder may have serious health consequences,” said Vladimir Poznyak, a member of the WHO’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. “Most people who play video games don’t have a disorder, just like most people who drink alcohol don’t have a disorder either. However, in certain circumstances overuse can lead to adverse effects.” 

Just to give you an idea of how many people could meet the criteria of gaming addiction, a survey was conducted involving 19,000 men and women from the UK, the US, Canada, and Germany. The findings, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, indicate that 2 to 3 percent had five or more of the nine standard symptoms of “internet gaming disorder;” the American Psychiatric Association (APA) created the list of symptoms. A separate study revealed that some individuals spend 12 and 24 hours in a row playing video games.

“Gaming is highly addictive, and it is no wonder so many respondents from our study admit to playing them for so long,” said Mark James, a security specialist at ESET, an IT security company.


Addiction Treatment

It’s likely that gaming disorders will one day be a co-occurring mental health disorder treated along with substance use. The addition of the condition to the International Classification of Diseases diagnostic manual will lead to more research and the development of new treatments for such disorders. If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, please contact Hope by The Sea.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Spirituality Is The Shield of Recovery

Spiritual fitness and one’s emotional state are inextricably tied to anyone working a program for addiction recovery. Your connection with a “higher power” is the crux of self-progress. The more spiritually fit you are, the better able you find yourself in avoiding the snares and traps of addiction. Your disease is a force to be reckoned with, and your recovery must be too.

This time of year, you might find it difficult to keep constant contact with a power greater than yourself. Paradoxically, the end of the year is when one needs their higher power most of all. At Hope by the Sea, we implore you to keep the importance of spirituality in mind this Christmas. To accomplish such a task, you may need to double your efforts regarding prayer and meditation. Those who take a spirit-focused course over the next few days will find themselves better able to protect their program. Emotions run high for people in recovery during Christmas time, which means you need spirituality more than ever.


Spirituality Is The Shield of Recovery

“Man is lost and is wandering in a jungle where real values have no meaning. Real values can have meaning to man only when he steps on to the spiritual path, a path where negative emotions have no use.” —Sai Baba 

Most people in early recovery are still addressing the wreckage of their past. Addiction can lead to loss of people we love in our life, not necessarily permanently, but it can take a significant amount of recovery time for one’s family to take your efforts seriously. Familial estrangement can lead to a host of negative emotions during major holidays; which means that one must utilize their self-care tools to keep malaise from taking control of the ship. Prayer and meditation is the surest method of keeping negativity at bay and fostering positive thoughts.

Your life may not be a basket of roses (yet), but it’s certainly a far cry from where you found yourself before adopting the cause of recovery. In time, everything comes together the way it’s supposed to; life might not be what you planned, but it’s authentic and meaningful. In most cases, those who stick to the path receive gifts beyond their wildest dreams, including rekindling familial relationships.


The Spirit of Fellowship

Spirituality is the vehicle which carries us out of the darkness of our disease and into the light that is lasting recovery. Individuals who give spirituality its proper due witness their life change for the better right before their eyes. What's more, the fellowship is a physical manifestation of one’s spiritual connection. Your peers, in a sense, become like family; we help each other to help ourselves stay clean and sober.

Our individual progress is only made possible by the fellowship around us; the fellowship is because of you and everyone else. No one truly recovers alone; I am because of you and vice versa. Please acknowledge your role in the recovery-verse around you. Let your connection to the group, along with your spiritual relationship with a higher power, carry you through Christmas, relapse-free. Pray, meditate, call your sponsor or recovery mentor, and get to meetings; doing all those things will strengthen your resolve to keep on track.

Hope By The Sea would like to extend our best wishes for the millions of people dedicated to recovery this Christmas. We hope you have a safe and sober holiday.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Double Standard In Opioid Sales

The mindset of law enforcement agencies regarding illicit drug sales and use has historically been one of punishment. There are drug dealers who are currently serving life sentences for the crime of peddling something potentially deadly. For many Americans, such an approach makes sense, if you want to get drugs out of the hands of young people, just make the punishment so severe that people would think twice. If you have any understanding of the American “war on drugs,” then you know that it doesn’t work. Arrest one dealer, and there will always be another to fill the void.

In recent years, in light of the American opioid addiction epidemic, the general public has demanded a more enlightened and humanitarian tact towards addiction from lawmakers and those who enforce such laws. The majority of Americans believe that prison is not the solution to substance use disorder, opting for treatment over cell bars. Now, in most states addicts caught in possession of drugs are diverted to substance use treatment facilities, rather than local jail.

Treatment options don’t usually apply to those who distribute drugs for profit. Such individuals are still at high risk of severe lengths of incarceration. States battling synthetic opioid use, particular fentanyl, have decided to send a clear message to people who are selling heroin laced with the deadly pharmaceutical. Some would consider selling fentanyl, attempted murder.


What About The Pharmaceutical Industry?

prescription opioids
There is a definite double standard that exists in America when it comes to the sale of opioids. Prescription opioids like OxyContin, while deadly, are legal to prescribe and use by those with a prescription. Drug companies can make painkillers, and distributors can disseminate such drugs to pharmacies without consequence, as long as specific guidelines are followed. The same cannot be said for those in the business of heroin and fentanyl, despite the risks of use being on par with legally prescribed opioids.

If you’ve been following the news related to the opioid addiction epidemic, then you are aware that the pharmaceutical industry is widely considered the cause of the outbreak. Companies like Purdue pushed false-science that drugs like OxyContin rarely lead to addiction and doctors were ordered to value patient comfort over patient safety. The result is what we see today, over 50,000 overdose death cases each year. You may also know that the DEA has been attempting to crack down on pharmaceutical distributors, companies who fill pharmacy orders despite suspicious activity.

In fact, a two-year investigation involving nine DEA field divisions working with 12 U.S. attorney’s offices across 11 states, attempted to send a clear message by going after the nation’s largest drug company, McKesson Corp, The Washington Post reports. The task force acquired significant and damning evidence that McKesson failed to report suspicious orders to the DEA, involving millions of painkillers.

“This is the best case we’ve ever had against a major distributor in the history of the Drug Enforcement Administration,” said David Schiller, former assistant special agent in charge of DEA’s Denver field division. “I said, ‘How do we not go after the number one organization?’” 

Instead of leveling charges against the company's top-brass, the DEA and the Justice Department made a deal which amounted to nothing more than a slap on the wrist fine. McKesson agreed to pay $150 million and had to suspend controlled substance shipments at four distribution centers.

“I said, ‘We have everything we could possibly want on a silver platter.’ We had corrupt pharmacies that were being supplied by McKesson, and they were turning a blind eye to everything that was going on,” said Schiller.


Controlling Prescription Opioids

The painkiller business is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Such drugs kill far more people than illicit opioids sold solely on the street. It would seem that private deals made with the Department of Justice (DOJ) does little to stem the tide of suspicious prescription opioid orders distributed to pharmacies across the nation. Pills, that in many cases, are guaranteed to then be sold on the black market down the road.

People with opioid use disorders require treatment, not jail. The pharmaceutical companies making and distributing painkillers need to be reined in, without doing so our nation will never gain control of the epidemic we face. If you are struggling with opioids of any kind, please contact Hope By The Sea. We can help you begin the journey of addiction recovery.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Prescription Opioids Run In The Family

Prescription drug diversion is a common problem in the United States, that is when a friend or family member gives you a drug that your doctor didn't prescribe for you. People divert all kinds of prescription drugs, but narcotics are worthy of concern. Study after study shows that a significant number of Americans have no problem sharing their drugs with someone in their inner circle. The behavior occurs regularly despite the fact that the country is in the midst of an epidemic associated with such drugs.

If you have opioid painkillers for a legitimate health problem, we cannot stress to you enough the dangers of sharing your prescriptions with friends and family members. You might find this hard to accomplish at times; no one wants to see someone close to them suffer needlessly. However, you are not a doctor; even when physicians prescribe these drugs, the risk of patient addiction is real. You have no way of knowing what diverting your medication will lead to, whether it be opioid use disorder or worse—overdose.

Certain situations warrant pain medication; if your loved one is experiencing severe pain they should consult a physician, not your medicine cabinet. Prescription narcotics should always be kept under lock and key, even if you live alone. Raiding medicine chests is a common occurrence, the result of millions and millions of pills being prescribed each year. If you don’t live alone, all the more reason to lock up your medicines; don’t let your pain conditions play a role in another person developing an opioid use disorder.


Painkillers Run In The Family

prescription opioids
New research shows that merely having opioid painkillers in the household can lead to another family member getting their prescription from a doctor, Reuters reports. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore analyzed data on about 12.6 million people living in a home with someone prescribed opioids. The findings indicate that 11.83 percent of people living in a household with opiates present, went out and got their painkillers within a year's time.

Dr. Julie Gaither, a pediatrics researcher at Yale School of Medicine, points out that even when a family member uses opioids as prescribed, others in the house are at a higher risk of misusing the deadly drugs, according to the article. Wherever opioids exist, prescribed or not, others are at risk.

“Opioids are now available in millions of American homes, which means that everyday individuals vulnerable to addiction and overdose - such as children, teens, the elderly, and those with a history of substance abuse - are routinely exposed to medications that are highly addictive and potentially deadly,” said Gaither. 

The study appears in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Once opioid addiction presents itself to an individual, its vital that they seek help immediately. The more prolonged abuse persists, the higher the risk of overdose. Those who put off treatment may never get the chance to experience the miracles of addiction recovery. If you or a loved one is battling opioid use disorder, please contact Hope By The Sea as soon as possible. We can help with detox, treat the addiction and any co-occurring mental health disorder, and teach you how to lead a productive and fulfilling life in recovery.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Holiday Parties In Recovery

Christmas Eve is on the horizon, which means some of you in recovery have invites to holiday parties. It’s quite common for one’s workplace to celebrate the holidays by hosting office Christmas parties. For most people, such gatherings are a welcomed opportunity to imbibe with their coworkers; yet, those in recovery are unlikely to share their teammates' enthusiasm.

The month of December is notoriously difficult for people in recovery, especially for those whose program is not the strongest. Incessant partying and overindulgence all around you can tip the scales of an already shaky program. So, if you fall into that camp and have received an invite to a holiday party, you may want to think long and hard about whether or not you should attend.

Protecting one’s recovery must be one’s priority, at all times. Even if you’ve been slipping on getting to meetings, or “step work,” doesn’t mean you can't exercise caution about events that could jeopardize your program. You put a lot of effort into getting where you are today, please don’t attend a party just because you feel obligated. If you don’t go, you’ll still have a job; if you go and experience a relapse, you stand to lose everything you’ve worked for in the blink of an eye.


Holiday Parties In Recovery

Those in recovery learn the importance of handling Christmas parties with prudence, quickly. If you are new to the program, there are some things you can do to ensure you get through parties without incident. Showing up a little bit late will keep you out of the spotlight; leaving the party before others will prevent you from being around drunkenness. People will likely ask you why you are not imbibing (not that it’s anybody's business), it’s best you have a prescription response formulated for such an eventuality. Being a person with a history of addiction, you shouldn’t have a problem coming up with a believable excuse; i.e., saying you're not drinking right now, you have to drive, or that you're on antibiotics.

Some people like to get smart with responding to their coworkers; others will use humor to avoid unwanted pressure to drink. Any number of excuses will suffice, just find one that you’re confident will do the job. Again, it’s nobody’s business why you choose to abstain, but being prepared will make it easier to keep peers at bay.

Make sure you talk to your sponsor before deciding to attend a party. He or she will have suggestions to share with you, or they may tell you that this is not the right time to take chances with your program. Everyone is at a different place in their recovery, at the moment going to a party might be too big of a risk. Remember, our best intentions can often lead to trouble, which is why we show deference to our peers in the program who have more time and experience dealing with these kinds of circumstances. If your sponsor feels that your head is in the right place and your program is solid enough, there isn’t any reason why you can’t manage a holiday party.


Treatment Over The Holiday

The holiday season often affords some people time off from work. Now, might be a good time to take an extended holiday to address an alcohol or substance use disorder. If drug or alcohol are negatively impacting your life, Hope By The Sea can help. Addiction recovery can be your New Year’s resolution, one that brings about lasting changes in your life. Please contact us today to begin the life-saving process of recovery.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Addiction On Stage and Screen

Christmas time usually affords Americans some downtime; for many people that means traveling, for others, the couch is a dream come true. If you fall into either camp, it likely you will be on the lookout for entertainment. It’s important to relax and seek out happiness to counter the stress the accompanies the holidays; however, it’s always a bonus if one can learn something from theatre, movies, and television. The topic of addiction is arguably more relevant than ever, a reality not lost on Broadway and Hollywood.


Addiction On Stage


addictionGoing to the theatre is not everyone’s cup of tea, you either love it or you don’t. Some people prefer musicals, while others fancy drama; if you prefer the latter then you might be interested in some of the performances listed below, all of which deal with addiction. Naturally, New York City is home to Broadway, so the list below is only pertinent to those traveling on the east coast soon.

“Addiction is in the national psyche, especially now,” points out Scott Elliott to MarketWatch, he’s the director of “Downtown Race Riot, currently on stage at the Pershing Square Signature Center. “People are talking about it so much and realizing that a lot of sophisticated people have opioid addictions. That has woken people up and permeated through the culture.”
  • Downtown Race Riot” features a mother addicted to heroin, cocaine, and alcohol during the 1976 riot in New York’s Washington Square Park.
  • “People, Places and Things,” is about a drug- and alcohol-addicted actress' journey to recovery, just completed a sell-out run at Brooklyn theater St Ann’s Warehouse.
  • “Harry Clarke,” a one-man play starring Billy Crudup at the Vineyard Theatre, features substance abuse.


Addiction in Film & TV

Hollywood has a long history of turning the spotlight on addiction and other mental health conditions. Given the prevalence of substance use disorder in America today, 2017 has been no exception. If you find yourself with some downtime this holiday season, you might be interested in watching some of the features listed below.

“Filmmakers like to reflect on, and be inspired by, what’s going on around them and with the opioid crisis affecting so many people, it’s no wonder they’re attracted to this subject in increasing number,” said Paul Dergarabedian, comScore Senior Analyst. “Addiction is rife with cinematic and humanistic sensibilities.”
  • The Glass Castle” starring Brie Larson, chronicles a daughter's struggle with her alcoholic father.
  • “Stronger” featuring Jake Gyllenhaal, deals with addiction.
  • “Small Town Crime” features John Hawkes, as an alcoholic ex-cop.
  • “The Tribes of Palos Verdes,” starring Jennifer Garner and Alicia Silverstone, focuses on drugs.
  • “Meth Storm” on HBO and “Heroin(e)” on Netflix are documentaries that deal with methamphetamine and heroin use, respectively.
The list of movies and TV shows that handle the topic of addiction this year is much longer, but we thought it pertinent to give readers a starting point. It’s vital that filmmakers continue to divert national attention towards this most important subject matter. Forcing the general public to grasp the struggle that millions of Americans go through each year helps to break down the stigma of mental health disorders.


Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, Hope By the Sea can assist you in beginning the process of lasting recovery. Please contact us today for a free consultation.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

FDA Approves Injectable Suboxone

If you are living with opioid use disorder, or have sought treatment for the condition, then you’ve probably heard of or used various drugs to treat the addiction. Buprenorphine is one such drug, regularly used in detox and treatment settings, typically in the form of Suboxone or Subutex. Regarding the former medication, the formula contains buprenorphine and naloxone (yes, the same drug used to reverse the deadly symptoms of an opioid overdose).

Drugs like Suboxone help people in the early weeks of recovery navigate both acute and post-acute withdrawal symptoms. The medication comes in the form of dissolvable film strips that patients take sublingually (under the tongue). Suboxone is not the only medication on the market that has shown promise in the treatment of opioid use disorder, in recent years addiction experts have turned to Vivitrol (naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension), a drug that may help people with the physical and mental withdrawal symptoms occurring after stopping prescription opioid or heroin use.

Both buprenorphine and naltrexone have helped many an addict overcome the grip of addiction; however, there have long been concerns about the former for the fact that it causes euphoria and is often diverted for no medical use. Indivior, the maker of Suboxone, may have found a solution the above problem.

Sublocade: Injectable Suboxone?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved an injectable version of Suboxone, known as Sublocade, STAT reports. The injection, containing long-acting buprenorphine, received 18 to 1 support from an FDA advisory panel. The drug is administered to patients abdominally by doctors or health professionals.

“It’s potentially a game changer,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, co-director of opioid policy research at Brandeis University. “This could become first-line [medication] for opioid addiction. It could open up opportunities for getting more patients on buprenorphine.” 

Unlike Vivitrol, full detoxification isn't a prerequisite before patients can start Sublocade injections; however, they will need to take sublingual buprenorphine for at least seven days before their first infusion, according to the article. The FDA is expected to approve a second form of injectable buprenorphine that was submitted for approval and produced by Braeburn Pharmaceuticals.

One of the chief complaints about Suboxone and arguments against relying on buprenorphine is that it can be habit-forming. Some people argue that opioid addicts are just switching from one addictive substance to the next.

“There’s still a tremendous amount of stigma among patients and in communities about taking any opioid agonist in treatment,” said Dr. Chinazo Cunningham, associate chief of general internal medicine at Montefiore Medical Center. “I hope that a reduction in potential diversion [from long-acting buprenorphine] may get more providers to offer buprenorphine [of all kinds]. The more options the better, so we can match treatment to patients’ needs.”


Opioid Addiction Treatment

If you are struggling with opioid use disorder, there is hope. While addiction has no known cure, it is a treatable condition; long-term recovery is possible provided one has the opportunity. At Hope By The Sea, we can help you break the cycle of opioid use disorder starting with detox, then followed by residential treatment, and aftercare. Please contact us today to begin your journey of lasting recovery.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Winehouse Legacy Helps Young Women In The UK

Beyond all the glittering lights of show business, there is a far more tragic side worth consideration; many of the people that society looks up to and kids dream of becoming one day, actually have severe mental health problems, not the least of which addiction. We don’t need to create a long list of all the celebrities who lost their battle with addiction after all the list grows longer with each year that passes. Prince died of a fentanyl overdose last year, the American rapper and singer Lil Peep fell victim to a suspected Xanax overdose this year—so the story goes, people who are unable to adopt a program of recovery are at high risk.

addictionIt doesn’t seem like it has been that long since English singer and songwriter, Amy Winehouse, passed away from fatal alcohol poisoning. Up until the time of her death in 2011, Amy had struggled with addiction and bipolar disorder, a condition she wasn’t particularly shy about sharing with the public. Who could forget her hit song “Rehab,” with the opening line, “They tried to make me go to rehab but I said, 'No, no, no.'" However, in the time leading up to her premature death Winehouse did in fact seek help via doctors and treatment; she did manage to abstain from using drugs and alcohol for brief stints of time. In the end, she was unable to escape the powerful grip of alcohol.

Winehouse’s story is, like so many others, one of tragedy; an amazing talent whose mental illness proved too difficult for her to overcome. While her death at the age of 27 was a tremendous loss for Amy’s family and saddened millions of people around the globe, her legacy is helping young women have a future free from drugs and alcohol.


Amy’s Place

Addiction treatment saves lives by giving people tools and coping skills for living life on life’s terms. The majority of individuals who make the courageous decision to take steps in breaking the cycle of addiction are introduced to a spiritual program of recovery, typically the 12 Steps. Those who go through treatment are in a position to continue their efforts outside of rehab, although many people struggle to avoid triggers and keep cravings at bay in their first year after discharge. Due to that reality, counselors encourage clients to utilize intensive outpatient programs (IOP), sober living homes, or some other form of transitive care.

The longer people stay involved with centers of recovery, the more equipped they are to handle the hurdles of life that can precipitate relapse. In an effort to prevent young women from following in Amy’s tragic footsteps, the Amy Winehouse Foundation created Amy’s Place, iNews reports. The center opened in 2016 for young women under 30 who have experienced addiction; Amy’s Place is the only recovery center in the UK committed solely to young women recovering from addiction. The eponymous recovery house helps young women transition from treatment to everyday life. Clients can come and go as they please but have to do specific activities, groups, and volunteer. Some of the young women in the program have been there for around a year, and they can stay as long as two years.


Addiction Treatment

If you are a young woman in the grips of alcohol or substance use disorder, please contact Hope By the Sea. We can assist you in learning how to live a life in recovery, one day at a time. We will give you the tools for coping with the obstacles of life, without drugs and alcohol.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Meth Storm In America

The devastation in rural America caused by prescription opioids and heroin is unlike any scourge ever before seen in the United States. Some of the highest overdose death rates found in the country are in the Appalachian region or the rural south, places where access to addiction treatment is limited. If by chance, there is a treatment facility in one’s area, the wait for a bed is exceedingly long.

The subject of expanding access to treatment to address the opioid addiction epidemic is one of particular import. Substance use disorder treatment is widely believed to be the best tool to use in the effort to save lives. Reducing the number of prescriptions opioids written by doctors, stemming the tide of heroin from Mexico, and increasing access to life-saving naloxone only chip away at the edges of the problem; such efforts do little to address the underlying factor, the mental health disorder that is an addiction.

It’d be one thing if opioids were the only concern in rural America; however, public health experts and policymakers have other pernicious drugs to contend with, as well. A new HBO Doc reveals that opioids are just one facet of the overarching addiction problem in remote regions of the country.


From Meth to Opioids, and Back to Meth

Before we called opioid use an epidemic in the United States, all eyes were on methamphetamine use; homegrown narcotics made crudely by people without a science background. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), lawmakers, and addiction experts worked tirelessly to spread the word about meth addiction and treatment; laws were drafted to prevent the mass purchase of over-the-counter drugs to make the drug and arresting anyone making or promoting methamphetamine.

It’s worth pointing out that, for a time, meth in America seemed to be under wrap as a result of the above efforts. Meth labs across the country were shut down and the prevalence of the drug diminished. Many young people today may not even be aware of the meth crisis of the late 1990’s and into the first decade of the new millennia. It was at this time, states with low populations and expansive open landscapes faced a terrible scourge of methamphetamine use. Then, seemingly overnight, the “crystal” well dried up; and the focus on drugs use in America shifted to prescription opioids—and the rest is as they say…

The truth of the matter is that meth use never actually went anywhere, the only real change had to do with where the drug would originate. As was mentioned above, a new documentary on HBO titled, ‘Meth Storm,’ shows what methamphetamine use in America looks like today. We have to warn you the film is exceptionally graphic, any IV drug users in early recovery should think twice before watching, as it may have a triggering-effect.


Meth Storm

The documentary brings to light how law enforcement’s crackdown on home meth production created an opportunity for Mexican drug cartels to take over. A clear sign, once again, of how a war on drugs can backfire; the same thing happened after government crackdowns on prescription opioids, and the cartels were happy to make up for the opioid deficit in America with heroin. Government agencies failed to address meth addiction via treatment, choosing the age-old “buy-bust” approach; meth labs disappeared, methamphetamine use did not.

Today, in rural American counties and towns, meth use is a serious problem, and to make matters worse, the meth that comes from Mexico (known as “Ice”) is cheaper and purer than anything that was made in America, previously. Law enforcement in rural Arkansas is trying to tackle the meth problem with arrests and jail time, rather than expanding access to addiction treatment. Just like with opioids, this is not an issue we can arrest our way out of, treatment is the answer. Please take a moment to watch the trailer for ‘Meth Storm’ below:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.


Stimulant Addiction Treatment

Hope By The Sea can help you or a loved one break the cycle of stimulant addiction, whether it is prescription Adderall or methamphetamine. Our California meth rehab program is designed to provide an effective way to overcome meth addiction. Please contact us today.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Recovery, Expectations, and Gratitude this Thanksgiving

Hope by the Sea wishes everyone in addiction recovery a safe and sober Thanksgiving; may your day be one of gratitude and togetherness. It doesn’t matter how long you have been in the program, even those who are still in their first year of recovery can think of ways their life has improved. Take drugs and alcohol out of the equation, follow direction, and do the work; three actions which can change everything in one’s life.

In early recovery, it’s not always easy to recognize your own progress. For many people in their first year of recovery, there is a significant amount of wreckage from one’s past to contend with, after all, addiction takes a severe toll. Working a program of recovery allows you a means to address the damage done, but it takes time. It’s paramount that one exercises patience and good things will happen; however, when the good things occur will be on your “higher power's” time—not yours.

Today, we can take comfort in not feeling the need to control every little aspect of life. We can accept that no one (including ourselves) has all the answers, we can even take solace in the fact that if something is meant to happen—it will happen. Such realizations are something you can take stock of and appreciate; one should welcome a respite from attempting to be the grand architect of life. We all play a role in the story of life, to be sure, but we no longer have to pretend that we’re the director.


Realistic Expectations In Recovery

Having expectations of the way life should go, or disappointments in the way life didn’t go, is not a valid means of bringing about change, for change requires action. It’s healthy to dream of a bright future, although one must be careful and not allow our expectations to be a driving force. People with use disorders, even those in recovery, at times tend to react to unfulfilled expectations in harmful ways.

recoveryLet’s face it, when our expectations fall short, we must acknowledge that may have been unrealistic or, at the very least, premature. Unrealistic expectations can be a direct line to melancholy. If things don’t work out the way one hopes, then feelings pop up that can snowball, in turn causing damage to everything in its path—including your recovery. One way that people who work a program can keep their expectations in check is through exercising healthy attitudes; the most important attitude, perhaps, being gratitude.

This Thanksgiving might be your first in recovery; which means that you’ve started the process of putting the pieces of your life back together. You are making incremental progress, and if you stick to your program lasting recovery is possible. What’s more, with each passing day you continue to get closer to your authentic self; a person who is no longer driven by fear, rather an individual powered by hope. You may not have everything that you thought you would at this point in your recovery, which is okay (progress not perfection). On the other hand, you do have your sobriety, a monumental achievement by anyone’s standards, and you have a fellowship of men and women in your life that care about your well-being.


A Thanks for the Gift of Sobriety

On Thanksgiving, we ask those of you in your first year of recovery to take a moment and write down everything you're grateful for today. If people are on that list, particularly those who have played a role in your recovery (i.e., family, sponsor, and peers), reach out to them and share how appreciative you are to have them in your life. Expressing gratitude to others fills your heart with a sense of joy and pride, and when others feel appreciated they are likely to continue their support. Every day in recovery is a gift, and none of us made it where we are today on our own.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

FDA Approves Opioid Withdrawal Device

Opioid use disorder detox is entering the 21st Century with the introduction of a new device that resides behind the human ear. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently fast-tracked approval for the NSS-2 Bridge from Innovative Health Solutions, according to an agency press release. The device sends electrical impulses through cranial nerves to the amygdala, purportedly reducing the symptoms of acute opioid withdrawal, such as nausea, anxiety, and ague.

NSS-2 Bridge
With the massive scale of the opioid addiction epidemic devices like the NSS-2 Bridge is a promising step into the future. Overcoming acute withdrawal is one of the most significant barriers preventing addiction recovery, anything that can reduce the risk of an early relapse is welcome. However, it’s vital that we don't put the cart before the horse in this situation. While there is some evidence to support the use of an earpiece for acute withdrawal symptoms, available research is limited, and this tool is in no way a panacea.

Determining the efficacy of the device requires more analysis before medical detox centers begin utilizing such equipment. Nevertheless, the FDA gave the NSS-2 Bridge the go-ahead:

“Given the scope of the epidemic of opioid addiction, we need to find innovative new ways to help those currently addicted live lives of sobriety with the assistance of medically assisted treatment. There are three approved drugs for helping treat opioid addiction. While we continue to pursue better medicines for the treatment of opioid use disorder, we also need to look to devices that can assist in this therapy,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. “The FDA is committed to supporting the development of novel treatments, both drugs, and devices, that can be used to address opioid dependence or addiction, as well as new, non-addictive treatments for pain that can serve as alternatives to opioids.”


Easing Withdrawal Symptoms

opioid use disorderThe Neurostimulation System (NSS) is an EAD (electro auricular device), the FDA reports. The device is available by prescription only, and carries a high price tag. The agency moved ahead with approval after 31 percent of patients participating in a small study reported a reduction in withdrawal symptoms. The above findings sound promising, but it’s worth noting that the study only involved 73 patients.

Not surprisingly, some experts in the field of have cited concerns over the bare bones research. Dr. Lance Dodes, a retired professor at Harvard Medical School, looked over the study for STAT News and offered: “If they’d [Innovative Health Solutions] been more patient, done the pilot, then a full study with a control group, we’d have results. He said, “This pilot study by itself doesn’t prove efficacy.”

Only a greater body of research on the device will reveal if this is something medical detox centers should trust and invest in; as it stands now, there is plenty of reason to be leery about the electro auricular device.

Opioid Use Disorder Detox and Treatment

Withdrawing from opioids is a difficult task, one that is accompanied by severe discomfort. Without the assistance of medical personnel and medication, getting through acute withdrawal is rare. At Hope By The Sea, we can provide you or a loved one with the current gold-standard of medical detox followed by evidence-based opioid use disorder treatment. We can help you achieve the goal of lasting addiction recovery. Please contact us today.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Alcohol Impacts Neural Stem Cells

Alcohol is a caustic substance and alcohol use disorder is deadly. The substance may not get the attention it deserves, given that it is a vice that has been deemed legal. This means, essentially, that alcohol is safe if used appropriately. Unfortunately, people regularly use alcohol in harmful ways which results in addiction and premature death.

It’s important that everyone who drinks knows the risk, particularly young people prone to make poor decisions. Individuals who think that because something is legal, it can’t cause too much harm. Disabusing misconceptions about drinking is of vital necessity.

When many people consider the dangers of alcohol use, they usually think about what can go wrong when they imbibe. Making poor decisions is often a byproduct of heavy consumption, such as driving under the influence. Such individuals think that as long as they have a safe means of getting home, they may drink to excess. However, the substance can disrupt the course of any heavy drinker's life even if they take precautions.


Risks of Alcohol Not Printed On the Bottle

alcohol use disorderThe law mandates that alcohol manufacturers include warning labels on bottle labels. Don’t drink if you are pregnant, don’t operate heavy machinery, and so-on-and-so-forth. Occasionally one might see warnings about "booze" being habit-forming or that it carries risk of cancer; despite the fact that alcohol use is linked to several types of cancer.

Everyone is shocked by the number of opioid overdose deaths each (as they should be), but alcohol-related deaths will continue to surpass fatal overdoses. Around 100,000 Americans die of alcohol-related causes annually, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). It’s worth pointing out that alcohol-related mortality is likely to be even higher.

Even if a person doesn’t meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder and practices sound judgment when they know they are going to be drinking, heavy drinking can cause serious damage. A new study suggests that prolonged, heavy drinking can affect the survival of neural stem cells (NSCs) in the brain impacting cognitive function, MNT reports. The research was published in the journal Stem Cell Reports.

"The discovery that the adult brain produces stem cells that create new nerve cells provides a new way of approaching the problem of alcohol-related changes in the brain," said Dr. Ping Wu, from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

This new research is yet more evidence of the dangerous effect of alcohol, binge drinking, and heavy consumption. More study is needed to see how alcohol interacts with neural stem cells, which allow experts to better address alcohol use disorder in both male and females.


Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

The longer heavy alcohol use persists, the more likely irreparable damage is to occur. Help is available if you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol use disorder. Please contact Hope by the Sea to begin the process of breaking the cycle of addiction.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Army Accepts Mental Illness Waivers

People who decide to join the military put themselves in position to experience many kinds of trauma. We’ve written on numerous occasions about the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder in the military. It’s a problem that can derail the course of one’s life long after soldiers leave the armed forces; left untreated, the repercussions are severe, those and afflicted regularly turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their symptoms.

mnetal illnessMental illness going hand-in-hand with other forms of mental illness is understood well in the field of medicine. People with alcohol and substance use disorders are at high risk of developing co-occurring mental health conditions. Individuals with mental health disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder, are at a higher risk of developing addiction compared to people who don’t meet such criteria.

With that in mind, you’d likely think that branches of the military would deny enlistment applications from people whose medical history includes mental illness. Historically, your assumption would be correct; however, to meet Army recruiting goals, exceptions will be made for specific people living with mental illness.


Mental Illness In The Military

In August, an unannounced policy was enacted allowing waivers for people with mental health conditions to enlist in the Army, USA Today reports. People with such histories must provide “appropriate documentation” to obtain the waiver, which can include a detailed statement from the applicant, medical records, and a psychiatric evaluation and “clearance.”

“It is a red flag,” said Retired Colonel Elspeth Ritchie, an Army psychiatrist and expert on waivers for military service. “The question is, how much of a red flag is it?” 

The mental health waivers can be obtained by people with a history of:
  • Self-Mutilation
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression
  • Alcohol and Substance Use Disorder
People living with treated mental illness, who manage their recovery with a program of recovery, can lead fulfilling and prosperous lives. There is nothing that a person in recovery can’t accomplish. However, when people undergo trauma (like that regularly experienced in the military), it can have a devastating effect on one’s program of recovery. That’s not to say that people with treated mental health conditions shouldn’t be given the honor to serve their country; instead, great precautions must be taken to ensure the safety of individuals and their peers they fight beside.

“With the additional data available, Army officials can now consider applicants as a whole person, allowing a series of Army leaders and medical professionals to review the case fully to assess the applicant’s physical limitations or medical conditions and their possible impact upon the applicant's ability to complete training and finish an Army career,” said Lt. Col. Randy Taylor, an Army spokesman. “These waivers are not considered lightly.”

The U.S. Army recruitment goal is 80,000 enlistees through September 2018, according to the article. It’s likely that this report will lead to a serious debate over the decision allow mental health waivers.


Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

If you are struggling with a use disorder and a co-occurring mental illness, such as PTSD, please contact Hope by The Sea. Your recovery is dependent on treating both conditions. We specialize in the treatment of patients with a dual diagnosis and can help you begin the life-saving journey of recovery.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Tale of Two Opioids

"We have roughly two groups of Americans that are getting addicted,” said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, director of opioid policy research at Brandeis University. “We have an older group that is overdosing on pain medicine, and we have a younger group that is overdosing on black market opioids.”

opioid use disorder
What type of opioid a person uses regularly isn’t that important, what’s crucial is understanding that opiates of any kind are deadly. While the majority of Americans first became addicted to prescription painkillers, the disease progression often results in a switch to cheaper and stronger narcotics acquired on the black market.

Even those with a cursory understanding of the opioid addiction epidemic know the risks associated with this class of drugs. One need only look at their local newspaper to see headlines about the crisis unfolding in the U.S. The death rate has continued to rise with some years showing exponential increases for over a decade. So, it probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that this last year more people died from opioids than any other year on record. This year is shaping up to surpass last year's opioid-related death toll.

Matters are worse these days because synthetic opioids, drugs like fentanyl continue to grow in prevalence. The drug is regularly mixed with heroin to create a deadly cocktail. Compared to 2015, there was a 17 percent uptick in overdose deaths in 2016, The New York Times reports. The surge, owed largely to synthetic opioids, is cause for concern and must be addressed.

CDC’s Dismal Report

The rate of overdose deaths rose to nearly 20 people per 100,000 in 2016, according to the article. Dr. Robert Anderson, chief of the C.D.C. mortality statistics branch, says that for people under the age of 50, overdose is now the leading cause of death.

Naturally, we can’t turn back the clock and prevent the rampant over-prescribing observed over the last two decades. While the damage is done, it doesn’t mean that doctors can't adopt more conservative prescribing practices. Limiting the number of prescriptions written can help prevent future cases of opioid use disorder.

Today, there are over 2 million Americans with an opioid use disorder. The majority of afflicted individuals have never sought treatment. Those who desire recovery often struggle to access addiction treatment services where they live. Time is of the utmost importance with addiction. If somebody makes the decision to seek help, but can’t get it today, they are likely to change their mind tomorrow. The disease has a way of making a person’s desire for change be fleeting.

The most effective way of reducing the overdose death rate is to encourage people to seek treatment and have the option available when they are ready. Those who get help have a real opportunity at breaking the cycle of addiction and achieving lasting recovery.

Opioid Addiction is Treatable

At Hope by The Sea, we know how difficult it is to recover from opioid addiction. We are aware that people who don’t get assistance are likely to relapse, and relapse can mean death. If you are in the clutches of opioid use disorder, please contact us immediately, recovery works, and we can help you see for yourself.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Addiction

Adolescents and teenagers are most often the focus of substance use prevention efforts in America. Teaching young people about the dangers of drugs and alcohol is believed to prevent initiation, and in many cases, it’s useful. However, for teenagers who’ve experienced trauma prevention efforts have diminished returns.

There has been a lot of talk of late regarding adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their role in addiction. ACEs can be anything from loss of a loved one at a young age to having an abusive mother or father. Trauma, of any kind, can severely impact the course of one’s life, leading young people down a dangerous path. Moreover, research shows that substance use prevention efforts may not have the desired effect on people with unaddressed ACEs. It's the same when it comes to treating addiction, addressing the trauma of one's past is vital; if lasting recovery is the goal, then addiction professionals must teach clients coping tools.

It’s likely that most people will have subjective viewpoint on what constitutes trauma. What affects one person negatively, may not take the same toll on others. What’s more, some parents may not consider certain actions harmful even though some experts would consider the behavior abusive, such as spanking.


Adverse Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood ExperiencesSubstance use and self-harm are in many cases the byproduct of childhood trauma. Without healthy coping mechanisms for living with the abuse that one experienced, resorting to drugs and alcohol to cope with one’s mental state seemingly comes naturally. So, what are adverse childhood experiences? The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) has compiled a list of common ACEs, including:
  • Physical, Sexual, and Emotional Abuse
  • Emotional and Physical Neglect
  • Substance Misuse and Mental Illness Within Household
  • Intimate Partner Violence and Mother Treated Violently
  • Parental Separation or Divorce
  • Incarcerated Household Member
Being subject to anything listed above could play a factor in the development of a substance use disorder. Researchers from the University of Michigan conducted a study to see if spanking should fall under the list of ACEs, The Kansas City Star reports. The findings, published in the journal Child Abuse and Neglect, indicate that spanked children were more likely to have suicidal ideations and attempts, engage in moderate-to-heavy drinking, and use drugs.

"Placing spanking in a similar category to physical/emotional abuse experiences would increase our understanding of these adult mental health problems," said study co-leader Professor Andrew Grogan-Kaylor.

It’s unlikely that parents who spank their children know the potential damage caused by punishing their children. Mothers and fathers rationalize and justify the behavior by the fact that they [parents] received spankings as children. While not every child who experiences an ACE is going to become an alcoholic or addict, if the risk can be mitigated then it should be.


Addiction Treatment

If you experienced trauma as a young person and are in the grips of alcohol or substance use disorder, please contact Hope by The Sea. We can help you address your trauma and show you how to cope with it healthily.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Adult-Onset ADHD Explained?

Conventional treatments for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) include medication. Prescription drugs used to treat ADHD are usually amphetamine-based stimulants. We have written on numerous occasions about the dangers of nonmedical amphetamine use, in fact, we wrote about it earlier this week. However, in the field of addiction medicine, the subject of ADHD as a co-occurring mental health disorder gets little attention.

When considering ADHD, people mainly associate it with adolescents, but the condition can also affect those same individuals in adulthood, as well. Additionally, a more significant number of adults have received a diagnosis of the disorder for the first time in recent years. Which means, either the condition went undiagnosed, or it developed in adulthood.

It’s not uncommon for mental health disorders to go without a diagnosis, yet some experts question the validity of adult-onset ADHD. It's important to talk about this subject given that a diagnosis often leads to patients taking prescription stimulants, both addictive and dangerous.


Explaining ADHD

The Mayo Clinic lists various symptoms for the condition, including absent-mindedness, difficulty focusing, forgetfulness, problem paying attention, or short attention span. It isn’t hard to see how the symptoms mentioned above could wreak havoc on one’s life. It’s worth pointing out that some of these traits can be explained away by other mental health conditions or substance use.

A new study sheds some light on this subject, and the research indicates that other factors can explain ADHD symptoms in adulthood, MNT reports. The findings, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, showed that more than 80 percent of people with adult-onset ADHD probably do not have the condition.

"We found a number of people who looked like they had adult-onset ADHD," said Margaret H. Sibley, of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University in Miami, "but when we looked closely, adult-onset symptoms were traced back to childhood or were better explained by other problems, like the cognitive effects of heavy marijuana use, psychological trauma, or depressive symptoms that affect concentration." 

This study appears to be of the utmost importance, particularly relevant to the field of addiction medicine. People with a history of addiction should not be prescribed amphetamines to treat symptoms of ADHD, without careful assessment. Especially if it’s unlikely that such people have the condition at all. It could be that people exhibiting symptoms associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are suffering from depression, or their substance use and abuse have led to what a patient is experiencing. The researchers say that:

“False positive late-onset ADHD cases are common without careful assessment. Clinicians should carefully assess impairment, psychiatric history, and substance use before treating potential late-onset cases."


Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

If you have been diagnosed with ADHD as an adult and are also addicted to drugs or alcohol, a second opinion is likely in order. At Hope by The Sea, we are fully equipped to treat your alcohol or substance use disorder and any other co-occurring mental health condition. Our clients undergo extensive screening to determine what, if any, other mental health disorder may be contributing to your disease. Please contact us today.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Adderall is an Amphetamine, OxyContin is an Opioid

Older teens and young adults are no strangers to drug and alcohol use. Substance initiation typically begins toward the end of one’s high school years or the beginning of college. Most students who engage in illicit substance use are not likely to experience problems later. However, a significant percentage of young adults’ drugs and alcohol use progresses to misuse and addiction (use disorder).

In modern times, most Americans, young or old, understand that the country is in the midst of an epidemic linked to opioids. The majority of people coming of age at this time are subject to some kind of substance use prevention education starting in elementary school. Such a reality may lead one to assume that young people know the difference between one substance from another.

At the very least, you’d think that an 18-year-old would have some prior knowledge about the drugs they're using and their [drugs] inherent risk. Unfortunately, new research paints a very different picture; misconceptions about certain medications are more common than previously thought. The findings are cause for concern, immediate action by drug education and prevention programs is needed to address the apparent gaps in understanding, particularly regarding prescription amphetamines and opioids.

Adderall is to Amphetamines; as OxyContin is to Opioids

A study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, indicates that many teens who use the ADHD-drug Adderall don’t know it’s an amphetamine, HealthDay reports. The research means nonmedical amphetamine use is not being reported accurately among young teens and adults. A national survey of more than 24,000 high school seniors revealed some troubling contradictions.

Eight-percent reported nonmedical amphetamine use and around 7 percent reported nonmedical Adderall use; however, about 29 percent of nonmedical Adderall users also said they had not engaged in nonmedical amphetamine in the past year. Meaning, a large number of high school students misusing amphetamines don’t know they are playing with fire.

"Our findings suggest that many young people are unaware that Adderall is amphetamine," said senior author Joseph Palamar, an associate professor of population health at New York University. "In addition, such conflicting reports mean that prescription stimulant misuse may be underestimated." 

The research was conducted by the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research at New York University's Meyers College of Nursing in New York City, according to the article. Any young person should be aware that Ritalin and Adderall are amphetamines, and there is no scientific evidence to support nonmedical use for sharpening one’s academic edge. While the findings are disturbing, the survey revealed a more dangerous misconception among high school seniors.

"Alarmingly, we had similar findings regarding opioids in another study, with many teens appearing unaware that the Vicodin and OxyContin they took are opioids," Palamar said. "Better drug education is needed to inform the public about common drugs like amphetamines and opioids."


Addiction Treatment for Young Adults

Common prescription amphetamines are: Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta. Common prescription opioids are: Oxycontin (oxycodone), Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen), and Vicodin (hydrocodone).

Prescription opioids and stimulants are highly addictive narcotics, even when they are prescribed and taken as the doctor ordered. Nonmedical use of these types of drugs is likely to cause problems in anyone’s life. If you are a young adult who is dependent on opioids or amphetamines, please contact Hope by The Sea. We can help you find addiction recovery, and learn how to live a life free from drugs and alcohol.

Friday, October 27, 2017

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day 2017

October 28th, 2017, is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Everyone in the United States with unused or unwanted medication can have a hand in ensuring their drugs don’t end up in the wrong hands. Every year, several days are set aside as times when Americans can safely dispose of their prescription drugs. Since the program's beginning, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has collected more than 8,000 pounds of pharmaceuticals. While it’s impossible to accurately estimate the impact of safe-disposal initiatives regarding lives saved, it's probably fair to say that it’s not a small number.

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
There is a significant amount of evidence that many people begin walking the path of opioid use disorder by using another person’s prescription painkillers. Despite the epidemic devastating families across the country, more than half of adults who misused opioids in 2015 did not have a prescription, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). What’s more, 40.8% obtained prescription opioids for free from friends or relatives for their most recent episode of misuse.

In most cases, opioid diversion occurs among average Americans, not people with a history of addiction or opioid use disorder. A person has pills that a friend in pain could use, why not give them away and save your friend the expense and hassle of going to a doctor? The best reasons include the risk of overdose and the potential for addiction.


Doing Your Part to Prevent Misuse

Every year, hundreds of millions of prescription opioids leave pharmacies and move into people's medicine cabinets. Opiates kill more people than firearms, yet Americans are less likely to lock up pills than guns. People can no longer claim that they didn’t know the dangers associated with these types of drugs, with over 100-people succumbing to overdose every day. The onus to protect friends and family members falls on everyone.

Please keep in mind that even if you don’t have a history of addiction, are not in recovery yourself or know someone who has battled opioid use disorder—you can still help prevent addiction and overdose. We can all play a role in stemming the tide of this terrible epidemic. Every single pill that is disposed of safely has a rippling effect, being one less pill that could initiate opioid misuse and disorder.

The DEA has several resources you can turn to for information about disposal sites in your area. If you have unused or unwanted medication, please do your part to dispose of them properly. If you are in recovery and suffered an injury in the past year, but no longer require pain medicine, please protect your recovery by taking them to a drop site.


Addiction Recovery

At Hope by The Sea, we hope that as many people as possible utilize the DEA drop sites this weekend. If you or a loved one is addicted to prescription painkillers or opioids of any kind, please contact us today. Addiction recovery is possible, and we can help you learn how to live a life free from drugs and alcohol.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Opioid Use Disorder Has a Face

What does opioid use disorder look like in your head? When contemplating that question, it’s easy to envision people withering away from substance use and abuse. Thin and ashy, track marks stippling up and down a person’s arms, and beyond. It’s an image that is likely to come into the mind of people who haven't seen the disorder first hand; those whose knowledge of the epidemic is made up of statistics, not people.

Make no mistake about it, the American opioid addiction epidemic has a face. One that can look like
any of us, a specific countenance not too dissimilar from your own. The disease does not discriminate, and without treatment, it only takes prisoners temporarily before cutting one’s life short. We are all eligible to become trapped in the cycle of opioid use disorder.

It’s important to keep this in mind, the disease of addiction doesn’t just affect the impoverished or minorities. The numbers indicate white and middle-class Americans have been affected the greatest by the epidemic. The people suffering are your neighbors, your friends, and your family. Even if you don’t have first-hand experience with the condition, it’s highly likely that someone in your life is battling opioid use disorder, without your knowledge.


The Opioid Epidemic Looks Like…

In the field of addiction medicine, we place great emphasis on humanizing the disease of addiction. Viewing mental illness in the same way one would look at any treatable health condition is of paramount importance. The science supports the approach and, more importantly, when people suffering from addiction receive compassion they are far more likely to seek recovery.

What’s more, the entire country can have a hand in breaking down the stigma of addiction, particularly those who have witnessed the disease with their own eyes. People who have lost loved ones can empower others to seek help by being candid about their experience. It’s a concept that hasn’t been lost on some families, like people who share what led to their loved one's death in obituaries. We must all bear witness to the epidemic, averting our eyes to the realities of this catastrophe is no longer tenable.

In this week's edition of The New Yorker, the photography of Philip Montgomery will be on display. The images showcase what the front lines of the opioid epidemic look like in an Ohio county that has been severely affected. Please take a moment to watch a short video on the subject below:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Opioid Use Disorder Help

Philip Montgomery’s photography gives the roughly 64,000 Americans who died of an overdose last year the power to affect change in the United States. We all have a vested interest in seeing people with opioid use disorder get the help they need. At this time in the history of the epidemic, the need for encouraging people to seek treatment is, arguably, at its highest. This is because deadly synthetic opioids are far more pervasive than they were just a few years ago; also drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil are responsible for thousands of overdose deaths, and naloxone does not always reverse an overdose involving such compounds.

If you or a loved one are in the throes of opioid use disorder, please contact Hope by The Sea. We are fully equipped to assist you from detox to long-term addiction recovery. Addiction treatment is your best option for getting out from under this insidious mental health condition.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Cocaine is Everywhere, In the Service Industry

Drug and alcohol use is quite common in the service industry. People who work in the field, at restaurants or bars, for example, know first-hand that many of their co-workers have dabbled in or abused narcotics. It’s not uncommon for people to work while under the influence, bartenders sampling their inventory, wait-staff seeking a little extra pep in their step. That’s not to say that other lines of work don’t have similar rates of use, or in some far more significant problems; but, the service industry’s relationship with drugs and alcohol is noteworthy.

If you have ever worked in the field, you are aware that once a shift is over some employees will congregate after hours and “tie one on.” The use of alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine are staples in those circumstances; a behavior which can and has led to dependence and addiction. People who manage employees in the industry, in many cases, know that some of their employees have use disorders. However, as long as those individuals show up and do their job, few discussions are ever had regarding the self-destructive course their staff member is heading down.

cocaineWhat’s more, only a small number of restaurants and bars conduct random drug screens on their employees. The establishments that do have drug policies exercise the practice of drug testing employees rarely. Meaning, when it comes to alcohol and substance use disorder in the workplace, a don’t-ask-don’t-tell approach is taken. In spite of the fact that talking to a co-worker about concerns over substance use could be beneficial to the individual and the business.


In Restaurants, Cocaine is Everywhere

Despite the fact that opioids continue to be the primary focus of addiction discussions these days, cocaine is still a considerable issue in the United States and Europe. Of the top-five most significant cocaine consuming countries: Scotland, England, Wales, and the U.S. lay claim to four of the available slots. Albania takes the prize for the highest rate of cocaine consumption, The Telegraph reports. The findings may not be that surprising, excepting Albania, considering that the UK and U.S. are affluent countries and cocaine isn’t cheap.

The first installment of a two-part documentary on the subject matter above aired last night on ITV. Gordon Ramsay on Cocaine was inspired by what the celebrity chef has witnessed in his field. Ramsay lost a dear friend and chef protégé to a cocaine overdose in 2003. Ramsay sought out initially to highlight the impact that cocaine and drug use has on “chefs who think they're rock stars,” THR reports. He affirms that cocaine is "everywhere" in the industry, and has seen how drugs use has ruined colleagues' careers.

“I saw cocaine quite early on in my career,” Ramsay tells ITV. “I’ve been served it. I’ve been given it. I’ve had my hand shaken and left with little wraps of foil in it. I’ve been asked to dust cocaine on top of soufflés, to put it on as icing sugar…Coke’s everywhere. It’s spiraling out of control.” 

In London alone, Chef Ramsay employees 750 people, according to ITV. Shedding light on how prevalent cocaine use is in the industry and the world-at-large is vitally important. In the documentary, he investigates the criminal business behind the cocaine trade, including cocaine farms, drugs cartels, smugglers, dealers, and users. He points out that cocaine use in Great Britain has risen 400% over the past two decades.


Stimulant Addiction Treatment

If cocaine use has taken over your own life, please seek help immediately. Stimulant addiction is a treatable use disorder and recovery is possible, if you are willing to take steps to achieve the goal. Please contact Hope by The Sea; we can assist you in stopping the cycle of cocaine use disorder and introduce you to the transformative journey of addiction recovery.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

DEA Can't Do Its Job

The American opioid addiction epidemic has no parallel in modern history. What has happened over the last two-decades is too difficult to understand and even harder to combat. At Hope by The Sea, we have seen firsthand the devastation caused by opioid use disorder. We are acutely aware that, more times than not, it’s a condition that begins with a legal prescription for opioid painkillers. Today, all the talk is about heroin, fentanyl and other synthetic opiates that have the power to kill. However, we must never lose sight of the actual driving force of this epidemic, the pharmaceutical industry.

When people are dying at staggering rates, society expects accountability—naturally. Over the years there have been several shifts in playing the dangerous game of blame. First, it was the patient's fault, and then it was the doctor's fault. Patients found diverting medication faced jail time; doctors who overprescribed met similar consequences. The attention turned next to the medical industry approach to pain management, to which the industry has made efforts to address. The next target was the pharmaceutical industry; from painkiller manufacturers to the local pharmacy.

In between companies like Purdue Pharma and pharmacies, such as CVS, are medication distributors. These are go-betweens in every sense of the word, they move OxyContin from Purdue to CVS. Notable distributors, you may know, have been in the news over the years for their role in the epidemic, i.e., McKesson Pharmaceutical and Cardinal Health. Such companies have been fined and sued for filling orders that were the very definition of suspicious. The fines did get paid, but according to a new report, pharmaceutical distributors won in the end.


Hobbling the DEA

opioid addictionJoe Rannazzisi is a name that few had ever heard of before this weekend when The Washington Post and CBS: "60 Minutes" introduced him to America on Sunday. Rannazzisi, former head of the DEA's Office of Diversion Control, a division of the agency responsible for regulating and investigating the pharmaceutical industry. The former DEA deputy assistant administrator, CBS reports, has a degree in pharmacy and law.

Going after doctors didn’t impact the abuse and overdose death rates, prompting Rannazzisi to set his sights on the opioid painkiller distributors. Naturally, distribution companies have nearly unlimited resources and unbelievable clout in Washington D.C. They used their influence and money to stymie Rannazzisi's efforts; resulting in a severe blow to the DEA’s ability to cite and levy fines on such companies when they fill suspicious orders. Rannazzisi told CBS:

“This is an industry that's out of control. What they wanna do, is do what they wanna do, and not worry about what the law is. And if they don't follow the law in drug supply, people die. That's just it. People die." He adds: “This is an industry that allowed millions and millions of drugs to go into bad pharmacies and doctors' offices, that distributed them out to people who had no legitimate need for those drugs." 

The pushback paid off with the passing of H.R.4709 - Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2014. This is a bill that the drug industry spent $102 million between 2014 and 2016 lobbying Congress to help pass, according to The Washington Post. Before H.R. 4079, the DEA could freeze narcotic shipments that they deemed suspicious. The new industry-friendly law makes it nearly impossible for the DEA to stop the flow of suspicious orders.

“If I was gonna write a book about how to harm the United States with pharmaceuticals, the only thing I could think of that would immediately harm is to take the authority away from the investigative agency that is trying to enforce the Controlled Substances Act and the regulations implemented under the act. And that's what this bill did.” — Rannazzisi said to CBS

Please take some time to watch the "60 Minutes" segment. For a more in-depth analysis of how this all came to be, turn to The Washington Post.

Opioid Addiction Treatment

It’s hard to say what will come of the reporting mentioned above. Hopefully, it will lead to change for the better. In the meantime, efforts must continue to encourage everyone who has been caught in the cycle of prescription opioid addiction to seek help. If you are one of those individuals, please contact Hope by The Sea. From medical detox to residential treatment, we can help you set a course for long-term recovery.

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