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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Addiction Recovery Must Weather The Storm

Keeping one’s stress in check is a vital component of anyone's addiction recovery program. Those who find themselves overworked or dealing with personal trials and tribulations are at great risk of relapse. Unhealthy responses to stress feed the ever-hungry spider of addiction. In treatment, clients learn healthy ways to manage the many stressful occurrences that can arise in one's life. Becoming proficient in, and committing such tools to memory can be all that stands between one's recovery and relapse.

addiction recoveryStress, naturally, is a part of life. While there are ways to circumvent most stressful circumstances, some things are out of our control. But, and fortunately, recovery teaches us to live life on life’s terms. To never take things (ourselves included) too seriously. Our “higher power” will find a way to help us navigate that which befalls. And, as long as we keep recovery as our number one priority, we shall and can overcome anything. If we remain calm and keep a clear mind (drug and alcohol-free) we can break through to other side of a problem.

Talking about stress and how it can disrupt one’s recovery is an especially important topic of late. All of you surely are aware of the serious state of affairs in southeastern Texas. The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey is catastrophic, with millions of Americans affected in one way or another. Extensive flooding in Houston and other cities along Harvey’s path is expected to result in as many as 30,000 people in need of temporary shelter, The New York Times reports. State lawmakers and Federal agencies seem to be working together to ensure the safety of one the nation’s most populated regions.


Keeping Addiction Recovery Above Water

Of course, the main focus is getting people to safe locations and providing food and water. Even though the death toll up till now has been relatively low, there are millions of Americans who have experienced trauma. It goes without saying that a significant number of said people are working programs of addiction recovery. Some of which suddenly find themselves without home, and displaced from their support network. With cities completely under water, you can probably imagine that getting to a meeting for support is, in several cases, out of the question. What’s more, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stated that in Texas/Louisiana the storm and flood has disabled:
  • Service at 16 centers that process 911-emergency calls.
  • Cable, internet or telephone to over 180,000 homes.
  • 364 cellular towers
With 12 Step meeting places underwater and phone services disabled, contacting recovery support isn’t possible for an untold number of people. It is fair to say that it can’t get much more stressful than this for anyone working a program. At times like this, keeping in constant contact with one’s higher power is of the utmost importance. And, hopefully you had time to grab your “Big Book” before evacuating the area.

Natural disasters may be the best example of how little control we have over the course of life. Which may be an eye-opening teachable moment for your own recovery. And just how important it is to give life's trials to your higher power. Even if your find yourself displaced from your recovery support network, you can always have a dialogue with that which is Greater than you. You may also be among large groups of people faced with the same problems, some of which might be in the program as well. The old distress signal, “Any friends of Bill W, please report to…,” may prove useful.


You’re Not Alone

There may be other displacees who have less recovery time under their belt who are in need of your guidance. It is also important to remember that wherever there is tragedy, vice is there to ease people’s troubled minds. Your support could prevent the relapse of another who is struggling to cope with the stress. AA Responsibility Statement:

"I am Responsible. When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there. And for that: I am responsible."

Understandably, the suggestions above may not reach the eyes of those in greatest need, considering the FCC report. But, there is a large number of people who have been affected that did get flooded or lose connectivity. Lives also disrupted by the devastating hurricane. Those of you in the impacted areas who were relatively unscathed could reach out to provide addiction recovery assistance to those who were. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) also has a number of tools for people affected by the trauma of natural disasters. Now, more the ever, is when the true light of the fellowship should shine the brightest. Guiding the many individual ships of recovery from the rocky shoals of relapse.

At Hope by the Sea, our thoughts and prayers are for the safety of everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. We are hopeful that those working a program can continue to practice the principles of recovery, in spite of their circumstances. Keeping their stress at bay, knowing that the waters will (in time) recede, so you can be there for others when called upon.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Are You Depressed? Google Wants to Know

Are you depressed? It is a question which, depending on the answer, can have serious implications. And it could be a jumping off point for seeking help. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to many of our readers familiar with mental illness, conditions such as addiction and depression are severely under-treated. We have written about the realities of mental health treatment on numerous occasions over the years. Particularly regarding what can happen when mental illness is left untreated.

Mental health disorders, particularly depression, is nothing short of a pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 300 million people are affected by depression worldwide. WHO believes that the condition is the number one cause of poor health on the planet. Which makes sense, if you think about it a little. People who are depressed tend to be more lethargic, having trouble finding the motivation to even get out of bed. Depressive episodes can result in people eating poorly, inactivity and coping by way of alcohol or illicit drug use. It is not a mere coincidence that a great many people seeking treatment for addiction also meet the criteria for depression. A co-occurring disorder, clinically speaking.

In such cases, it is absolutely vital that both mental illnesses are treated at the same time. Neglecting one side of the co-occurring disorder coin can spell disaster, hindering recovery from either mental illness. Effective substance use disorder treatment centers ensure that addicts and alcoholics undergo rigorous diagnostic screening to obtain a full picture of a client. Thus, allowing for a comprehensive treatment plan that will ensure the best possible outcomes for a client's future. The question, “Are you depressed?” Is one that everyone seeking help at an addiction treatment center should answer honestly, doing so can make all the difference for achieving long-term sobriety.


Depression Screening Online

You might be familiar with a growing trend among tech-giants, such as Facebook, dedicating significant resources to helping users struggling with mental illness. The “social network” has even developed an algorithm for spotting users who may be at risk of self-harm. In such cases, the at-risk user will be directed toward resources that could help prevent a catastrophe. Thousands of depressives have suicidal ideations or attempt to take their own life every year. Identifying signs early and providing resources that can help could make all the difference and save lives in the process.

Of the 1 in 5 Americans affected by depression, about 50 percent never receive any form of treatment. Google has joined the cause to change those figures for the better. The search engine giant has partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), to ask anyone searching for terms related to depression: “Are you depressed?”

On Google’s blog, The Keyword, Mary Giliberti J.D., Chief Executive Officer at NAMI, writes:

“You may have noticed that in Google search results, when you search for depression or clinical depression in the U.S., you see a Knowledge Panel for the condition which provides general information about it, the symptoms, and possible treatment options. Today PHQ-9, a clinically validated screening questionnaire which can help identify levels of depressive symptoms is also available directly from the search result. By tapping “Check if you’re clinically depressed,” you can take this private self-assessment to help determine your level of depression and the need for an in-person evaluation. The results of the PHQ-9 can help you have a more informed conversation with your doctor.” 

Filling out the PHQ-9 could be starting point for the millions of Americans living with untreated mental illness. The results of which could lead you to a path for treatment. Reaching out for help is never easy, but it will save your life.


Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder, and believe that depression may be a contributing factor, please contact Hope by The Sea. Our highly-trained staff is equipped to help you break the cycle of addiction, begin the process of recovery and address co-occurring mental health disorders like depression. We work closely with psychiatrists and psychologists who can begin the process of treating your depression. In turn, giving one the ability at achieving long-term recovery.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

DPA: International Drug Policy Reform Conference

Addiction recovery is about many things. Yes, it’s about helping the millions of people battling addiction break free and live a healthy life. But, it is also about so much more, including compassion, health and the right for everyone living with mental illness to escape discrimination. As for the latter, anyone who has been touched by the disease of addiction knows first-hand how rampant discrimination is when it comes to debilitating mental health disorders.

It isn’t a secret that our government’s answer to drugs and addiction has long been about punishment over rehabilitation. America has the largest prison population in the world, a population largely comprised of African Americans, Latinos and poor Caucasians. The clear majority of people behind bars today were not incarcerated because they were murderers or sexual offenders, some of the worst crimes imaginable. Rather, the market share of people behind bars are there because of nonviolent drug and alcohol offenses. A reality that a number of lawmakers and mental health advocates have been trying to change for many years.

For nearly a decade, we have all heard stories of changes that would lead to people who were unjustly imprisoned finally seeing the light of day. The last administration pardoned or commuted the sentences of hundreds of Americans whose only crime was mental illness or being impoverished. We have seen state legislators working to put an end to mandatory minimum sentences, giving judges more flexibility in deciding the fate of a defendant. What’s more, partially owing to the opioid addiction epidemic, “drug offenders” are regularly offered treatment before being sent to jail.


Drug Policy Alliance

While we have many lawmakers to thank for the paradigm shift in the criminal justice system, we also have advocacy groups to thank. Those who have worked tirelessly for the rights of everyone, regardless of where they came from or the color of their skin.

One such organization, is the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). Whose expressed goal has been to put an end to the failed war on drugs, advocating for policies based not on fear, but science, compassion, health and human rights. Because of their efforts, hundreds of thousands of Americans have found addiction treatment rather than jail cells. Their efforts based on ethical and common sense approaches have resulted in California saving billions of dollars that would have otherwise gone to imprison people who would be better served elsewhere. Doing away with draconian drug laws and promoting a humanitarian approach to drug policy. On the organization's website, they write:

“Our supporters are individuals who believe the war on drugs is doing more harm than good. Together we advance policies that reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition, and seek solutions that promote safety while upholding the sovereignty of individuals over their own minds and bodies.”


International Drug Policy Reform Conference

Every couple of years, the Drug Policy Alliance brings people from around the world together to discuss better ways to approach mental illness and addiction. At the International Drug Policy Reform Conference, participants discuss alternatives to the failed war on drugs. This year, between Oct 11, 2017 - Oct 14, 2017, more than 1,500 mental health experts, advocates and world leaders are expected to gather in Atlanta to discuss further efforts to end the war on drugs in America. You can find out more information about attending the event here.

We can all have a role in ending the war on drugs and the stigma that has kept millions of Americans from getting help for over a century. Addiction is not a moral failing, just as it is not something that we can arrest away. Research has long supported the belief that if people are encouraged to talk about their mental illness, recovery can be achieved. Resulting in not just healthier individuals, but a healthier society.


An Aside on the War on Drugs

It is probably fair to say that you were one of the majority of Americans who watched in horror as the events unfolded in Charlottesville, Virginia recently. The DPA pointed out last week that the War on Drugs was largely the result of racism in America, and like most advocacy groups and National leaders, the Drug Policy Alliance condemned the overt racism seen at the University of Virginia. A hate rally that resulted in the death of three Americans. The DPA’s director of digital communications for the Drug Policy Alliance, Megan Farrington, writes:

“We saw this when the drug war replaced Jim Crow last century, and must fight to keep it from happening again. The only way to ensure that our drug policy reforms truly end the harms of drug prohibition is to support the fight against white supremacy wherever it is taking place.”


Recovery Is Possible With Love and Compassion

There is no room in the fellowship of recovery for hate and discrimination. Mental illness does not care where you came from, how much money you have or the color of one’s skin. Conversely, neither does recovery, nor does its members. Addiction recovery is about equality, and the right to live a life free from drugs and alcohol without fear of being discriminated against. At Hope by The Sea, we unequivocally condemn those who would disenfranchise others for something that they have no control over. Over the years, we have helped people find the miracles of recovery regardless of their heritage or which deity they pray to for guidance. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the Charlottesville victims.

Everybody must have the right and ability to be free from bondage, both visible and invisible. If you or a loved one is caught in the pernicious cycle of addiction, please contact Hope by The Sea today.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Prescription Opioid Doctor Kickbacks

People who seek help from physicians think that their [patients'] best interests are always in mind. If you are sick, a doctor will often prescribe an antibiotic of some kind. You have a broken arm, no worries; a cast will set you straight. If you are in pain...how about some painkillers? Naturally, certain injuries may require the use of prescription opioids. Right now, opioid painkillers are the most effective means of addressing pain. But, as you well know, there are a number of inherent risks accompanying that course of action.

There isn’t a patient or doctor in the United States who is wholly unaware of the dangers that opioid
painkillers pose. The risk of addiction is quite high (patient depending) and taking a little bit too much can easily result in an overdose. It is no secret; drugs like OxyContin have the power to kill. It is for that reason that both lawmakers and health experts have called on doctors to step back on prescribing opioids. Being called on to only turn towards the use of opioids if it is absolutely necessary. Which is no easy task and to be fair—pain is subjective. A doctor has to trust that their patients are being honest with them about the severity of the pain.


Despite being called on to scale back on the use of opioids, many doctors still prescribe reckless amounts of the highly addictive drugs. Why? Well, the use of opioids is certainly warranted, at times. However, it seems there are times that certain opioids are prescribed for reasons that could only be described as nefarious. Monetary gains.


A Vested Interest in Prescription Opioids

Here is something that some of you have likely thought of, but might not have had the evidence to support your belief. Doctors who prescribe opioids get kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies for doing so. Upon hearing this, you might think that it was something that happened at the onset of the epidemic; but, that couldn’t still be happening after 17 years of ever increasing overdose deaths. ‘Right?’ Sadly, new research indicates that the pharmaceutical industry is giving millions in opioid-related payments to doctors.
prescription opioids

Under the Affordable Care Act, the Physician Payment Sunshine Act requires drug companies to report all payments to physicians, ScienceDaily reports. This allowed researchers at Boston Medical Center's Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine to determine that between August 2013 and December 2015, 375,255 opioid-related payments were made to 68,177 doctors. Upwards of $46 million paid out, none of which was for a physician conducting research. The findings of the research were published in the American Journal of Public Health.

"Even though most payments were small, they add up to a shocking number and may have a wide-reaching influence on physician behaviors. We need to take a hard look at how the pharmaceutical industry may be influencing care and prescribing at the ground level," said study leader Scott Hadland, MD, MPH, a pediatrician and adolescent addiction specialist.


Doing the Right Thing

In the United States we have a vested interest in preserving the lives of our friends and family. Every day, some 142 mothers, fathers, daughters or sons perish from opioid-related overdoses. Doctors are being told to limit the prescribing of opioids on one side, and are being incentivized to do the opposite on the other side. Clearly a dilemma. While doctors are trained to save lives, they are still human. While it would be nice to expect a superior ethical and moral code from physicians when compared to your average American, doctors are again human and greed is a powerful force to reckon with.

It seems unconscionable that after nearly two decades and thousands of deaths and exponential more opioid use disorders, doctors are still being incentivized to prescribe this deadly family of narcotics.

"The opioid epidemic, which is responsible for thousands of deaths every year, is a national tragedy that we must work at every level to combat. It's our hope that this study sparks a bigger conversation about the role of pharmaceutical companies in the over-prescribing of opioid medications, and prompts a more thorough investigation about what we need to do to tackle this problem," said study senior author, Brandon Marshall, PhD, associate professor of epidemiology at the Brown University School of Public Health.


Prescription Opioid Addiction

If you or a loved one is caught in the pernicious grip of prescription opioid addiction, please contact Hope by The Sea. We can help break the cycle of addiction, starting with detox and intensive inpatient treatment. Our clients adopt the skills and tools necessary for living a life in recovery.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mental Health Resources In College

As we move through the month of August, many young Americans are preparing to head off to college. It is vital that steps are taken to ensure that new and returning students have access to support in times of need. Specifically, regarding mental health. It is quite common for problems with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder to arise during this stage in a person’s life. Without support via therapy and counseling, such students are at great risk of self-harm and the use of drugs and alcohol to cope with their symptoms. It is not uncommon for alcohol and substance use disorders to develop while pursuing higher education.

In modern times, there are several resources available to help students struggling with mental illness. Many campuses devote significant resources to outreach campaigns and the hiring of competent mental health therapists. Yet, despite the availability of such services, they are often underutilized by students. The Center for Collegiate Mental Health has found that 26 percent of students who utilized campus mental health services reported intentionally hurting, NBC News reports. Up from 2015, 33.2 percent had contemplated suicide.


Mental Illness On The Rise

Collegiate environments place huge demands on students. Having to juggle both work and class loads can be extremely trying for some people. Universities are seeing record numbers of students battling mental health issues, which is why it is critical that students be made to feel safe about talking with counselors. If people don’t share what they are going through, it is impossible to begin the treatment process. Untreated mental illness has long been a contributing factor in college dropout rates.

“What has increased over the past five years is threat-to-self characteristics, including serious suicidal thoughts and self-injurious behaviors,” said Ashley Stauffer, project manager for the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State University.

More than three-quarters of all mental health conditions arise before the age of 24, according the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Please take a moment to watch a short video from NAMI to help students:

If you having trouble viewing the video, please click here.


You Are Not Alone

NAMI provides guides for parents whose children may be struggling with mental illness. Which could be of great benefit. The success of your child’s recovery depends upon your full support. Having open, regular discussions about your child’s mental state can go a long way in getting them the help they may require. And, potentially mitigate the risk of self-medication with drugs and alcohol and tragedy. Below you can find a few tips
  • Know the warning signs of mental stress and when and how to seek help. Check out the college’s resources.
  • Let your child know that mental health conditions are common — one in five college students — so they don’t feel alone.
  • Because of privacy laws, come up with a plan in advance for which information about mental health can be shared with the parent.


Treatment Works

Students who are unable to access mental health resources commonly turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. This behavior often leads to a co-occurring addiction disorder. It is quite common for young people with depression, et al. to develop substance use disorders during the college years. If you are living with an untreated co-occurring disorder, or your adult child is, please contact Hope by The Sea. We can help you begin the journey of recovery, while keeping in mind that continuing education is of the utmost importance. Through working a program of recovery, one will be in a far better position to succeed in college.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Addiction Recovery Demands Healthy Living

If you are working a program of addiction recovery, you know that success rests on more than just abstaining. Sure, drugs and alcohol were big part of your problems, staying away from them is vital. But, working a program calls for much more than that. Those who succeed at achieving long-term recovery, make significant changes in their outlooks and behaviors. If addiction be a life of pessimism, recovery then must be built upon optimism. Ever reminding oneself that any obstacle that arises will pass at some point. It is how you choose to handle adversity that will be the difference between continued recovery and relapse.

Those of you who have been in the “rooms” of recovery for even a short time have heard pithy sayings and acronyms. Platitudes that, while trite at times, are both true and can be helpful. "It works if you work it." "Keep it simple, stupid." "Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired (HALT)." Are a few examples. Each one valuable in their own ways.

Alcoholics and addicts are excellent at getting caught up in their own heads. Overthinking things, in some cases, right into a bottle. We tend to isolate from our peers, especially when we need support the most. People in recovery often struggle to focus on living a healthy lifestyle. And those who fail to treat their body as a temple in recovery often encounter problems.


A Healthy Addiction Recovery

The acronym H.A.L.T. is an extremely valuable tool. A reminder that one needs to be mindful of what they ingest, i.e. is the food I’m eating healthy? Am I consuming three meals a day? Am I being sure to not let my emotions control my actions? Do I spend enough time with my recovery peers outside of meetings? Or do I just rush home after the Serenity Prayer is said aloud? Do I make a conscience effort to get about 8-hours of sleep each night?

Some of those considerations may seem like common sense to somebody without a use disorder. Yet, for many people working a program they can be easily forgotten. When that happens, one's perspective can quickly shift from optimism to a glass half empty outlook. If such a course is not corrected, relapse can become a reality.

With health in mind, getting enough exercise can help one stay the course in recovery. When we feel good, we live good. Eating healthy and exercising regularly can significantly improve our outlook, helping us be of better service to others. A salient facet of addiction recovery is being there for our fellow alcoholic or addict. If we feel unhealthy, one focuses on their own wants and needs. Forgetting that this whole enterprise rests on fellowship.

Some of you reading this might not be able to exercise in the traditional sense of going to the gym. That’s OK. Just taking a 30-minute walk everyday can go a long way. If you need a low-impact activity, see if there is a public pool in your area. Taking the initiative with improving your health can greatly strengthen your program. Maybe you have a friend in the program who will join you in your endeavor for a healthier life, and recovery.


Addiction Treatment and Physical Health

At Hope by The Sea we emphasize the importance of healthy minds and bodies. Recovery depends on treating the whole patient. Addiction atrophies the mind and body, over the course of your stay we will work with you or your loved one to reverse the damage done. Upon discharge, a healthier client has a healthier recovery. Please contact us today to discuss treatment options.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Prescription Opioid Related Traffic Concerns

Most Americans, certainly adults, know that getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous. The substance can significantly impair one’s ability to drive, impacting cognitive function, response time and motor skills. Yet, and despite the risk of death and legal troubles, thousands of Americans get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol every day.

prescription opioids

With more and more states legalizing recreational cannabis use for adults, there is great concern about drugged-driving. There isn’t a strong detection method in place (short of blood tests) for determining if a driver is under the influence of marijuana. Each year, people lose their life behind the wheel while under the influence of marijuana, which means spreading the message about drugged driving is of the utmost importance.

Until recently, the use of marijuana was illegal in California. Except for medical purposes. Which means that people who drove "high" knew what they were doing was, if nothing else, against the law. With legalization last fall, people in California have raised concerns about the potential of an increased prevalence of drugged drivers. While such concerns are not without merit, there may be another class of drugs that should be of greater concern—prescription opioids.


Driving On Opioids

The clear majority of Americans know, or have heard, about the dangers of opioid narcotics and the staggering death toll associated with opioid overdose. Current estimates indicate that around 142 Americans die of an opioid-related overdose, every day. However, you might not be aware that overdose is not the only path to premature death when it comes to opioids.

Any of you in recovery for prescription opioids and/or heroin are aware of the side effects that accompany use. Such as severe drowsiness, often referred to as “nodding off.” It is not uncommon for people using opioids to fall asleep standing up. Keeping that in mind, the same is even more true when sitting down. Getting behind the wheel on opioids is never a good idea.

Some people who are prescribed opioids may not be aware of just how easy it is to nod off using this dangerous class of drugs. They get behind the wheel thinking they are doing nothing wrong, after all the drugs were prescribed a doctor. A deadly miscalculation. As is evident by a new study showing that the rate of traffic fatalities involving prescription opioids has risen dramatically, HealthDay reports. The research, published in the American Journal of Public Health, showed that traffic fatalities involving opioid painkillers rose seven-fold between 1995 and 2015.

Much like marijuana, there is not an easy way for police officers to determine if a driver is under the influence of opioids. Given these new findings and the staggering prescribing rates of painkillers, the need for roadside testing methods is great. Prescribing opioids went from 76 million in 1991 to nearly 300 million in 2014, many of the people taking such drugs are not addicts. Opioids are coursing through the systems of millions of drivers, who must be made aware of the dangers.

"The opioid epidemic has been defined primarily by the counts of overdose fatalities," said study co-author Dr. Guohua Li, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health. "Our study suggests that increases in opioid consumption may carry adverse health consequences far beyond overdose morbidity and mortality."

Opioid Addiction Treatment

The new study, together with previous research on the dangers of opioid use, is ample cause for concern. If you are taking opioids in ways other than prescribed, or believe that you have become dependent on this form of narcotics, please contact Hope by The Sea.

Our highly-trained staff is experienced in helping people with opioid use disorder break the cycle of addiction and get on the road to addiction recovery. You can reach us 24-hours a day, 365-days a year.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Coffee Covers Addiction Treatment Costs

Coffee and addiction recovery, well… they are tied at the hip, so to speak. Actually, it is hard to imagine a 12-step meeting without an urn of coffee. The caffeinated beverage serves three purposes: an incentive for newcomers to come in off the street, helping members stay alert and attentive, and making the coffee a commitment that people in early recovery can sign up for. Commitments being a good practice in accountability, and those who fulfill the obligation show that they are willing to go to any lengths to stay clean and sober.

While the drink is synonymous with meetings, its role in recovery doesn’t stop there. At the end of every 12-step meeting you can pretty much guarantee that some members will meet after the meeting at local coffee houses. It is quite common to see people at Starbucks with a copy of “The Big Book” sitting on the table. Sponsors speaking with sponsees, many a Fourth Step has been discussed over a cup of Joe.

The link between coffee and recovery has been taken to the next level in a Ventnor City, New Jersey. Not far from Atlantic City, a seaside metropolis known for vice, a cafe is using the profits from coffee and food sales to help pay for people in need of addiction treatment services.


Addiction Treatment Paid for In Beans

New Jersey is one of the many states in this country hit especially hard by the opioid addiction epidemic. Arguably, more people than ever need addiction treatment, although a significant number of Americans can’t afford such services. The Enlightened Cafe in Ventnor has offered a solution, using the profits from the organic cafe’s sales for addiction treatment scholarships, The Press of Atlantic City reports. In fact, the cafe is in the same building as a treatment and recovery center scheduled to open by the end of summer.

The facility will offer:
  • 12-step Meetings
  • Peer-to-Peer Recovery Support Services
  • Family Support Groups
  • Community Yoga
  • Meditation Classes
Jennifer Hansen, co-founder of the Hansen Foundation and CEO of Enlightened Solutions, has been in recovery for more than two decades, according to the article. In this time, Hansen, along with her family, has opened detox centers, treatment programs and recovery housing opportunities in New Jersey. She understands the importance of get well jobs after completing an addiction treatment program, which is why The Enlightened Cafe is staffed by people in recovery.

“When you see someone get out of treatment, they really need to be working immediately for their recovery,” said Hansen. “We’re trying to staff the cafe with people in our sober living homes. When they get here to work, they’ve really come full circle.”


Communities for Addiction Treatment

Millions of people across the country need addiction treatment services. With respect to opioid addiction, an estimated 142 Americans are dying from overdoses every day, according to a report from the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. If people can’t get help because of costs, community members in other cities would be wise to follow the model of compassion that Jennifer Hansen has laid out. The epidemic is a societal problem, which means we all have a vested interest in seeing those battling addictions get help.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drugs or alcohol, please contact Hope by The Sea. We can help you begin the journey of recovery.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Prescription Opioid Use, Misuse, and Use Disorders

In the field of addiction we remain hopeful that good news regarding the American addiction opioid epidemic is on the horizon. Over the last couple years lawmakers and health experts have been working hard to get a handle on over-prescribing and patient opioid misuse and to help the millions of people who are already in the grips of an opioid use disorder. We have written about the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), for instance. This aims, among other things, to expand access to addiction treatment services across the country.

Lawmakers and addiction experts have pleaded with doctors to better utilize various resources, such prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP). The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has worked hard to emphasis the importance of safely disposing of one’s unused prescription opioids. For example, by sponsoring National Take Back Days across the country. Yet, many Americans still have no qualms about giving their unused pills to friends or family members.

With over hundred people dying of an overdose in the United States every day, it is hard to imagine what justification people come up with for diverting their medications. Nevertheless, it happens on a daily basis. A new survey revealed that more than 50 percent of people, who misused prescription opioids in 2015, got the drugs via family or friends, CBS News reports. Nearly 20 years into an epidemic and people are still diverting medications despite the nationally publicized attention highlighting the dangers. What’s more, in 2015 (some 15 years into the epidemic), more than one out of three average Americans used a prescription opioid painkiller. The findings of the survey were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.


Legitimately Prescribed Opioids

There have been signs that fewer doctors are over-prescribing than before, but use and misuse rates have remained fairly stable. Despite efforts to reduce both. The survey showed that almost 92 million adults (roughly 38 percent of the population) took an opioid by legitimate means in 2015, according to the article. A large portion of those people are, in fact, not taking their opioids as prescribed.

"The proportion of adults who receive these medications in any year seemed startling to me," said study co-author Dr. Wilson Compton, deputy director of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse. "It's an awful lot of people who take these, mostly for medical purposes, but within that a significant percentage end up misusing them." 

In 2015, 11.5 million people misused prescription opioids they received from people other than a doctor. With almost 1.9 million reporting full-fledged opioid addiction, at the time. If over half of the people who abuse prescription opioids obtained them from a friend or family member, it is a good indication that doctors should be limiting the number of pills and refills they are handing out. Almost 60 percent of all painkiller misuse was prescription free.

"That tells us there are a lot of leftover medications," said Compton. "In many cases, physicians could write smaller prescriptions, or avoid them completely for those who benefit from ibuprofen or acetaminophen."

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Addiction often begins with someone experiencing pain. Maybe said person doesn’t have insurance, or the money to go see a doctor. So they turn to a friends and family for help. While this occurrence doesn’t always lead to addiction, the risk is extremely high. If an opioid use disorder develops, and one’s access to prescription opioids is cut off, a significant number of people have been tempted to seek out heroin. A drug that can carry an even higher risk of overdose.

If you are addicted to opioids, you are strongly encouraged to contact us at Hope by The Sea. Without detox and treatment it is extremely difficult to recover from the disorder. The longer treatment is put off, the greater the chance of experiencing a potentially deadly overdose. Please do not hesitate.

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