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Friday, June 22, 2018

Polysubstance Epidemic in Rural America

methamphetamine
Recently, NPR pulled up the shades on the opioid epidemic in rural America; specifically Vinton County, Ohio. While the opioid epidemic is not unique to rural America, something is changing in places like McArthur, Ohio (pop. about 2,000) the county seat of Vinton. Even though many opioid addicts can access addiction treatment services to address opioid use disorders, in many cases relying on controversial medication-assisted treatment (MAT) drugs like Vivitrol (naltrexone)—which blocks the euphoria and sedation that central nervous system depressants cause, specifically alcohol and opioids—the medication has no effect on other dangerous substances.

Certain medications like Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) and Vivitrol can help people break the cycle of addiction. However, without cognitive behavioral therapy(CBT) and some sort of program of recovery, the prospects of continued progress is unlikely. Removing drugs like OxyContin and heroin from the picture is excellent, but something needs to fill the void that people formerly attempted to fill with drugs and alcohol.

Back in Vinton County, many opioid addicts are receiving some form of treatment at one of the three rehab centers in the one-traffic-light-town of McArthur. Amanda Lee, a counselor at one the treatment centers tells NPR that in the last 4 to 5 months the threat to the residents of the small village which she compares to a drug-laden version of Mayberry, is methamphetamine.


Methamphetamine Complicates the Opioid Epidemic



Amanda Lee points out that patients began abusing the Suboxone that they were receiving for opioid use disorder; this resulted in a more significant push to provide opiate addicts monthly Vivitrol injection which is not susceptible to abuse like buprenorphine drugs. While Vivitrol efficacy shows promise, especially in the right setting with concurrent therapy, it is not a panacea; the drug, as Lee correctly points out, does not work on the receptors in the brain that meth targets. People still have cravings to get high, Lee says, and Vivitrol doesn’t block the effects of methamphetamine.

Andy Chambers, an addiction psychiatrist and researcher at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, tells NPR that Vivitrol is not responsible for the surge in meth use; he believes that people’s meth addiction isn’t addressed when they receive opioid use disorder treatment. We could argue that in places like Vinton County and other parts of rural America contending with opioids and meth—when it comes to treating addiction they are failing to see the forest for the trees.

"The reality is meth has been with us for many years," Chambers says. He says that there is an advantage to no longer saying we have an "opioid crisis" or a "meth crisis," when in fact the crisis is "polysubstance epidemic." Chambers adds that in rural America there are severe mental health provider shortages. 

"I'm concerned about the ongoing shortages," Chambers said. "If you want decent mental healthcare in the U.S. you better live in the big cities."


Opioid Use Disorder Treatment



If you are struggling with opioid use disorder or methamphetamine addiction, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by the Sea. We can show what is needed for achieving lasting recovery and give you the tools for everlasting progress.

Friday, June 15, 2018

25 Bills Tackle Opioid Epidemic

opioids
More than 42,000 people died from opioids in 2016, according to the latest-available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Total drug overdose deaths in the same year puts that above number to over 60, 000 people. An epidemic in every sense of the word is really the only way to describe the climate of opioid use in America.

A good number of people believe that there is not much that can be done to curb the deadly crisis we face. The right to have one’s pain managed effectively is one that practically every patient, and doctor alike, takes seriously. While it is true that until something better comes along that carries less of a risk of addiction and overdose, prescription opioids are here to stay; yet, there is much that can be done to prevent people from going down the path of addiction, making it easier for reversing the symptoms of an overdose, and ensuring that every American can access addiction treatment services.

The death toll has not gone unnoticed by lawmakers in the House, Senate, and ostensibly the White House. In recent years, bipartisan support has led to several bills aiming to affect changes that can save lives. Unfortunately, the problem we face is severely complex; even if prescription opioids magically disappeared or are made extremely difficult to acquire, people will still find a way to get their hands on this most deadly class of narcotics. Still, it is vital that we do not lose hope and work together as a society to prevent and treat opioid addiction.


Changes On The Horizon


All week-long lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives have been passing legislation meant to tackle the epidemic, according to the Energy and Commerce Committee. In fact, so far legislators approved 25 such bills that could bring about significant changes:
  • H.R. 449, the Synthetic Drug Awareness Act of 2018, requires the U.S. Surgeon General to submit a comprehensive report to Congress on the public health effects of the rise of synthetic drug use among youth aged 12 to 18 in order to better educate parents and medical community on the health effects of synthetics.
  • H.R. 5009, “Jessie's Law,” requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop and disseminate best practices regarding the prominent display of substance use disorder (SUD) history in patient records of patients who have previously provided this information to a health care provider.
  • H.R. 4684, the Ensuring Access to Quality Sober Living Act of 2018, authorizes the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop, publish, and disseminate best practices for operating recovery housing that promotes a safe environment for sustained recovery from substance use disorder (SUD).
  • H.R. 4284, the Indexing Narcotics, Fentanyl, and Opioids (INFO) Act of 2017, directs HHS to create a public and easily accessible electronic dashboard linking to all of the nationwide efforts and strategies to combat the opioid crisis.
“Individually, these bills target some key aspects of the opioid crisis – such as how we boost our prevention efforts, and how we better protect our communities. Taken together, these bills are real solutions that will change how we respond to this crisis, and make our states and local communities better equipped in the nationwide efforts to stem this tide,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX).

For a synopsis of all 25 Bills, please click here.


Opioid Use Disorder Treatment


If you are struggling with opioid use disorder, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by the Sea. We can show you what you need for achieving lasting recovery and give you the tools for everlasting progress.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Having Fun Finding Yourself in Recovery

recovery
The stakes of addiction recovery are incredibly high; a wrong turn or wrong decisions can lead one down a path toward relapse. If you are working a program, then you know that there are not any guarantees; in order to achieve lasting recovery, you need to be ever vigilant in the pursuit of progress, not perfection. You pray, go to meetings, take care of your obligations, eat right and get plenty of rest; which are all useful practices for sustaining a program of recovery. Those who make it in the program are people who waive what they want, in service of what they need. Making progress often rests on making sacrifices, it usually depends on doing the opposite of what you feel like doing from one day to the next.

Structuring your life around a recovery routine is instrumental; at a certain point your daily movements become muscle memory, you don’t even have to think about your next right move. When you follow a set of directions long enough, the choreography of recovery becomes part of your DNA, seemingly. However, progress in your life is also dependent on balance; recovery is about far more than going to meetings, doing step work, etc. One must make a point of being a part of the world, getting out there, seeing new things and meeting new people.

Working a program asks that you don’t do anything that can jeopardize your program, but that doesn't mean you should always stay in your comfort zone. People with years of active addiction are often unfamiliar with themselves when newly sober. Many don’t know what their passions are because drugs and alcohol didn’t permit such fancies. Much of recovery is self-discovery; getting to know the person that is You. Early on in the program it is natural to be guarded, to follow every instruction to a T—which is a good thing; and yet, you may find at times that you are taking yourself too seriously; in your quest to stay on track you find yourself hesitant to do anything that involves letting loose.

 

Having Fun Finding Yourself in Recovery


One of the most significant gifts the program affords is meeting new people from many walks of life. Each of us has a unique story and experiences that we should share with each other. Some of your peers may engage in activities that are foreign to you, if they ask you to go for a bike ride or a paddle board ride consider saying yes before the alternative. Maybe you befriend an artist who invites you to an exhibit or a poetry reading, what do you have to lose by going? After all, only a brief part of your life is in the rooms of recovery; there is a lot to be learned outside.

“Besides, nowadays, almost all capable people are terribly afraid of being ridiculous, and are miserable because of it.” —Fyodor Dostoyevsky 

Now that summer is upon us you can engage in activities that the winter prohibits, depending on where you live of course. Anything you can do to stay out of your head will pay off immensely in the long run. Engaging with your peers may do more to keep you clean and sober than you think. If you are doing the Work and going to meetings, then you are well within your right to get out into the world and have some fun. Explore parts unknown to you, immerse yourself in activities that force you to open your mind; doing so can result in some unexpected transformations and strengthen your resolve for long-term recovery.

Southern California Addiction Treatment


If you are struggling with alcohol or substance use disorder, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by the Sea. We can show what you need for achieving lasting recovery and give you the tools for everlasting progress.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Enough Fentanyl to Kill 26 Million People

fentanyl
Opioid use disorder is a treatable mental illness; those who undergo treatment and commit themselves to working a program of recovery can lead productive lives. While useful forms of treatment are available, many find it difficult to seek help due to the intense cravings typical of opioid addiction. Everything that public health officials can do, must be done, to encourage as many people as possible to seek addiction treatment—the risk of overdose death is notoriously high.

Many of you are probably aware that the likelihood of fentanyl exposure among heroin addicts is exceedingly high. With each year that passes, more and more people succumb to fentanyl exposure, an analgesic that is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50-80 times stronger than average batches of heroin. When people cut heroin with fentanyl, the result is a deadly cocktail. In fact, research shows that fentanyl-related deaths more than tripled between 2010 and 2016.

One of the reasons fentanyl is more prevalent than ever is because cartels in Mexico can synthesize the drug with ease. Drug cartels acquire the necessary precursors from Asia and then chemists south of the border manufacture the hazardous substance. Once in powder form, the drugs is either stamped into pills disguised as highly coveted OxyContin or cut into batches of heroin to boost potency. In either case, opioid users on this side of the border have no way of knowing that the drug they are about to ingest, smoke, snort, or inject contains the presence of fentanyl.

Fentanyl is Everywhere


So just how likely is it that people will come in contact with fentanyl? Highly likely! The drug made the headline once again after a Nebraska State Trooper pulled over a truck hauling 118 pounds of the deadly substance, CNN reports. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) states that 2 milligrams of fentanyl is a lethal dose; a little math shows that there was enough fentanyl confiscated to kill roughly 26 million people.

"This year is going to be a banner year, a record year in a bad way, in overdose deaths in the United States," said Matthew Barden, an associate special agent with the ‎DEA.

Naloxone is a drug that can reverse the deadly symptoms of an overdose; unfortunately, fentanyl is so potent that it often doesn’t work and people die. When a fentanyl overdose is reversed, first responders often have to give victims multiple doses of the drug. Pharmacies sell naloxone under the name Narcan. Fentanyl is only going to be more prevalent in the coming years. Anyone caught in the destructive cycle of opioid use disorder should seek help immediately and begin working a program of addiction recovery.

 

Southern California Opioid Use Disorder Treatment


Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea can assist anyone struggling with an opioid use disorder. We can help you end the cycle of addiction, please contact us today.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Recovery Begins With Treatment

mental illness
As May winds down hopefully all of our readers found some time to take part in some of the events involving mental illness. May is Mental Health Month after all, and even in the 21st Century millions of people are reticent to seek help for addiction, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The good news is that mental illness campaigns empower people to take action in service to well-being.

Addiction and co-occurring disorder recovery are vital; the lives of those unable or unwilling to seek treatment are at significant risk. Over time, the symptoms of mental health disorders only get worse; those using drugs and alcohol are also at risk of severe physical health problems, i.e., overdose and liver disease. Raising awareness about the efficacy of mental health treatments is of the utmost importance, people suffering need to understand that treatment is available, and recovery is possible.

Mental illness is paradoxical in many ways, most notably concerning some individuals' resistance to seeking help. Those who are in the deepest depths of despair often have the most challenging time mustering the strength to reach out for assistance. While a person needs just one reason (life) to seek treatment, those living with mental health afflictions adduce scores of reasons (i.e., work, school, and the risk of others finding out) for not utilizing the available clinical services. And yet, paradoxically, without treatment life is in jeopardy; if life is at risk, or ceases to continue, all the explanations for not seeking help are moot.

 

Recovery Begins With Treatment


At Celebrate Hope, we understand the difficulty in asking for help; the members of our team of skilled professionals know how hard it is to rebel against their condition and disregard the social stigma of addiction and accompanying co-occurring mental health disorders. Those who have a long history of battling psychological illness convince themselves that they are doomed to suffer, some even convince themselves that they deserve what they are experiencing. An objective look at the points above reveals that neither is correct; no one deserves the mental distress, and it is always still possible to turn one’s life around provided one takes action.

If you are living with addiction, there is an exceedingly high likelihood that you meet the criteria for three conditions: major depressive disorder, general anxiety disorder, or bipolar disorder. Such illnesses, like addiction, are treatable and recovery from each is possible for anyone who commits their self to working a program of long-term maintenance. We must stress that successful treatment outcomes rely heavily on treating both the addiction and dual diagnosis at the same time. Addressing one, and not the other, sabotages making headway with either condition.

Mental illness is not something to feel shame about; hundreds of millions of people around the globe have any one of many conditions. Putting it simply, individuals living with mental illness are not alone, and together all can experience the miracles of recovery. Please use Mental Health Month to say no to stigma and take advantage of the help that is available. Let treatment be the catalyst for progress and lasting change.

 

Dual Diagnosis Treatment


Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea can help anyone struggling with an addiction and dual diagnoses, or co-occurring disorders. We can help you end the cycle of addiction and help you manage several co-existing conditions, including but not limited to, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, PSTD, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Please contact us today!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Opioid Overdose Deaths Among Latinos

"I'm a serious addict," Julio Cesar Santiago (44), tells NPR. "I still have dreams where I'm about to use drugs, and I have to wake up and get on my knees and pray, 'let God take this away from me,' because I don't want to go back. I know that if I go back out there, I'm done."

The above quote is likely to resonate with anyone who lives with alcohol or substance use disorder and finds addiction recovery. In early recovery, most people kneel and pray regularly throughout the day; the gravitational pull of drugs and alcohol is a force to be reckoned with requiring eternal vigilance to prevent relapse. While all mind-altering substances carry inherent risks of injury and premature death, one could argue that opioids exist in a separate class with exponentially higher stakes.

The American opioid addiction epidemic remains as one of the chief public health concerns. Many of you are aware that roughly a hundred people perish from an overdose each day usually stemming from prescription opioids, heroin, or fentanyl (a synthetic opioid approximately a hundred times stronger than morphine). Almost 3 million American battle opioid use disorder, an estimate that some experts feel is probably conservative. One of the ways researchers develop stats on how many people are struggling with a condition is by the number of individuals that receive treatment. Given that the vast majority of people living with addiction never access care, it is hard to develop an accurate picture of the problem. Even still, we can confidently assert that more than 2 million people are bound to OUD in this country.

Opioid Use Disorder, Overdose, and Latinos


opioid use disorder
Most of the news about the epidemic focuses on the disproportionate number of non-Hispanic whites suffering from opioid use disorder and dying of an overdose. As a result, the media and many experts overlook specific demographics struggling with opioids, especially Latinos. In fact, research shows that opioid overdose deaths among Latinos is on the rise nationwide, and in Massachusetts, ODs are increasing at twice the rate of whites and blacks, according to NPR. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) reports that Latino overdose deaths rose 52.5 percent between 2014 and 2016, as compared to 45.8 percent for whites.

"What we thought initially, that this was a problem among non-Hispanic whites, is not quite accurate," says Robert Anderson, mortality statistics branch chief at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. "If you go back into the data, you can see the increases over time in all of these groups, but we tended to focus on the non-Hispanic whites because the rates were so much higher."

It is challenging to extrapolate what's behind the surge in opioid overdose deaths among Blacks and Hispanics. After conducting scores of interviews with addicts, physicians, and treatment providers a more precise picture emerged; a lack of bilingual treatment options, cultural barriers, and possible deportation fears likely have a hand in the growing death toll. What’s more, NPR points out that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website is only available in English; however, they do offer a toll free number "for free and confidential information in English and Spanish for individuals and family members facing substance abuse and mental health issues." Mind you, that it's SAMHSA's responsibility to improve the quality and availability of treatment and rehabilitative services.


Opioid Use Disorder Treatment


If you are suffering from addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea. We can help you end the cycle of addiction and provide you with the tools and skills necessary for achieving lasting recovery.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Seizing the Day In Recovery

recovery
Each of us has hopes for the future, looking forward often seems to be a part of our DNA. However, when a person is in the grips of active addiction it is challenging to have dreams for the days ahead; about the only thing one can think about is maintaining the disease and avoiding withdrawal. Managing an addiction is a 24 hour-a-day job which does not afford most people many opportunities for dream quests that have a basis in reality.

Most active addicts and alcoholics think about recovery on a regular basis; and, what it would be like to lead a life free from dependence. Although, without help, the vast majority of such individuals are unable to bring about lasting changes.

Those who resolve to seek assistance and begin a journey of recovery quickly discover a whole world of opportunity. After recovery commences, slowly the mind starts to clear up, and one can start thinking about their future. It is reasonable and healthy to set realistic short-term goals in early recovery. With each benchmark a person checks off the list, they are one step closer to achieving long-term dreams. In each case, each person has their path, and there isn’t a standard time that it takes to see one’s hopes come to fruition; the point: patience is key to survival in recovery. Reminding oneself that good things will happen as long as one continues to do the work can make a huge difference.

Seizing the Day In Recovery


Working a program of addiction recovery is a tremendous endeavor, the pull of the disease is substantial; keeping one’s focus is key to staying on track in recovery. Each day, people in the program must recommit themselves to the cause of sobriety; some days, redoubling one’s efforts is necessary. Individuals who have been in the rooms for several months often allow their program to become stagnant; they stop making a daily commitment to progress, toward working for something more significant.

When a program becomes sedentary, it is easy to revert to living in the past or spending too much time focusing on what is next in life. When this occurs, people lose sight of the precious present and what they have to do Today for bringing about their dreams for tomorrow. Goals are dependent upon doing the work; just refraining from drugs and alcohol is not going to help one meet their objectives.

It’s OK to think about what the future holds, but fixating on it is a sure path to problems, i.e., relapse. Conversely, those who pay little mind to the future and keep their “mind’s eye” on the present, position themselves for success. At times it helps to remind yourself that the way life in this instant, is precisely the way it should be; see in your daily actions some higher plan, even if you can’t see it clearly. Take the opportunity each day affords you to become the best version of yourself there ever was; and, with each passing week, you’ll find that you are one step closer to fulfilling dreams.

"Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow's reality." —Malala Yousafzai

 

Addiction Treatment


If you are suffering from addiction and/or a co-occurring mental health disorder, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea. We can help you end the cycle of addiction and provide you with the tools and skills necessary for achieving lasting recovery.
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