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Friday, June 30, 2017

Recovery Tips For The Fourth

recovery
It’s safe to say that when it comes to holidays, Southern California goes above and beyond the call of duty. On Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, for instance, it is not uncommon for the police to close major streets from 10:30 a.m. on July 4th to approximately 3 a.m. on July 5th. The hope is to prevent people from driving under the influence. The amount of heavy alcohol use that occurs on in Orange County on the Fourth is absolutely mind boggling.

As you can probably imagine, with so many parties taking place along the coast, it can be a real challenge for those working a program of recovery. However, the Fourth of July can be a challenge for anyone in recovery no matter where you live. It is absolutely paramount that all our readers in the program take certain steps to safeguard their recovery during the long weekend. Failure to do so could result in a relapse, or worse.

While the holiday is on Tuesday, you can trust that people will begin celebrating, around the country, tonight. It is rare that Americans get a four-day weekend, and it will surely be taken advantage of to the nth degree. So, with that in mind, do you have a plan for keeping your recovery intact for the next 4 days? If not, here are some friendly reminders.

 

Planning for Every Eventuality


It should go without saying that getting to at least one meeting a day is a must. Thinking that holidays justify a break from meetings is a slippery slope. Treat the next several days the same way you would every day of the year in recovery. Given that it is likely you will be exposed to some people’s drunkenness and debauchery, being totally grounded is invaluable. Going to meetings will help you remain centered and focused. Being able to keep your eye on the prize of recovery.

If any of your peers in recovery are hosting gatherings, such as a barbecue, during the holiday—make a point of attending. You may find yourself wanting to isolate over the long weekend, please do not act on this urge. Being by yourself means that you are inside your own head, which usually isn’t the safest place to be. Especially during a holiday, when the temptation to drink is often stronger than normal. Getting out of the house, and engaging with your peers in recovery is that best thing you can do. It can also be a lot of fun.

Are you new to the program? If so, stay close to where you go to meetings. Keep your phone charged and don’t hesitate to call someone else in the program, even if you are not feeling tempted. And remember, you can never go to too many meetings in early recovery. On Tuesday, there will be meetings going on around the clock. It is not uncommon for people to go to several during a holiday. We at Celebrate Hope would like to wish everyone a safe holiday. Please do not pick up a drink or drug, no matter what—it’s not worth it.

 

Breaking The Cycle of Addiction


If you are still in the active cycle of addiction, maybe this Independence Day is a good time to make the decision to seek help. Freedom from addiction is not only possible, it is necessary. We can help you start the life-saving process of recovery. Please contact us today.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fewer Teens Using Tobacco Products

tobacco
“Gateway drug” is a term that many young people are familiar with in the United States. In elementary school and beyond, by way of programs like DARE, kids are cautioned about staying away from drugs and alcohol. With good intentions to be sure. However, marijuana is often talked about in the context of being a gateway drug that will lead to the use of other, more dangerous drugs.

In some cases that is true. Teenagers who use marijuana in high school are far more likely to try, experiment or abuse harder substances. Yet, research over the past few years has shown that alcohol and tobacco is the true gateway drug for young people. So, with that in mind, it makes sense that prevention efforts be focused more on the two legal substances, before addressing marijuana.

It is worth noting that fewer Americans, regardless of age group are smoking cigarettes than in decades past. But, a significant number of young people are still smoking either traditional tobacco products or e-cigarettes. We have written in the past about concerns over young people using e-cigs, many high schoolers now prefer them over normal nicotine delivery systems. A number people close to the field of addiction, expressed concerns about nicotine initiation via e-cigarettes. Fearing that it would start people who would never have tried regular tobacco on a slippery slope to addiction.

 

Good News On Tobacco


New research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, shows that fewer teenagers are smoking e-cigarettes or using other tobacco products, The Washington Post reports. The study showed that in the past year 11.3 percent of high school students engaged in e-cigarette use, compared to 16 percent in 2015. The data can be viewed on the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Regarding e-cigarettes that is good news, but the highlight of the report is with regard to traditional tobacco products. The study showed the lowest numbers on record for high school students using any type of tobacco product, according to the article. With 8 percent reporting smoking cigarettes in the past year and 20 percent using any form of nicotine product. Including:
  • Cigarettes
  • E-cigarettes
  • Cigars
  • Hookahs
  • Pipes
  • Smokeless Tobacco

 

Young Adults Smoking


People who smoke cigarettes or use nicotine products in high school are far more likely to drink alcohol or use other drugs. Which is why it is so important that the rate of tobacco use continues to decline. Teenagers who abuse substances in high school often end up abusing in young adulthood. It can be a sign that addiction has developed and it is vital that intervention occurs before the problem gets worse.

If your young adult child has been abusing drugs and/or alcohol, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea. Our highly-trained staff can help break the cycle of addiction and get them on the road to recovery. The sooner recovery starts, the better.

Friday, June 16, 2017

1 Million Heroin Users in America

 heroin
Grim news was printed this week, courtesy of The New York Times. And, once again opioids are at the center of the discussion. Preliminary data compiled by the newspaper indicates that drug overdose deaths in America probably exceeded 59,000 last year. Unless something drastic is done soon, this is a trend that will likely continue in the coming years.

People are dying. Opioid use disorder, or opioid addiction is the root of the problem. Yet, in 2017, nearly twenty years into the 21st Century, millions of Americans still struggle to access addiction treatment services. Even when they want help. In rural America, the closest addiction treatment center is sometimes hundreds of miles away. Given that fact that many opioid addicts are at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale, the likelihood of traveling such distances for help is slim to none.

In addition to a lack of treatment options, many addicts still have hard time getting naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug that has saved thousands of American lives, and will continue to do so. But, getting the drug without a prescription is still not possible in certain places. Even if one can acquire it, affording the medicine is a whole different story. Perhaps you've heard the news about ever-increasing naloxone prices. Wherever you find demand, you find greed.

 

An Epidemic That Costs Billions


Prescription opioids are still a problem, to be sure. Yet, heroin use has steadily increased in recent years. What’s more, the mixing of heroin and fentanyl has become a common occurrence. Users who don’t know their heroin was mixed with the deadly painkiller are at great risk of overdose death. There are an estimated 1 million people actively using heroin in America today, according to a University of Illinois at Chicago press release. All told, heroin use in the United States costs society $51 billion in 2015. The costs are tied to:
  • Addiction Treatment
  • Heroin-related Crime
  • Imprisonment
  • Treating Chronic Infectious Diseases
  • Treating Newborns with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)
  • Overdose Deaths
  • Lost Job Productivity
“The downstream effects of heroin use, such as the spread of infectious diseases and increased incarceration due to actions associated with heroin use, compounded by their associated costs, would continue to increase the societal burden of heroin use disorder,” said UIC pharmacoeconomists, Simon Pickard.

 

The Greatest Cost Is Life


Loss of productivity pales in comparison to the staggering death toll that could be reduced by increasing access to addiction treatment services. The longer one goes without treatment, the greater the chance of an overdose. If you are struggling with addiction to any form of opioids, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea today.

Our highly-trained staff specializes in the treatment of opioid use disorder. The opioid addiction epidemic is the most serious drug crisis the world has ever seen, and putting an end to it starts with treatment.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Recovery: You Have A Lot to Be Grateful For

recovery
Are you working a program of recovery? Or maybe you are in treatment, one that allows you access to the internet? Either way, you have a lot to be grateful for, and our hope is that you know the importance of your decision to find recovery. You know what it was like out there. Lying and manipulation is the code of the active addict and alcoholic—burning every bridge like it was built for the sole purpose of destruction. And in the end, one finds oneself in relative solitude, without anything worth smiling about. Recovery, of course, it the complete opposite.

Whether you are in treatment or have completed a program and are now working a program via the 12-Steps or Smart Recovery, you know that the place you find yourself in today is far safer than where you were before. To be sure, recovery is hard work, but one could easily make the case that maintaining an addiction is much harder. Consider the constant effort required to keep from withdrawal or the radar of the law is arduous. It is hard to sleep soundly when you are always having to cover your tracks, and keep the drinking or drugging pumps primed.

With that in mind, recovery then is a breath of fresh air, and one should never hesitate to take a moment to remember everything they have to be grateful for, today. Even when you don’t feel like you have much, you might surprise yourself.

 

Gratitude


If you are new to the program, you may be reading this and are thinking that you don’t have much for which to be thankful. But, consider the fact that you are reading this sober and have begun to develop relationships with others who share a common goal of recovery: People who will have your back and provide you support for little but honesty in return, and to whom you reach out your hand to when they are in need.

That’s what makes the program so special, perfect strangers willing to drop everything to come to the aid of a fellow alcoholic or addict. None of your using buddies could be counted on in such a way. Which is why one could be family-less, homeless, jobless and car-less, yet still have something to be grateful about. Even having the hope or belief that one day continued spiritual maintenance will result in one getting some of the aforementioned things back in their life—is something to cherish. In active addiction, hope turned its back on you years ago.

Perhaps by now you have started working with a sponsor. Maybe you are trudging through the steps as we speak? Working towards the goal of long-term recovery is something worth taking stock of on a daily basis. At Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea, our team’s wish is for you to never discount the importance of what you are working towards. We know the dedication it takes, and in time it will seem like everything is working against you. But if you stay the course, your list of things for which to be grateful will only grow.

 

Need Help With Addiction


If you are still in the grips of your disease, it is vital that you seek help immediately. Drug and alcohol abuse, left unchecked, has only a few logical ends. Jails, institutions or death. None of which are promising. Please contact Celebrate Hope today, to begin the journey.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Opioid Epidemic: Naloxone Pricing Revisited

naloxone
Most Americans have heard of the life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone, often sold under the brand names Narcan, Hospira, Amphastar and Evzio. The latter of which comes in auto injector form, to be used with little training by addicts and their family members in the case of an emergency. While these overdose antidotes don’t always work, especially if other drugs or more powerful opioids like fentanyl are involved; they have been proven to be extremely effective in most cases, saving thousands of lives each year.

At the end of last year, we discussed how the companies who make naloxone products have been dramatically raising their prices. Price gouging is status quo for most drug companies whose product is essentially one of a kind. However, unlike a lot of drugs that carry a high price tag, drugs like Evzio can be the difference between life and death. If a patient or a police department can’t afford to resupply, untold numbers of people may perish as a result.

Around the country, both lawmakers and health experts were up in arms about what was happening in the industry. How could a company ethically justify such egregious price hikes, with full knowledge that people may die as a result? For example, in January 2016 the makers of Evzio, Kaléo, charged $937.50 for two injectors, which by most people's standards is unreasonable. In April of the same year, Kaleo raised the price of their life saving product to $4,687.50.

 

The Reasons Offered


The explanation given by Kaléo was that the price increase was meant to offset the costs associated with a new patient-assistance program, The New York Times reports. This patient-assistance program means to lower the out-of-pocket costs for patients unable to afford Evzio. Kaléo eats the bill on all out-of-pocket costs for patients with private insurance, and for anyone making less than $100,000 per year—the drug is free.

The counter to Kaléo’s reasoning is that such programs end up increasing the costs of the drug, placing a huge burden on the American health care system, according to the article. Insurance companies being forced to pay for the majority of the bill has a rippling effect, potentially resulting in the raising of everyone’s insurance premiums.

 

No Easy Solutions


Evzio is ideal because people can use the auto-injector without much instruction. But there are other naloxone delivery systems that are much less expensive. And thosee are not being utilized as much as they should be. But, at the end of the day, both drug makers and insurance companies are corporations concerned with profit and cutting costs. The best solution, perhaps, would be for the Federal government to step in, mandate some form of fixed pricing, or reasonable cost standard. After which, buy up the bulk of the drug and provided it to states to hand out for free.

One could even argue that the opioid painkiller makers should provide the drug for free to every patient taking their medications. Such companies helped create the epidemic, they should have a hand in mitigating the risk of overdosing on their medications.
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