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Friday, October 27, 2017

Cocaine and Fentanyl Overdose Death Concerns

cocaine
Cocaine, unlike heroin, is considered a party drug by most people despite the fact that it’s highly addictive and can cause an overdose. Heroin is used mostly in relative secrecy, whereas cocaine is something far more socially acceptable. People are far less likely to feel the need to be discreet; it’s a drug that is regularly passed around at parties.

Two drugs, heroin and cocaine, both addictive and hazardous to one’s health yet one of the drugs is cast in a far darker light. One might argue that the discrepancy is for a good reason; after all, a far more significant number of overdose deaths stem from opioids than stimulants like cocaine. People consider cocaine as being safer than heroin resulting in increased social acceptance. More than a hundred people aren’t dying from cocaine overdoses every day.

While heroin and opioids, in general, are deadlier than cocaine, the latter is used more often—especially for recreation. The potential for cocaine misuse and abuse is significantly higher, and the drug is commonly used in conjunction with other substances as well, mainly alcohol. You may not associate cocaine with overdose, but it was involved in thousands of deaths in past several years across the country.

 

Cocaine with a Side of Fentanyl


Mixing stimulants and opioids occurs on a regular basis among people with opioid use disorder. However, your average social cocaine user flirts with opioids only on rare occasions. If offered a “downer,” most people who use cocaine recreationally will say, “no thanks.” Which is why a new trend has people concerned, the heightened prevalence of cocaine laced with fentanyl. Having an opioid "tolerance" and being exposed to fentanyl is dangerous enough, for those without a tolerance—overdose is almost a guarantee.

In New York, 37 percent of overdose deaths in 2015 involved cocaine and fentanyl; heroin was not part of the equation. Officials see cocaine and fentanyl admixtures outside the Empire State; cocaine samples tested positive for the synthetic opioid in both Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee, USA Today reports. Anyone who uses or abuses cocaine should understand that the stakes just got higher.

“To be blunt, what you might buy and use [cocaine], thinking it’s a good time, could cost you your life,” warns T.J. Jordan, Assistant Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation: Drug Investigation Division. 

Overdose death can easily happen without the introduction of synthetic opioids. Fentanyl and carfentanil, an even stronger analog, are being mixed with other drugs frequently these days. Naloxone, to make matters worse, is not enough to reverse an overdose in many cases. The only 100 percent effective way to avoid the risk of overdose is addiction treatment and working a program of recovery. Perhaps the most concerning feature of this new trend:

“Those that are using cocaine recreationally, their usage is going to increase because of the physical addictive aspects of opiates are being injected into the cocaine,” said Patrick O’Shea, a former recreational drug user. “It’s shaping up to be a disaster.”

 

Recovery is the Solution


Those caught in the vicious cycle of substance use disorder face great risks today. Fentanyl isn’t going anywhere and is likely to become more prevalent. Seeking addiction treatment and recovery is the only sure way to avoid exposure to fentanyl. Please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea to begin the life-saving mission of addiction recovery.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Addiction Recovery: A Commitment for Change

addiction recovery
People who attempt addiction recovery without assistance experience disappointment relatively quickly. Alcohol and substance use disorders take tremendous effort to overcome and require a lifelong commitment to going against one’s programming. Simply put, recovering from addiction is not something accomplished on your own. If you have been unable to break the cycle of self-defeating behavior using nothing but will, there is a good reason for the outcome you found. Recovery requires support, a network of lifelines, one can turn to when the going gets tough.

Use disorders develop over time, and the disease is progressive. What starts off as recreation transmogrifies into addiction; once that happens, it’s impossible to reverse the change. You can turn a cucumber into a pickle, you can’t (try as you might) make a pickle a cucumber. Those who try to stop using experience fleeting results. Many people have managed to avoid using for short periods of time, but use recommences sooner rather than later because there isn’t a program to rely upon for coping with all things Life. As a result, people convince themselves that they are doomed to the fate of addiction.

Fortunately, such a conclusion is flawed because it's derived from going about recovery in the same way one went about keeping the flame of their addiction afire—on one’s own. With the help of others and the practice of constant spiritual maintenance, we can and do recover.

 

Seeking Assistance is Required


Individuals battling use disorders know that their condition will likely be their demise if they are unable to stop. Attempts made to free one's self from bondage rarely result in success. Again, we cannot find recovery by the ways and means that we found addiction. A different course of action is required, and one that should begin with alcohol and substance use disorder treatment; to be followed by a continued program of recovery, i.e., 12 Steps or SMART Recovery.

If you are still in the grips, you might ask yourself, ‘why can’t I skip treatment and just join a program? After all, there are meetings in my neighborhood.' Well, you can do that, and that's worked for many people. However, if you are in the late stages of use disorder or dependent on a particular substance — there’s a good chance that the symptoms of acute withdrawal and the people, places and things that trigger you to use will derail your efforts. The pain of withdrawal typically leads to a relapse before one has even contemplated what it means to be powerless over alcohol or drugs.

Medical detox and treatment, on the other hand, are safe environments staffed by people who can help you get through the earliest stages of recovery. This is the time period when the risk of relapse is at its highest. Various medications will dull the symptoms of withdrawal reducing the urge to quit abstinence and return to active use. Treatment centers offer clients 30, 60, or 90-days of trigger-free living. The elements that are known to precipitate substance use don't exist in recovery centers.

 

Treatment: A Commitment that Pays for Itself


Deciding to seek help via treatment should be made as carefully as possible. You are going to be away from your family and be unable to bring home a paycheck (in most cases) for an extended period. When you check into treatment, you are in effect checking out of your previous sphere of existence. It’s a move that gives one the opportunity to shut down, make necessary adjustments conducive to recovery, and reboot. It is a time-consuming and significant commitment.

Some people, have concerns that the financial investment they will have to make by deciding to go to an addiction treatment center may not be worth it—it’s only natural. It is a considerable investment in oneself. Although, the returns will be far higher than the initial investment; especially when you consider the fact that one has no future without recovery. Active addiction always has the same outcome: jails, institutions, and death.

Have you tried to get clean and sober on your own, to no avail? If so, please consider taking a different approach. You will not regret it in the long-run. Please contact Celebrate Drug Rehab today, to begin the life-saving journey of recovery. We have helped a significant number of people achieve what they once thought was impossible—a life without drugs and alcohol.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Advocating for Addiction Treatment

addiction
Over the years we have discussed the “war on drugs,” and the fact that handcuffs are not the solution to addiction. We've considered the impact mandatory minimum sentencing laws have had on society in creating a prison industrial complex in America. More people in the United States are incarcerated than any other country in the world, despite the fact that Americans only making up 5 percent of the global population. In the “land of the free,” 737 of every 100,000 (2,193,798) Americans are behind bars, according to International Centre for Prison Studies. Around half of all prisoners are in prison for nonviolent drug offenses, whose only crime was an addiction.

Efforts have been made to approach substance use disorder more humanely in recent years. People found in possession of a small amount of drugs are, in many cases, given the option of treatment rather than jail. Some prisoners arrested in the 1980’s and early ‘90’s have received pardons and sentence commutations. In individual states, judges can decide if a mandatory minimum is warranted or not, on a case by case basis. All of the above are steps in the right direction, but more needs to be done to undo the effects of waging war on drugs for decades.

It’s easy to understand the mindset of people who are (or were) in favor of a zero-tolerance approach to addiction. Drugs are addictive and hazardous, people who sell drugs turn a profit on others' misery. Handcuffs and prison time seem like the only way to make individuals change their behavior, at least that is the general line of reasoning regarding the war on drugs. However, evidence suggests that the vast majority of people do not learn the lesson that lawmakers would have one learn. Look no further than recidivism rates in America, and they are staggering.

 

When Addiction Hits Home


Historically, the law enforcement officers charged with arresting and imprisoning drug offenders believed that what they were doing what was just. That is what Kevin Simmers, a former drug cop from Hagerstown, Maryland, thought about the work of getting drugs addicts off the streets, WAMU reports. Until that is, addiction found its way into his own home.

“At the end of the night, we’d go home and say ‘man — we got seven arrests tonight, we’re putting a dent in this stuff,” said Simmers. “I felt like I was doing God’s work. Then when it hit my own family, I was in for an awakening.” 

Mr. Simmers went from fighting addiction on the streets to becoming an advocate for addiction treatment, a change of heart that came at a significant cost. In 2013, his daughter Brooke confided that she was dependent on Percocet, according to the article. Brooke was seventeen, at the time. Prescription opioids led to heroin, and her opioid use disorder required addiction treatment. Brooke went through several programs, halfway houses, and experienced many relapses. She finally wound up in jail, and it seemed like she was ready to pour all of herself into recovery.

While in jail, Brooke had a dream that she shared with her father. Brooke dreamt of building a home for women in the throes of addiction, according to the report. Unlike the crumby houses, where she tried to recover; her house would be “clean and beautiful.” Not long after Brooke’s release from jail, she died of a fatal overdose on April 14, 2015.

“I believed wholeheartedly that enforcement — incarceration — was the answer to this,” Simmers said. “But then when addiction hit my house, I saw that that wasn’t true. What we need is drug treatment. We need to help the person.”


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Simmers has every intention of building Brooke’s House and has raised more than $500,000. The home will be just as Brooke envisioned it in her jailhouse dream, a long-term residential treatment center for young women.

 

Opioid Addiction Treatment


More than a hundred overdose deaths occur in the United States, every day. Synthetic opioids are more prevalent than ever, exponentially increasing the risk of death. If you are struggling with opioid use disorder, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea. Recovery is the only way to break the cycle of addiction and avoid a fatal overdose.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Alcohol Industry Targets Underage Drinkers

There is a voluntary code in the alcohol industry: Only promote to adults. There is a good reason for such a code. Underage drinking leads to a host of problems, including alcohol poisoning, driving under the influence and the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder. Influencing young people to drink can have a serious impact on both individuals and society.

It’s worth pointing out that alcohol is used and abused among young people more than any other mind-altering substance, including tobacco and marijuana. While legal, the short-term risks associated with alcohol consumption are typically much greater than smoking cannabis and/or cigarettes. But, if you have ever watched beer commercials on television it’s probably occurred to you that such advertisements are often geared toward a young audience. Despite the voluntary code of social responsibility.

Look no further than a college sports game to see what we are talking about. A group of researchers decided to investigate how often corporate social contracts are breached, and young people are the targets of alcohol adverts. A study published in Alcoholism Clinical & Experimental Research showed that the alcohol brands most popular among underage drinkers run television ads that violate the industry's voluntary code, Science Daily reports. The beers teens drink the most are made by companies who regularly violate.

 

Preventing Underage Drinking


Drinking alcohol, especially in the manner that young people often do, can be particularly hazardous to one’s health. We have written often about the dangers of “binge drinking” and heavy episodic drinking. Nothing good comes from teens and young adults who engage in such practices. In our own field, the evidence is clear; young adults regularly seek treatment for alcohol use disorder. People whose own drinking was likely influenced at a young age by the alcohol industry.

Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers found that youth-preferred beer brands are made by the industry's biggest violators of the corporate social responsibility code, according to the article. The findings come from an analysis of 288 brand-specific beer advertisements, representing 23 brands. All of the ads aired during the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men's and women's basketball tournaments between 1999 to 2008.
"This is the first systematic investigation of the relationship between beer brands popular among youth and these brands' youth-targeted contents among their television advertisements aired during a decade of a major national sports event," lead author Ziming Xuan, associate professor of community health sciences at BUSPH. "It is no news that advertisements influence consumer behaviors, but to discover such a close link between brand-specific youth-appealing advertisement content and beer brand preference among underage drinkers is new, and certainly a concerning public health issue."
The research team found that 21.5 percent of the advertisements breached the voluntary code. The brands that violated the code aired ads far more often than the companies not popular among young people.

"These results suggest that some beer producers are successfully targeting underage youth and therefore deriving profits from illegal alcohol consumption," the researchers wrote. "Our evidence underscores the need for strong and independent enforcement of the code to prevent continued inclusion of youth-appealing content in alcohol marketing materials.”

 

Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment


If you are a young adult whose life has become unmanageable due to heavy alcohol use, there is a good chance that treatment is required. Young adults can recover from alcohol use disorder, with help. Please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea if you are ready to break the cycle for addiction, and seek recovery.
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