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Friday, December 31, 2010

Drug Abuse Treatment Rates

As the year comes to a close and we reflect on the upsides and the downsides, from health care reform that helps millions of Americans get the help they need to oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico that dramatically changed the southern coast for years to come. Sadly, it seems like some problems that people deal with are getting better while others continue to get worse; there are solutions to people's problems with addiction, but, sadly it often takes a long time for people to realize that there is another way to live. Statistics give us a general idea about how problems people face evolve for better or worse with each year that passes. People admitted to treatment facilities for alcoholism seems to be dropping in certain areas around the country, but, that is not the case for illegal drugs and prescription narcotics as those rates continue to climb, especially, believe it or not, for marijuana abuse.

A report released by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), found:
  • The overall rate of substance abuse admissions in the United States remained stable from 1998 to 2008, at about 770 admissions per 100,000 people.
  • Admissions for alcohol use dropped by about 15 percent nationally, but stayed stable in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska.
  • Admission rates for marijuana use rose by 30 percent nationwide, and were highest in the eight states listed above and in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
  • An earlier SAMHSA report revealed that admission rates for abuse of opiates other than heroin -- including some prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin -- rose by 345 percent from 1998-2008. The new report says admission rates for painkiller abuse rose in every part of the country and were highest in the New England states (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) and in Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee.
  • The admission rate for treatment of methamphetamine abuse was 53 percent higher in 2008 than in 1998, although it's down from its peak in 2005.
  • Admissions for cocaine abuse fell by 23 percent nationally.
This study provides insight into the regional nature of substance abuse by highlighting the shifting trends in the reasons for admission to substance abuse treatment," SAMHSA administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in an agency news release.


Celebrate A New Life's admissions staff wishes you a safe and healthy New Year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Spirituality Is the Key to Recovery

Alcoholics Anonymous is a simple program that has helped save millions of lives since the 1930's, there are number of aspects that make 12 step programs so successful, but, the key ingredient or, I should say, the glue that holds everything together is spirituality. Without spirituality, or the idea that something is greater than oneself, the program would probably not experience the success that it has. It makes no difference what one chooses to believe in as long as you believe in something other than yourself that is more powerful than oneself. There is new study out there which dealt with the effectiveness of spirituality with 12 step programs; it included more than 1,500 adult alcoholics who were followed through their recovery process for 15 months. The researchers found a strong association between people not drinking and spirituality as a result of more frequent attendance of AA meetings.

"I've heard it said that AA is too spiritual, and I've also heard it said that AA is not spiritual enough for some people," lead author John F. Kelly, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and associate director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, said in a journal news release. "Although this is not the only way that AA helps individuals recover, I think these findings support the notion that AA works in part by enhancing spiritual practices," Kelly added.

It is not yet known why spirituality helps people recover and stay sober in comparison with other recovery models, there is a chance that it may be able to complement other programs.

"We have also found that AA participation leads to recovery by helping members change their social network and by enhancing individuals' recovery coping skills, motivation for continued abstinence, and by reducing depression and increasing psychological well-being," Kelly stated in the news release.

"Down the road it will be important to conduct more qualitative research as well as further quantitative replication of our findings in order to understand more about how exactly spiritual practices and beliefs influence coping and behavioral change in recovery from addiction," Kelly concluded.

How spirituality holds everything together is not what's important, it doesn't matter that if we know, what is important is that spirituality is a common bond between people who have had a successful recovery.

Celebrate A New Life's staff wishes you a blessed Christmas.

The findings are published online and in the March 2011 print issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Educate Teens About Prescription Drug Abuse

There is no reason why teenagers should believe that prescription narcotics are safe. Despite unintentional prescription drug poisoning has emerged as the second leading cause of accidental death in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and according to the Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (Partnership for a Drug-Free America), many teens believe that illegal drugs are more addictive and less safe than prescription drugs. The mindset of teenagers is a dangerous one to have considering that prescription narcotics are equally dangerous as and easier to acquire than any illegal drugs. Every day, approximately 2,500 young people between 12 and 17 years of age abuse a prescription painkiller for the first time, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

We need to be proactive with teenagers about educating them about the dangers of prescription drugs. Underestimating the power of these drugs has cost many people their lives and the better informed teenagers are, then the less chance they will abuse such drugs. Colleges, like the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy, have partnered up with the Cardinal Health Foundation to raise the amount of public awareness of prescription medication abuse and to encourage health care providers, community leaders, parents, teens and college students to work to stop as many people from trying prescription narcotics as they can.

"More than one-third of teens feel pressure to abuse prescription drugs, and nearly 40 percent incorrectly perceive prescription drugs as being much safer to abuse than 'street' drugs," said Nicole Cartwright Kwiek, clinical assistant professor and assistant director for Educational Outreach at The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy. "By engaging rather than lecturing, the program empowers teens to share accurate information about the realities of prescription drug abuse with their peers - enhancing prevention efforts and impeding the spread of dangerous myths."

Friday, December 10, 2010

National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month

"Every day, 36 people in the United States die, and approximately 700 more are injured, in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver", according to the CDC. The holidays are time of mixed emotions for a lot of people, so it makes sense that some people may drink heavier than usual and make the mistake of getting behind the wheel. We all need to work hard to help those in need and make sure that our friends and family do not make poor decisions under the influence of alcohol and, or, drugs. It also makes sense that December would be the National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month.

Here are the facts from the CDC:
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives.
  • In 2006, 13,470 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (32%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
  • In one year, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. This accounts for less than 1% of the 159 million self-reported episodes of alcohol–impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.
  • Alcohol-related crashes in the United States cost about $51 billion a year.
We all have the power to talk to our friends and family who might have a problem with alcohol and help them understand that driving is not an option. If you throw a party make sure that those attending have a designated driver, if they don't it is up to the host to find one. Take people's keys who you think might be planning to get behind the wheel. We all have the power to save lives, and one simple act like getting between a drunk and the wheel of a car is all it takes. We hope everyone acts responsibly and if there is a problem - call for help.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Prescription Drug Use in Florida

Drug deaths may be declining in Florida, but, prescription drug related deaths are on the rise across the state from the painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone. Despite a state report released Thursday that in the first half of 2010 showed a decline in drug related deaths; prescription drug abuse, and not illegal drugs like cocaine, seems to be the biggest problem in Clay County, said Sheriff Rick Beseler. Prescription drugs are no joke and are equally as dangerous if not more dangerous than illegal drugs because people naively believe that because a drug is legal it is somehow safer - that is false. More people are losing their lives from legal narcotics than any other drugs these days at an alarming rate.

Florida is trying to pass legislation that would track patients who go to multiple doctors and several different pharmacies to fill their prescriptions, but unfortunately that won't be the case this year. Local officials are racking their brains in order to implement new policies for controlling this pharmaceutical wildfire. “It is very concerning because people can accidentally overdose on these, especially when they add alcohol. They are very dangerous and readily available,” Beseler said. “We will have to go to the drawing board to see if there are any applicable county ordinances that lend themselves to regulation of this industry, and I don’t know if there is now.”

The problem is only getting worse as evident by the increase in prescription drug deaths from year to year. Between January and June for Northeast Florida’s two medical examiner districts show 49 oxycodone-related deaths in District 4 (Duval, Clay and Nassau counties) and 18 in District 23 (Flagler, Putnam and St. Johns counties); just last year in the same period of time there were 57 and 9, an increase can clearly be recognized.

Statewide trends from autopsies showed the most common occurring drugs found in those autopsies were:
  • alcohol (1,831)
  • benzodiazepine sedatives and tranquilizers (1,700)
  • oxycodone pain medicine (1,117)
  • cocaine (603)
The most deaths statewide were caused by:
  • Oxycodone (715)
  • benzodiazepines (597)
  • methadone (336)
  • alcohol (270)
  • cocaine (250)
The Florida Times Union
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