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Thursday, November 30, 2017

National Resilience Strategy for Drugs, Alcohol, and Suicide

A new report was released, “Pain in the Nation: The Drug, Alcohol and Suicide Epidemics and the Need for a National Resilience Strategy,” showing that deaths from drugs, alcohol, and suicide could be responsible for 1.6 million fatalities through 2025. The findings of the report are probably not surprising for people familiar with the opioid addiction epidemic. In small and rural states across the country, the devastation caused by opiate use is impossible to ignore.

The report, from the Trust for America’s Health and the Well Being, showed that by 2025 there could be 88.1 deaths per 100,000 from drugs, alcohol, and suicide in New Hampshire. Given the relatively small population in the Granite State, the findings are serious cause for concern.

"These numbers are staggering, tragic – and preventable," John Auerbach, president and CEO of the Trust for America’s Health, told The New Hampshire Business Review. "There is a serious crisis across the nation and solutions must go way beyond reducing the supply of opioids, other drugs and alcohol. Greater steps that promote prevention, resiliency and opportunity must be taken to address the underlying issues of pain, hopelessness and despair."


Treating Addiction Saves Lives

The Trust for America’s Health and the Well Being offered up recommendations for addressing the nation’s problem with premature death. The report suggests creating a “National Resilience Strategy,” recommending:
  • Improvements in pain management and treatment.
  • Promotion of responsible opioid prescribing practices, public education about misuse and safe disposal of unused drugs; expanding the use of rescue drugs (naloxone), sterile syringes and diversion programs.
  • Expansion and modernization of mental health and substance use disorder treatment.
There are several other recommendations, including expanding crisis-intervention services for preventing suicide, making alcohol more restrictive, and expanding the availability of mental health and other services in schools. The report is comprehensive and covers a lot of areas of importance, preventing suicide is undoubtedly on the top of the list. Taking one’s life is often the result of untreated mental illness, anything that can help prevent it is welcome.

This week, Facebook unveiled a new “proactive detection” artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help detect users at risk of suicide, TechCrunch reports. The AI will scan all posts for patterns of suicidal thoughts, sending mental health resources to the user, their friends, or contact local first-responders. Facebook’s VP of product management Guy Rosen, said, “we have an opportunity to help here, so we’re going to invest in that.”


Addiction Treatment

If you are struggling with a substance use disorder and a co-occurring mental health condition, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea. We can help you learn how to live a life in recovery and cope with the obstacles of life without drugs and alcohol.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Opioid Epidemic Remedies Require Funding

Opioid addiction was declared a national emergency, but that doesn’t mean, as a society, we're any closer to ending the scourge. Experts are confident that many more people will succumb to complications from their addiction before we see evidence of progress. While efforts have long been underway to stem the tide of over-prescribing and ban synthetic opioids responsible for many overdoses, our nation continues to have an unhealthy relationship with the poppy.

What’s more, the true extent of harm caused by this family of drugs is nothing short of catastrophic. In fact, a new report indicates that the real cost of opioid use in the U.S. is far higher than initial estimates. The Council of Economic Advisers says the epidemic cost the United States $504 billion in 2015, more than six times above the most recent estimate, The Guardian reports. Financial loss aside, the most considerable toll of the opioid epidemic is the loss of life; no one can put a price tag on even a single entity. Over 64,000 people died of a drug overdose last year, alone; it’s likely the death toll this year will surpass 2016.

“Previous estimates of the economic cost of the opioid crisis greatly underestimate it by undervaluing the most important component of the loss – fatalities resulting from overdoses,” said the report.

Opioid Epidemic Remedies Require Funding

At the beginning of this month, we discussed the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis’ final report, which called for more drug courts and extensive training for doctors. The report also called for penalizing insurers who refuse to cover addiction treatment. Everything the commission recommended makes perfect sense, and hopefully following the suggestions will affect change. However, the report lacks specificity about funding for such efforts.

The commission’s report didn’t call for any new funding to cover the cost of the proposed initiatives, according to the article. Creating drug diversion courts, expanding access to treatment, training doctors, increasing the availability of naloxone, and holding insurers responsible will not be accomplished without significant funding. Good intentions without a purse are unlikely to bear fruit.

Channeling every available dollar for accomplishing the efforts above is a must. The more people who receive addiction treatment directly correlates to lives saved; given that more than two million Americans are actively battling opioid use disorder, substantial financial resources is the only way to ensure progress. The stakes are far too high to waver on providing funding.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

If you or a loved one is in the grips of opioid use disorder, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea. Our experienced staff can help break the cycle of addiction and begin the process of lasting recovery. Recovery is possible with help.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Attitude of Gratitude and Paying it Forward

If you have been attending recovery meeting for some time, then you have undoubtedly heard hundreds of acronyms. K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid), H.A.L.T (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired), and G.O.D. (Good Orderly Direction) just to name a few. At times you might get tired of hearing the little sayings, but you shouldn’t discount their importance.

Alcoholics and addicts have tendency to overcomplicate the simplest of situations. We over-think things that don’t even require thought, only action. If life in addiction is complicated, recovery should be an elementary iteration of existence. One need not worry about the things that once consumed their day in addiction. You no longer need to ask the question of how you will fuel the disease for just one more day. We don’t have to keep track of who we are dishonest to anymore because we are working an honest program.

In recovery, one commits him or herself to putting their best foot forward. They follow the lead of those who came before, to experience the miracles of recovery, too. More importantly, those in recovery have different perspectives than they once had, in turn giving them a new lease on life. This current mindset allows one to exercise an attitude of gratitude for those who support them in their endeavors.


Paying It Forward

When a person works the Steps and follows the direction to live a spiritual life, it allows them to strive for serenity. In doing so, one can be available to their fellow members of the program. No longer trapped inside our heads, consumed by our selfish desires, we can be there for others. After a person becomes versed in the steps (having gone through them with their sponsor), they are in a position to serve as a guide to a newcomer. This leads us to the next acronym, S.P.O.N.S.O.R. (Sober Person Offering Newcomers Suggestions On Recovery).

Accruing sober time in recovery is excellent, but if you want to keep it, you have to pay it forward. When you arrived in the Rooms, someone else selflessly guided you along the way. They walked you through the steps, lathered you with platitudes and acronyms until your head spun, and then told you to pass the message to the newcomer. That's what keeps the cycle of addiction recovery going. We can't rest on our laurels; we are not cured, we must carry the message that if one is willing to do the work—recovery is possible.

You may not be at the point of sponsorship (yet), but it’s beneficial to take stock of the things you hear or see that help you stay sober Just for Today. Please do not write off pithy sayings and acronyms as being overused and unuseful. There will come a time when someone needs to hear what you have learned along the way, and it may be as simple as telling someone P.A.C.E. (Positive Attitudes Change Everything).


Addiction Treatment: A Gateway to Recovery

Not everyone can march into a room of recovery with a desire to quit drinking or drugging. Heavy abuse for an extended period can make abstaining from drugs and alcohol exceedingly tricky. Detox and addiction treatment are proven methods of traversing the early stages of recovery. If you or a loved one is battling alcohol and substance use disorder, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Faith-Based Addiction Treatment

If you have made it onto our blog there is a good chance you are here for one of two reasons. You are considering addiction treatment, or you are seeking help for a loved one. If it is the former, we at Celebrate Hope understand the difficult decisions you face. On the one hand, you know that your life has become unmanageable, that to keep on your current course will likely be your demise. On the other hand, you have a disease that is ever trying to convince you that all is well. Even if you know that your addiction is out of control, you continue to try and convince yourself otherwise.

People in recovery sometimes say that nobody flirts with the idea of addiction treatment by accident. Those who can drink alcohol or do drugs casually never consider that they need 90-days of treatment to balance out their lives. What’s more, the typical person who seeks treatment doesn’t have an on/off switch, and the word moderation isn’t in their lexicon. Use disorders take many different forms, but the underlying currents are all the same.

Do you spend time each day trying to figure out how you are going to juggle your substance use with responsibilities? Have you lost important people and possessions due to drugs and alcohol? When you tried to stop in the past (without help) what was the outcome? The last question is somewhat rhetorical, but it makes a salient point; it’s unlikely that people who don't suffer from substance use disorders ever ask themselves such questions. That’s not to say you are an addict or alcoholic, and only you can make such a determination; although, if you meet certain diagnostic criteria it’s usually indicative of a problem.


Making Decisions for Recovery

Recovery is possible, but it’s next to impossible to achieve on one’s volition. Seeking the help of an addiction treatment center increases one’s chance of achieving lasting recovery greatly. Of course, there are many different ways you can bring such a goal to fruition.

The majority of treatment centers use the 12-Step model of recovery; a modality that relies heavily on spirituality. Those who engage in Step work foster a relationship with a power greater than him or herself, a “higher power.” For many Americans, Christianity was a major part of their life before addiction set in. Many addicts and alcoholics once had a close relationship with Jesus Christ until substance use came into the picture. At which time, all communication went dark. However, you can reestablish a connection with Him.

It makes sense for those who are ready to take steps for addiction recovery, to seek help from a treatment center that shares a common spiritual language. You may be more receptive to a Christian faith-based program than other types of treatment. Spirituality will be that which holds your recovery together, without it relapse is inevitable. If long-term recovery is your goal, reconnecting with Christ can give you the best chance of successful outcomes.


We Can Help

Anyone in need of treatment should carefully explore all their options. Being in treatment for 30 to 90 days is a tremendous commitment, such decisions shouldn’t be made lightly. If you are ready, open your heart and soul to Christ again, and accept His help; Celebrate Hope can help assist you. Please contact us today.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Opioid Commission's Final Report

Treatment is the answer to the opioid addiction question, without it more people will needlessly perish. There are over 2 million people with an opioid use disorder in the U.S., according to available data, but it’s likely a lowball estimate. In reality, experts believe there are far more individuals in the grip of opioid narcotics who have not been accounted, for many reasons. However, the true number of opioid addicts isn’t what’s important; how to provide such people with treatment is the more salient question.

Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) can only do so much in the way of preventing abuse. Addicts who desire drugs will always find a way to acquire what they need, especially if they otherwise risk withdrawal symptoms. What’s more, state PDMPs are not connected nationally, which means that one only needs to cross state lines to acquire their drugs from unfamiliar doctors. Even if there were a national PDMP, a large number of doctors do not utilize the programs despite the epidemic.

Naloxone can, under normal circumstances (sans fentanyl and carfentanil), reverse an overdose if administered in time. Unfortunately, a new study showed that people saved by naloxone were still a high risk of another fatal overdose. The research indicates that about 10 percent of patients treated with naloxone had died within a year, half of those who died did so within one month of their overdose reversal. The reason for these overdose deaths is relatively straightforward; steering victims towards addiction treatment at the time of overdose is not happening enough. More than half of doctors who participated in a poll at the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) said that “detox and rehabilitation facilities were rare or never accessible."

Opioid Commission's Final Report

Last summer, we discussed the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis' preliminary report calling on the President to declare the opioid addiction epidemic a national emergency. The commission released its final report this Wednesday recommending:
  • More Treatment Options
  • Tighter Prescribing Guidelines
  • Additional Drug Courts
The report highlights that only 10.6 percent of people who need treatment actually receive help, Reuters reports. The commission calls for a national media campaign to embolden addicts to seek treatment; encouraging people with use disorders to “stop being afraid or ashamed of seeking help when facing their addiction.”

“This sounds to me like a very progressive and very needed move,” said Professor Kosali Simon, a health economist at Indiana University. 

The report lacked at least one vital aspect, how everything that is needed will be funded, according to the article. Without substantial funding, these recommendations would be “toothless,” says Paul Hanly, a New York lawyer representing local governments suing opioid makers. The opioid epidemic costs billions of dollars each year, and an even greater cost in human life.

Providing adequate treatment for millions of Americans battling the mental health condition known as substance use disorder will have a high price, but it will save countless lives.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

If you are struggling with opioids of any kind, please contact Celebrate Hope at Hope by The Sea. Our professional team can help you break the cycle of the disease and give you the tools for living a life in recovery.
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