Category Archives: Addiction

Helping Addicted Inmates

The number of people suffering from substance use disorder who likely think they won’t end up in jail is probably large—especially if they have good jobs. They never think it will happen to them. But it can. As a recent episode of the TV program Dopesick Nation showed, even formerly responsible citizens may find themselves stealing, forging prescriptions, and so forth to support their habit.

 You may have heard we’re not doing nearly enough for substance abusers who end up in jail. But there are a few programs around the country that seek to help these people, often in small towns, that can serve as examples for other towns. Here are a few.

Peer recovery coaches in NJ

 In one NJ town, certified peer recovery specialists are volunteering to work with those suffering from substance use disorder who are incarcerated. In a new program called Next Step, the volunteers are called coaches, and they help to steer prisoners into treatment.

Bail reform in certain areas of the country means that nonviolent offenders are being released earlier, and for addicts, that usually means without treatment or the offer of treatment. (And many [most?] likely got little help in jail.) Although it’s too soon to comment on the program’s success, shortly after the program was instituted at the jail, nearly half of those screened entered treatment.

One of the county prosecutors noted that when people are sent to jail, it’s often their lowest point, a good time to try and convince them that treatment may save their life. Several local organizations have stepped up to provide clinical assistance, including a social services organization helping inmates find jobs, a recovery center, a peer recovery organization and a hospital.

 Having a peer in recovery work with an incarcerated person is another tool in the toolbox to help someone get healthy and return to society.

Helping Addicted Inmates

The Start Strong 3 E’s in Kentucky

There’s a new treatment program in the detention center in Kenton County, KY, in which inmates are expected to be “Employed, Enlisted, or furthering their Education,” 12 weeks after release, according to the program director. The key in this area, which has suffered greatly in the opioid addiction crisis? The jail is partnering with Aetna Better Health and getting help from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.

 The concept involves giving medication not only to quell cravings or ease withdrawal symptoms, but to stabilize patients getting therapeutic care in jail. They will then have the option to stay with medication assistance during and after their incarceration, according to a local TV station. And, luckily for these inmates, there’s an aftercare program with intensive job training.

Vivitrol and Counseling in Central New York State

In Onondaga County, NY, addicted inmates are given the opportunity to have injections of Vivitrol and attend counseling sessions. According to the Vivitrol website, the medication “is a non-addictive, once-monthly treatment proven to prevent relapse in opioid dependent patients when used with counseling following detoxification.”

Chicago’s Thrive program

Inmates suffering from substance abuse in a Cook County jail who are not in the drug court program are being offered naloxone on release and will be monitored “in a modified version of the sheriff’s electronic monitoring program.” (For example, caseworkers who worked with one woman on the inside will continue to work with her once she’s released.)

Other programs, in Indiana, Orange County, Florida, and Cincinnati, Ohio and Kings County, California, to name a few, show that a number of jails realize they can contribute to finding solutions to substance abuse in this country. Whether it’s to offer Suboxone, Naltrexone, Vivitrol, peer coaches, and counseling and job training, or a combination, these programs can serve as a blueprint for other jails.

 

72,000 Deaths

Can the news from the Centers for Disease Control about 2017 drug overdoses BE any bleaker? The years 2016-2017 saw a record number of people dying from overdoses, which was more deaths than from guns, car crashes, or H.I.V.

Someone has done an analysis. Drugs are deadlier now (often due to mixing them with other substances besides the main drug), and more people are using. The good news is that where the deadlier drugs arrived earliest, such as in New England, some states are seeing the number of overdoses drop. Could that be from diligent public health campaigns and offering more addiction treatment, which they were hitting the problem with? 

However, the writer reminds readers that you can’t totally trust the numbers. With an epidemic like the Zika virus, an infectious disease, people sought help, and public health officials moved, quickly. But with addiction, there’s that pesky STIGMA (detailed in an earlier post on this site this month), so that drug users may not have been truthful about their drug use when polled. Also, some drug users don’t have telephones or are hard to reach, and some deaths take longer to be researched and reported than others.

Deaths from Drug Addiction

As mentioned earlier, another reason for the astronomical number of deaths is that the drug supply is changing, as noted by an associate professor at the Brown University of Public Health. Fentanyl is being added to heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine, and even anti-anxiety medicines known as benzos, or benzodiazepines. (Stay tuned for a post on older people mixing benzos with opioids.) That’s especially bad news for “older, urban black Americans; those who used heroin before the recent changes to the drug supply might be unprepared for the strength of the new mixtures,” according to the article.

The East seems to be in a better position than the Midwest relative to this one part of the epidemic, because heroin that makes it way to the West is usually “processed into a form known as black tar that is difficult to mix with synthetic drugs.” The East, however, usually has a white powder that combines well with fentanyl.

Let’s hope that Dayton, Ohio, which has been in the news as a “hot spot” for opioid use, is the way of the future for other states. The county has a new emergency response strategy, is utilizing federal and state grants to combat drug use, and has reduced opioid prescribing and provided addiction treatment to prisoners in jails.

drug addiction treatment centers

Drug Addiction Treatment Centers

There are other hopeful signs: Congress may step in with bills that mandate reductions in prescribing opioids, among other things, and along the same lines, experts are reminding people that we need more funding of public health programs.

There’s yet another action that might help which requires no funding and little effort. A behavioral economist at the University of California and the Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner for Los Angeles County wrote an opinion column to suggest that medical examiners and coroners tell doctors when their patients die of overdoses. They wrote that they believe that more careful prescribing would result if doctors were told, and they even set up a trial in San Diego County in 2015 to test their thesis.

They had a letter sent to half the doctors in the study who had prescribed opioids about that doctor’s patient’s death after each one happened. The letter wasn’t threatening “and gave the clinician a path toward safer prescribing.” The results of the study indicated doctors did reduce their prescribing and started fewer patients on opioids.

Every little bit helps, or at least people are trying.

For more information on our drug addiction treatment centers contact our rehab in California, Summit Estate, by calling (866) 569-9391

Some Good News In Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

A New Medication

 On June 6, CBS TV profiled an early stage biotechnology company called Blue Therapeutics that has developed a non-addictive painkiller. Pharmaceutical companies have been talking about developing less addictive painkillers lately, but their definition refers to pills that would be more difficult to crush and so forth. Blue Therapeutics supposedly has the real thing, which means that people looking for pain relief will not become addicted with this medication as has happened so often with other pain relief. This company’s medication clings to different receptors that are non-addictive and so it “eliminates the narcotic high,” according to a company executive who was interviewed. Unfortunately, the medication won’t be available for about five years. It’s in clinical trials now.

 Acupuncture

 People in recovery from heroin and methamphetamine addiction might suffer from anxiety and fear like Sarah Downs, the woman featured in an article appearing in several newspapers in May. She was at the Pickaway Area Recovery Services (PARS) in Ohio, for acupuncture, which she hoped would ease the symptoms she experienced since getting sober for three months prior. Jimmy Laux, a chiropractor associated with the program, eased needles into her ears in a new program for the center. What’s interesting is that a judge is linked to the program as well. He heard about Laux because he sends defendants to a recovery facility, and Laux educated him about acupuncture for easing addicts’ recovery. This judge has pledged almost $13,000 for treatment for people who don’t have the funds to pay for it themselves. Acupuncture isn’t meant to be used in isolation, the article said. NAR-ANON and AA meetings are also important, as well as therapy. But the executive director of PARS said that his research “shows that people in recovery who undergo acupuncture stay clean at a higher rate than those who don’t.”

drug rehab programs

 Brain Stimulation

 It’s surprising that brain stimulation isn’t more well-known than it is when it was publicized as far back as 2015. On a site called Addiction Recovery Guide, run by a psychologist, Magnetic Brain Stimulation and Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation are mentioned as promising research. Magnetic Brain Stimulation stimulates nerve cells in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which controls impulsive behavior. The article says it’s been used since the 1980 to treat depression, and in a study using it for cocaine addiction, patients were able to reduce their cocaine use and had few cravings after eight sessions. This information was published in the European Neuropsychopharmacology Journal (December 3, 2015). Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation has also been used for depression and anxiety, and was also was found to decrease cravings for drugs, although more study on how many sessions and what length is needed. This information was published in the October 2016 issue of the Annals of Neuroscience.

 Exercise

 The fact that exercise is good for people in recovery is nothing new. Treatment centers often have exercise programs, and clients are advised about the benefits of exercise, But if you thought that was only to return a person to health, you should know that exercise can have actual positive effects on recovery. In June  U.S. News cited a study which found “daily aerobic exercise altered dopamine signaling in the brain in ways that make alcohol and other substances of abuse less appealing or rewarding.” The lead author also said that exercise also increases functioning of the brain’s frontal areas, which help inhibit cravings. For information on drug rehab programs please contact our rehab in California at (866) 569-9391

Drugs and Alcohol in the Workplace, and Companies That Hire People in Recovery

Alcohol Addiction

You may have seen news segments about companies that allow—even encourage— employees to drink at work. According to a 2012 article on ABCnews.go.com, ad agencies do, or at least they did at that time. One firm’s employee said that it “incentivizes and enthuses” employees, and another said it helps the creative process. Tech companies were mentioned as allowing drinking, too, especially after a “win.” The article even quoted a study that found a little alcohol enhances the creative process.To allow drinking at work brings up a host of issues. Take employees in recovery, for example. These people are often counseled on how to handle the question “Why don’t you drink?” or the taunt, “C’mon, have just one with us” in social situations, but they shouldn’t be placed in this situation at work. Also, what if someone gets in an accident on the way home? Isn’t the company wholly or partially at fault, like a bar is? (The situation is different for people in dangerous jobs; there are strict workplace rules about drinking on the job.)

In most jobs, it’s not easy trying to perform when suffering from alcohol use disorder (although people who are on the road a lot, or executives who aren’t accountable can get away with it easier, it seems). When employees are found to have a problem, however, it’s often strongly suggested that they attend rehab with the help of an Employee Assistance Program. Drinking while at work is such a touchy subject that the government includes the rules in their handbook for supervisors: Alcoholism in the Workplace: A Handbook for Supervisors. Here is a succinct explanation of guidelines and laws around drinking at work: 

“Federal legal protections for alcoholics in the workplace are designed to encourage them to seek help without jeopardizing their employment. However, those protections do not extend to alcoholic behavior in the workplace.

Two federal laws impact employment decisions related to alcohol use, abuse and alcoholism. The first, the Americans With Disabilities Act, requires employers to grant accommodation to disabled employees; it defines disabilities as conditions or disorders that substantially limit a major life activity. If your employee can prove that alcoholism prevents him or her from performing the job properly, you may be required to grant an accommodation for the purpose of rehabilitation. The second law, the Family and Medical Leave Act, prohibits employers from discharging employees who take extended absences to treat their alcoholism.

Accommodating alcoholic employees means giving them time to seek treatment for their condition. It does not mean reducing an alcoholic’s workload or otherwise changing their terms and conditions of employment. It also does not mean forgiving misconduct induced by alcohol or alcoholism. If, after receiving rehabilitation treatment, the employee continues to underperform, the law’s protections no longer apply. Likewise, the recidivist alcoholic is not entitled to FMLA-protected leave for subsequent breaches. The employer may reasonably expect that after a leave of absence for rehabilitation, more will not be required. In addition, no accommodation is required for the employee who denies having a problem.”

Drug and alcohol rehab programs

Drug Addiction

According to a headline in the Washington Post, “Drugs in the workplace are at their highest level in a decade.” Quest Diagnostics reports that opioids in the bloodstream and urine are down, but the incidence of other drugs is up. (And that’s only related to people who went for testing!) Cocaine and methamphetamine use is up in certain states, as well as marijuana in those states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Unfortunately, in three states, pot use is up in safety-sensitive jobs, which include truck driving, rail, and those in nuclear power plants, to name three industries. Federal contractors and recipients of federal grants, and “safety- and security sensitive industries” are legally required to have a drug-free workplace policy as under The Drug-free Workplace Act of 1988, but other industries are not. To protect workers’ rights, four acts lay out the limits on steps an employer can take in investigating and setting consequences for employee drug use. SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) advises companies to seek legal representation when deciding their policy on drug testing to avoid being sued for invasion of privacy, for example.

Check Out These Companies 

Here are four companies that hire people in recovery (which often means they’ve served time, too): Venturetech Drilling Technologies in West Knoxville, Texas, Envirosafe Stripping Inc. in Carnegie, PA., Creative Matters in Los Angeles, and Dave’s Killer Bread in Milwaukie, Ore. There are also federal and state programs that help formerly incarcerated people get jobs. For example, the U.S. Forest Service has a program that links non-profit organizations that employ these people with companies that need reclaimed lumber. For more information on our Drug and Alcohol rehab programs please contact us at (866) 569-9391. 

 

Men, Alcohol and Abuse

Often, in articles and posts about men and alcohol, you see numbers, such as how many drinks per day are “safe” for a man (which varies according to what source you use.) The amount for a woman is usually listed as well. Or, you might find information on the effect of alcohol on a man’s fertility, for example. But this post is comes after the start of the #MeToo movement, so it’s about the violence that occurs when certain men drink, especially those in positions of power. It’s a topic that has been in the news lately. It’s also relevant in a blog on addiction since high-level executives are occasionally in the news for alcohol use disorder.

Note: It’s well-established that women, as well, can be violent when they drink. This is not to excuse them or say that only men are violent when they drink. And couples can become violent with each other when they drink to excess. But again, this post is informed by the #MeToo movement.

Powerful Men Drinking

One noted journalist who recently wrote an article called “First the Drinks, Then the Hitting,” in the hard copy of The New York Times (online copy may have a different headline), began by mentioning “educated, affluent” women and “a certain cultural panic” that exists around the amount of their drinking (and is often written or talked about in the media). “There is no corollary for men from a similar demographic position,” she says. Indeed, Eric Schneiderman’s “fall from grace” – he was the New York attorney general before he resigned– brought to the forefront the problem of affluent and powerful men drinking and becoming physically abusive toward several women. One of his accusers noted that he was a heavy drinker—having two bottles of wine and then taking a bottle of Scotch into the bedroom and getting “plastered,” which happened five nights a week according to her. (Why the girlfriends stayed with him is head-scratching, but that’s a subject for another time.)

Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs

Alcohol Intervention

There’s an unspoken supposition in magazines and other media today, according to the article. Women are depicted as worried about going too far when they drink, as a result of the pressures of work and parenthood, while men’s magazines “still pay reverence to the cocktail culture [for men].” The underlying assumption is that men who have succeeded know something about self-regulation, but apparently many don’t. Schneiderman is not the only powerful man to be accused of physically abusing girlfriends or wives; there’s also former White House aide Rob Porter and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Abhishek Gattani, but the others weren’t described as being inebriated when the abuse allegedly happened.

Drug and Alcohol Rehab Programs

Schneiderman has tried to say that he was engaged in consensual relationships involving role playing or rough sex. But in an article on bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism, practitioners say that his sexual encounters and those of former Governor Eric Greitens of Missouri “bear little resemblance to consensual B.D.S.M. encounters.” Not only that, B.D.S.M practitioners warn against “partaking in violent sexual activity while drinking alcohol or taking drugs.” You can cause serious damage if you don’t have your faculties about you. The World Health Organization calls this type of abuse Intimate Partner Violence and says that alcohol consumption, especially at harmful and hazardous levels, is a major contributor. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says, “Individuals with alcohol problems attack more frequently, are more likely to inflict serious injury, are more likely to commit sexual assaults, and are more likely to be violent outside of the home than are batterers without a substance abuse history.” More people need to get the message and know that they’ll be prosecuted when victims comes forward. For more information on our drug and alcohol rehab programs please call (866) 569-9391.

Marijuana and Opioids—What’s the Link?

The Marijuana and Opioids Relationship

What’s the relationship between pot and opioids? According to a May article in the Poughkeepsie Journal in New York, part of the USA Today Network, smoking marijuana has the ability to decrease the use of opioids. Specifically, some states that allow the use of medical marijuana and recreational pot have seen declines in opioid prescribing. Medicaid patients are getting fewer prescriptions filled, and in the states where recreational pot is legal, the declines are even greater. The implication, of course, is that if you smoke pot, you don’t need pain relief at the level that opioids provide and don’t seek it.  

The author of the report by the Rockefeller Institute of Government that cited these numbers called marijuana “a potential tool for addressing the opioid crisis.” Additional studies in this area, such as an upcoming one by the National Institute of Health, are on the horizon.

 

Marijuana and Chronic Pain

This latest one will test “whether medical marijuana reduces opioid use among adults with chronic pain, including those with HIV.”

There have also been negative reports about using marijuana for medical reasons, however, such as one in the American Journal of Psychiatry indicating that pot use “increases the risk of an opioid-use disorder.”

The Poughkeepsie Journal article raised also asked about the general harm, or potential risks, in smoking marijuana, and then attempted to answer it. For example, the National Academy of Sciences published a report in 2017 which found that for people who smoke while driving, the odds of being in a motor vehicle accident rose by 20 to 30 percent. (But you already knew about this; you read something similar in this blog about driving and smoking in a May post.)

Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Marijuana and Mental Health

Heavy marijuana use also increases the risk of being diagnosed with a psychosis, and there’s a small risk of developing bipolar disorder. However, the author notes that it’s “hard to establish causality.” He asks, “Are people who smoke pot more likely to develop mental health problems or are people with mental health problems more likely to smoke pot?”

The author summed up by saying that the findings are of questionable significance because almost all risks cited are relative, and overall, the risks are quite low. We need more research, he said, and we may then find more harms. For now, he’s in the camp that points out (believes?) pot’s effects are less harmful than those associated with tobacco or alcohol.

With the legalization of medical marijuana, doctors have another option in providing pain relief besides opioids OR medical marijuana: prescribing a combination of the two. A 2015 article in Forbes reported that “using medical marijuana along with prescribed opioids does not increase the likelihood of a patient abusing alcohol or other drugs.” However, “subjects did report higher rates of alcohol and other drug use than the general population.”

 

Outpatient Addiction Treatment Center

Not many addiction counselors seem to speak publicly about their personal feelings about marijuana for treating pain and other conditions, or about recreational marijuana, for that matter. Yet I’ve heard of one counselor who told the parents of a young man addicted to heroin that he didn’t have a problem with the man smoking pot if it helped him stay off heroin. You wonder if this view is widely held among addiction professionals when a number of them say that pot is still a drug, and it’s possible to become addicted to it. For example, a noted golfer once went to rehab because he couldn’t stop smoking. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see results of a poll that questioned addiction professionals about their personal feelings? For more information contact our outpatient addiction treatment center at (866) 569-9391

 

CA, NY, and Safe Injection Sites

Substance Abuse and Treatment

There is a lot that’s controversial about substance abuse and treatment, such as various issues related to marijuana and whether medication-assisted treatment is the best way to go. For example, one of the more polarizing questions is whether or not people suffering from opioid addiction should be offered safe injection sites, where they would find clean needles and be supervised. These sites are not a new idea; CNN reports that in addition to Canada, Australia and some European countries already have them. In 2017, a California bill proposing safe injection sites in eight counties and certain cities such as Los Angeles failed to pass the state Senate. Had it passed, the state would have been the first in the nation to have them. San Francisco was hoping to start one modeled after the one in Vancouver. One senator said they’d be “shooting galleries for street heroin,” yet another implied they centers would be a heck of a lot better in helping people “get off drugs and lead healthy, successful lives” than what’s happening now.

 Supervised Consumption Facilities 

Yet this year it looks as if cities are taking matters into their own hands, according to the CNN article. In February, The San Francisco Department of Public Health “unanimously endorsed a task force’s recommendation” to open a center. About 22,000 people have overdosed in the city, and in 2017, 100 people died of an overdose there. The mayor said that the sites aren’t ideal, but they’re a necessity with the current opioid epidemic. Two are scheduled to open in San Francisco in July. For people wanting statistics on the likelihood of these centers’ “success,” the article has this: “More than 100 peer-reviewed studies on safe injection sites — otherwise known as supervised consumption facilities — have consistently shown them to be effective at reducing overdose deaths, preventing transmission of HIV and viral hepatitis, reducing street-based drug use and linking people to drug treatment and other services.They can also save cities money, which is not to say they’re a good solution to an overwhelming problem.

 top rehab center in California

Injection Sites 

The video accompanying the CNN article showed an overdose victim being revived with Narcan. It was rewarding to see her “come to,” but on the other hand, it was quite upsetting to see her so out of it initially. The video also explained (and showed) what happens to your body during an overdose, which makes a viewer wish that those hooked on opioids would watch it and consider rehab. New York is having its own its own problems trying to get injection sites, as this headline indicates: De Blasio’s Plan for Safe Drug Injection Sites Faces Substantial Hurdles. The mayor would like four initially, but according to the articles, the federal government may determine that the plan “violate(s) the nation’s drug laws.” A spokesperson pointed to what happened in Vermont, where the U.S. Attorney for the state cautioned officials who want the centers about legal repercussions  (see below).

Rehab Centers in California 

Besides New York, other cities such as Seattle and Baltimore, are moving toward opening sites. Philadelphia has publicly announced that they’d like private companies to set up shop in their city. The Vermont federal prosecutor decreed that using illicit narcotics and managing and maintaining sites on which drugs are used and distributed, is illegal, and would expose workers and drug users to criminal charges. Not only that, but the properties where the centers were located could also be forfeited. De Blasio practically pleaded for the centers, saying they would save lives (and prevent up to 130 overdoses a year). (Last year, the city had over 1,400 overdose deaths.) Around the same time as he appeared on TV, a woman reported that she got clean with the help of a safe injection site but didn’t go into detail. It’s difficult to fully understand the politics, or the weight different government bodies hold in the dispute. How could California try to pass a bill in favor of the sites, when the federal government would likely swoop in as it did in Vermont? And how are cities inviting the centers in when they likely would be stomping on federal law, too? You wonder, as the opioid epidemic rages on, what will happen. For more information contact our top rehab center in California at  (866) 569-9391.

Ecstacy and Ketamine for Addiction Treatment?

Ecstacy and Veterans

There are certain substances that are seen as bad but paradoxically can be used for good. For example, botox is a toxin, but it’s also well-known as a wrinkle treatment. As WebMD cites, it can also be used to treat crossed eyes, uncontrolled blinking, and muscle spasms or movement disorders. It’s helpful for people who experience frequent migraines, too. Now, Ecstacy, also known as Molly, has been found to show promise as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder to help veterans suffering from the condition. Ecstacy alters mood and perception, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. A study in the Lancet Psychiatry journal explained that when 26 combat veterans were given two sessions of therapy along with the party drug MDMA, a majority of them benefitted. In fact, there were dramatic improvements in symptoms. They also slept better and “became more conscientious.” Sixteen, or 62 percent, no longer could be said to have PTSD.

PTSD Treatment

This study bears out the results of smaller studies done in previous years. The next step is Phase 3 trials, which will replicate safety and efficacy results, and if all goes well, the FDA could approve the drug by 2021. That doesn’t mean the treatment will be loosey-goosey, however. Indeed, the original headline, “A Drug From the Dance Floor May Soon Help Ease Veterans’ PTSD” was worded differently in the digital version: “Now Ecstasy as a Remedy for PTSD? You Probably Have Some Questions.” There is a protocol. First there are three therapy sessions. In a fourth session, a licensed therapist administers the drug in pill form. Then the patient lies down amid candles and flowers and listens to music. A male and a female therapist sit with the patient as a guide. The drug floods the brain with hormones and neurotransmitters and users report feelings of trust and well-being. Following this session, users “process” emotions in a follow-up session, and take MDMA “two or three times, each a month apart, interspersed with psychotherapy.” Larger clinical trials will validate whether or not the technique really works, and unfortunately, there are side effects, such as headache, fatigue, muscle tension, and insomnia. (Puzzling, since most people reported sleeping better.) What has excited a few experts is that there is a lack of treatments for PTSD, so they’re hopeful. Sadly, as word has spread, some people are self-medicating with MDMA, and as a street drug, it may be found to be mixed with other drugs. Also, frequent use can damage the brain and an overdose can be fatal.

drug addiction treatment center

Ketamine and Veterans

Ketamine, also known as K, Special K, or cat Valium, is one of the club drugs listed on the National Institute on Drug Abuse website along with Methamphetamine, MDMA, LSD, GHB, and Rohypnol. These are frequently used by teens and young adults at parties, nightclubs and the like. Ketamine is also used as an anesthetic for humans and animals, and in addition to GHP and Rohypnol, it’s a date rape drug. Ketamine is known as a dissociative drug because it makes users feel out of control and disconnected from their body and environment. They may hallucinate, have psychotic-like episodes that can linger, and experience respiratory depression, heart rate abnormalities, and withdrawal. A doctor at a veteran’s hospital in Mufreesboro, Tenn., is using the drug to treat opioid addiction, and the Department of Veterans Affairs is supporting him. The doctor, an anesthesiologist, claims a 74% success rate, and said it “resets excited pain receptors” so that patients feel pain “in a normal, manageable way.” The article mentions a veteran who was on opioids after being shot in the hip years earlier. Eventually, he developed an addiction and couldn’t wean himself off. The implication was that ketamine helped. For more information please contact our drug addiction treatment center at (866) 569-9391

Let’s Talk about Drinking

With the opioid crisis still going strong, there’s a danger of problem drinking getting short shrift. If you’re the one who’s desperately trying to stay sober, or if you’re the one in four who has been personally touched by alcohol use disorder in your family, you know that we need to keep it in the public eye. It’s that important. To give people hope for recovery, and for funding for treatment and for research, and to educate people, to name a few reasons. Time Goes By is one of the many personal blogs that touches on drinking to excess. In one post, on Elders and Alcohol, the writer recalls growing up in the fifties when alcohol was such a big part of many people’s lives, and a more accepted part. The woman’s father had taught her to make all the popular drinks by the time she was 10, which would be unheard of today. In later years, she realized that her mother was a functional alcoholic who kept it in check at her day job, but made up for it evenings and weekends. She didn’t inherit the gene, the writer says, and doesn’t have a problem with alcohol.

Alcohol Addiction

A number of people felt the need to comment on the post. One believed there’s a similar emphasis on drinking today, as if it has never dissipated, from the media touting the latest craft beer to “paint and drink parties,” to people posting pictures of their drinks on social media. Others felt the need to testify about their personal experience, from abstaining to social drinking, to bringing one’s own beverages to events because the person was finally able to quit drinking and didn’t want to go back. The blog writer includes several excerpts from Medical News Today, a U.K. news site, about how moderate drinking is beneficial. She obviously hadn’t read the article that appeared before her post did—Federal Agency Courted Alcohol Industry to Fund Study on Benefits of Moderate Drinking. It concerns exactly what was spelled out in the headline. Not to cast aspersions on anyone or any study, but we need to research who is funding studies. The article revealed that some people involved “already believed that moderate alcohol is a good thing,” which is also not a good thing.  Luckily, another article, which followed that one, reported that the N.I.H would be investigating outreach to alcohol companies, or examining whether health officials violated government policy by soliciting donations to fund the study of moderate drinking. And following that, another, international study, found that adults should average no more than one drink a day—that many countries’ guidelines are too lenient. Yet according to that blog writer quoting Medical News Today, various studies indicated that light-to-moderate alcohol consumption may lower the risk of stroke in women, and regular, moderate wine drinking might reduce the risk of developing depression, and moderate wine and beer consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular events.

Summit Estate's alcohol recovery centers

Alcohol Recovery Center

With all the reports about alcohol, it can be hard to determine what’s true regarding the claims. However, no one can argue that if a person doesn’t stop drinking, alcohol use disorder is extremely dangerous. People in recovery occasionally mention not knowing what to say when people ask why they’re not drinking. A person who wrote into a social etiquette column said that one co-worker said he missed drinking with the person, and asked if he wouldn’t have just one drink with him. The writer said that his recovery group suggested he didn’t owe anyone any answers. The columnist responded in line with the group—the writer had no duty to explain himself, especially if he were new in recovery. His message was to focus on himself and not waste energy fending off pals. But the columnist suggested that as time goes on, saying something like “Drinking didn’t agree with me” to acquaintances is good, but to family and close friends, it’s OK to share more of his struggle, which might even give him more allies than just his support group. For more information on alcohol addiction or Summit Estate’s alcohol recovery centers please contact  (866) 569-9391.

Opioid Protests, and an Imodium High? Who Would Believe It?

 Opioid dissent

 Americans have a long history of protesting when they don’t like something. It hasn’t been that long since Occupy Wall Street, the Parkland, Florida students, and the #MeToo campaigns, to name just three uprisings. But who would have thought there would be an actual protest against OxyContin? A lot has been written against Purdue Pharma, the drug’s manufacturer, but to actually take to the street over it? Well, it’s happened. Last month, Nan Goldin, a well-known photographer who was addicted to opioids herself once, led a demonstration at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in a wing named for two Sackler brothers whose family owns the company. The group had a symbolic “die-in” there, marched through the halls and also gathered outside. Their goal was to get buy-in from cultural institutions not to accept money from the family, and to fund addiction treatment. They unfurled banners and scattered pill bottles labeled with the drug’s name and the Sackler name into a reflecting pool. MOMA is not the only museum the family has given money to, either.

 Opioid Protest

Previously, a small protest took place in November outside a VA medical center in Florida when six veterans marched outside to protest opioid deaths and show support for medical marijuana. They carried a casket draped in an American flag and then poured “hundreds of empty pill bottles inside the casket.” Most either had a personal story about opioids or knew someone who became addicted. One vet’s young daughter had died from a seizure and he believed she would had lived if she had access to marijuana for her genetic condition. Can you imagine if families that have lost loved ones due to opioids, or who have loved ones that have become addicted decided to them march en masse in major cities? And if those who became addicted themselves joined them and identified and put pressure on perpetrators to provide funding for treatment? That would be something to see. Some people think progress is being made in the fight against the opioid epidemic because a partnership has been established between the NIH and pharmaceutical companies to develop nonaddictive painkillers. But abuse-deterrent doesn’t mean less addictive at all, it simply means pills are harder to crush or do otherwise with for snorting or injecting them.

a drug treatment program

 Imodium

 Also in the category of “Will wonders never cease?”, it seems that Loperamide—Imodium A-D, the diarrhea stopper, has potential for abuse. If you’ve heard of Joe and Teresa Graedon, you may know they’re syndicated columnists with a health column (The People’s Pharmacy) in which they answer readers’ questions and comment on people’s concerns.  In their March column in The Seattle Times, a reader wrote in to say he or she has been taking Imodium for Irritable Bowel Syndrome for years, one pill a day, and it has been extremely helpful. The person doesn’t have to be near a bathroom shortly after eating. He or she was concerned because the FDA wants to limit the allowable amount to be sold over the counter to packs of eight pills, an amount good for two days. The writer is afraid that the price will go up and it will be difficult to get the amount he or she needs. (Sound familiar? Like the complaints from people who take opioids for legitimate pain and don’t abuse them, and are fearful that more stringent measures may mean they won’t be able to get what they need? Appears so.) The Graedons explain: “Some people have been using high doses….to ease opioid withdrawal symptoms; others have abused the drug in order to get high.” One problem with the latter behavior is that it may result in irregular heart rhythms or cardiac arrest. Who knew an IBS medicine could be used for other than stopping diarrhea?

For more information contact Summit Estate, a drug treatment program, at (866) 569-9391.