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House Representatives Join Opposition to Delay Ban of Kratom

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House Representatives Join Opposition And Urge Delay of Kratom Ban

Author: Shernide Delva

Recently, we wrote about how the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made the controversial decision to ban kratom by making it a Schedule I drug. While the ban is set to go into effect by the end of this week, advocates of the herbal supplement refuse to go down without a fight. A bipartisan group of 51 House lawmakers recently joined the chorus of opposition to the DEA’s upcoming ban.

To give a quick overview:  Back in late August, the DEA announced it would prohibit kratom due to various reports of health implications associated with the use of the drug. The ban would temporarily add Kratom to the schedule 1 category of narcotics along with substances like Marijuana, heroin, and LSD.

The DEA made it clear the decision was due to kratom’s high potential for abuse and the lack of medical benefit of the drug. However, advocates passionately argue that kratom is useful for drug withdrawal and mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

Therefore, placing kratom in the schedule 1 category would effectively ban it from those who regularly use the drug. Many users find the drug useful in treating, pain, depression, high blood pressure among other ailments.

The ban sparked a broad range of controversy. Now, members of Congress have joined the chorus of opposition. A bipartisan group of 51 House Representatives just signed a letter urging DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg to delay the ban.

 “As our nation continues to combat the public health crisis of opioid abuse, the federal government has invested significant resources to develop alternative pain management strategies,” reads the letter.

The letter urged the delay to continue the federally funded study of kratom as a possible treatment option for opioid withdrawal. By placing kratom on the Schedule I category, the letter states it will “put a halt on federally funded research and innovation surrounding the treatment of individuals suffering from opioid and other addictions.”

While kratom is not for everyone, many find it a compelling alternative to prescription drugs.  Earlier this month, Susan Ash, founder of the American Kratom Association, revealed that her organization has been receiving thousands of calls from people across the United States concerned about losing kratom and resorting to prescription drugs instead.

“I am completely swamped,” Ash told The Fix. “I have thousands of people afraid of relapse. People are explicitly telling us they are terrified of losing their quality of life or even their lives.”

51 House Representatives Urges Delay On Ban

The House representatives’ letter to the DEA urges them to delay the ban and allow more time to consult with “consumers, researcher, and other stakeholders.”  When the ban was initially passed, the DEA did not allow any opposition in regards to their decision to ban kratom.

Instead, the DEA argued their decision was valid by citing a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which stated that kratom poisoning was the cause for 660 calls to poison centers across the country between 2010 and 2015.  The DEA argued that these numbers clearly indicated the need for the ban. They also pointed to 16 reported kratom-related deaths between 2014 and 2016 to further justify their decision.

Still, these numbers are far overshadowed by other drugs, both legal and illegal. Those in opposition point to the numbers of calls the poison control center receives over laundry pod poisonings. These calls far surpass the number of calls they receive in regards to kratom. Both the House lawmakers and kratom advocates think it is not a good idea to restrict access to Kratom when so many people are searching for safer pain relief alternatives rather than prescription pills.

“This hasty decision could have serious effects on consumer access and choice of an internationally recognized herbal supplement,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter.

Kratom does have the potential for abuse. However, it does have potential medical benefits. While the use of any drug is not ideal, the reality is harm reduction remains a crucial topic of discussion. Further research is needed before a ban on kratom is made. Do you agree with the ban?

Overall, if you are struggling with any substance abuse, legal or illegal, you need to research out for treatment. We have the tools to help in your recovery. Do not wait. Call today.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Overdoses Overwhelm Miami First Responders

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Overdoses Calls Overwhelm Miami First Responders

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

The overdose epidemic is affecting regions across the United States. In Miami Florida, deaths so far in 2016 are expected to surpass last year’s numbers, if they haven’t already.

One of the main culprits in increasing the number of overdoses in the area is fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic narcotic that can be up to 50 times more potent than heroin. The drug is killing drug users at an alarming rate. In March 2016, Miami Fire Rescue treated 273 people for heroin and fentanyl overdoses.  As a result, first responders are overwhelmed by the peak in overdoses.

The drug has flooded South Florida streets from Mexico and China over the past few years. Through August of this year, Miami-Dade Country Medical Examiner’s Office has already reported 130 deaths related to fentanyl-overdoses. Compare that to number between 2010 and 2014, when only about 20 people a year died from overusing the drug.

“The problem is bad, and it’s getting worse,” said Miami Fire Chief Maurice Kemp.

Kemp revealed that in the first eight months of this year, paramedics had administered Narcan to 1,023 people. Those numbers are shockingly higher considering only 493 doses were administered last year. Also, costs to the city for Narcan have soared from $43,000 to more than $155,000.

Law enforcement experts believe the rise in opioid abuse is due to the crackdown years back on Oxycodone. Over the past few years, drugs like oxycodone have become increasingly harder to obtain because of the now known potential these drugs have for abuse. However, because prescription painkillers are more difficult to obtain, drug users are turning to heroin because it is a cheaper, more accessible option. Sadly, often users who believe they are buying heroin are receiving fentanyl instead. The drug can be used through a patch, snorted, swallowed or injected.

The Miami Herald chronicled the rise of the synthetic drug in its Pipeline China series last year.
Attempts to cut the pipelines from other countries to South Florida have proved troublesome. Purchasers simply find new ways to ship the drugs, some ways posing a danger to postal workers who can be exposed if the drugs touch their skin.

Furthermore, prosecutions have been difficult because investigators have a difficult time targeting primary suppliers instead of low-level street dealers.  Still, there have been some. In March, a Miramar man was sentenced to a ten-year prison term after being found importing variants of fentanyl from a prisoner in Canada, who was, in turn, ordering the drugs from China. Authorities discovered that he was using the currency known as Bitcoin to pay for the drugs.

To combat the epidemic, a dozen South Florida law enforcement and government authorities gathered on Friday at the Miami Police College Auditorium. They presented slideshows and spoke on the dangers of the drugs to the public.

The arresting of dealers is difficult. The majority of fentanyl that is distributed in the country arrives through the Dark Web or Dark Net, stated Homeland Security Deputy Special Agent John Toban. These underground websites are hard to track because the IP addresses are hidden.

“It’s a national priority, dismantling those organizations,” he said.

Now with fentanyl seen on a regular basis, police are finding it takes more time for the overdose antidote Narcan to work in reversing the effects of the drug.

“Now with the fentanyl and all the other synthetic drugs that are out there, it’s taking a lot longer and, sometimes, it doesn’t even work,” Miami Department of Fire-Rescue Capt. Archie Vazquez said.

Unfortunately, the new drugs on the market make it hard to guarantee any lives will be saved directly by using Narcan.

“If their respiratory drive goes out and they stop breathing, the outcome is going to be fatal,” Vazquez said.

Overall, the overdose epidemic is affecting counties throughout the state of Florida. There needs to be a change. Addiction is a disease that requires a precise treatment plan. If you are struggling, do not wait. You owe it to yourself to get the help you need. Call now. We want to help.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Smoking Could Permanently Damage Your DNA

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Smoking Permanently Damages Your DNA

Author: Shernide Delva

If you smoke cigarettes, I know you probably do not want to read another article about how much cigarettes are bad for you. You already know that.

And as much as I would love to say this article was not going to be like the rest, I’d be lying. Scientists have found yet another reason why smoking is so bad for you: it can permanently damage your DNA.

Quitting smoking is not an easy feat, but perhaps understanding how it can permanently alter your DNA will encourage you to take that big step. Researchers reported Tuesday that smoking damages DNA in clear patterns. The good news is most of the damage can fade over time, but not all of it.

The Findings

Researchers conducted a study of 16,000 people and found that smoking cigarettes can cause damage to the genetic footprint. However, after five years of abstaining from cigarettes, most of the damage reverses. Shockingly, though, some of the damage appears to stay there forever.

The process is called methylation, and it is when the alteration of DNA can inactivate a gene or change how it function—often causing cancer and other diseases.

“Our study has found compelling evidence that smoking has a long-lasting impact on our molecular machinery, an impact that can last more than 30 years,” said Roby Joehanes of Hebrew SeniorLife and Harvard Medical School.

Heart disease and cancer are both caused by genetic damage—some from your ancestry, but most of it,  from your day-to-day living choices. Smoking, as you probably guessed, is one of the biggest culprits.

So what should people do to stop and reverse the damage? Quit smoking.

“The encouraging news is that once you stop smoking, the majority of DNA methylation signals return to never-smoker levels after five years, which means your body is trying to heal itself of the harmful impacts of tobacco smoking,” Joehanes said.

To gather results for the study, the team collected blood samples given by 16,000 people going back to 1971. In all the studies, people were given blood samples and filled out questionnaires about smoking, diet, and their health history.

The results found “compelling evidence” that smoking had a long-lasting impact on a molecular level. They discovered that smokers had a pattern of methylation changes affecting more than 7,000 genes or one-third of known human genes. Many of the genes were linked to heart diseases and cancers known to be caused by smoking.

Of course, never smoking, to begin with, is ideal, but there is hope. Those who quit smoking reverted to the patterns seen in those who never smoked after about five years, the team reported.

Still, some damage remains permanent despite dropping the habit.

“Equally important is our finding that even after someone stops smoking, we still see the effects of smoking on their DNA,” London said.

According to the CDC, smoking is the biggest cause of preventable illness, killing more than 48,000 Americans each year. Globally, tobacco kills about 6 million people a year through cancer, heart disease, lung disease and other illnesses.

The promising news is that smoking rates have plummeted in the United States. Now, only about 15 percent of U.S adults smoke and just 11 percent of high school students smoke. More and more restaurants are becoming entirely non-smoking, specifically, bars that were geared towards smokers in the past. Many universities and workplaces are declaring themselves as tobacco-free.

Quitting smoking has clear benefits, even if it is later in life. But it won’t wipe the slate clean.

Even decades after cessation, cigarette smoking confers long-term risk of diseases including some cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and stroke,” London’s team wrote.  “The mechanisms for these long-term effects are not well understood. DNA methylation changes have been proposed as one possible explanation.”

The earlier you quit smoking, the less you have to worry about the potential permanent damage you have already caused to your body. Furthermore, most of the damage from smoking can be reversed if you just make the decision to quit smoking today. There are so many resources out there that can help you acquire the tools to succeed.

Quitting smoking is not easy, but it is worth the benefits to your physical and mental health. In the beginning stages of recovery, quitting smoking may be the least of your worries. However, later on, it is important to understand the tremendous benefits quitting will have on your health for years to come.  Make the decision to quit today. If you are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Transform Your Mornings: 10 Things To Do Before 10 AM

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10 Things To Do Before 10 AM

Author: Shernide Delva

I am not a morning person. (yawns)

It is good to admit your weaknesses, right?

Still, despite my grogginess, I have been attempting to put together some sort of morning routine. After all, mornings set the tone for the rest of your day. In fact, a recent article recommends ten things we should all do before 10 A.M that are sure to improve our resilience and wellbeing for the rest of the day.

1 – HYDRATE

Hydration is so important, especially when you wake up in the morning. A cold glass of water jumpstarts your lymphatic and digestive system.  Plus, most people when they wake up are totally dehydrated. Starting your day with a glass of water allows for a healthy flow of oxygen, allowing you to stay alerted and energized. Trying to shed some pounds? Hydrating in the morning is excellent for weight loss because it curbs your appetite. Try having water with lemon instead of that sugary Frappuccino in the morning. Your body will thank you.

2 – STRETCH

The Mayo Clinic recommends stretching to improve flexibility and range of motion. Stretching is also an excellent stress reliever and a great way to start the day. Often we roll out of bed with body stiffness. Stretching allows us to reduce muscle tension making the body feel relaxed. Over time, stretching increases range of motion and reduces the risk of injury.

3 – PLAY MUSIC

Scientists have discovered that listening to music releases dopamine and stimulates a “feel good” experience. If you are a music lover, you probably already know that, but next time you are feeling the morning blues, why not listen to some tunes to perk up the day?

4 – SMILE

Smiling activates neural messaging, a trifecta chemical release of dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. Even if you have to force it, smiling will help you reduce stress, lower your blood pressure and just make you feel happier. Get in the habit of doing something that will make you smile in the morning.

5 – MEDITATE

The benefits of meditation are endless. Most of us know this by now, yet never do it. Countless studies reveal how effective mediation can be at shifting our awareness. Meditation can help slow the aging process. It also benefits your heart and immune system. Most of all, it makes you happier.  Meditation can be daunting at first, but keep at it and eventually you will not want to go a day without it.

6 – BE GRATEFUL

Gratitude lists help put everything in perspective. Maybe your day is not going to be that great, however writing gratitude puts you in perspective instead of in a place of negativity. A gratitude mindset improves self-esteem, mental “grit” and physical health.

7 – TIDY UP

In the chaos of the morning, cleaning might seem like the last thing you would ever want to do. However, this one step can transform the outlook of your day. Make a habit of cleaning in the mornings. Make the bed, pick up clothes off the floor and take out the trash. Cleaning in the morning will improve your mental clarity, and you will be in a more relaxed space coming home to a clean house.

8 – REVIEW TODAY’S “ TO-DOS”

Having a planner is a great way of keeping track of your To-Dos of the day. In the morning, create a list of the tasks you are hoping to get done. Keep the list short. Having a lengthy list only sets you up for failure and negativity. Focus on the most important tasks and work your way through them throughout the week.

9 -WRITE AN AFFIRMATION

Self-affirmations help with improving your focus and problem solving. According to new research, self-affirmation was shown to boost academic grades of underperforming students.  Write something positive about yourself each day. It will improve your confidence and increase your drive for success.

10 – DO THE WORST FIRST

Tackle the hardest task first. It is natural to want to procrastinate doing something you do not want to do, but it is critical to do the worst things first. Put it behind you and watch your productivity soar. Maybe it is exercising or perhaps completing a major assignment. Get it out of the way and soar through the easy parts of your day afterward. Cheers!

What morning routine are you going to implement? Recovery is about learning a healthy way of life without the need for abusing substances. Learn to live your best life today. If you are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

National Recovery Month 2016: Family Stories Theme

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National Recovery Month 2016: Family Theme

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Justin Mckibben

This September brings us another opportunity to talk about raising awareness for substance abuse, addiction and recovery with National Recovery Month 2016. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that actively spearheads public health efforts for progress in behavioral health. Along with other organizations and community leaders, SAMHSA helps to create events around the country for this very important topic.

History of Awareness

SAMHSA was created by Congress back in 1992 to make mental health and substance abuse services more accessible. However the origins of National Recovery Month go back even farther.

  • 1989

National Recovery Month began as “TreatmentWorks!Month” established to honor the work of professionals in the treatment and recovery field.

  • 1998

The annual observance grew into “National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month” to include rejoicing in the accomplishments of individuals who are actively in recovery from substance use disorders.

  • 2011

This celebration evolved even further to National Recovery Month AKA “Recovery Month” to include all facets of behavioral and mental health recovery.

  • 2015

The theme for the 2015 National Recovery Month was:

“Join the Voices for Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable!”

Along with the theme last year’s events were organized to bring people together to share real life experiences of how recovery impacted their lives, while standing up against stigma of addiction and recovery.

The Theme for 2016

The theme for the 27th annual Recovery Month 2016 is:

“Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!”

This year’s theme highlights the value of family support throughout recovery. The theme also invites individuals in recovery and their families to share personal stories and successes to encourage and empower others.

Addiction is known as a “family disease.” This means that the family and friends of an alcoholic are often as sick as the alcoholic themselves.  Likewise, when someone finds themselves on the road to recovery, the family often gets the opportunity to be active and inspired in their journey.

Most holistic drug addiction treatment programs offer the opportunity to take part in a family program. This will put loved ones and family members in direct contact with the care professionals and clinical teams who are working with your family member to develop a plan of recovery.

We would like to offer you the FREE GIFT of a checklist to help decipher if you are helping or hurting a loved one who is struggling with addiction.

   Click for FREE GIFT

Recovery Month Event Schedule for Florida

In observance of National Recovery Month 2016 there is a vast calendar of events all over the country to raise awareness for this important cause. These events range from support groups and discussions to open celebrations. Lets highlight some of the upcoming events in the Florida area. Here are some of the events for the rest of September.

  1. ENEMY Album Release Party- Thursday, September 22, 2016

This is an open public event set to take place at Paradise Live at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The details have it listed as an entertainment event, and the description says it is benefiting the Face the Music Foundation.

  1. Recovery Sunday- Sunday, September 25, 2016

Recovery Sunday at Christ United Methodist Church in Venice, Florida includes three worship services. As part of this event attendees will have a chance to see a brief video of a personal testimony about a family’s discovery of the Support & Addiction Family Education (SAFE) ministry and their personal journey. The showings are:

  • 7:30am- 8:30am
  • 9:00am-10:00am
  • 11:00am-12:00pm

In addition, display tables will be set up with free booklets about the disease of addiction and the recovery journey.

  1. TB Rays Recovery Month- Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Tampa Bay Rays and BayCare Behavioral Health invite the community to celebrate National Recovery Month on Sunday, September 25, at 1:10pm when the Rays take on the Red Sox! The deadline to purchase tickets is Wednesday, September 21, 2016. Lower Level Tickets are $20 ($45 Value). To reserve your seats call 727-940-2837 Monday through Friday between 8am- 5 pm.

This event will take place in Saint Petersburg, Florida from 1:00pm- 4:00pm. Sports fans should definitely check this one out.

  1. Block Party: Celebrate Recovery- September 30, 2016

That’s right, it’s a Block Party! This is a great chance to bring families and communities together to celebrate recovery! Free food is provided, along with a raffle ticket for your chance to win a few great prizes! The party starts at 5:00pm.

This is another open public event in Jacksonville Florida, with an estimated 200 attendees already. Look online to find more information about this rally for Recovery Month.

Find Out More

You can get involved, or find an event in your area, by checking out the SAMHSA website for National Recovery Month. You can also see inspirational PSA videos that emphasize the importance of family and community support in recovery.

So many people overlook the importance of having a strong system of support standing behind you in the recovery process. The role of family members and loved ones in an individual’s recovery is paramount, because it can provide a sense of love and security like no other. However, beyond National Recovery Month events, you can help inform people about the importance of family in recovery.

You can either stand on the sidelines of someone’s suffering, or you can get in the game and work with them for change. Reading through countless stories of families who fought together to overcome addiction, I think this is an awesome theme for National Recovery Month. And communities should think of themselves as a family. It isn’t just about the people in your house; your neighborhood is your home. Take care of your family out there too.

Recovery Month also emphasizes helping people find the treatment they desperately need. Making a difference can be as simple as making a beginning. Palm Partners wants to help.

Just as we said last year, thousands of people everywhere are growing and changing their lives through programs of recovery. Along with them, thousands of families are rebuilding and sharing their strength and hope. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call. We want to help. You are not alone.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

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