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International Overdose Awareness Day 2016

 

International Overdose Awareness Day 2016

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

Author: Shernide Delva

Today, August 31, marks International Overdose Awareness Day. On this day, the goal is to raise global awareness of overdoses and reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths. This day is intended to acknowledge the grief felt by friends and family who have suffered the loss of a loved one due to a drug overdose.

The Shocking Reality

The tragedy of a drug overdose is preventable.  Today is a day to spread awareness to others about the disease of addiction.  Drug addiction is a global phenomenon; however, the United States, in particular, is facing a major drug epidemic. More deaths were reported from drug overdoses in 2014 than any other year on record. Deaths from overdoses are up among all genders, races, and nearly all ages. This is a disease that does not discriminate.

Out of these shocking numbers, three out of five drug overdose deaths involve opioids. Overdoses from opioids such as prescription opioids and heroin have nearly quadrupled since 1999. Overdoses from opioids killed over 28,000 people in 2014. Half of these deaths were related to prescription opioids.

Between 2013 and 2014, the number of drug overdoses increased a total of 6.5 percent. The year 2014 had a total of 47,055 drug overdoses in the United States. These numbers continue to climb as the prescription painkiller epidemic continues to be a major issue.

To spread the message of awareness, International Overdose Day focuses on commemorating those who have been affected by drug addiction. While today is intended to encourage the message of prevention, it also aims to encourage a message of hope.

Principles of Harm Reduction

The Harm Reduction Coalition affirms that “we will not end the overdose crisis until we place people who use drugs, along with their families and friends, at the center of our policies and strategies. “

The coalition aims to accomplish this task by ensuring that those who use drugs and their loved ones have access to information intended to treat and support them without the fear of stigma or arrest.

Furthermore, naloxone remains one of the most powerful tools in preventing opioid overdose deaths. Naloxone is a medication that works to counteract the effects of an opioid overdose.  Recently, there has been a push to increase the access the public has to naloxone. In many places, naloxone can now be purchased via pharmacies like CVS, and even in school nurses offices.

Still, according to the Harm Reduction Coalition, the United States is in a state of emergency.

“ We can no longer accept incremental progress; we must demand urgent action to save lives.”

Five Areas Needing Improvement

The Harm Reduction Coalition calls for immediate action in these five areas to increase access to naloxone:

  1. Funding: Congress should fully fund the President’s request for $12 million in Fiscal Year 2016 to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to provide grants to states to support broader naloxone access.
  2. Cost: The rising cost of naloxone by manufacturers in recent years is a deep concern. This increase threatens to limit the distribution of naloxone, especially by community-based programs that reach those most vulnerable to opioid overdoses. When prices increase, it directly increases the likelihood of more overdose deaths. Therefore, the coalition calls upon naloxone manufacturers and developers to price their products responsibly to ensure the best possible distribution.
  3. Access:Despite improvements in the access to naloxone, access remains limited and inadequate. Prescribers and health care professions play a vital role in ending the overdose crisis. Therefore, there should be an effort by all parties to develop guidance, education and training, resources, and support tools aimed at increasing awareness and access to the drug.
  4. Availability:Many states are working to make naloxone available through pharmacies through arrangements and agreements. These efforts should increase and broaden to ensure the widest availability of naloxone.  In addition, the Food and Drug Administration should develop, facilitate and expedite the regulatory pathways needed to ensure naloxone can be sold over the counter. Over-the-counter naloxone should be available to the market by 2018.
  5. Awareness: Despite the rising number of overdose deaths in the past decade, there still is not a national awareness campaign to educate the public and those most at risk about the signs and symptoms of opioid overdose. Countless anecdotal reports suggest that the lack of awareness is a critical factor in many preventable overdose deaths. Therefore the HHS and CDC must develop broad national awareness campaigns; that spreads information on how and where to obtain naloxone.

Ways to Raise Awareness

In addition to the guidelines suggested by the HHC, the International Overdose Awareness Day website aims to raise awareness through innovative technologies like there overdose aware app. The app raises awareness amongst those who are experiencing drug use and their families. The app shares information on what an overdose is, and the main overdose symptoms.

The website also has an area where those who have been directly affected by drug addiction overdoses can write a tribute to their story and grieve anyone they have lost. These tributes are where many share the impact drug use and overdoses have had on their family and friends.

How are you spreading awareness of International Overdose Awareness Day? If you are struggling with drug addiction, do not wait for it to progress into an overdose. We can help you get back on track. Please call toll free.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

One City Sees 174 Overdoses in 6 Days

One City Sees 174 Overdoses in 6 Days

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

Author: Justin Mckibben

The number of overdose deaths in our country are already at a staggering rate, increasingly troubling by the minute. Some areas are hit much harder, but overall the tragic toll of the opioid addiction epidemic in America is obvious. Time after time we witness overwhelming reports of devastating deaths and high frequencies of serious complications from drug use.

Ohio is among the top states in the country to experience elevated rates of overdose per population, and Cincinnati has seen a viscous proportion of these. In a single weekend 30 heroin overdoses across Cincinnati were reported.

During just a 48-hour time frame from Tuesday to Wednesday there were 78 more overdoses and at least three deaths.

Finally, after a six-day period of emergency-room visits, the number of overdoses had reached to a number health officials are calling “unprecedented”: 174!

Cincinnati VS Carfentanil

According to one local news source, Cincinnati has four overdose reports per day on average, and usually no more than 20 or 25 in a given week.

The bigger problem; pure heroin is what’s responsible for that average, but that’s not what’s on the streets now.

The sinister element suspected to be responsible in this latest upsurge of overdoses is heroin cut with the latest opioid hitting the streets- Carfentanil. For those of you who don’t know yet, this is an elephant tranquilizer. Carfentanil supposedly has 10,000 times the potency as morphine!

At this point law enforcement officials are unable to identify the source of the toxic cocktail. Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan states that State, local and federal authorities have mobilized across Hamilton County to investigate where this incredibly powerful poison is coming from. So far they believe this record number of overdoses could be caused by a single heroin batch laced with Carfentanil.

Carfentanil, relatively similar to the opioid Fentanyl that has caused enough damage it its own right, is the strongest commercially used opioid. So just like with Fentanyl, drug dealers cut their heroin with Carfentanil to make it last longer and to deliver stronger, more addictive highs.

Tri-State Area Turmoil

New reports state that additional heroin overdoses in the tri-state area, plus New Jersey, tally up to more than 225 for this timeframe.

  • In the same time period of the Cincinnati overdoses:
  • Jennings County, Indiana reported 13 overdoses last Tuesday
  • Montgomery County, Kentucky reported 12 overdoses on Wednesday
  • Camden, New Jersey reported 29 overdoses between Tuesday and Thursday

All this news comes in after 27 people overdosed during a five-hour period in one West Virginia town in mid-August.

Still, these shocking and frightening rates springing up in Cincinnati have captured the most national attention.

Officials on a Mission

Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan also heads the law enforcement task force for the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition. This effort is a collaboration of public health and law enforcement officials from Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky working as a collective to combat the heroin epidemic afflicting the tri-state area. Many of these officials are very clear about their concerns, and about their mission. Hamilton County Commissioner Dennis Deters says this is a public health emergency like they have never seen before. Tim Ingram, the county’s health commissioner, said:

“This is unprecedented to see as many alerts as we’ve seen in the last six days,”

Officials are now pleading with the public. They have come out in the news to ask people to avoid the drug. The fact that the source of this potent batch is unknown and still out there makes them disparate to end this uptick in overdoses. Synan states,

“We’re urging you, please don’t do heroin right now. If for no other reason, because we don’t know what’s in the stuff on the street.”

He went on to point out the blatant disregard of dealers, saying:

“These people are intentionally putting in drugs they know can kill someone. The benefit for them is if the user survives, it is such a powerful high for them, they tend to come back. … If one or two people die, they could care less. They know the supply is so big right now that if you lose some customers, in their eyes, there’s always more in line.”

Harder to Fight

Further complicating matters is that Narcan– the drug that reverses the side effects of an overdose- is not working anymore, or at least not as reliably in cases such as these. When it comes to heroin overdoses, one or two doses of Narcan will stabilize a patient. So Narcan, and the generic Naloxone, expansion programs have taken great bounds forward in providing a line of defense.

However, these recent overdoses required two or three times that dosage. These more potent mixes have proven not only to be more deadly, but far more resilient to any medication-based efforts to save lives. Cincinnati is definitely not the only state in the nation dealing with this issue. The problem is growing, and with it so it the death-toll.

Now even more efforts must absolutely be put into raising awareness and providing education to the public. With such powerful new elements being introduced into the fight, the world should know what it’s up against. Real solutions should be made available, and real recovery begins with effective treatment.

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Faith-Based Hope Over Heroin Brings Ohio Together

Faith-Based Hope Over Heroin Brings Ohio Together

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Author: Justin Mckibben

It has been heavy on my heart when hearing about the outbreak of overdose deaths in Buckeye country, and it has broken my heart to see people I have known all my life struggling with substance abuse and addiction as I have. But along with hearing about the stories that trouble me, I’m happy to report on something that brings hope.

This past weekend several hundred Ohioans gathered together at Dodge Park in Franklinton in solidarity for fighting back against this epidemic. This was a two-day Hope Over Heroin event to offer free heroin-addiction support to the public, along with food and live music.

Hope Over Heroin

Hope Over Heroin (HOH) is a faith-based effort made up from different communities. According to their website Hope Over Heroin launched back in the summer of 2014 after a streak of devastation. The site front page states:

“Hope Over Heroin is a collaborative ministry led by Pastors in Ohio and Kentucky who came together to connect the Body of Christ in order to Break the chains of the Addicted!”

In the year 2014:

  • 2,531 Ohio residents died from unintentional drug overdoses, a 20 percent increase from the year before, according to an Ohio Department of Health report
  • Heroin accounted for about 47 percent of those deaths.
  • In one week there were more than 14 deaths from heroin overdoses in Hamilton County

All of which ultimately contributed to this combined effort to fight back. Since then, the Cincinnati-based movement has gone mobile. Now Hope Over Heroin brings its mission to cities all over Ohio, and now parts of Kentucky and Indiana. Still on this year’s schedule for events is:

  • August 26-27 in Norwood, Ohio
  • September 9-10 in Brookville, Indiana
  • September 17 in Kenton, Ohio

These events include a collective prayer march for raising awareness and even water baptisms for those inclined.

Hope and Higher Power

The Reverend Jeff Leslie, of Judah Tabernacle on the South Side, joined other pastors and volunteers onstage Friday to talk about hope to the people who came to the event. During his time on stage he stated,

“We want the community to come to the awareness of the epidemic of heroin that is here, and offer the opportunity to get freedom from that and not have to stay in that condition.”

Reverend Leslie believes faith in a higher power offers a great companion on the road to recovery. Of course, many 12 Step fellowships can concur with this idea, as the presence of the phrase “higher power” is part of the language of these rooms. While 12 Step fellowships are typically completely separate from any specific faith, they give respect to the efforts of religious organizations for their help in the healing process of countless addicts who are recovering.

Faith and Non-Faith for Hope

Another important thing about Hope Over Heroin is no one is denied resources based on spirituality or religious status. There were approximately 30 churches participating in the Dodge Park event. These groups work without bias to connect on-hand representatives from 35 different treatment services to those in need.

Even non-religious volunteers and participants are seen gathered together for group prayer and blessings. These events may be organized by faith-based groups, but they accept those from all walks of life with compassion. The churches still minister to the public, but the resources they make available are across the board. After all, it doesn’t make sense to go out waving the banner or spiritual power if you are unwilling to show love and empathy for all.

Programs like this should restore some faith in humanity for even those who are strongly opposed to faith fellowships. The fact that community leaders are organizing to help right back is amazing and inspiring. Holistic healing is based in the idea of integrating mind, body and spirit into the recovery process regardless of religious affiliation. Putting saving lives first it critical to making a difference in changing lives. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Liking VS Wanting: Addiction’s Pursuit VS Happiness

Liking VS Wanting: Addiction’s Pursuit VS Happiness

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

Author: Justin Mckibben

Thanks to Facebook, we know how to ‘LIKE’ stuff a whole lot these days. We ‘like’ pictures and videos, blogs and articles, even relationship statuses. Social media has totally changed the ‘like’ game! But that’s not the kind of liking we are talking about here. Not specifically anyway. With the way our senses are wired to seek pleasure we forget the difference between healthy and hazardous stimulation. This should be a no-brainer in relation to addiction. Many of us believe that we drink or use drugs essentially because we like the effect of substances. While there are surely other elements of our mental and emotional lives that contribute to our addiction, we cannot deny it begins often as a means to get something we want.

One idea describes a discernment between liking something and wanting it. Drawing from this logic, I thought it would be cool to relate it to addiction, alcoholism and just experience in life of sobriety.

Two of a Kind

This idea on ‘liking VS wanting’ comes from a 2007 paper in the journal Psychopharmacology. Here the author breaks down the idea of two kinds of pleasure.

  1. Liking

Liking is how we usually think of pleasure. That is to say, we relate it to a state of happiness or satisfaction. Think of the kind of genuine gratification you experience after a good meal, or some cold water when you’re overheated and dehydrated. This is the kind of pleasure defined as liking.

We would think of liking as the kind of pleasure that comes from something like falling in love. It is characterized with feelings like:

  • Contentment
  • Relaxation
  • Safety

This is a powerful pleasure felt at an intrinsic level of fulfillment.

  1. Wanting

This second kind of pleasure comes from the chase. In this context, wanting is probably comparable to lusting or yearning after something. This pursuit is coupled with feelings like:

  • Excitement
  • Anticipation
  • Seduction
  • Empowerment

This wanting pleasure is the thrill of the chase and the burning of desire. Wanting is the kind of impulse that motivates us to do senseless things. Even when we know it to be injurious, we fixate on the pleasure we get from wanting and do it anyway.

I feel like every person reading this can relate to this. To some extent or another we have all been there.

Wanting and Addiction

The most obvious example of wanting is drug use.  The feeling of wanting is strongly connected to the brain’s dopamine system. Chasing the feeling of wanting through substances can intensify from an occasional means of quick-fix satisfaction to an irresistibly compulsive addiction. This typically happens when we rely on feelings of wanting instead of liking for extended periods of time to meet our needs.

How long it takes wanting to transform into ‘craving’ depends on the combination of predisposition to addiction and experience with drug use.

Once habitual reliance on drugs or alcohol creates an overwhelming craving, the wanting feeling wins even if someone feels sick or if using costs them their health and relationships.

This same kind of dopamine response is also relative to other compulsive behaviors such as:

So even when you know you’re not making a wise or healthy choice the wanting can be undeniably strong after relying on it for long enough.

Liking Your Life

The battle between liking and wanting is very real when it comes to the pursuit of happiness. Especially when you think of it as actual happiness versus the pursuit of something you think will make you happy. When you focus on your ‘wanting’ you are chasing things that aren’t necessarily sustainable.

Liking and wanting can be compared to that ‘grass is greener’ ideology. Actually liking your life is savoring the moments and the experiences. True happiness and real gratitude are powerful expressions many addicts and alcoholics find as rewards in sobriety. We learn not to want as much and to enjoy more. This is better than living in a constant state of wanting. It reminds me of when addicts say we have the disease of ‘more,’ meaning we are always chasing the next high instead of living in the true happiness that is already here.

In the future, challenge yourself to find a state of liking where you are and who you are. It’s OK to be ambitious, but don’t let your drive for the next moment make this one right now seem insignificant. Addiction has a way of numbing you to the beautiful things you have now to make you crave things you think will make you feel better. Substance abuse and addiction are more powerful and insidious than most people know, but there is help. Learning to like the life you live is part of the process that leads to strong and lasting recovery.

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5 Ways to Get Help When a Family Member Goes to Rehab

5 Ways to Get Help When a Family Member Goes to Rehab

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

Author: Justin Mckibben

When a family member or loved one decides to go to rehab, it can feel like a huge weight off your shoulders. Whether you help them find treatment, put together an intervention, or they just decide this step is an accomplishment. When a family member or loved one is sick, we all suffer. So when they are healing, doesn’t it make sense that you work to heal too?

Whether you know it now or not, you need help too. When a family member goes to rehab, you should definitely consider how to support them. You should also know how to take better care of yourself. Remember this is not just about them. These are 5 ways to get help when a family member goes to rehab.

  1. Consult a doctor

Consulting with a medical professional about the health aspect of addiction and recovery is very important to helping in the recovery process. If you don’t have a personal family physician it can seem difficult. Try to find a medical professional you feel confident in consulting about the issue.

If you have a family physician be honest and open with discussing the specific drugs that your loved one most frequently abused. Find out if there are serious complications. Find out the warning signs of other health concerns. In general, being aware makes it easier to empathize with a family member and their recovery.

  1. Look into aftercare

When a family member goes to rehab consider looking into aftercare options available to them, either in your area or where ever they are. Once they have completed inpatient treatment, you may want to help them chose an outpatient and other alternative care programs. Aftercare will help keep your family member on a consistent recovery plan during the transition back into the world.

Sometimes an aftercare plan should consist of a sober living facility- halfway house– for your family member. This is beneficial because they are monitored in a recovery community to support their long-term sobriety. They also get help finding support groups and continued therapy.

So how does this help you? Well it may just be as simple as giving you some peace of mind that they will have a safe and controlled environment after rehab. An effective aftercare plan can also help you establish boundaries.

  1. Attend support groups

12 Step groups such as AA and NA are great, and they even have affiliate programs to support people with an addicted family member. Those with friends or loved ones who struggle through terrifying and trying times also have a safe place to fellowship and share.

Some support groups have their own separate 12 Step program of recovery tailored to the family’s recovery. Being able to connect and share experience with other families who can relate in an intimate way to the same fight you are fighting can be an uplifting and gratifying experience. This helps out a lot of family members and friends too when their loved ones are having a hard time staying clean.

  1. Personal or family therapy

Therapy is a powerful tool for anyone. Finding a clinical professional to confide in and work with can be life changing. Therapy isn’t just for people with trauma or mental health, it exists for everyone. Personal therapy can help you better understand the moods you yourself experience, and the contributions that you yourself make to your family member’s recovery.

Family therapy can be very positive for rebuilding these vital relationships. Even if the addict or alcoholic is still in treatment, the rest of the family can attend therapy to address important issues before the loved one comes home. This kind of help can only bring more emotional stability and acceptance.

  1. Attend a family program

Most holistic rehabs offer the opportunity to take part in the recovery of a loved one through a family program. This will put you in direct contact with the care professionals and clinical teams who are working with your family member to develop a plan of recovery.

Family programs can also give your family member or loved one the much needed inspiration to know that they are not alone in this process. It will allow you to participate in events, educational courses, and contribute to the blue print for new patterns in their future.

Getting help isn’t just for the one who is using drugs or drinking. We all need a little help sometimes. Every one of us needs a little support to get through sometimes.

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

Having a family member who has suffered can be harder on you than you know. Too many people don’t know how to get the help they need for their loved ones, and too many of our loved ones suffer for too long because they are afraid of the affects that the ones they care about most will face.

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