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Greece Legalizes Marijuana for Medical Purposes

Greece Legalizes Marijuana for Medical Purposes

Author: Shernide Delva

The United States has slowly begun to see more and more states approve medical and even recreational marijuana. But the U.S. is far from the only country seeing major shifts in marijuana policies.

Greece just joined six other European Union countries in approving some form of medical cannabis. Greece is “turning its page” on drug policy by allowing qualified citizens to access medical cannabis. The announcement by Greek officials occurred on June 30 at a press conference.

“Greece is now included in countries where the delivery of medical cannabis to patients in need is legal,” according to Greece’s Government Gazette.

Now that the government had reclassified cannabis from Table A to Table B, it is now possible for certain patients to access marijuana for medical purposes legally. This move is like moving cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II of the United States’ Controlled Substances Act.

In the U.S., cannabis is still classified under Schedule I, alongside heroin and LSD. Although various states permit marijuana use, it is still not legal on a federal level. Drugs like oxycodone, methadone, and methamphetamine are in Schedule II, a less restrictive drug category.

With these new implementations, Greece can now import products from other countries like Canada and the United States. There are qualifying conditions required by the Ministry of Health that patients must have to access medical marijuana.

These health conditions include:

  • Chronic or Neuropathic Pain
  • Nausea & vomiting from chemotherapy
  • Some eating disorders

 “From now on, the country is turning its page, as Greece is now included in countries where the delivery of medical cannabis to patients in need is legal,” said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

Greece joins six other European Union countries that have approved medical cannabis in some form.

Other countries include:

  • The Czech Republic
  • Finland
  • The Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Germany

Germany is a recent addition to the list. Their law went into effect this past March to help “critically ill” citizens.

Another country approving cannabis in June is Mexico, where the new law passed legislation with overwhelming support.

A country like Greece supporting medical marijuana is a major shift in the country’s mentality. Greece has a long known history of strict anti-drug laws. However, the debt-ridden country is moving in a different direction. The government legalized the processing of hemp in April, “ending 60 years of prohibition of the traditional, non-psychoactive plant,” Leafly reported at the time.

Hemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for mass use. Although hemp and marijuana come from the same plant, they are distinctively different. Hemp has low THC levels, which means it does not produce a high. Hemp is processed into a variety of useful products including paper, textiles, clothing, plastics, biofuel, and food.

Marijuana reform remains a controversial topic. However as the medical benefits of cannabis continue to reveal themselves, more countries are opening up to the idea of legalization. What do you think about the recent legalization of medical marijuana in Greece?

Like any substance, marijuana can be abused. If you are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please seek help. Regardless of whether a drug is legalized or not, if you feel out of control with your substance use, please reach out. We want to help. 

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Celebrity Rehab Host Dr. Drew Blames Opioid Epidemic on Doctors

Celebrity Rehab Host Dr. Drew Blames Opioid Epidemic on Doctors

Celebrity Rehab Host Dr. Drew Blames Opioid Epidemic on Doctors

Dr. Drew Pinsky, a board-certified addictions specialist, famous as the host of Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew, recently responded to a New York Times analysis. The analysis revealed that drug-related deaths have spiked to 19% across the country in 2016.  According to the report, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.

In response, Dr. Drew says this epidemic was brought on by the doctors. He blames doctors who continued prescribing opioids to patients despite their awareness of the high risk of addiction.

“The reason we have all these heroin addicts is because physicians over-prescribed opiates and then cut these patients off as opposed to getting them treatment,” he said recently on KABC radio. “And when you cut an opiate addict off, the state they’re in requires they find an alternative source of opiates. The cheapest best route now—fentanyl.”

Although his words are quite direct, they hold true.

Last week, an article published in The New England Journal of Medicine argued that the medical community wrongly cited a small 1980s editorial to repeatedly claim that opioids did not have highly addictive qualities.

“The crisis arose in part because physicians were told that the risk of addiction was low when opioids were prescribed for chronic pain. A one-paragraph letter that was published in the Journal in 1980 was widely invoked in support of this claim, even though no evidence was provided by the correspondents,” the editorial reads.

Essentially, doctors were using a letter rather than a clinical evidence to validate the claim that opioids were not addictive. This led many patients into believing that the medications they were using would not cause any form of dependence.

Addiction Stigma Further Wreaks Havoc

Furthermore, Dr. Drew states stigma surrounding addiction prevents doctors from addressing any concerns they may feel regarding their patients.

“They are afraid of the term addiction. They feel as though diagnosing someone with addiction is somehow judging them,” he continued.

Doctors who regularly prescribe opioids are at the root of the problem, Dr. Drew states, because the chances of dependence are high, and patients are often unaware of how real the risk really is.

“70 to 80% of people develop disabling consequences from their relationship with opiates,” Dr. Drew said,

The problem is when doctors continue to prescribe opioids despite the high risk of addiction, or worse, cut off a patient’s supply to opioids without providing some sort of addiction treatment option.

Patient Satisfaction is King

There is also a mindset in medicine that must abide by the patient when it comes to pain management.

“The discipline holds that ‘pain is what the patient says it is. Who are we to say when we have pain control? Pain control is achieved when the patient says it’s achieved.’ And that group will only admit to the fact that perhaps 30% of the patients get a little bit of a problem,” he said.

Stigma around addiction keeps physicians from talking to their patients about the risks of dependence. This leads to long-term dependence. While there have been regulations in place to prevent abuse, this often backfires.

Many people who were once dependent on opioid prescriptions turn to heroin due to the increased availability and decreased price cost. Heroin varies significantly in strength and many strands contain powerful substances like fentanyl which lead to overdose fatalities.

The opioid epidemic is a complex problem with a myriad of potential solutions. However, it is uncertain what solution will boast the best results.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

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Officials Push for Safe Injection Sites in Boston at City Council

Officials Push for Safe Injection Sites in Boston at City Council
Author: Justin Mckibben

For some time now government officials in different states across America have been pushing for the implementation of safe injection sites in their neighborhoods to combat the perpetual rise of opioid addiction and overdose death. This time last year there were proposals in New York, California and Washington D.C. to open such facilities. With the rising rates of overdose and death more officials have asked for the opportunity to at least examine the potential impact of safe injection sites. Now, officials are pushing for safe injection sites in Boston.

This request didn’t come lightly, either. The Massachusetts Medical Society is actually imploring state officials to open a safe injection site within the City of Boston, with desperate hope of curbing the numbers of casualties.

Safe Injection Presented to City Council

The Boston city council members heard arguments both for and against safe injection sites in Boston, and the debate is on as to what to do with the information.

Advocates for safe injection sites in Boston believe such facilities save lives by making emergency medical treatment immediately available. Dr. Henry Dorkin with the Massachusetts Medical Society supports the idea, stating:

“In fact, if you don’t have them in a facility with Narcan readily available, they’ll die very quickly,”

Just to clarify, safe injection sites are secure locations with medical staff available where addicts can use heroin under medical supervision. It provides what could be considered neutral ground where the drug user will not have to worry about being charged with criminal possession, while also having a first line of defense against overdose. Safe injection sites do not provide drugs, they simply provide the space and with some clean needles are also available.

Probably one of the most popular examples used by advocates of safe injection sites has been the famous facility in Vancouver, Canada that helped save dozens of lives. City Councilors Anissa Essaibi-George and Frank Baker, who requested the hearing, point out that the safe injection sites in Vancouver reduced fatal opioid overdoses by 35%.

This kind of decrease in overdose fatalities would make a huge difference in Massachusetts. The state Department of Public Health says the state’s top cause of accidental death so far this year is opioid overdose. The department says an average of 6 people a day in Massachusetts die from opioid overdoses in 2017, making. A 35% decrease would make a tremendous improvement on the community.

Anti-Injection Sites Argument

Opponents of safe injection sites in Boston say that these facilities do nothing to address the true problem, which is addiction. Sue Sullivan of the Newmarket Business Association states:

“It’s an existence. We need to figure out how we’re going to save these people and it’s not safe injection sites,”

Looking at the Vancouver statistics was apparently not enough to convince the entire city council. One feature of safe injection sites is that they often have a team of treatment professionals who encourage addicts who visit the facility to get treatment. They provide information about safe medical detox and other levels of care to those who are interested in getting help. However, one city council member, Frank Baker, states:

“263,000 visits a year by 6,500 individuals. And it has only 404 referrals to onsite detox,”

Some officials believe that this measure of harm reduction isn’t enough to really solve the issue without getting more people into drug addiction treatment and off the streets.

Possible Benefits of Safe Injection Sites in Boston

The primary function of safe injection sites is to preserve life. The idea is that while it may not be a lasting solution, it is a way to save lives. Safe injection sites allow people struggling to have the opportunity to survive their addiction long enough to get treatment. Beyond slowing down drug related deaths, safe injection sites in Boston could offer a number of other positive outcomes.

In May of last year we also covered a report titled Alternatives to Public Injection in which experts with experience operating supervised injection facilities (SIFs) shared data that shows:

  1. People who use SIFs take better care of themselves
  2. SIFs reduce or eliminate addicts needle sharing
  3. Ultimately, participants reduce their drug use all together
  4. SIF participants gain access to other medical and social services
  5. Participants have resources to seek addiction treatment
  6. SIFs do not increase drug use in the surrounding area
  7. Crime and public disturbances decrease in the areas around these programs
  8. There has not been a SINGLE overdose death in any of these programs over many years of operation

Rates of people visiting safe injection sites attending treatment may not be as good as they could be. However, the fact that they have no experienced a single overdose death at these facilities is an incredible improvement.

Are we going to see safe injection sites in Boston? Are more American cities going to consider this option? Is having a safe injection site a good idea?

While getting the right kind of safe and effective addiction treatment can create lasting change, preventing the ongoing deaths from drugs is also a worthy cause. Holistic healing programs are designed to address every aspect of addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

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Why Katy Perry Doesn’t Always Want to Be Katy Perry

Katy Perry Admits To Not Always Wanting to Be Katy Perry

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

Author: Shernide Delva

Katy Perry does not always want to be Katy Perry.

To the public, she is a strong, famous, successful singer, but Perry does not always feel like the image she portrays to the media.

Instead, she often craves who she was before the fame: Kathryn Hudson, a young girl curious about the world. A girl who had no idea she would grow up to be a celebrity that everyone puts on a high pedestal.

How do I know this?

Because the woman we all know as Katy Perry recently opened up to her fans in a live streamed therapy session on YouTube.

The segment was part of a live streaming event promoting Perry’s new album Witness.  Perry conducted various segments throughout the event. However, one that stood out was her 1-hour therapy session with Dr. Siri Sat Nam Sigh, a therapist who holds sessions on the TV channel Viceland.

The 32-year-old songstress opened up about her struggles to accept the success she has achieved. Perry admitted to going to therapy regularly and says therapy changed her life tremendously. She shared that she goes to sessions with her family as well.

Katy Perry Seeks Authenticity

In the session, Perry talks about how her celebrity image does not always match her authentic self.

“Sometimes I’ve built up this Katy Perry thing, and it’s fantastic, but it’s more of a façade than a real [thing],” she revealed.

The singer says the new album, Witness,  reflects her current emotional state. She admits to often feeding into what the media says she should look or act like. She says cutting her hair may have been an attempt to find her real self. In a way, she believed she was trying to see if people would accept her authentic self.

Sadly,  the response to Perry’s new short blonde pixie was mixed which was a struggle for her to cope. Perry explained how the negativity only validated her beliefs that her authentic self would never be accepted the way her Katy Perry image is.

“I’m really strong as Katy Perry and then sometimes I’m not as strong as Katheryn Hudson,” she said. “People like talk about my hair, right? They don’t like it, or they wish that it was longer. I so badly want to be Katheryn Hudson that I don’t even want to look like Katy Perry anymore sometimes.”

Throughout the live therapy session, Perry opens up about her struggles with depression and her childhood. Perry even admits to using substances like alcohol to numb her pain in the past when she was not in the right place.

Perry wrote a song about her struggles with suicidal ideation several years ago titled, “By the Grace of God.” She talks about the song and how she uses songwriting to express herself.

“That’s how I process, I write songs,” she explains.

“And you get rid of those feelings? ” Singh asked.

“Well yeah, some of them,” Perry replied. “Some of them don’t come out fully, that’s why I still do the work.”

Discussing the song made Perry teary-eyed:

“I sang it on tour, and it’s hard because I’m ashamed because of course Katy Perry’s so strong, but it’s hard because I felt ashamed I had those thoughts, feeling that low and that depressed. I wrote that song because I do believe in something much bigger than me, and I call that God for me.”

Perry’s therapy session made positive waves on social media. Many felt more connected to the artist than ever before. Others described Perry as brave for opening up to her fans in such a vulnerable ways. While some criticized the session as merely a tactic to promote the new album, anyone who listened to the whole thing would likely find that Perry was genuine in the discussion.  What are your thoughts on the live session?


Our perceptions and ideas of what it is to be wealthy and famous often prevent us from understanding those who achieve that level of success. However, time and time again, we see that celebrities and public figures are just like us. They struggle with similar hardships. No one is alone in their journey. If you are struggling with addiction, we want to help. Call now.

 

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Turmeric: Why Everyone Is Suddenly Obsessed With It

Turmeric: Why Everyone Is Suddenly Obsessed With It

Why is Everyone Talking about Turmeric?

No really, I want to know.

Recently, we published an article about the connection between chronic pain and addiction. The article garnered a variety of comments, and many people suggested that those with chronic pain use turmeric to treat their symptoms. Truthfully, this is far from the first time I have heard turmeric suggested for medical purposes.

Where is all the hoopla about turmeric coming from? Is turmeric the new kale?

Not exactly. In fact, turmeric has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties.  In India, turmeric was used for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb.

It was not until recently that scientists caught on to what Indians have known for a long time:  turmeric contains strong medicinal properties. It helps with virtually all types of medical problems.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow color.  The compounds in turmeric are called curcuminoids; the most important is called Curcumin. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. Curcumin is known for its anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.

Surprisingly, the Curcumin content in turmeric is not that high. It’s estimated to be around 3% by weight. Therefore, if you want the full medicinal benefits of turmeric, it is recommended to take turmeric extracts that contain mostly Curcumin itself. Otherwise, it would be challenging to reach these levels on your own simply by using turmeric spice.

Curcumin is not absorbed into the bloodstream, so it is recommended to consume black pepper with it. Black pepper contains piperine, a natural substance that enhances the absorption of Curcumin by 2000%.

To sum it up: Turmeric contains Curcumin, a substance that has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Recently, the spice gained a huge following from those who benefit from its medicinal properties. As we enter an era where more people are opposed to prescription medications, natural alternatives are making a major comeback.

Turmeric Medicinal Benefits

There have been thousands of peer-reviewed articles proving the benefits of turmeric and the healing compounds Curcumin.  In fact, turmeric is the most frequently mentioned medicinal herb in all of science! Other popularly studied herbals include garlic, cinnamon, ginseng, ginger and milk thistle.

Compared to conventional medicine, the benefits of turmeric equal to that of many pharmaceutical drugs. In fact, some studies report that using Curcumin is more advantageous than certain prescription drugs.

Health Benefits of Turmeric:

Turmeric offers similar benefits to painkillers, anti-depressants, anti-inflammatory drugs, cholesterol drugs, and so much more.

Some specific benefits are:

  1. Preventing Blood Clotting

    Turmeric is shown to offer the same benefits as medications intended to slow and prevent blood clots such as aspirin, Clopidogrel (Plavix) and warfarin. Unlike some of these drugs which pose serious health risks like excessive bleeding and hemorrhage, turmeric has no known side effects unless taken in very heavy doses. Since the mid-1980s, the Curcumin in turmeric has been suggested by researchers as a better alternative to those with vascular thrombosis.

  2. Anti-depressants

    While there are not many studies conducted on humans, dozens of trials have proven that turmeric is especially effective in correcting depression symptoms in laboratory animals. Curcumin was found to be as effective as antidepressants in managing depression. More studies are needed to understand the mood enhancing properties of Curcumin fully.

  1. Anti-inflammatories

    Arguably the most powerful and popular use of Curcumin is its ability to control inflammation. The journal Oncogene revealed several anti-inflammatory compounds. The study found Curcumin to be among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world, even compared to aspirin and ibuprofen. Diseases today like cancer, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, high cholesterol and chronic pain are partly related to inflammation.

  2. Arthritis Management

    As mentioned below, Curcumin helps with inflammation. A study conducted compared the benefit of Curcumin in turmeric to arthritis drugs that had side effects like leaky gut and heart disease. The study found the highest improvement in patients who took Curcumin compared to the rheumatoid arthritis medication. Since there are fewer side effects in the use of Curcumin, this could be a better option for patients struggling to manage their arthritis.

  3. Pain Relief

    One of the most widely accepted properties of Curcumin is the pain management properties. Research released discovered that Curcumin naturally activates the opioid system in diabetics rap. Typically manipulated by painkillers, this natural process serves as the body’s inherent pain-relieving response. However, Curcumin does not have the risk of opioid dependency like painkillers such as oxycodone do, therefore the risk fo dependency diminishes.

Could Turmeric Help Combat Opioid Epidemic?

The benefits of turmeric go so much further than this article. Of course, is always crucial to talk about different treatment options with your doctor. Do not attempt to change your regimen without professional guidance.

Still, turmeric could help with pain management, which may improve the risk of opioid dependency overall. What are your thoughts? Could turmeric really make a difference? Have you used it?

Nevertheless, if you are struggling with addiction or mental illness, please reach out. We want to help you. Do not wait. Call now. 

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