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Safe, effective drug/alcohol treatment

All across this country in small towns, rural areas and cities, alcoholism and drug abuse are destroying the lives of men, women and their families. Where to turn for help? What to do when friends, dignity and perhaps employment are lost?

The answer is Palm Partners Recovery Center. It’s a proven path to getting sober and staying sober.

Palm Partners’ innovative and consistently successful treatment includes: a focus on holistic health, a multi-disciplinary approach, a 12-step recovery program and customized aftercare. Depend on us for help with:

28 Days Later: Addressing the Length of Treatment

28 Days Later: Addressing the Length of Treatment

Author: Justin Mckibben

First, I have to make it clear that any amount of treatment has the potential to make a difference. Every opportunity to take action in the right direction means something. So making the most out of our time is what is so crucial. Still, I want to look at why a month in rehab has become most insurers’ answer to the addiction issue.

Because different people progress through treatment at different paces there is no perfectly predetermined length of treatment. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. However, research shows that clearly good outcomes are contingent on adequate length of time in treatment. Arguably a treatment program of less than 90 days will show limited effectiveness in comparison to longer programs. Many recommend longer lasting treatment for maintaining positive outcomes. Yet, just around a month’s stay can be pretty typical among people who go to an inpatient facility.

So, who came up with the 28 days later standard of treatment? Why do most people only get this amount of time in treatment?

28 Days Later Routine

Kimberly Johnson is director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at SAMHSA. This federal agency studies addiction treatment services. Johnson says,

“As far as I know, there’s nothing magical about 28 days,”

Anne Fletcher, author of the book Inside Rehab, agrees. Fletcher states,

“It certainly is not scientifically based. I live in Minnesota where the model was developed and a lot of treatment across the country really stemmed from that.”

According to Fletcher, the late Daniel Anderson was one of the primary architects of what has been called the “Minnesota model.” This methodology became the prevailing treatment protocol for addiction specialists a long time ago, but how?

The story starts in the 1950’s at a state hospital in Minnesota. Daniel Anderson attended to alcoholics living in locked wards, leaving only to be put to work on a farm. Anderson came up with the 28-day model to find a path for his patients to get sober and leave the hospital. Back then, it was innovative.

Marvin Ventrell, executive director of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, has studied the model’s history. Ventrell says the month-long method comes from the belief that when-

“someone is suffering from addiction — and in the days that this began, we’re pretty much talking about alcoholism — it made sense to people that it took about four weeks to stabilize somebody.”

Ventrell went on to explain this is the norm because the insurance industry became willing to pay for a 28 day period of time. While many treatment providers believe we must adapt with the times, it would seem insurance companies aren’t so sure.

The Drawbacks

The early form of this 28 day model was designed for alcoholism. One big issue today is the model is used to treat opioid addiction. It is such a problem because recovering from addiction to powerful narcotic drugs just might be different than recovering from alcohol abuse. Therefore, it may require a different method. Yet, many still want to use the 28 day model as a cookie-cutter standard.

Now, to be fair Ventrell admits there isn’t enough research to prove the exact effective length for inpatient opioid addiction treatment. As we said, different individuals may have a different experience and require a different treatment plan. This is one reason why personalized recovery plans are so important.

Fletcher advocates it is incredibly important for treatment to move away from the default month-long model. 28 days is not going to work for everyone, and it would seem one of the biggest hurdles for those in the addiction treatment industry is convincing the insurance industry that the old “Minnesota model” isn’t always enough. 28 days may be enough for some people to make a beginning, but long-term recovery can be seriously influenced by more time learning about factors such as:

There are so many facets of recovery, it makes sense that the more time you have to learn them the more confident you can be in your ability to manage your recovery.

Make Time for Recovery

Besides the fact that giving people more time in a controlled environment can give them more time to focus on their recovery plan, there is also the element of dual diagnosis. While the 28 days model of treatment may have helped back in the 1950’s, we’ve learned a lot in the past 60+ years about addiction and other issues that co-exist.

Many people struggling with addiction are also having to battle with conditions pertaining to mental health disorders. Knowing what we know now, we see mental health disorders and addiction should be addressed simultaneously. If you ignore one, it can cause a relapse into the other later on. Various forms of mental illness can exist along with an addiction, including:

So for some, establishing a full diagnosis and then effectively engaging in the recovery process can take more time.

In the end, we should be making more time for individuals in need of treatment. Unfortunately, it can be an uphill battle with insurance companies. Some programs do exist that are extended inpatient programs, but these facilities still face resistance from insurers. At this point, it is about making the most out of the time you can get. Holistic drug treatment programs like Palm Partners emphasize the importance of exploring every area of recovery in detail, and design personalized recovery plans to make the time most efficient. Insurance companies may try to limit the opportunity, but the opportunity is still a real chance at real change.

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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.

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Goodbye With Gratitude: Alumni Submission

Goodbye With Gratitude: Alumni SubmissionBy: Justin Mckibben

Every once in a while we have an opportunity to share some of the amazing and emotional testimonies of transformation from our Palm Partners alumni. So many of these men and women have experience such an awesome change in their life and a change in perspective that they cannot wait to share with us their gratitude and share how they learned through us to overcome the many aspects of their adversity.

This week a wonderful woman Doris recently became a Palm Partners Alumni, and wanted to share a letter that she wrote to the Palm Partners staff, and asked that we type it up and publish it for her. She talks about how not knowing what she was walking into ended up helping her recognize the turmoil in herself, and the desire to get better that brought her on this journey. One of the most rewarding parts of this for us is to acknowledge the amazing people that make an impact every day on the lives of people who desperately need hope, helping them find it when all seems lost.

So below is the letter Doris wrote.

Goodbye Letter

When I walked in Detox for the very first time, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I was scared, beyond broken and completely miserable with life the way I’d been living it. The next 5 days were hard, I kept pushing through it. I never knew just how difficult it would be. A lot of pain, soul-searching and coming to terms with my disease. After 5 days I was placed at Palm Partners. I was taught by Doug and Heidi how to begin to forgive myself through the “Dickens Process,” which was completely awesome! It was so surreal, I never realized just how many people I hurt while on that path. I’m taking with me all of the things that were taught here.

I would like to thank God for leading me in the right direction.

I’d like to thank Todd from admissions, who answered that 3 AM phone call and gave me HOPE, which put me on that airplane 3 days later.

Thanks to all the clients, men and women, that were there every step of the way, lending an ear or a shoulder to cry on.

Thanks to ALL employees that helped me get to this point of my recovery, especially Tristen- he always makes me want to smile- and Paula, my therapist. I appreciate all of your help. And Sandy.

A BIG thanks goes to all the techs. You all deserve a raise because you all put up with 10 kinds of hell every day and night!

Much love goes out to each and every person that was involved in my treatment. I am forever grateful.

THANK YOU!

-Doris J.

Keep Sharing the Message

We are always happy to share the powerful breakthroughs that our clients get to have while attending treatment, just like we love hearing about the personal connections they make with their therapists. As more men and women like Doris complete the program and move on to change and inspire in their life, we celebrate their success and thank them for the part of the journey we get to be present for.

We know there are so many more Palm Partners alumni out there with talents, stories and experiences to share, and we encourage you to contact us and be part of the message that may help countless others. You never know how many lives you can touch, and how many people could make the choice that saves their life because of something that you choose to share. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.

 

Can We Change How Our Community Views Recovery?

Can We Change How Our Community Views Recovery?

Author: Justin Mckibben

I’m an alcoholic named Justin.

I am also a writer, a cafe manager and a yoga teacher; a son, a brother and a best friend. I came to Florida from Columbus, Ohio with $5 in my pocket and a bag of dirty clothes. I am now an active member of my community, and this is how I believe we change the perception of who we are- we recover and we talk about it. We stand for the community we believe in and show our gratitude through the work we do.

This past weekend I came across something that gave me a sense of levity through inspiration, but also troubled me with the residual remarks it received. A friend of mine, one whom I had the privilege of attending treatment with that first time several years ago at Palm Partners, had made a bold statement in a group on social media specific to sharing information and stories relevant to the community in Delray Beach, Florida.

The page always has a vast variety of posts from job opportunities, community event announcements, new business listings and even tips on gas prices and dining out.

But every once in a while a story breaks concerning recovery in Delray Beach. Sometimes these stories are raising awareness on the state of national affairs concerning addiction or local initiatives to influence recovery, but other times they come across as nothing more than deliberately discriminating attacks on people some refer to as “rehabbers.” The young lady I know wrote a heartfelt testimony to her experience in recovery after coming to Delray Beach, Florida and shared her grief that so many people scrutinize the recovery community based on the actions of individuals. She admitted to having witnessed the shady side of it all, but challenged people to try and understand those who chose a different way.

She received a lot of empowering and positive feedback, which was so refreshing. Signs of compassion from both sides of the conversation came through. The reason I wanted to write about this today was simply because one of the many comments that I took notice to was:

“..but you are an exception to the rule…”

Now I don’t wish to argue statistics because I doubt there is any way of providing completely accurate, proof-positive numbers. Considering so many choose to remain anonymous and in the grand scheme of things “successful recovery” can be subjective to some. The reason this bothered me, the more I thought about it, has a lot to do with a conversation that stemmed from my friends response.

The Side They Show

This strong woman did not shy away from her convictions. She kept standing up for the recovering addict or alcoholic. She instead answered the aforementioned comment with,

“But I’m not the exception. Unfortunately negativity is much sexier than positivity.”

As much as I hate to say it, truer words could not apply to this context. Simply put- ordinary people just don’t seem to care when an addict or alcoholic finds a solution that leads them to pulling their life together in comparison to when someone goes to rehab, gets out and creates chaos. One comment stated:

“Do the needles jump into their arms? You say they can’t stay sober even if they want to? Come on now. Just take responsibility for your own actions people.”

Here again, we find stigma and the ugly side that seems to overshadow the reality of the disease of addiction. It seems many residents in the Delray area who have no first-hand experience with real recovery still think addicts and alcoholics are suffering from a moral failing or an inability to “take responsibility”- making them more likely to destroy and demoralize the community than they are to make a positive contribution.

Why?

Well, in part because the headlines are often generated to grab the reader with claims of controversy and corruption, and because people who don’t know the truth about addiction too often only see it in black and white.

Since crooked client brokers in Delray Beach recently became such a front-page problem there has been an increase in scrutiny on the recovery community. The spotlight was shown on people who were making money off of essentially human-trafficking. From there came very public depictions of ‘exposure’ crusades to take down shady body-snatchers, attempts to unearth unethical halfway housing and heated debates as local businesses incorporated changes in policy which many considered to be attacks directed at “rehabbers” or people in recovery.

The public and even the media has repeatedly gone on a rampage of grouping addicts together as a blemish on the community; so much so that almost every young person with tattoos at a coffee shop was practically labelled on sight as a no-good “rehabber” and subject to whole-sale condemnation.

Why? Just like she said… it’s a ‘sexier story’ to have drama and outrage than it is to support people who have committed to change.

Then as overdose deaths spiked all over the country in association with the opiate epidemic, it made it all the more disturbing to witness it first-hand in any community. But that is crucial to remember too- this is a national problem, and one facing neighborhoods all over Florida, not just Delray.

The Side We Know

We need to change the way our communities perceive recovery for many reasons- the most obvious being that discrimination of any kind is a terrible injustice. We alcoholics and addicts in real recovery- who have a solution and practice with diligence the principles used to shape the lives of freedom and happiness we never expected to have- strive every day to be of service; not just to each other, but to society and humanity as a whole.

True- it is up to us as active members of recovery to accurately represent ourselves to the rest of our community. However, our communities should also be willing to let go of and preconceptions they may have and learn more about us too. We have to meet each other half-way and raise awareness, while working to make real treatment and real solutions more available.

Every day more people come here to find help and every day even more people die because they never get that help. If we want to encourage addicts to be active in their community and to contribute to the lives of others we have to hope for a world willing to accept them for trying.

If every business turns us away, how will we ever help it grow?

If every neighborhood bars our entry, how will we ever build a home we want to take pride in and protect?

These new people coming to Delray Beach are not a threat… they are an opportunity for unity and change! Spiritual growth, new freedom and happiness, relationships and responsibility are possible. People have to be given compassion if they have any chance of change.

What They Don’t Know

This is the kicker… we are already here! We’ve been here all along! Long before me and long after me there will be addicts and alcoholics from all over America relocating to South Florida to be part of a beautiful community of recovery.

In case you didn’t know, we are EVERYWHERE! Not to freak you out and have every “normie” all paranoid, but that is the reality. In the words of one of fictions greatest counter-culture icons, Tyler Durden:

“Look, the people you are after are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep.”

For every “normie” that has a chance to read this, I promise you will interact several times today with people who have had to struggle one day at a time to have any stability and sanity in life without drugs and drinking. You probably know them by name. You might have small-talk every day, or you might work side by side with them. That person you respect and admire for their work ethic, determination and perspective might have been like me… dying in a dope-house basement wishing they could believe it was possible to live in a world that would believe in them.

So, people in recovery I challenge to find a way to live proudly in their sobriety. Sure- I respect anonymity and the need for privacy. But for those who are able to speak up, I challenge you to do so. I challenge you to lead by example either way! Yes… we can change how our community views recovery! If we are truly grateful for this community, let us make it a better place for everyone who has a home here.

Thankfully, I was given some help to stop drinking from some amazing people who genuinely cared about my future. Some of most amazing people I’ve ever met are parts of our recovery community in Delray Beach. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. YOU are not alone.

 

Naloxone Finally in the Hands of Delray Beach Police Department

Naloxone Finally in the Hands of Delray Beach Police Department

Author: Justin Mckibben

Some people may remember back in June of 2015 the story broke ground with the announcement that Florida’s Republican Governor Rick Scott gave the final approval for bill HB-751, AKA the Emergency Treatment for Opioid Overdose Act which expanded naloxone access in a progressive response to the growing issue with heroin overdose and opiate addiction. This new piece of legislation gave first responders, caregivers, and patients in Florida the authority to prescribe and administer naloxone, a pure antidote to opioid overdose.

Well another exciting and innovative story is making some headway in the news this week as the actions and implication put into that legislation are having a rippling effect on communities all over Florida. The Delray Beach Police Department moved to announce this morning a plan for its officers to carry naloxone, making the Delray Beach Police Department the first in Palm Beach County, as well as second in the state, to have officers carry the heroin overdose antidote.

Drug Deaths in Delray Beach

In the stretch of time between January of 2014 and October of 2015 the Delray Beach Fire Rescue services alone administered naloxone in 341 cases! Now take that and consider that in just the first 10 months of 2015, the Delray Beach Police Department responded to a reported 145 overdoses, and 70% of those were from heroin!

But ladies and gentlemen, this problem is not just in Delray Beach, plenty of other areas in Palm Beach County are getting hit hard by the destruction and death brought by heroin. In West Palm Beach officials have also seen a severe increase in suspected heroin overdose deaths, but these officers still do not have access to naloxone.

How severe is that increase? Well since December there have been 11 deaths from suspect heroin overdoses according to city police. The kicker- 7 of those deaths were last month in February!

Resources for First Responders

Delray Beach Fire Rescue regularly administers naloxone to individuals experiencing an overdose one emergency calls in the county. Now the department has trained the Delray Beach Police Department’s supervisors on how to use the medication, hoping to broaden the reach of this life-saving medication and make access to it by First Responders that much easier.

This is amazing news because starting today, supervisors in law enforcement on each shift will carry naloxone nasal spray. The nasal spray gives the officers access to an easier method of administering the medication.

According to police spokeswoman Dani Moschella the Delray Beach Drug Task Force recently wrote a grant for 400 auto-injectors of Evzio naloxone to be provided to Delray Beach Fire Rescue, which in turn makes it possible for the city’s fire-rescue department to supply the Delray Beach Police Department with nasal spray kits at no charge.

The Need for More Access

A lot of people might not see how big of a deal this is, but let me be the first to tell you… this is kinda a big deal!

For years we have followed the tragic trend of drug overdose being the leading cause of accidental death in all of the United States, with 47,055 lethal drug overdoses in 2014, and 10,574 of those overdose deaths were related to heroin. More people die from drug abuse than car accidents! That is a big deal! And spoiler alert, it’s been going on for YEARS now! Opioid addiction is spearheading this overdose death epidemic.

Delray Beach has been commonly perceived as the drug treatment capital of the country, and with good reason considering the innovative and amazing treatment options as well as a thriving recovery community. But Delray Beach has been particularly hard hit by the opioid epidemic, so to have even more prevention resources put in place to support that recovery community and save more lives every day makes an astronomical difference.

Although naloxone is already available without a prescription in 35 states, Florida only allows the drug to be used by first responders, such as police and emergency medical technicians. Doctors are allowed to write prescriptions to those in close contact with someone at risk of overdose, but every day more programs are starting to put the power back into the hands of the people who need the help most, and one more way to change a life is with a recovery program from a leader in revolutionizing holistic treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

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