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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:

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Opioid Use?

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Opioid Use?

Author: Shernide Delva

As most know by now, the opioid epidemic has reached epic proportions.  In the U.S. alone, more than 15 million people abuse prescription drugs. The leading cause of accidental death in the United States are opioid overdoses, with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015.

In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for painkillers, such as Vicodin and OxyContin. When these drugs are abused, they present some of the same risks as heroin on the street. Furthermore, as prescription opioids are regulated, more and more people are turning to heroin making the risk of a fatal overdose even greater.

With all that said, how exactly do opioids affect the body? We wanted to explore several areas of the body and understand how opioid abuse specifically affected each area.  Whether it is prescription drugs or heroin, opioids affect almost every part of your body. Long-term use can lead to permanent damage to your health. Read on further to learn how the body reacts to abuse of opioids. Treatment can put a stop to the risk and address issues that may have already arisen in the body.

The Effects of Opioid Use on the Body:

  1. THE BRAIN

    Painkillers are known to have side effects such as extreme drowsiness which can result in needing stimulant medication to counteract this effect. For example, heroin can elicit profound drowsiness. Abusers frequently experience bouts of ‘nodding off’ as they slip in and out of consciousness. Over time, the use of painkillers results in an increased risk fo major depression. Patients using painkillers for more than six months has a 50 percent greater chance of developing depressive episodes.

  1. THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM

    Opioid overdoses can lead to a condition known as respiratory depression. It essentially means that breathing slows down significantly. The body goes into respiratory arrest and deprives the brain and body tissues of oxygen.

  1. THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM

    Opioids affect the muscles of the digestive system making constipation common. This effect is due to the slowing of the digestive transit. The gastrointestinal motility and chronic constipation associated with opioid abuse can lead to more severe conditions such as small bowel obstruction, perforation, and resultant peritonitis. Nausea is very common among opioid users along with sudden, uncontrollable vomiting.

  2. THE NERVOUS SYSTEM

    The chronic use of opioid painkillers can lead to a syndrome that can increase your sensitivity to pain resulting in a condition known as hyperalgesia. Furthermore, opioid use may result in psychomotor impairment and an overall slowing of a person’s physical movements and loss of coordination.

  3. THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

    Opioid use affects the immune system which means you’re more vulnerable to getting illnesses or feeling under the weather. The opioid receptors regulate immunity so long-term opioid abuse can negatively affect this process.

  1. THE LIVER

    Most people are unaware of how many opioid painkillers contain acetaminophen, the same ingredient found in Tylenol. Excessive use of these drugs can cause liver damage from toxicity. Damage to the liver is an undeniable risk to taking excessive amounts of prescription painkillers like Vicodin. When you add alcohol to the mix— as many opioid-dependent users do—it makes a risky situation, even more,

Overall, opioids affect every part of the body, and we did not even mention the psychological impacts of drug abuse. Opioid use disorder wreaks havoc on your life and the life of those around you. Do not wait for the potentially life-altering consequences of opioid abuse to take its toll. Please call to speak to a professional treatment support specialist today. Please call now. 

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Utah May Become the First State to Lower DUI Limit To 0.05

Utah May Become the First State to Lower DUI Limit To 0.05

Author: Shernide Delva

The state of Utah plans to set the bar by being the state with the lowest DUI limit. Will other states follow?

This week, Utah lawmakers voted to lower the blood alcohol content limit for drunken driving offenses from 0.08 to 0.05.  The proposal passed the Utah State Legislature and now will make its way to Governor Gary Herbert, who has indicated he supports the bill.

According to the Chicago Tribune, if Governor Herbert signs the bill, the law will go into effect on December 30, 2018, the day before New Year’s Eve.  It would mark the lowest blood alcohol level in the country.

The bill was originally proposed by Rep. Normal Thurston. The measure passed the Utah Senate with a 19-11 vote. Lawmakers are split on the decision along with those in the adult beverage industry.

On one hand, some command Utah for taking steps to improve safety when it comes to driving under the influence. However, others find the bill unnecessary. Sarah Longwell of the American Beverage Institute pointed to drunk driving fatality statistics, stating:

“Over 77% of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in Utah are caused by people with [blood alcohol levels] of .15 and above.”

Furthermore, Longwell added that the average blood alcohol level in a fatal car accident tends to be 0.20—more than twice the current legal limit of 0.08. Looking at the stats, one could ponder if a law like this is even necessary. However, lawmakers praise the bill saying it corresponds to laws around the world in Southeast Asia to Europe.

While it might be the first in the United States, it is far from uncommon in other areas. Utah plans to lead the country in lowering the legal limit. A similar proposal failed in Hawaii, while another bill is currently receiving consideration in Washington.

Still, the other argument states that Utah has no need for a bill like this. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Utah already has lower drunk-driving statistics than most U.S. states. Between 2003 and 2012, 469 people have been killed in drunk driving accidents, and 0.7 percent of Utah residents complained of drinking too much compared to a national average of 1.9% of people.

The National Transportation Board (NTB) and other public health experts have agreed that all states should adopt 0.05% as the standard alcohol level. Deborah Hersman, Chairwoman of the NTB, said to the New York Times in 2013, that “there are at least 10,000 reasons to tackle the issue,” such as “the annual average of 10,000 drunk driving fatalities nationally.”

What are your thoughts on the decrease?

Driving under the influence is never a good idea; however, this clearly is a controversial and complex problem. Surprisingly, Mothers Against Drunk Driving founder Candace Lightner does not believe the drinking limit should lower. Lightner led the successful national campaign in the 80s to crack down on drunk driving. Yet, she does not support the proposal.

“I don’t believe it is a practical long-term solution,” Lightner told U.S. News. “You could go to 0.0 and that would save lives. You could go to a 40 mph speed limit and that would save lives, but you have to look at what’s realistic.”

“Running around trying to arrest everyone at .05 is impractical,” Lightner says.

She believes it is already difficult for police and prosecutors to take action at 0.08, better yet 0.05 percent. Many drivers at those limits are easily able to pass a field sobriety test.

Now, that you have heard all the sides to this issue, what are your thoughts? Should the legal drinking limit change? If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free.

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$25 Million Gift to Boston Medical Center Will Fund Opioid Center

$25 Million Gift to Boston Medical Center Will Fund Opioid Center

Author: Shernide Delva

Boston Medical Center just received $25 million, the largest donation in its history, and plans to use the money to fight the public health crisis caused by drug addiction and the opioid epidemic. The money will fund the Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine funded by the billionaire investor John Grayken.

The Grayken Center for Addiction medicine is named after billionaire investor and south shore native John Grayken and his wife, Eilene. The couple said they wanted to go public with their donation in an effort to destigmatize addiction and encourage others to follow their lead. Sadly, there is a lot of shame and stigma associated with drug abuse.

“We have not seen private philanthropy in the addiction space to the extent we see it in other areas of health care, like cancer,” said Michael Botticelli, who worked closely with BMC in his former roles as White House drug czar and head of the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Abuse Services.

“There’s an idea that people with substance-abuse disorders are somehow less deserving of care and treatment and compassion . . . and issues of addiction can be seen as unpopular programs for unpopular people,” he added. “So this family’s donation is particularly important because they want to be open about who they are to spur other philanthropy in this space.”

Boston Medical Center president and chief executive Kate Walsh called the couple’s gift a major game changer for philanthropy in Boston “because it brings addiction medicine out of the philanthropic shadows.”

Last year, the CDC estimated that there were 33,000 overdose deaths in the country. The state of Massachusetts was not spared. Public health officials say that nearly 2,000 deaths in the state were attributed to opioid overdoses, five times more than in car crashes.

Opioids like heroin and prescription painkillers, fentanyl and oxycodone are responsible for most overdoses. Another 20 million people in the United States suffer from drug abuse or addiction, according to federal data.

“This is a public health crisis, and it’s heartbreaking,” said Walsh. “Kids and parents are struggling with this, and so many people have been in recovery and relapsed.”

In fact, opioid abuse is so prevalent that the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program opened a room last year in which drug users could use under medical supervision. The aim was more harm prevention to offset a number of overdose deaths in the state.

Walsh said she “hadn’t even fantasized” about a gift as large as the Graykens’ and the BMC projected it would take at least 15 million to endow an addiction medicine center.

“So when the $25 million figure came through, I literally gave what I’m sure was not a very attractive happy dance!” Walsh recalled. “I hope I’m not on somebody’s videotape, but it was so enormously gratifying.”

Before this donation, the largest contribution to the hospital was two $15 million donations. Those funds went to separate facility. The BMC is a facility where more than half its patients are low-income and is reliant on government subsidies. Because the hospital deals with more low-income patients, those patients are not likely to make later contributions to express their appreciation. It is not due to patients lacking gratitude; they simply lack the funds to donate after treatment like in other hospitals.

The funds from the Graykens will help tremendously with building the addiction treatment facility at the Boston Medical Center. In addition, the fact that the donation is public sends the message to how serious addiction is and how addiction should never be stigmatized. Furthermore, if you are struggling with addiction or mental illness, know you are not alone. Call now.

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TV Star Craig Ferguson Reflects on 25 Years Sober

 

TV Star Craig Ferguson Reflects on 25 Years Sober

Author: Shernide Delva

TV star Craig Ferguson recently celebrated 25 years of sobriety on February 18, 2017. He tweeted to his followers about his major milestone.

He said: “I’m 25 years sober and anyone who knew me back then would tell you how impossible that is. Thanks for the miracle.”

Craig Ferguson became a household name as the presenter of the Late Late Show which since has been taken over by James Corden.

In an interview, he acknowledged the start of his recovery journey:

“I got sober. I stopped killing myself with alcohol. I began to think: ‘Wait a minute – if I can stop doing this, what are the possibilities?’ And slowly it dawned on me that it was maybe worth the risk.”

During his years on the Late Late Show, Ferguson regularly discussed his days in active addiction in a humorous and commendable way.

For example, in 2007, when pop star Britney Spears was struggling with her own personal issues, Ferguson was one of the only late night hosts to not poke fun at her. That year, Spears was caught shaving her head and getting lips tattooed on her wrist. In case you do not remember, the media went berserk. Shortly after, Spears was checked into rehabilitation. At the time, Ferguson felt it was wrong to joke at another person’s expense.

“Now I’m not saying Britney is alcoholic, I don’t know what she is — alcoholic or not — but she clearly needs help,” he said.

Reflecting on Sobriety

In an interview to Times magazine in 2009, Ferguson explained that even if he was not an alcoholic, he would not drink. The concept of drinking without getting drunk simply does not interest him.

“The idea of having one or two drinks bores the ass out of me. If I’m going to drink, I’m going to do it to get drunk. If I’m not going to get drunk, I’m just not going to drink. It’s hard to explain. That isn’t necessarily what alcoholism is, I just tried to explain it as it manifested itself in me.”

Right getting sober, Ferguson admits alcohol saved him from committing suicide. In one of his most famous monologues, Ferguson talks about a weekend “all-night bender” that shifted the direction of his life. He woke up on Christmas morning covered in his own (or someone else’s) urine and miserable.

That morning, he decided he would commit suicide by swine-diving over the tower bridge in London.  He decided to stop by his favorite bar and that was when his bartender Tommy offered him a glass of cherry. One thing led to another and Ferguson says he forgot to kill himself that day.

“Here’s the important point: the alcohol saved my life. I was self-medicating. I’m an alcoholic.  I needed alcohol. I needed something…” he said.

After that day, he continued drinking heavily doing stand-ups and continuing his binge-drinking ways. Finally, on February 18, 1992, he called his sober friend seeking help and that friend helped him go to rehab.  After his 28 day stint in rehab, Ferguson says the work had just begun.

“I don’t have a drinking problem. I have a thinking problem.”

Ferguson finally understood his alcoholism and accepted that, for the rest of his life, he would have to stay sober.

“Certain types of people can’t drink. I’m one of them,” he said.

In the 2007 monologue, Ferguson concluded that the best way he copes with his alcoholism is through reaching out to others who have had similar experiences.

“I have found that the only way I can deal with [alcoholism] is to find other people who have similar experiences and talk to them. It doesn’t cost anything. And they’re very easy to find. They’re very near the front of the telephone book. Good luck,”  he said.

Now 25 years sober, Ferguson remains grateful for each day.

Ferguson’s Upbringing

Growing up, Craig Ferguson did not have the easiest childhood.  Born in 1962, he had the kind of dark childhood that often leads many to a career in comedy. He was chubby and bullied and he lived in Cumbernauld, 15 miles outside Glasgow.  Ferguson notes that his town was named the ­second-worst town in the United Kingdom, an appraisal he finds excessively flattering

Then, during a punk phase in the 80s, he played drums in a band called the Dreamboys. His band-mate, actor Peter Capaldi, convinced him to try comedy. He wrote about all of this in his memoir American on Purpose.

“Peter was the first person who told me that being funny was a gift and, when done well, was an art form,” he writes. “Up until this point, I had learned that being funny, particularly in school, was stupid and could get you physically injured.”

After a few false starts, Ferguson went back to the drawing board, inventing a character to play at a show in Glasgow. He decided to parody all the native über-patriot folk singers in Scotland and the act stuck. From that point, Ferguson was on his way.

Yet, as his career and comedy continued to climb, Ferguson’s alcoholism continued to drag him down. Ferguson spent his spare time draining himself with too many pints of alcohol. Finally, on that fateful day in 1992, Ferguson made the decision to get sober. That was just the beginning, and 25 years later, he understands his disease more than ever.

“I have an addictive personality,” he notes. “I’ll try anything a hundred times just to make sure I don’t like it.”

—-

Overall, Craig Ferguson exemplifies why one should never give up on their sobriety. Regardless of how deep into your addiction you believe you are, it is never too late to reach out for help. Do not wait. Call now.

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Men’s Mental Health is A Silent Crisis

Men's Mental Health is A Silent Crisis

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

Author: Shernide Delva

The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of the world but those who fight and win battles that others do not know anything about.
–Jonathan Harnisch

Mental health stigmas prevent those struggling with mental illness from seeking treatment. There have been significant strides to reduce the stigmas surrounding mental illness. Yet, when it comes to men, mental illness is often overlooked. Numerous researchers have stated that there is a silent crisis in men’s mental health. More awareness is needed specifically for men to reduce mental health stigmas.

Men struggle with seeking help for their mental illnesses because of the stereotypes and stigmas involved. Men have elevated rates of suicide and substance abuse, as well as low rates of mental health service use.  Mental health is a serious priority and there are reasons why men, specifically need to be motivated to seek treatment.

 3 Reasons Why Men’s Mental Health is a Silent Crisis

  1. Suicide:
    Men make up over 75 percent of suicide victims in the United States. Every 20 minutes, a man dies from suicide. Men living in rural areas and small towns are at a higher risk of suicide. States like Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico and Utah have the highest rates of suicide in the country. Alaska also has very high rates. The reason for this varies and has been attributed to various factors. One factor is the massive decline in employment in areas like manufacturing, forestry, and fisheries, leaving large amounts of men under-employed or unemployed in certain regions.A common reasoning behind this may be due to rejection from mainstream society, leading to strong feelings of alienation and isolation.
  2. Substance Abuse:
    Substance use disorder is high among man. Men have a rate of 3 to 1 when it comes to substance use compared to a woman. Substance abuse is sometimes referred to as “slow-motion suicide.” It often ends in premature death if left untreated. A variety of genetic and environmental components can result in substance abuse. High rates of substance abuse occur in certain sub-groups, including veterans, which are predominately men. Therefore, men need interventions in this area.
  3. Lack of Mental Health Service Utilization:
    Research reveals that men are less likely to access mental health resources compared to a woman. This is especially true among Black, Latino, and Asian men, who have lower utilization rates than white men, as well as women in general.Another explanation is that mental health services are catered more towards women and do not attune to men’s needs, especially minority men. Research shows that men prefer action over words in the midst of stressful circumstances. This could explain the popularity of interventions where men get together for physical activities while engaging with each other in the process.

What Can Be Done to Improve Men’s Mental Health?

Men’s mental health should be recognized as a social issue as much as a health issue. There are a variety of factors such as unemployment and familial disruptions that affect mental health. Secondly, there should be more options in the system with male-tailored options that respond to men’s unique needs.

Men tend to shy away from seeking mental health treatments due to the stigmas associated with it. It is important that more resources are available that appeal to men. Men have alarming rates of suicide, substance abuse, and other mental illnesses.

If you or someone is struggling with mental health or substance use disorder, please reach out for help. Do not let the stigmas behind your condition get in the way of you seeking treatment. We have professionals waiting to get you on the right track. Do not wait. Call now.

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