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Dave Grohl Discusses Cornell, Bennington and Mental Health Stigmas

Dave Grohl Discusses Cornell, Bennington and Mental Health Stigmas

Author: Shernide Delva 

If there’s anyone who understands the shock of losing a bandmate to suicide, it’s Dave Grohl. Back in 1994, Nirvana’s lead singer Kurt Cobain took his own life in his Seattle home. At the time Grohl was the drummer in the band.

Now, Grohl, lead singer and founder of the band Foo Fighters, is opening up about the untimely death of his musical peers Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) and Chris Cornell (Soundgarden). Grohl says there is a real need for mental health awareness.

Grohl is not the first to speak out. After the tragic death of Bennington and Cornell, fellow musicians from bands like Slipknot, Creed and Limp Bizkit expressed the importance of addressing mental health and the need to reduce the stigma.

Grohl’s explained in a recent interview the difficulty of losing a friend through mental illness.

“When it comes to someone like Chris Cornell or Chester, depression is a disease, and everybody kind of goes through it their own way,” Grohl stated in an interview with New Zealand’s RockFM. “I can’t speak for anybody else’s condition, but the hardest part is when you lose a friend. And I just always immediately think of their families, their bandmates, ’cause going through something like suicide, it’s a long road. And Chris was such a beautiful guy, man—he was the sweetest person, he was so talented, he had so much to offer—that it was a real shock to hear that he had gone.”

“I think that mental health and depression is something that people should really take seriously,” Grohl continued. “And there’s a stigma attached to it, which is unfortunate, because just as you take care of yourselves in every other way, I think it’s important that people really try to take care of themselves in that way too. And it ain’t easy. You know, life’s hard.”

Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins weighed in on the discussion:

“Like [Dave] said, people [think], ‘You’ve got it so together.’ It just goes to show you, it doesn’t matter what’s in your bank account, or how many hits are on your YouTube page, or all that kind of crap—it all goes out the window if, like Dave said, you’re not feeling right.”

Hawkins elaborated,

“[Soundgarden] were a big inspiration for us as musicians, and Chris Cornell was just the master. So the loss, it’s a bummer, but, like Dave said, that’s a real thing. Look after yourselves, and if it looks like someone’s down, way down, check on ’em.”

Mental Health and Suicide Awareness:

Despite the recent deaths of Bennington and Cornell, there still remains a stigma behind mental illness. The reasons behind suicides remain misunderstood. The stigma of mental illness was evident after these recent deaths. Many people used words like “selfish” to describe these acts.

The reality is depression is a complex disease. Depression is a mental illness that requires treatment. Without treatment, the condition only worsens.

Signs of Depression Include:

  • Hopelessness
  • Helpless
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Guilt
  • Worthlessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyed activities
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in Eating Patterns
  • Weight changes
  • Thoughts of death

September is National Recovery Month. Recovery includes both substance use disorder and mental illness. It is important that public figures like Dave Grohl are speaking out about this. Recovery IS possible. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Rapper DMX Reportedly In New Hampshire For Drug Treatment

Rapper DMX Reportedly In New Hampshire For Drug Treatment

Author: Shernide Delva

A few weeks ago, my sister told me about an upcoming concert that would celebrate popular acts such as DMX and several others. The event was called the “Ruff Ryders and Friends – Reunion Tour – Past, Present and Future” and would be in Miami on September 7th.

Tickets were cheap so I figured why not. I opened my computer and prepared to purchase the tickets for the show until I read the letters in red: “Canceled.” This was certainly not what I had hoped for.

Why did the show get canceled? 

In fact, why did the entire tour get canceled?  I could not believe my eyes as I glanced over the list of cancellations. Cancelling an entire tour is practically unheard of. What happened? Sadly, the answer involves drug addiction.

After some careful searching, I discovered a TMZ article which reported back in April that DMX had to cancel his shows due to an “unspecified medical issue.” Sources at a Los Angeles show state the rapper had been drinking heavily.

His history with substance abuse is not anything surprising. In the past, the rapper was open about his journey to addiction recovery. Therefore, when news of his drinking spread, relapse concerns heightened.

It turns out  DMX has reportedly sought treatment for drug addiction. Addiction treatment reports surfaced a couple weeks after the rapper was put on house arrest for violating bail conditions.

According to speculations, the 46-year old is undergoing treatment in the Nashua, New Hampshire area or is living in a sober home. The Nashua Telegraph reported that DMX, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was spotted at a local Buffalo Wild Wings, a Shaw’s supermarket, and a Walmart.

Legal Troubles

Along with addiction troubles, Simmons is facing charges that he allegedly owes $1.7 million in back taxes dating back to 2000. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges and was freed on $500,000 bail, according to Billboard. Still, while he was on bail, the rapper failed drug test four times. These test found cocaine, opiates, and pot in his system. Because of these results, Manhattan Federal Judge Jed Rakoff put him under house confinement on August 11.

During the hearing, the judge stated that Simmons had violated bail “probably more times than I can remember,” according to Court House News. He chose not to send the rapper to jail, although he described Simmons’s drug addiction as “gross.” He said that his past run-ins with the law exemplified that he’s had “more than a passing acquaintance with illegal drugs.”

After that hearing, DMX told a reporter, “When God is for you, who can be against you?”

The judge reportedly lifted Simmons’s house arrest on the condition that he enter a sober program and travel with a sober coach around the clock. According to court documents reviewed by TMZ, the rapper would need permission to leave New York State.

According to his lawyer Murray Richman, the rapper has decided to go to rehab on his own.

“This is a voluntary move on his part,” Richman said.

It is clear that DMX has struggled on and off with drug addiction. We wish him the best as he seeks a life free from the grips of substance abuse. Recovery is possible, and it is the answer out of this cycle. If you are struggling with drugs or alcohol dependency, please call now. We are here to help. Do not wait.  

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

5 Ways to Make Friends Other Than Going to Meetings

5 Ways to Make Friends Other Than Going to Meetings

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

Author: Shernide Delva

The early stages of recovery can be a tumultuous time. After all, you are entering a new way of living.  One challenge those in recovery face is making new friends. Sometimes the only friends a person has are the friends they used drugs with. Those friends are certainly not ideal.

The first advice most people offer is to find friends in 12-step meetings.  While fellowships like A.A. and N.A are great places to meet people, one should not be limited to meetings to make new friends.

There are hosts of places where sober people can socialize and meet well-rounded people.  Making friends as an adult is challenging, and sobriety intensifies that challenge. However, there is hope.

Other than 12-step meetings, there are a plethora of resources available to make new friends. You do not have to go bar hopping to meet friends like you used to.

Here are five ways to make new friends in sobriety other than meetings: 

  1. Check Out Local Meetups.

    Meetup.com is a great way to track people who are interested in similar things as you. You can find people to play ultimate Frisbee on a weekly basis, or you can find an art group. There are so many sober activities on Meetup. Nowadays, there is an increasing trend of individuals trying to find activities to do that do not include drinking. Take advantage of this.
    Meetups are run by independent organizers, and they range tremendously. Everyone can find something they are interested in on Meetup. If you do not find something that interests you, then create your own Meetup! You’ll be surprised by who could possibly show up, and it’s a great way to develop your leadership skills.

  2. Go to the Gym.

    It can be difficult to work out, especially in early recovery, but going to the gym is a great way to make new friends. Fitness classes and exercise groups are great ways to make friends with people who care about their health. Even if they are not sober, people who workout are usually more conscious of what they put in their bodies.  Plus, working out is good for you, so it is a win-win.

  3. Reconnect with existing friends.

    Another way to make friends is to connect to people you already know. For example, if you are in a new area, ask around and see if there are friends-of-friends around that you can connect with. Contact your existing friends and see if they know anyone that they can introduce you to. Maybe one of your friends knows someone in your area who loves art or writing as much as you do. Network and build your circle using these types of strategies.

  4. Tap into your Facebook Network.

    Facebook has nearly 2 billion active users, and it has the tools to help you connect with tons of potential friends. There are a variety of groups you can join on Facebook to meet people with similar interests. For example, there are travel groups with hundreds of thousands of members in them.  People connect through groups like this all of the time. Join Facebook groups based on your interests and track people in your area to connect with. Like any scenario, be safe and always meet in a public place.

  5. Socialize More.

    If you are an introvert, it can be difficult to open yourself up while doing day to day activities. However, this is an excellent way to meet new people. Whether you are running errands or going to work, everyday ventures are an opportunity to connect with people. The more you talk to people, the more people you will meet. I hate small talk as much as the next guy, but I have to admit, those who do more of it reap the benefits of having more connections with people.
    You can meet people while shopping for a new blouse or getting your hair washed. Put yourself out there and open yourself to new friendships. You’ll be surprised at the results!

Overall, recovery is a great time of reinvention and with the reinvention comes the opportunity to build your social network. Creating a solid group of friends is an excellent way to maintain your sobriety. You will begin to learn a variety of ways to have fun without the use of drugs and alcohol.  You do not have to meet friends only in meetings. The world is your oyster.  If you are currently struggling with substance abuse, call now. Do not wait.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Experts Say an Opioid Vaccine Is Far from Becoming Reality

Experts Say an Opioid Vaccine Is Far From Becoming Reality

Author: Shernide Delva

In the past, we’ve talked about the potential of opioid vaccines. These vaccines could have a major impact on lowering a number of opioid overdose deaths. They could completely shift the direction of how we treat opioid addiction. However, is the future of opioids imminent or far, far away?

Sadly, it will be a long time before we see opioid vaccines available for widespread use. Experts all agree that although the future of opioid vaccines looks bright, the process of getting a drug into the market is a lengthy one and we should not hold our breath just yet.

Recently, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price mentioned opioid vaccines as an exciting new development in the war against opioid abuse.

“One of the exciting things that they’re actually working on is a vaccine for addiction, which is incredibly exciting,” Price said during a briefing about the drug epidemic.

However, experts say it won’t be made public for years… if ever.

The process of a drug going from the research phase to the production phase is a long, tedious process. Opioid addiction vaccines have not even begun human trials yet. Researchers would have to put drugs through phase one, two and three trials before submitting them for approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), given that the trials are successful.

“He may be a physician, but he’s not terribly well-informed about addictions,” said Dr. Thomas R. Kosten, a psychiatry professor at the Baylor College of Medicine with a concentration in addiction vaccines. “I can’t imagine the vaccine would be on the market before the Trump administration is over.”

Dr. Kosten knows all about vaccines. He worked on cocaine vaccines for 16 years before deciding that it “just didn’t work well enough” to continue. Today, he is working on a vaccine for fentanyl, an opioid painkiller up to 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl has been a major culprit for overdose deaths in the current opioid epidemic.

Those who previously used painkillers turn to heroin due to the lower price and easier access. Unfortunately, often heroin is not just heroin and instead is laced with powerful painkillers like fentanyl which make a user much more susceptible to an overdose.

Dr. Kosten hopes his work on the vaccine will pan out, but he wants to ensure people are not holding their breath. These things take time.

“There are no opiate vaccines that have been in people at this point,” said Dr. Kosten.

Even if the vaccine passes trials and goes into full-scale production, it would only be used therapeutically, not as a preventative measure.

“The purpose is not to “mass-immunize a whole bunch of kids,” Dr. Kosten said. “That’s not at all what they’re designed for.”

For now, the vaccine is proving to be effective in animal testing. However, this is not necessarily good news.

“Sometimes, the translation from animals is not necessarily the same in humans. So we have to do the human studies,” said Dr. Ivan Montoya of NIDA’s Division of Therapeutics and Medical Consequences.

The goal of the vaccine is to allow the body’s own immune system to combat opioids before they can reach the brain and take effect.

“We don’t have to modify the brain to produce the effect,” said Dr. Montoya. “You take advantage of your own immune system and prevent access of the drug to the brain.”

In the future, Dr. Montoya hopes to come up with a vaccine that can block the effects of a wide range of opioids including fentanyl, heroin, and OxyContin.

While the prospect of opioid vaccines sounds promising, we are still far away from this becoming a reality. Therefore, stating vaccines as an exciting solution to the opioid epidemic is a bit of a stretch for now. Instead, the focus should be placed on increasing access to treatment. With the right program, recovery is possible. If you are struggling with substance abuse, call now. Do not wait.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

1 Out of 12 Doctors Get Incentives from Opioid Makers

1 Out of 12 Doctors Get Goodies from Opioid Makers

Author: Shernide Delva

Free lunches?

Airfare?

Complementary drinks?

These are just a few of the incentives doctors have received from prescription opioid companies. Did these goodies get you your last opioid prescription?

Could incentives be responsible for our current opioid epidemic?

That’s exactly what researchers set out to understand.

A recent report confirmed what many have suspected: doctors are receiving incentives from major opioid makers. In fact, one out of every 12 U.S doctors gets money, lunch or something else of value from companies that make opioid drugs, the study concluded.

Furthermore, companies are spending more time and effort marketing opioids to doctors than they are other less addictive painkillers. These finding will help understand why doctors have played such a major role in the opioid addiction crisis.

“A large proportion of physicians received payments — one in 12 physicians overall,” said Dr. Scott Hadland of the Boston Medical Center. “Tens of millions of dollars were transferred for marketing purposes for opioids.”

Dr. Hadland and colleagues went through databases from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal government office that oversees public health insurance.

The 2010 Affordable Care Act includes the Physicians Payments Sunshine Act. This act required medical product makers to report any offerings or goodies made to doctors or to teaching hospitals. However, incentives are often disguised as something else.

“In some cases, they are money provided directly to physicians — for example, the speaking fees, the consultant fees and the honoraria. In other cases it is reimbursement for things like travel,” Hadland said.

On average, doctors get a single “payment,” usually a mean worth of $15 about once a year. Still, there are a select few doctors that are reaping the most benefits.

“The top 1 percent of physicians (681 of them) received 82.5 percent of total payments in dollars,” the team wrote in their report, published in the American Journal of Public Health.

These incentives could influence doctors to prescribe opioids to their patients:

“One of the main drivers of the epidemic has been the vast overprescribing of prescription pain medications,” the study notes.

Between 2013 and 2015, the team found 375,266 payments totaling 26 million distributed to more than 68,000 doctors.

While larger fees mostly accounted for speaker fees, more leisurely incentives like food and drink accounted for 94 percent of the payments.

“I do think the practice is exceedingly common. Increasingly, medical schools are restricting the ability of pharma companies to come to speak to medical students and even faculty,” Hadland said.

So what?

With all this said, do small incentives really make a difference? After all, can a doctor really be bought for the price of a boxed lunch?

The research indicates that, yes, these little goodies do influence prescribing. Last year, a study revealed that physicians who accepted even one meal by a drug company were more likely to prescribe a name-brand drug to patients later.

This is not the first time investigations were conducted on possible incentives. After earlier controversies and studies, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America issued a voluntary code of conduct to curb the once widespread practice of handing out free mugs, prescription pads, and other swag covered in drug brand names.

Some cities and states especially hit by the opioid abuse epidemic have even sued drug makers saying their practices have helped fuel the problem. The CDC states doctors have contributed to the addiction crisis by prescribing opioids to too many patients. These prescriptions are often prescribed at high doses for too long which only increases the vulnerability to addiction.

The result is deadly.

There were more than 30,000 fatalities in the United States in 2015, the federal government said.

“I think that first and foremost we have known that one of the main drivers of the epidemic has been the vast overprescribing of prescription pain medications,” said Michael Botticelli, former director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and now executive director of the Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine at the Boston Medical Center.

According to Botticelli, the answer is independent education, free of the need to promote a specific product.

“At the federal and state level (we may need to) move toward mandatory prescriber education to counteract industry’s influence over prescribing behavior,” he said. “Clearly, guidelines are not enough.”

For a long time, prescribing opioids was one of the first responses to pain management. Now other alternatives are being promoted such as pain management devices and holistic alternatives.

Botticelli agrees that while pain is a major problem, the answer is not more opioids.

“Yes, we want to make sure people’s pain is appropriately treated, but we know that longer and higher doses have significantly added to the addiction problem that we have in the United States,” he continued.

What are your thoughts? Did you know about these incentives? More studies are coming out revealing the back story to what led to the prescription opioid epidemic.

Opioid addiction has become a public health crisis. Now, more than ever is the time to seek treatment. Recovery is possible. You do not have to feel out of control. There is a solution.  If you are struggling with substance abuse, call now. Do not wait. 

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

 

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