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Author: Shernide Delva
Gambling can stimulate the brain’s rewards system much like drugs and alcohol can. Gambling addiction is a serious condition that can destroy lives. When gambling becomes addictive, it means you are willing to risk something in order to get something of even greater value. Sometimes this can mean straining relationships you have with your family and friends in order to satisfy the urge to gamble.
There is a state having a huge issue with gambling addiction and this time, it isn’t Nevada. The tiny state of Maryland is home to one of the largest concentrated casino markets in the country. As gambling addiction continues to rise, few treatment centers options are available for resident causing their addiction to get worse.
In 2009, a state survey revealed that an estimated 150,000 residents suffer from moderate to severe gambling addiction. The state’s toll-free hotline for problem gambling has taken 619 calls in the past year from people struggling with compulsive gambling up. This number is up from 431 two years prior. Police were called on four different occasions on account of children and seniors being left unattended in cars while their parents or caregivers were inside gambling.
Clearly, the issue is increasing in severity every day. Over 893 problem gamblers, desperate to free themselves of their addiction, legally banned themselves from entering a casino through the state’s Voluntary Exclusion program. Casinos reported 37 people who were unable to follow through with the ban.
Unfortunately, there are no treatment options in Maryland to address gambling addiction. To make matters worse, most of these problem gamblers do not have health insurance or access to funds to cover private addiction treatment. The funds they could have used were gambled all away.
“When gamblers reach out to us, they’re in crisis … it’s out of control, they don’t have any money,” said Deborah Haskins, president of the Maryland Council on Problem Gambling. “When the person doesn’t have treatment as an option, it’s like you’re putting a brick wall in front of them. You’re commending them for taking the first steps, but then you have nothing else to provide them. It’s very frustrating.”
Each year, casinos in Maryland are required to contribute to the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene that addresses problem gambling. The casino’s pay $425 per slot machine and $500 per table game each year. The funds only came to only $4 million last fiscal year. Most of the money ended up going to the Maryland Center of Excellence on Problem Gambling. The program focuses on increasing the amount of gambling addiction counselors and running the addiction hotline, among other services, but it’s not used for actual treatment
Vegas Came To Maryland
So I’m writing this wondering how a state like Maryland ended up so massive on the casino bandwagon. Five years ago, Maryland had just opened its first casino. Since then, four more have debuted and a giant $1.3 billion resort casino, MGM National Harbor, is set to open next year.
From a financial standpoint, Maryland is cashing in big time. The state took in $1 billion in the last fiscal year. Out of that money, the state’s cut was $487 million and $388 was used for Maryland’s Education Trust Funds.
It’s clear the state made a worthwhile financial investment but the consequences for addiction are all too real. Gambling is one of the most deceptive of all human vices. It presents the illusion of easy money but can quickly lead into financial ruin. The odds are never in your favor when the purpose of the system is to make a profit.
As a result of the financial stress gambling addiction results in, often gamblers turn to drugs, alcohol and other addictive behavior to alleviate the anxiety brought on by the gambling lifestyle. They may struggle with drug and alcohol addiction for the rest of their life after years of self-medicating to deal with the stress. The stress of it call can result in strained relationships and isolation.
Maryland’s economy continues to thrive from the casino industry however compulsive gamblers have to deal with the consequences of their actions. These consequences include everything from home foreclosure and bankruptcies to domestic abuse, robberies and embezzlement.
Gambling in America costs the United States between $32.4 billion to $53.8 billion per year. The long term costs outweigh the economic benefits by a greater than 3:1 ration. Maryland has a choice to progress toward providing treatment and solutions to the gambling addiction crisis before it gets out of control. The consequences could overpower the risks.
If you feel you are starting to develop an addiction to gambling, seek help before the addiction takes control of your life. Luckily, there is help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
It’s hard to imagine running an entire country but being inebriated while doing it? For a few presidents, this was a daily reality.
Looking back, a lot of our presidents were huge drinkers and by today’s standards, many of our former presidents would have even qualified as alcoholics.
“Being president is a high pressure job, and it’s a surprise anyone gets out of there alive, much less sober,” says journalist Brian Abrams, author of the book Party like a President: True Tales of Inebriation, Lechery and Mischief in the Oval Office.
Even a close look at America’s most celebrated moments will reveal alcohol playing some kind of role. When the Mayflower carried the pilgrims to Plymouth, she carried several barrels of beer along with her.
In some of the earlier presidential terms, alcohol was looked at much differently than it is today. Back then, there was really nothing exceptional about our founding fathers beginning the day with a beer.
Let’s take a trip through time. Here are 10 presidents, in chronological order, who had quite a liking for liquor:
1. George Washington (1789–1797)
Throughout the Revolutionary War, Washington made sure his men were given one cup of rum each day.
He also was a huge fan of wine, especially French wine. In fact, when the colonists desperately needed the French to help them fight the British, Washington would exchange letters with French generals discussing their favorite wines.
2. John Adams (1797 – 1801)
When John Adams got into Harvard at age 15, he was already regularly drinking beer for breakfast. According to reports, John Adams drank a tankard, or 20 ounces, of hard cider for breakfast each morning!
John Adams was a drinker from the beginning. He actually started drinking at the tender age of eight and went on until his death…at age 90.
3. Martin van Buren (1837-1841)
Buren was one of those high functioning alcoholics. He could drink for days and not show any signs of being intoxicated. It was to the point that his friends gave him the nickname “Blue Whiskey Van.”
In 1840, William Henry Harrison’s campaign painted Van Buren as an alcoholic which contributed to him losing the election.
4. Franklin Pierce (1853 – 1857)
When the Democratic party decided not to re-nominate Pierce after his first term in office, he told reporters,
“There’s nothing left but to get drunk.”
Franklin Pierce might have been America’s MOST
alcoholic president. He drank hard for his entire adult life and kept going right on through the end of his presidency.
5. James Buchanan (1857 – 1861)
This president’s ENTIRE life centered on drinking.
One report has it that Buchanan flipped when he found out the white house would only be stocked with small bottles of champagne.
That’s why every Sunday, he’d go to a distillery and pick up a 10 GALLON jug of whiskey. According to reporters, he’d drink cognac and up to two BOTTLES of other alcohol every night.
If you’re thinking he was a drunken mess 24/7… not really. This president also knew how to hold his liquor.
He remained calm and cautious on the outside so most people around him did not know he was drunk. On the inside though, his body was suffering.
Soon his immune system was so weakened by such high alcohol consumption, he developed serious stomach issues like inflammation of his intestines on several occasions.
6. Ulysses S. Grant (1869–1877)
Famous General Ulysses S. Grant drank a staggering amount of Old Crow whiskey throughout the war. While many were shocked at his constant inebriated state, he went on to become one of the most celebrated generals of the war and was twice elected as president.
Grant has the biggest drinking reputation of any U.S. president. One report stated that during Civil War battles “he’d just sit there, drinking, all day long.”
Grant had attempted to gain sobriety many times and wanted to control his drinking. Time and time again though, Grant returned back to the booze.
Fun Fact: When Ulysses S. Grant was on his death bed he passed out and a doctor was able to revive him and give him a couple of extra minutes of life…by giving him brandy.
7. Chester A. Arthur (1881–1885)
Talk about beer belly…
As president, Arthur put on close to 40 pounds in office. A lot of this was due to constant drinking and having friends come over to drink on a nightly basis. Arthur was quite a social butterfly.
Sadly, it caught up to him and it is believed that his heavy drinking caused Arthur’s kidney failure and death at 57 years old.
8. Richard Nixon (1969 – 1974)
Unlike most presidents on this lists, the case of Nixon is a considerably darker one.
In the book, One Man Against The World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon, journalist Tim Weiner paints a picture of the 37th president as a paranoid madman, driven to shameful behavior through crippling addiction and mental collapse.
Evidence for his behavior come from newly released recordings from the Nixon administration.
In the book Weiner reports:
• Nixon had been up all night drinking when he accepted defeat in his 1960 bid for the presidency, delivering his infamous line, “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore,” to reporters.
• By 1968, his close adviser John Ehrlichman was ready to call it quits over Nixon’s drinking.
“He was convinced that Nixon’s drinking could cost him any chance of a return to public life,” Weiner writes. “He had seen Nixon drunk during the 1960 and 1962 campaigns and the 1964 Republican convention, and he made him take the pledge: ‘If he wanted me to work for him he would lay off the booze.’”
• During Watergate, Nixon took Seconal, a barbiturate
, as a sleep-aid, and Dilantin, a drug that leveled you out and was later diagnosed to people with bipolar disorder
. Because he would combine the drugs with alcohol, it heightened the effects.
“It wasn’t so much that he was a huge drinker, but one scotch with the pills would mess him up. He’d drunk dial people in his cabinet, his staff, or his old football coach, who would listen to Nixon until he’d mumble himself to sleep.”
• According to Weiner, Nixon’s constant insomnia and drinking fueled his aggression in the war in Vietnam.
9. George W. Bush (2001-2009)
Bush was quite the party guy in college and engaged in fraternity parties, secret societies and football weekends during his Yale days.
According to some sources, Bush spent much of his time at Yale and a portion of his adult life as an on and off again alcoholic. Bush was arrested for driving under the influence in the ‘70s. The revelation of Bush’s criminal record did not cost him the presidency.
By all accounts, George W. Bush remained sober throughout his presidency, and continues to abstain from alcohol to this day.
10. Barrack Obama (2009-Present)
Obama has admitted to smoking cigarettes, pot and heavily drinking in his youth. Although Obama has put his past behind him, he has a way of keeping the tradition of alcohol and presidency alive.
The famous “beer summit” where race relations were discussed in the Rose Garden or when he smoothed over a phone tapping scandal with a beer alongside the German Prime Ministered.
Obama puts out a message of casual down-home drinking and no gossip about overindulgence has emerged involving the current president.
While some presidents have worked to ban alcohol, others have worked to drink as much as possible. Others, like Obama, encourage the social aspects of the occasional drink in moderation. Overall though, alcohol has been a part of American history just as much as anything.
We as a society have learned that excess booze will kill your body and wreak havoc on your emotions. It’s always interesting to look back at previous presidents lives and find out how they handled drinking. Being a president is a high stress position but of course abusing alcohol is never a healthy way of coping with stress and emotions. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Take a moment of silence and consider the facts. It’s not unlikely that right now somewhere someone is dying from a drug overdose.
In all reality, several people just like you and me will die today overdosing.
Drug overdose deaths have continued to scar our country at increasingly distressing rates. According to the most recent reports drug overdose death rates have increased in 26 states and Washington, D.C. as overdoses continue to outpace car crashes as the leading cause of injury-related deaths.
6 states have improved:
- North Dakota
But not everyone has been so fortunate, and the greater half has gotten worse as these state have been subjected to an epidemic that has claimed more lives in a tragic trend that is crippling families and communities all over.
So where does your state fall?
State Ranked Overdose Deaths
The following information was provided by a statistics and studies site claiming to pull all data from over 18,000 sources.
The statistics used for these rankings are for drug overdose death rates in the United States in 2014, sorted by U.S. states with number of deaths from drug overdose per 100,000 inhabitants. So the number doesn’t represent the total number of deaths, but the average per populous. The following list shows all 50 states from lowest to highest overdose death rate in the United States:
(Remember- # of deaths per every 100,000 people)
- North Dakatoa- 3 deaths
- South Dakota- 6.1 deaths
- Nebraska- 7.3 deaths
- Virginia- 8.4 deaths
- Iowa- 8.5 deaths
- Minnesota- 8.6 deaths
- New York- 9 deaths
- Texas- 9.9 deaths
- Kansas- 10.4 deaths
- Georgia- 10.8 deaths
- Mississippi- 10.9 deaths
- California- 11 deaths
- Connecticut- 11 deaths
- Maine- 11 deaths
- Illinois- 11.1 deaths
- Vermont- 11.3 deaths
- New Jersey- 11.6 deaths
- Alabama- 11.7 deaths
- Hawaii- 11.7 deaths
- Wisconsin- 11.8 deaths
- Massachusetts- 12.1 deaths
- Maryland- 12.2 deaths
- Idaho- 12.3 deaths
- Arkansas- 12.6 deaths
- North Carolina- 12.6 deaths
- Montana- 12.8 deaths
- Louisiana- 12.9 deaths
- Oregon-13.1 deaths
- New Hampshire- 13.4 deaths
- South Carolina- 13.5 deaths
- Michigan- 13.9 deaths
- Washington- 14 deaths
- Alaska- 14.4 deaths
- Colorado- 14.8 deaths
- Indiana- 15.1 deaths
- Florida- 15.2 deaths
- Wyoming- 15.7 deaths
- Missouri- 16.3 deaths
- Delaware- 16.6 deaths
- Tennessee- 17.2 deaths
- Rhode Island- 17.3 deaths
- Pennsylvania- 17.4 deaths
- Ohio- 17.5 deaths
- Arizona- 17.7 deaths
- Oklahoma- 19.8 deaths
- Utah- 20.1 deaths
- Nevada- 22.2 deaths
- Kentucky- 24 deaths
- New Mexico- 24.8 deaths
- West Virginia- 31.3 deaths
Surprised where your state is? I know I was!
Of course it is essential that you consider several elements that can contribute to these numbers. Some areas have a much smaller population, so state wide they will typically have more addicts and therefore more overdoses.
Still, looking at these averages and wondering how we can hope to curb such a depressing trend makes the mission seem of paramount importance.
Thankfully the numbers of states that have “rescue drug” laws that allow prescription access to overdose antidotes like naloxone have doubled since 2013, and new initiatives are consistently being developed and applied to try and educate citizens about drug abuse, overdose and their treatment options.
Not all overdoses are due to drug abuse either. While in a lot of cases it’s probably safe to assume the individual was a hard drug user or drug addict, it is not the only explanation. Some individuals don’t understand the dangers of mixing certain drugs with each other or with alcohol and the devastating effect it can have on the body.
Out of all this we can definitely determine one fundamental and undeniable truth- the epidemic is real. The problem is right here, and it’s across the nation on the west coast. It is back in my home town of Ohio (8) reaping havoc on the Midwest, and it is killing thousands everywhere in between. This isn’t just heroin, or opiates, but all drugs.
New initiatives aim to change all this. Support for treatment, harm reduction and education should render our current practices in the war on drugs obsolete, because these numbers show us America stands at this critical crossroads.
I personally challenge more people to get involved in raising awareness and speaking up, in memory of those we will lose today.
There is a way out. We each can do our part to change that statistic, and for the addict or alcoholic who still suffers there are thousands of people just like you who have recovered and who want to help you. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
This story began just over a year ago when the Church of Scientology bought the plot of land for just over $4 million before announcing the intentions of opening a rehab center on the property. Residents in the area began rallying against these efforts, but the church persisted in its efforts, and actually came pretty close to crossing the finish line. Unfortunately, it was not close enough to get what they wanted, but maybe Maryland thinks it’s too close for comfort.
The Build Up
Narconon has so far been failing in the fight for the goal of establishing a few “Narconon residential drug rehabilitation centers”, including recently one location Maryland at Tout Run, a pristine 40-acre camp in Frederick County which has in the past been visited by numerous presidents including Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower, merely miles away from Camp David.
As covered in a previous article, the Church of Scientology has been criticized in the past for the various extensions of the church manipulating circumstances to achieve their ends. The church’s real estate arm and Narconon were able to get every other approval permit that was required to build the rehab, except needing the property to be designated for historic preservation, which would allow them to make changes otherwise banned by zoning laws.
Many local council members expressed concerns and skepticism about Scientology and their plans for the area, including at the time one member of the council who pointed out the power-play by the real estate extension of the church, claiming Narconon was “going through the back end” to get the appropriate licensing for the center, leading residents to regard the organization as dishonest.
Frederick County council had originally decided to postpone the decision until April 21 to allow for more public consideration, and just this Tuesday the council members voted to deny the proposal.
Stage of Denial
The vote cast by the Frederick County Council was pretty one sided, with an almost unanimous 6-1 tally against allowing the church to open the drug rehab facility on the premises.
The one council member who voted in favor of allowing the rehab to be built was Billy Shreve, and he was quoted by local news as stating:
“This application has been clouded because the record does reflect that there was testimony based on Narconon and Scientology. So I think that has clouded our decision a few times, and has led us to probably go a lot further into this decision than it really merited.”
Maryland local Mark Long, an opponent of the Narconon facility being established in the community stated,
“Having a 6 to 1 vote it does show some precedence that the public doesn’t want this here. I mean, to get that vote across party lines is pretty significant. I hope they understand that it’s best just to go home and give up on this.”
However, according to news reports Narconon officials said they may take the matter to court, and that they have not decided exactly what action they plan to take but that the fight is not over and they are “not going away.” So will a second run at this provide them with a different result?
This is definitely not the first time that the Church of Scientology has been shunned by a community for trying to build a treatment center, nor is it the first time they have been accused of using shady or under-handed tactics to try and get their way.
In February there was a story of the church trying to establish a similar compound in Milton, Canada that was met with resistance, and ultimately had a hearing set for March to April to further rule on the case.
Since the center wouldn’t use over-the-counter drugs to treat addiction, it’s not required to obtain a license from the Province to do so. According to company representative Rubina Qureshi,
“And, therefore we were put in a position of having to ask for a minor variance (of zoning bylaw) to clarify that a private drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre conforms with the Town’s definition of a group home,”
But Barbara Koopmans, the Town’s Planning Director, stated the application for a minor variance was denied because it did not conform with the ‘group home type 2’ definition under which the company applied. Many in Milton were vocal about their opposition, but Scientology officials remain persistent.
Should these communities open their arms to these centers? Or should they be concerned considering the controversy surrounding the Narconon methods and the tragic deaths of some patients under sketchy circumstances?
While some treatment centers have a tough time getting off the ground thanks to questionable methods and a bad rep, some people avoid treatment thinking they are all the same, but this is NOT the case. Palm Partners is a certified and celebrated holistic healing center for those suffering from alcohol or drug addiction, and our skilled and professional staff members want to help. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
As always we celebrate the graduation of each and every individual who successfully completes their personal treatment program here at Palm Partners, and they are given the chance to share some words of inspiration and gratitude to their peers and to those who have worked with them through their path to recovery.
Commencement is always a bitter sweet time. Sweet because we are proud of those who have made the choice to take action and make steps toward change for life. Bitter because we must say goodbye, and because of the powerful connections made between clients, peers, and instructors who are moving on to the next stage of their personal evolution. This past week we celebrated another group of warriors commencing, and one individual gave a heartfelt speech to the group, later asking that it be shared on our blog as a reminder to those he shared his journey with, and perhaps be an inspiration to those who have not yet made the choice to make a change. Below is his speech.
I’m Adam, and today I’m a human being worth being loved and capable of loving.
I want to open with a quote that I heard from my man Dug my first week in Res [residential treatment].
That quote is:
Be who you are
Because those who mind do not matter
And those who matter do not mind.
– Dr. Seuss
With that being said, being selected to represent all of these wonderful people commencing with me today is truly humbling and more than an honor. So with a weak heart I would like to say that I am beyond grateful for being entrusted with this responsibility.
In the past, we’ve all made some mistakes. It’s not an “addict thing,” it’s a “human thing.” And we’re all human here. True or true? We’ve experienced a plethora of trials that have brought us here today. We did things that we didn’t want to talk about, even to these wonderful therapists.
In any event, none of us came here to dwell on the past, but to improve the quality of our future.
And then there was Palm Partners. I’m still waiting for all this ice cream and candy I was promised on the phone. Nonetheless, we’ve all been given an opportunity that the vast majority of people like us will never see. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably realized by now that this place was never about ice cream and candy, We’ve been given a second chance at life. And for that I am more than grateful. Everyone here is worthy of the unconditional love whether you realize it yet or not. The only person standing in your way of getting what you want beyond these doors is you. So get out of your way.
Now it’s time to align our hearts with what we’ve placed in our minds since we’ve been here and let our bodies do the work. We’ve all realized that we need thing to change and that nobody’s going to take it upon themselves to change us, so here we are putting in the work to change ourselves. And with our new found belief that we can change ourselves we’re well on our way to become the best people we can be.
The choice is now ours, with all that we’ve experienced in our crazy pasts, everything that we’ve learned from this wonderful institution, and the potential that we have to create our picture perfect future, all there is left to do is be the best that we can be. When we do that, we will be a force to be reckoned with. Now that we know who we are and are equipped with the tools that all of the wonderful teachers here at Palm Partners have given us, let’s go out there and give ‘em hell guys. I love each and every one of you here for who you are and who you aren’t. I wish you all the best in your journey beyond here.
I love you.
Thank you for being part of my journey.
Sometimes people come into our lives that help us realize the opportunities we have right in front of us, and teach us to take them to their full advantage. Sometimes a unique individual can inspire us to remember just how unique we all are, and for us one staff it can remind us why we do what we do. Thank you Adam for letting us be part of your journey, and to anyone else who is waiting to make the change, don’t hold yourself back. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135