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
Or, at least, is beer-flavored ice cream one?
Last month, well-known ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s, along with Colorado beer-brewer New Belgium, announced that the two companies would be collaborating in order to create a new flavor to add to the ranks of all the flavors that have come before: Salted Caramel Brownie Brown Ale. They are billing it as “an ice cream infused craft beer.”
It might sound disgusting – or at the very least weird – but, this isn’t the first time ice cream and alcohol came together in holy matrimony. And it isn’t the first time for Ben &Jerry’s, specifically. Last spring, the beloved confectioner launched a new product on the West Coast with a series of “frothy beer floats.”
Now, this isn’t just a case of beer and frozen treats coming together for the sheer sake of it. The popular-for-its-politics ice cream company is in it for more than just trend-setting. In the press release announcing the partnership, the involved parties made clear that the focus of the collaboration is meant to be on the companies’ shared efforts of “supporting sustainable agriculture” and “focus[ing] on environment awareness.”
Controversy: Is Ice Cream a Gateway Drug?
Some might argue that mixing a frozen treat that generally appeals to the younger crowd (e.g. children) with an adult treat (e.g. alcohol) is a recipe for disaster. Or, in the very least, it’s tasteless.
But, if you were to apply that logic, then you’d be remiss to overlook some of the flavors they’ve introduced over the years; flavors like Coffee Caramel Buzz and Coffee and Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz! With these examples, one could argue that the company promotes childhood caffeine addiction. That’s just starting out light.
Then there’s Chocolate Therapy, which sounds like it’s promoting self-medication with food, making it OK to self-soothe with a substance (i.e. food), leading to disordered eating and perhaps an eating disorder, such as binge eating.
Then you’ve got Karamel Sutra, which pays homage to The Kama Sutra, the ancient Hindu “sex text.” This Ben & Jerry’s flavor clearly promotes underage sex.
And, before we move on to this beer/ice cream pairing, let’s not forget that the ice cream giant already has a flavor – since 2013 – called White Russian, inspired by the vodka-based cocktail of the same name.
It’s clear that Ben & Jerry’s has been promoting alcohol use – not to mention other vices – by children for quite a while now.
Well, that’s the concern of Alcohol Justice, a California-based non-profit advocacy, research and policy organization, that sees itself as the watchdog of the alcohol industry, attempts to “hold Big Alcohol accountable for the harm its products cause.”
So, for example, Alcohol Justice advocates banning flavored alcoholic beverages, such as Mike’s Hard Lemonade, because they target “youth (especially girls).” Furthermore, it seeks to raise federal excise taxes on alcohol, and the organization wants to ban Palcohol, a powdered-alcohol product we’ve written about in the past.
Although some of their concerns and arguments may be valid – or at least understandable – groups like Alcohol Justice might be taking things a bit too far. For example, according to the non-profit organization, “daytime [wine] tastings, with little to no monitoring, in family-friendly settings, are inappropriate and threaten public health and safety” and that “children watching parents drinking alcohol when they shop for fruit or vegetables is a practice very damaging to impressionable young minds.”
After all, in far more progressive countries that embrace wine-drinking and other imbibing of spirits, alcohol use among underage youth is not as much of a problem as it is here. Perhaps not making something taboo as to tempt the younger ones into trying things is the way to go, after all.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today. We are here 24/7 to take your call.
Author: Justin Mckibben
We consistently hear about technological breakthroughs that change the way our world works. Like a smartphone society that thrives in a pixelated paradise, we constantly seek out the next innovation to keep our lives convenient. So of course we want to digitize the methods we use to determine when we wake up, what we do throughout the day, and when we’ve had too much to drink.
Drunk driving is unfortunately a very serious and frequent side-effect of drinking, but it is entirely preventable if we are able to stay accountable. One new innovation may be the next step to field sobriety tests, and it’s based off of how much drinking can make you blush.
No Blushing and Driving
Booze makes us blush. It is just a part of the body’s natural response to alcohol consumption. How exactly does alcohol make you blush? Well when you’re drinking the alcohol makes your blood vessels relax and widen. The expansion of the blood vessels then brings them closer to the surface of the skin, which in turn makes the face appear red and hot. The blush can be even worse if you have a deficiency in the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase, which helps in the metabolism of alcohol.
Well come to find out these fun facts about human biology can actually be turned against you when your boozing. Scientists have taught a computer algorithm to use infrared cameras in order to recognize drunk people by how much their face gets flushed during a drinking exhibition.
Research and Drunk-velopment
Researchers in Greece originally got 41 study volunteers tipsy, and snapped thermal images of each of these participants’ faces both before and after drinking 4 glasses of wine to determine if they would be able to train a computer to recognize drunk people.
Although 4 drinks will affect different people in different ways, and each reached different levels of intoxication from those 4 drinks, they all reached a blood alcohol content of at least 0.05. Even though that is below the legal driving limit of 0.08, driving with a BAC of 0.05 according to statistics would make you 38% more likely to get in a car crash compared to someone who’s completely sober.
Next the researchers use programing for artificial neural networks to compare the participant’s sober faces in contrast to their drunken faces, and the data was analyzed one pixel at a time. The scientist discovered that the best indicator of a person’s state of intoxication is the temperature of the forehead and nose.
Using those hot spots as a point of reference, the researchers designed and constructed an algorithm that could determine who was sober and who was drunk with an astounding 90% accuracy! This wasn’t just an isolated incident from what it already knew either. Even faces that it hadn’t been originally trained on it could see who was drunk, and even if it didn’t know what the person looked like sober.
After compiling the research data and considering the versatility of this projects usefulness the researchers involved in developing this algorithm suggest the computer program could help police pinpoint individuals who may be suspects in vandalism and other unlawful activity under the influence, or it could be installed in cars and heavy machinery to prevent drunk driving. The latter of those options being what many would consider a great use of resources in my own opinion. Having a program that can read an individual’s facial flush and determine how drunk they are could be utilized in many ways to prevent people from getting behind the wheel and endangering themselves and others.
With concepts like facial recognition software this invention seems all the more practical and useful. Hopefully this kind of innovation can help change the tides as far as drunk driving accidents and the many deaths that come from them every year, but drunk driving is often times just a symptom of a much deeper and more desperate disease… addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
The art of film making is one that is constantly used to pull us into another world. Often a compellingly different perception of the world we live in, films express to us the various sides of many diverse lives we may not understand. A movie relates to us by showing us emotional connections to people that experience things we don’t, or by giving us a new view of an experience we’ve had. They teach and inspire us, and some can tie it all together with 1 word.
Drug and alcohol addiction isn’t necessarily a glamorous topic, but it is a common element in many infamous movies. These 1 word titles sum up a lot about addiction in a variety of ways, and they speak volumes to the stories they tell.
Director Jonas Âkerlund created what has been commonly labeled as a dark comedy with the title SPUN, although some wonder if it is even a comedy or just plain dark. The story takes place in Eugene, Oregon over a three-day-period set to the back-drop of trailers, motel rooms, and meth labs. The cast features John Leguizamo and Mickey Rourke and follows the lives of methamphetamine users, producers, and dealers. Brittany Murphy
Made in 2002, the story avoids any noticeable moral position to the point that some have called the film “smugly amoral.” So one could relate this to the idea of addicts being unwilling to acknowledge the obvious problems present in their lives.
Photo Via: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smashed_(film)
This 2012 film was made as a peak at what happens when marriage and addiction go hand-in-hand. In SMASHED our main character Kate (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is an elementary school teacher who has an alcohol-dependent and crack-cocaine-dabbling relationship with her husband Charlie (played by Aaron Paul). It is a story about Kate’s realization that she need to change her life, and through sobering up her marriage begins to deteriorate.
So we see a loving couple get “smashed”, and in doing so smashing their relationship.
PURE was helmed by Scottish director Gillies MacKinnon back in 2002 that became a double prize winner at the Berlin International Film Festival. PURE takes a very ugly look at the struggles of a 10-year old boy in London named Paul (Harry Eden) who tries to hold together the facade of a normal life after his father’s death, while trying to take care of his younger brother in the face of his mother’s heroin addiction. Keira Knightley stars as a pregnant heroin addict Paul befriends.
This heartbreaking film seems to dive into the toll addiction can take on a family, especially for the children of an addict. At one point the character Paul even locks his mother in a room attempting to force her to detox, and she unleashes upon him all manner of insults. Just a glimpse into the world of the suffering a child can experience.
This is definitely one most people have seen or heard of. One of the more recent and well-known movies on the list, FLIGHT has been recognized for being a Hollywood film that surprisingly honest account of addiction. The main character, Whip Whitaker (played by the always amazing Denzel Washington) is a hopeless addict who struggles daily with alcohol and cocaine, and finds himself thrust into the spotlight as a hero pilot who saves a nearly doomed flight through his mad upside-down pilot skills, which actually puts his drug and drinking problems in the spotlight as well, and sure enough drama ensues.
Washington has been celebrated in this role for portraying the character without the same old stigma-encouraging stereotypes. This film looks at how addiction can impact not only an individual’s personal life, but also can create an issue professionally, at a public level or otherwise.
Now to the movie with the MOST feels, and probably my favorite on the list…
CANDY is an amazing movie for many reasons. For one- there are 2 main characters and narrators throughout the film you can’t help but feel for. It stars Health Ledger as Dan (nuff said) the art student, and Abbie Cornish as Candy. The two are lovers who become frantically addicted to each other… and heroin. It honestly surprises me how many people I talked to while writing this who said they had never seen this movie. So if you haven’t, you are missing out on a spectacular story.
This 2006 Australian film is adapted from Luke Davies’ novel, Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction. The film’s divided into three parts:
All is good in the world and our two star-crossed lovers are using drugs and living without a care (or so it seems).
Times for Dan and Candy start to get a little rougher as reality sets in and the high doesn’t come as easy as it used to.
The two lovers are torn apart and pitted against each other as one tragedy after another breaks them down deeper into the depressing desperation of their addictions.
CANDY has a special place in my heart because ironically enough, I felt as though I lived it. I actually watched it a lot in active addiction with someone I experienced a lot of the themes of the film with, and I can’t watch it today without it yanking at my heart-strings.
CANDY shows us in various levels of intensity how life and love can be shattered when addiction is an intrinsic part of a romance. It puts on display the highs and lows in a realistic way, and it breaks your heart over and over to show the insanity of it all, and how good and caring people can get lost in it all. I highly recommend this film, and feel like the characters relationship and the 3 stages are excellent as a parallel to the progression of active addiction, including one of the film’s most simple and true lines:
“When you can stop, you don’t want to. When you want to stop, you can’t”
Addiction is a powerful disease, that comes disguised in many forms and infects our lives in so many ways, and countless artists have tried to express the heartbreaking and often lethal impact is drugs and alcohol can have on every aspect of human life. Our families, our relationships, our dreams and desires are not out of addictions reach, but there is help to overcome that barrier to a new expression and experience of life. 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.