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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:

Constant Threats to Health Coverage Hurting National Addiction Recovery

Constant Threats to Health Coverage Hurting National Addiction Recovery

Author: Justin Mckibben

When we talk about national addiction recovery, what we mean is acknowledging how we as a country and a culture are recovering in our communities. How are we supporting those in addiction treatment? What services are we making available? How is our economy recovering? What are we doing to prevent the spread of addiction?

So if we are taking away resources that not only treat those already struggling, but also prevent more people from suffering, how do we expect to ever escape the devastation caused by the opioid epidemic and rise of overdose deaths?

One of the most divisive issues facing America today is access to healthcare and the extent to which health coverage should or should not be provided. The debate has gone on for a long time, and in the shuffle of each proposal, it seems mental health and addiction services are constantly threatened. Recently there have been more attacks on addiction treatment access. So how is the possibility of more decreases in health coverage going to hurt national addiction recovery?

The Parity Protections

Once upon a time in 2008, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) created guidelines that required health insurers to treat mental health and addiction coverage exactly the same as they would with medical and surgical care options. So this means that prior to the MHPAEA those who were lucky enough to have health insurance still could not be guaranteed to receive equitable benefits for mental health or substance abuse care.

These protections were even further expanded by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and legislation put forth by Congress in 2016 with the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes tougher enforcement of parity requirements.

Since the Trump administration stepped in adamantly proclaiming the goal or repealing and replacing the ACA there has been a lot of concern about whether or not any new proposals will decrease health coverage for mental health and addiction services. Many addiction and mental health advocates worry that parity protections and enforcement will also lose their power.

As of yet, politicians are still hoping for a compromise that will keep the protections and resources for treating addiction and mental health intact.

BCBS Cuts Mental Health Coverage

One instance of concerning changes in policy has come out of Minnesota. Just this September the largest insurance carrier in the area, Blue Cross Blue Shield, is making drastic decreases to payments to mental health providers.

We are talking about cuts in addiction and mental health coverage to the tune of that’s 33%!

This decision came after a recent survey showed that the individual therapy costs of Minnesota had exceeded the national average for the last two years. But mental health professionals immediately spoke out against this move. Protests actually took place on Thursday the 14th outside the headquarters of Blue Cross Blue Shield in Eagan, MN. Many advocates and protesters are saying these kinds of cuts will put mental health clinics out of business.

The insurance provider is now under fire as caregivers insist this change will discourage necessary, extended psychotherapy services. People in Minnesota see decisions like that of BCBS as being a violation of the protections offered by parity.

If this kind of policy shift within insurance providers becomes a trend, we could see a dramatic decrease in the people getting substance abuse and mental health treatment. These changes can hurt our national addiction recovery by slowly cutting off the people who need every chance they can get, especially during a devastating opioid epidemic.

Threats within Medicaid

Believe it or not, Medicaid is currently the single largest payer for behavioral health services in America. Threats to the Medicaid health coverage of services like this could do critical damage.

At one point the Trump administration and congressional leaders seemed partial to the idea of turning Medicaid into a block grant program. This strategy would give states a fixed amount of money to provide healthcare for low-income residents. However, policy experts say that means states would have to:

  • Reduce eligibility
  • Narrow the scope of benefits
  • Impose cost-sharing requirements

All of which would also impact the number of people seeking substance abuse and mental health treatment.

Recently GOP representatives and the Trump administration began the work of fundamentally altering state Medicaid programs. Some of these new requirements include governors pushing for:

So again, there is the very real possibility of more hurdles being put in-between those who need help and the already limited resources available to them.

Stigma Influencing Policy

The bigger part of this issue is that these shifts are happening in a way that shows how stigma is influencing policy. We are only further hurting our national addiction recovery by letting this idea that addiction is a moral failing or class issue limit what we are willing to provide to those who need help.

The reason behavioral and mental health services are so crucial is because the cause of addiction is not just the drugs themselves. The vast majority of recovery advocates endorse the concept that addiction develops from multiple factors, such as:

  • Lack of access to resources
  • Poor social networks
  • Trauma

So in fact, by limiting coverage to mental health services, the problem could be magnified.

Mental health services like behavioral therapy being lost with a decrease in coverage means that more children and young adults could go without the support systems. What this does is puts more people in the exact circumstances where we see substance abuse and addiction grow.

So in essence, not only could these constant threats to addiction and mental health coverage be taking away treatment for those already addicted, but it also takes away from prevention programs in communities that fight to keep addiction rates down.

National Addiction Recovery Effects Everyone

If we have any hope of having sustainable national addiction recovery then it is vital that our country continues to push for mental health parity in every discussion about healthcare. If we ever hope to overcome the demoralization of communities we have to fight for mental health and addiction services.

This isn’t about treating the individual’s symptoms with just medications either. Access to other crucial elements like housing, medical care, and basic preventative measures all contribute to the overall mental health of any individual.

When people have better access to the specific levels of care they need, we empower them to contribute to the better communities we need for healthy nation-wide recovery.

People struggling with substance abuse and mental health disorders deserve comprehensive and compassionate treatment, and we should all fight to protect coverage that makes treatment more available. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

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Should Convicted Drug Dealers Be Denied Welfare Forever?

 there is already a lot being done in defense of nonviolent drug offenders to reform the way we reprimand them.

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

Author: Justin Mckibben

Drug dealing is not as glorified or malicious as it often seems made out to be in music videos and movies, and the stereotypical drug dealer archetype is not always what you see when you have actually been there and done that.

I sold some drugs in my day, and some of my main suppliers were suburban house moms often supporting a few children close to my age at the time. That is the opposite of what stigma will tell you, and while it does not matter how different our race or age or upbringings were, we faced a lot of the same struggles, including addiction.

Taking all this into account, along with several other elements I will get into later, the idea of denying all convicted drug dealers access to welfare benefits on top of their prison sentencing seems a little intense… and a little unconscionable. There is already a lot being done in defense of nonviolent drug offenders to reform the way the system reprimands them, yet it appears some politicians feel it is necessary to deny welfare to convicted drug dealers, and they may soon make it a law.

Yes. This is probably my next ‘flag ship article’ in the war against addiction stigma. Shall we?

Looking at the Legislation

Republican State Representative Mike Regan sponsored this new legislation in Pennsylvania designed to make it so individuals convicted of drug distribution crimes would be restricted from qualifying for welfare… indefinitely!

Now this isn’t for every drug offense. Drug dealers convicted of felony offenses are the primary target, while summary or misdemeanor crimes would not constitute the same restrictions.

Mr. Regan said.

“This legislation, I’m not trying to be hardhearted. I’m trying to preserve the funds that are not infinite for those that are truly in need.”

Some are worried the qualifying amount of drugs is low; National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) notes that if you sell 2 pounds of marijuana it constitutes a felony with incarceration of up to a year and a $5,000 fine.

2 pounds is a lot, but to anyone who has seen 2 pounds of marijuana in real life they know it doesn’t exactly put you at Escobar levels. It is definitely enough to assume you are a dealer, but I’ve known high school kids to keep more than that in their mom’s basement.

When taking a closer look this is not necessarily a huge step from what the current policy already is, which many insist is enough to deter people from taking advantage of the system. The Department of Human Services already requires welfare seekers who have been convicted of drug felony charges to comply with drug testing to be eligible for these benefits. Florida Governor Rick Scott had tried to implement a similar restriction, but eventually gave it up for results that did not justify its budget.

Regan did say he is not opposed to amending his proposal. Replacing the lifetime ban from welfare assistance with a 15-20 year ban is not completely off the table, and other negotiation can probably be made before signing it into law.

The debate is coming to a head sooner than later, since the bill already passed the House Health Committee with bipartisan support. Now, the Republican Party is hoping for a victory as the bill heads to the House floor, perhaps as early as this week!

Adamant Opposition

Opposition stands strong as Democrats and outside organizations have voiced several concerns, most driven out of the fear the bill could have counterproductive and adverse effects on recovery efforts, not just for individual offenders but the recovery of the system as a whole.

Though Regan is trying to sell this one in terms of fiscal responsibility – and there’s an argument there. The financial questions are important, such as:

“What should be the limits of the public’s generosity?”

“In a time of diminished resources what should be the parameters for those resources for public assistance?”

Half the people reading this might say,

“Why should law-abiding citizens pay to take care of convicted criminals?”

The intent of Regan’s proposal here may be to target major drug dealers. But in my personal experience and opinion, considering a lot of drug dealers have evolved from an individual with their own addictions or a desperate need to supplement income (or both) this would only further exacerbate and perpetuate the destructive cycle of prisons, poverty and drug abuse.

Sure, not every drug dealer does it for these exact reasons, but plenty do, and this kind of law will leave them little alternatives for hope.

Lack of education and opportunity in some communities often becomes a motive, and some say these circumstances in some areas have only gotten worse due to the war on drugs. If someone is caught and sent to prison it’s hard enough already to find honest and stable work. Add a criminal record and forcing them to forgo their welfare assistance seems like it would only create more of a need to revert to dealing again.

Like breaking someone’s legs and telling them to move a mile… without using their arms.

Why would we need to keep kicking someone while their down, especially when we toss them back out into society and tell them to pick themselves up again?

Is it practical to keep punishing people while expecting them to reform themselves? Is it effective to drag people in and out of the criminal justice and prison system to “teach them a lesson?”

Has it worked for us so far?

That is all this writer’s opinion, but in all honestly I think most would agree that a better answer would involve actively treating and supporting the rehabilitation of individuals with drug issues. If we can’t show compassion, we can’t expect any change.

With the toll of the war on drugs being costly on both sides of the fight, how can we improve upon the ideals set forth to fight addiction and drug abuse? We all have a roll in this war, and as part of this culture we all have a chance to help this nation survive this fight. For some it is as simple as choosing to recover rather than suffer, and Palm Partners is a place to begin that transformation. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135

4 Reasons Mental Health Treatment Can’t Be Optional

4 Reasons Mental Health Treatment Can’t Be Optional

On Wednesday, there was a shooting at the Fort Hood military installation in Texas, which left at least four people dead, including the gunman, and 16 others severely injured.

The gunman was Army Specialist Ivan Lopez, who took his own life, was receiving mental health treatment. Five years earlier, another soldier killed 13 people and hurt more than 30 at the very same post. And just last year, a civilian gunman with a history of mental illness killed 12 people on the Washington Navy Yard before he was killed by police.

What’s common to each of these cases: mental illness, access to mental health treatment and the quality of that mental health treatment.

Unfortunately, this sort of tale happens all too often; it’s more the case than the exception.

Here are 4 reasons mental health treatment can’t be optional.

#1. Mental illness isn’t just going to go away on its own

In 2009, Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds was stabbed multiple times in the head and chest by his 24-year-old son Gus. Gus then committed suicide; Creigh survived his injuries. For the three years leading up these tragic events, Gus Deeds struggled with bipolar disorder.

Gus Deeds had received a medical evaluation at a local community hospital on an emergency custody order the day before. Under state law, the order allows for someone with a mental illness and who is suspected of causing harm to others to be held for only four hours after they are taken into custody, during which time a bed is located. However, in Gus Deeds’ case, he was released due to a lack of psychiatric beds.

“That makes absolutely no sense,” Deeds said. “An emergency room cannot turn away a person in cardiac arrest because the ER is full, a police officer does not wait to arrest a murder suspect or a bank robber if no jail space is identified.”

Sen. Deeds has said of his son, “In every sense of the word, my son was my hero.”

#2. Mental health treatment reduces medical costs

It’s actually costing taxpayers more when mental health treatment isn’t guaranteed to all.

Research studies show that when people have access to appropriate and adequate mental health treatment, their overall use of medical services declines. So for example, a study of people with anxiety disorders showed that after receiving psychological treatment, their number of medical visits decreased by 90%, laboratory costs related to their care decreased by 50%, and overall treatment costs dropped by 35%.

While, on the other hand, studies show that people with untreated mental health issues are twice as likely to visit a medical doctor as people who receive mental health care.

Excessive anxiety and stress can contribute to physical problems such as heart disease, ulcers, and colitis. Anxiety and stress can also reduce the strength of the immune system, making people more vulnerable to conditions ranging from the common cold to cancer.

#3. Good mental health is good for businesses and therefore the economy

When employees have good mental health, the businesses benefit. When someone has a clean bill of mental health, they are more likely to be productive, to perform better, to be reliable and consistent, and to have fewer workplace accidents.

Therefore, business owners and other employers can strengthen and ensure the success of their businesses by offering employee health plans with extensive mental health treatment and benefits.

#4. Addiction affects 1 in 3 American families and usually involves an aspect of mental illness

Someone suffering with untreated mental illness is more likely to make poor behavioral choices which can contribute to medical problems. Smoking, excessive alcohol or drug use, poor nutrition, and risky behavior can all result in health problems that require medical attention.

Last year $350 billion was spent on addictions-related healthcare costs, alone. And only 2% of that went to preventive care, such as treatment facilities. That means that 98% went to healthcare costs accrued as a result of substance abuse, which often involves mental health treatment.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.



8 Best Things about Being Young in Recovery

8 Best Things about Being Young in Recovery

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Getting sober at a young age has SO many benefits. There is an endless amount of reasons that someone would want to be in recovery when they’re young. I’ve thought of the 8 best things about being young in recovery.

8 Best Things about Being Young in Recovery…

1. You bounce back from your addiction a lot quicker than the old timers

The younger you are, the quicker you can bounce back from your addiction. Not to say that the old timers can’t bounce back quickly as well, but it’s pretty well known that young people bounce back pretty fast.

8 Best Things about Being Young in Recovery

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2. You can help other young people get sober, too

When you’re young in recovery, it is great to be able to help other young people get sober, too. You are not only an inspiration but a great role model and I know when I first got sober it definitely helped me to see a lot of young people in the rooms.

8 Best Things about Being Young in Recovery

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3. You can have fun and actually remember it

You might not think so, but you can have so much fun in recovery. And the best part – you remember everything! Being able to look back on the last 2 years of my life and remember everything feels wonderful!

8 Best Things about Being Young in Recovery

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4. It’s easier to start over (go back to school, save money,etc…)

When you’re young, it’s a lot easier to jump back into school, start saving money and all around just start your life over. You’ve had a lot less time out there in your addiction than others and have so much time to start your life and get on the right track.

8 Best Things about Being Young in Recovery

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5. You have your whole life ahead of you

Being young means that your life has only just begun! You have so much time and experiences ahead of you and so much to look forward to; there are endless possibilities!

8 Best Things about Being Young in Recovery

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6. You mature a lot quicker than other people your age

Typically, because of everything we’ve been through at such a young age as addicts and alcoholics, we tend to mature a lot faster than our peers and others our age. I know that I had to grow up quickly living the life I was, using drugs and alcohol. Then I had to grow up even quicker when I had to change my life.

8 Best Things about Being Young in Recovery

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7. Usually, you haven’t caused too much damage to your life yet (this doesn’t apply to all young people)

Keyword being usually because some people can cause a large amount of damage in a small amount of time; but if you’re lucky you haven’t wreaked too much havoc on your life yet and are able to clean your life up and make things better a lot faster.

8 Best Things about Being Young in Recovery

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8. People look up to you for being a young person in recovery (where your ‘normie’ friends may not be respected as much)

It is truly amazing to get this and be in recovery at a young age and people really respect you for that and look up to you. Your normie friends probably won’t get as much recognition for achieving a lot at this point in their lives yet, but you definitely will!

8 Best Things about Being Young in Recovery

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8 Best Things about Being Young in Recovery

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If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.

In the News: Is Medical Marijuana Coming to Florida?

In the News: Is Medical Marijuana Coming to Florida?

When used for medical purposes, Marijuana can be a great way to make certain illnesses easier to go through. Trial attorney John Morgan is the face of the United for Care Campaign and has expressed his desire in helping patients get the care they deserve. He has stated “Marijuana greatly enhanced my father’s life while battling cancer, and it’s time for Florida residents in similar situations to be afforded safe access to this medication. The South is literally stuck in the dark ages compared to the rest of country when it comes to advancing common sense marijuana policy, and considering that 80 percent of Americans are now in favor of its medicinal application, this is an ideal opportunity for Florida to be a leader in the region on this issue.”

There were also some polls taken by Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, and those outcomes were that Florida voters support 82 – 16 percent allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical use if it is prescribed by a doctor. Support is overwhelming among every group surveyed, ranging from 70 – 26 percent among Republicans to 90 – 10 percent among voters 18 to 29 years old. “If the folks who want to legalize medical marijuana in Florida can get their proposal on the ballot, they are overwhelmingly favored to prevail next November,” Brown said.

There are so many great benefits to the use of medical marijuana. There is evidence that shows that marijuana can help relieve certain types of pain, nausea and other symptoms caused by illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, multiples sclerosis and others. Marijuana can even be used to help with the harsh side effects for the drugs used to treat these illnesses. Marijuana is very safe and also a lot less toxic than many of the things that doctors prescribe people every day. In my opinion, I think it would be great for Florida to offer medical marijuana.

Just as I quoted above, Florida really is living in the dark ages compared to the rest of the United States when it comes to the medical marijuana policies. I’ve read many different opinions that we should legalize and regulate marijuana like alcohol. I think that it would be best to just have medical marijuana available to those people in need of it. It definitely is a step in the right direction for Florida to allow us to have medical marijuana.

What about people abusing the medical marijuana prescriptions? You have to be realistic that no matter what the prescription or drug is that there is always going to be people abusing it, it is pretty much impossible to avoid that. In regards to marijuana being a gateway drug, scientists have always had their doubts about this and think that people who are inclined to use drugs are more likely to use marijuana and other drugs; marijuana usually comes first because it is the most accessible. I think that the pros that medical marijuana would bring to Florida would far outweigh the cons. I think it would be quite brilliant if medical marijuana came to Florida! If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.


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