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The Second Deadliest Drug in the United States is Cocaine

Author: Shernide Delva

The opioid addiction epidemic continues to increase in fatalities each and every year.  The use of opioids tripled between 2010 to 2014 and opioid overdoses occur every 19 minutes, according to the most recent surgeon general’s report. However, all the news about the opioid epidemic overshadowed the second deadliest drug in the United States. What is it, you ask?

Cocaine.

That’s right. The popularity of cocaine has not dwindled in the midst of the opioid epidemic. People are doing it, and doing lots of it. In fact, a recent CDC report revealed that heroin and cocaine are the drugs most frequently involved in overdose deaths in the US.

An analysis from U.S. News and World Report revealed that cocaine is the second most common drug involved in fatal overdoses.  Nevertheless, do not be fooled by these statistics. Opioids are much more deadly than cocaine and have a strong lead in comparison.

Breaking Down the Numbers: Heroin Leading Big Time

While heroin was responsible for 10,863 deaths in 2014 (23.1%), cocaine was responsible for 5,856 deaths (12.4%).  To gather the results, researchers looked at data from death certificates where medical examiners and coroners rule on the cause of death.

“The method was applied to provide a more in-depth understanding of the national picture of the drugs involved in drug overdose deaths,” the researchers wrote.

In addition to revealing the amounts of deaths, the data showed how the prevalence of heroin deaths have increased significantly, while cocaine deaths have remained for the most part stable. For example, in 2010, heroin caused 3,020 fatal overdoses. Only four years later, in 2014 that number tripled to 10,863 deaths. Yet, cocaine stayed relatively stable. In 2010, cocaine deaths were at 4,312 and rose to 5,856 deaths in 2014.

Other drugs that saw dramatic increases were antianxiety medications (4,212 deaths) and fentanyl (4,200 deaths). Although these numbers serve a valuable purpose, researchers do caution comparing numbers across years because increased reporting and detection can skew results.

Drug Interactions: A Deadly Combination

Another important part to note is that 49% of these overdose drugs involved more than one drug, according to 2014 data. Most of the time, overdose deaths involve more than one substance so the numbers could coincide with one another.

“For example, the majority of the drug overdose deaths [in 2014] involving methamphetamine did not involve other drugs,” the researchers wrote. “In contrast, among deaths involving alprazolam and diazepam, more than 95% involved other drugs.”

Overall, the number of overdose deaths increased by 23%, rising from 38,329 in 2010 to 47,055 in 2014. Although drugs other than opioids contributed to the rising overdose rates, the data confirm that opioids have a massive impact on overdose death rates.

“The most frequently mentioned drugs involved in these deaths were the opioids: heroin, oxycodone, methadone, morphine, hydrocodone, and fentanyl,” researchers wrote.

In addition to data about specific drugs, researchers called for more accurate data on overdose deaths to be kept. In the future, they would like a more detailed analysis on these increasing drug overdoses.

“The report also demonstrates the ability of a new method for abstracting data from the death certificate to enhance national monitoring of drug overdose deaths, and it emphasizes the need to include specific drugs involved in the death on the death certificate,” said the researchers.


Whether it is cocaine or opioids like heroin or oxycodone, the epidemic is resulting in massive fatalities. With the new year right around the corner, the time is now to make a change. Your past should not dictate your future. We are here to guide you in the right direction. If you are struggling with drugs or mental illness, do not wait. Call toll-free today.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Could a Cancer Drug be a Breakthrough Cure for Cocaine Addiction?

 

Could a Cancer Drug be a Breakthrough Cure for Cocaine Addiction?

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

Author: Shernide Delva

A drug intended to treat cancer could have another purpose: curing cocaine addiction. Recently researchers discovered that a drug used in cancer therapy trials might instead be the key to promising new treatment for cocaine addiction.

The research stemmed from Cardiff University in Wales. The trial drug, from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, may be able to wipe away memories that trigger cocaine cravings.

“We have demonstrated that a single administration of a trial drug from Pfizer can completely obliterate cocaine-associated memories and significantly accelerate the end of drug-seeking behavior in animals,” said Professor Riccardo Brambilla from Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences. “With this drug currently being used in cancer trials, it could be easily repositioned for treatment of cocaine addiction and other drugs of abuse.”

Still, while these results show promise, the study has only been tested on mice. Until the researchers conduct the study in human trials, it will be quite some time before the drug potentially “cures” cocaine addiction.

Those who struggle with cocaine addiction know more than anyone how intense the cravings for the drugs can be. Just the mere sight of cocaine can trigger the desire to use.  Numerous research studies confirm the phenomenon of craving. However, in recent years, scientists have pushed for developing drugs that could revolutionize treatment for cocaine addiction.

The 18-MC Drug

Back in 2014, Buzzfeed reported that Dr. Stanley Glick, former head of the Department of Neuropharmacology and Neuroscience at Albany Medical College, created 18-MC, a drug that has shown great success in animals.  When tested on rats, the results were extremely promising. Rats strongly addicted to cocaine lost their desire to use after a few doses.  Scientist soon conducted initial tests on human patients, and so far little side effects have been reported. Still, it could take years, even decades for these potential “cures” to hit the market if they ever do.

For now,  the medical community is largely optimistic about the types of treatments that could soon revolutionize addiction treatment:

“We know that addiction is a disease and that ‘Just Say No’ is a delusion,” said Steve Hurst, founder, and CEO of Savant HWP who is collaborating with Glick on developing 18-MC. “If your brain tells you to go drink, or do cocaine, or shoot heroin—that’s not willpower. This whole notion is a reason I think addiction medicine is such an emerging field. We understand a lot about the disease we didn’t understand 10 years ago.”

Should Drugs Like These Exist?

With the constant influx of new treatments for addiction, some argue that the best way to give up an addiction is through seeking professional treatment and joining a support group (like AA). The notion of using drugs to rid one’s drug addiction may seem like a backward solution. However, addiction is a disease and drugs like these could be extremely viable options.

Whether you agree with it or not, the reality is drug addiction is a serious problem. Addiction is taking more and more lives away each year. The United States is in the midst of an overdose epidemic. While this might not be the ideal way of combatting addiction, these drugs offer the potential to save countless lives.

Still, it will take quite some times for many of these drugs to hit the market. Therefore, if you are struggling with addiction, understand that it is a disease, and you need to get treatment. We can help you acquire the tools to be successful. Stop trying to do this on your own. Call toll-free today.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Florida Police Arrest Drug Dealers by the Dozens

Florida Police Arresting Drug Dealers by the Dozens

Author: Justin Mckibben

Talk about a power-move… these might just be the kind of game-changers we need to see more of in America.

Even though it is an amazing place for living in recovery, also considered the recovery capitol of the country, South Florida has seen its fair share of trouble in paradise. With an opiate epidemic that has gripped every part of America, even this beautiful community has a population of drug dealers and users, but Florida police are cracking down hard.

As someone who lives here in South Florida as a transplant from the Midwest and an active member of the recovery community it brings a great deal of satisfaction to see the area I now consider my home-away-from-home become a better place.

The last couple months there has been reason to celebrate some of the efforts put forth by law enforcement to make these cities safer. With stories in the news about how bad it gets out there, I figured it would be good to highlight two very recent stories of how police have made massive strides in the right direction when it comes to cutting off influence of the drug dealers in their neighborhoods.

Operation Street Sweeper- Delray City Arrests 28

At the end of April the story broke that police in the city of Delray Beach, Florida had arrested 28 suspected drug dealers in only 10 days as part of an undercover operation. One of the most recent arrests made was that of a man who carried a gun that reports said was called the “cop-killer.” This weapon carried condensed rifle bullets powerful enough to pierce bullet-proof vests, and police are happy to have this dangerous handgun off the streets.

The weapon was traced back to 32 year-old Gerald Petion, who was arrested Sunday evening on charges of:

  • Possession and sale of heroin
  • Possession of a weapon by a convicted felon

Apparently authorities state that Petion had actually left behind his gun during a police chase two weeks ago.

Delray Beach police began “Operation Street Sweeper” in February with the intention of getting drug dealers in this beautiful South Florida area out of the community. Controlled sales with known drug dealers were repeatedly staged by undercover police officers over the course of months in order to conduct a thorough investigation that lead to these arrests. Police obtained the warrants for these arrests in early April and tracked down many of the dealers, but some are still at-large.

Having arrested over 2 dozen alleged drug dealers in less than 2 weeks time is an impressive move sure to make a heavy impact on the drug traffic in the area. Most of the men and women busted by police were selling heroin, although some sold cocaine and prescription pills.

Operation Dope Death- Boynton Beach Busts 13

Boynton Beach police say an operation they labeled “Operation Dope Death” has helped them dole out a major victory over drug dealers in their community, claiming that this operation lead to:

  • Arresting 13 suspected drug dealers
  • Confiscated 62 grams of heroin
  • 5 grams of cocaine
  • 4 grams of marijuana
  • $4,300 cash
  • 8 cars
  • 1 gun

Police say the month-long investigation came after the rising number of calls in response to drug overdoses in the city so far this year, with more than 2/3 cases involving heroin and 5 ending in tragic deaths.

Out of the list of suspected drug dealers involved in the arrest, several were given multiple charges and suspected of dealing in multiple substances that are all controlled and dangerous.

10 have been booked into the Palm Beach County Jail since Monday, and there was even a 17-year-old suspect arrested and charged with the sale of heroin.

With these two substantial operations the police departments in South Florida are working towards dissolving a huge segment of the drug trafficking in the area, and hopefully as the community sees this more resources will come together to make moves toward even more change. It will take time, but it appears possible to level the playing field in more ways than one.

Paradise is nowhere near lost, but it will take work. The same is true for the lives of those impacted by addiction. Even in the darkest times having a willingness to move forward can save lives. 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.

3 Drugs You Should Never Mix With Suboxone

3 Drugs You Should Never Mix With SuboxoneSuboxone is a popularly approved medication to treat opiate withdrawal. It is one of two forms of the medication buprenorphine, which is an opiate agonist originally developed to treat pain problems. Suboxone works by binding to opiate receptors in the brain, which are the same receptors that morphine, heroin and other opiates bind to.

If you are not familiar with Suboxone, you might be more familiar with Methadone. Methadone was an earlier form of harm reduction treatments used to treat heroin addiction. Although Suboxone has treated thousands of patients struggling with opioid addiction, the drug is not without its risks. Critics continue to express concern over the lasting impact of Suboxone use when it comes to increasing dependency.

One huge concern of Suboxone use is the potential side effects of mixing other drugs with the substance. Suboxone can have dangerous interactions with other substances which pose an immediate risk to Suboxone users.

How Suboxone Works

In order to better understand the risk of combining drugs with Suboxone, it is important to understand how the drug works.  Suboxone is a combination of the drugs buprenorphine and naloxone. It functions as a partial opioid agonist and diminishes cravings as well as prevents other opioids from reacting to the brain’s receptors. In other words, even if you try to get high off opioids, you won’t.

Taking other drugs while on Suboxone can be life threatening. If you are on Suboxone, pay very close attention to the following three substances. Combining these drugs with Suboxone can cause a very dangerous, even fatal interaction.

3 Drugs You Should Never Mix With Suboxone:

  1. Benzodiazepines (“Benzos”)
    Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Klonopin) are drugs usually prescribed to alleviate anxiety and treat insomnia. They are depressant drugs, or “downers,” because they sedate the central nervous system, which slows the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and depresses breathing. Because Suboxone is also a depressant drug, the two together create a double-whammy effect. The combination can cause a severe lack of coordination, impaired judgment, unconsciousness, respiratory failure, and even death.
  2. Cocaine
    The effects of Suboxone and cocaine are extremely dangerous because both drugs are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Cocaine is a stimulant, or “upper,” while Suboxone is a depression, or “downer.” When you combine cocaine with Suboxone, it actually reduces the amount of buprenorphine that is in your bloodstream. When you have less buprenorphine in your body, you start to feel opioid withdrawal symptoms.
    Combining cocaine with Suboxone increases the risk of a cocaine overdose. Since Suboxone is a depressant, it counteracts the effects of cocaine. This means users end up taking  more and more cocaine because they do not feel the effects they normally would on their regular amount. Typically, users start to believe that can handle more cocaine, even when they cannot. The increase in cocaine used can result in an overdose.
  3. Alcohol
    Mixing alcohol with any medication is never a good idea, especially Suboxone. Just like benzos, alcohol is a depressant. Alcohol is even more of a problem than benzos because it is so readily available. An uninformed Suboxone user may not even consider the risks of drinking alcohol. However, combining alcohol and Suboxone can produce the same exacerbated effects such as unconsciousness and respiratory failure. These side effects can be dangerous and even fatal.It is so important to know all the risks you are taking with newly prescribed medication. According to statistics, there were 30,135 buprenorphine-related emergency room visits in 2010. It should come as no surprise that 59 percent of these visits involved additional drugs.

As Suboxone’s popularity increases, it is important to understand the dangers of mixing Suboxone with other substances. If you are taking Suboxone or similar drugs, it might be a good idea for you to consider seeking help on going off those drugs completely. Seeking professional treatment can help you not rely on any drugs in your recovery.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Parents Pay Teens with Drugs for Doing Their Chores

Parents Pay Teens with Drugs for Doing Their Chores

Booking photos of Joey and Chad Mudd courtesy of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

By Cheryl Steinberg

As a kid and later as a teen, I actually never ‘earned’ an allowance. I mean, I’d (pretty much) do as I was told and that was that. There was no pay-off. The arrangement my parents had with us kids was basically that we’d behave. And sometimes they’d give us money. By that, I mean, if I was going to see a movie with a friend, for example, I had no problem asking my parents for money and they had no problem giving it. When I was old enough to legally work, I made my own money and saved it.

Although earning an allowance – in dollars – is practically an integral part of most everyone’s childhood, this story is far from the norm.

Chad and Joey Mudd, of Largo, a suburb in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, gave their daughters, ages 13 and 14, drugs as a form of bribery to get the girls to attend school and to do their chores.

Parents Pay Teens with Drugs for Doing Their Chores

A Pinellas County couple, which is in Florida (not surprising) came up with a unique, outside-the-box approach to getting their two teenage daughters to do their chores: by plying them with marijuana and cocaine.

According to Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office arrest records, Joey Mudd, the girls’ mother, and Chad Mudd, their father, were arrested and jailed Monday and Tuesday, respectively. This after deputies were told that the couple had smoked marijuana with their two daughters on several occasions. Chad Mudd is additionally accused of doing cocaine with his children as well as with one of the girl’s boyfriends.

At the time of her arrest, Joey Mudd, 34, told deputies that she smoked weed with her daughters “as a form of a ‘bargaining tool’ ” in order to get the girls to do their household chores, the sheriff’s office said.

According to a police affidavit, the girls’ mother admitted that she smoked pot with her daughters on five occasions and that their father snorted cocaine with the girls and with one daughter’s boyfriend in his truck.

For her actions, Joey was charged with two counts of child abuse. Ironically, arrest records say she works at a pediatrician’s office.

Her husband, Chad, 36, however, was charged with seven counts of child abuse and one count of possession of cocaine. Both parents have since gotten out of the Pinellas County Jail on bond.

Joey Mudd was released Wednesday on bail and Chad Mudd was released Thursday on bail. Calls to telephone numbers belonging to the Mudds weren’t answered. It’s unclear if they’ve retained an attorney and it’s not clear who currently has taken custody of the children.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use disorder, such as substance abuse, dependence, or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 today.

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