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Opioid Epidemic Declared a Public Health Emergency by Gov. Rick Scott

Opioid Epidemic Declared a Public Health Emergency by Gov. Rick Scott

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

Author: Shernide Delva

It’s the moment many were waiting for…

Today, May 3rd, Gov. Rick Scott issued a statewide public health emergency over the opioid epidemic. This declaration is in response to multiple requests from local officials and residents.  Furthermore, more than $27 million will be distributed immediately to communities throughout the state of Florida to reduce the devastation of the opioid epidemic.

In a press release, Governor Scott said,

“Today, I issued an executive order which allows the state to immediately draw down more than $27 million in federal grant funding which will immediately be distributed to communities across the state to deal with the opioid epidemic. HHS Secretary Dr. Tom Price awarded the Opioid State Targeted Response Grant to Florida, and I want to thank the Trump Administration for their focus on this national epidemic. I have also directed State Surgeon General Dr. Celeste Philip to declare a Public Health Emergency and issue a standing order for Naloxone in response to the opioid epidemic in Florida.”

Rick Scott initiated four opioid listening workshops that took place earlier this week.  The first workshop was held at West Palm Beach on May 1st. Three other opioid workshops were held later in the week in Manatee and Orange counties.

The Early Stages

Originally, Governor Rick Scott created the opioid workshops to gather information about the opioid epidemic on a more local level. Both public figures and members of the community joined to discuss potential plans of action.  The meetings were capped at 90-minutes. Those in attendance were uncertain of the action that would take place from those meetings.

Therefore, those in attendance called on the governor to declare the opioid epidemic as a public health emergency in order to expedite funding efforts.

Shortly after the Zika virus entered South Florida, it was declared a public health crisis, yet the opioid epidemic did not receive the same treatment, despite overdose fatalities reaching an all-time high.

“If we were able to move that quickly on (the Zika) issue, why can’t we move more quickly on this (heroin) issue?’’ Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinley stated during the opioid workshop held in West Palm Beach.

Now, upon hearing this news from Gov. Rick Scott,  McKinley feels a sense of relief.

“Today I feel relief. relief that the voices of so many were finally heard. For the pain of loss so many families have faced, to those struggling to overcome addiction,” she said.

“I am hopeful that the governor’s direction to declare a public health crisis in response to the opioid epidemic will open the door to a truly meaningful plan to fight this disease.”

The Palm Beach Post published an investigative report titled “Heroin: Killer of a Generation” in which they profiled all 216 people who died of an opioid overdose in its coverage are in 2015. The goal was to draw attention to the magnitude of the addiction epidemic in a way statistic simply could not do.

The Results:

Looking at the statement Gov. Rick Scott released, a few key things are happening:

  • More than $27 million in federal grant funding which will immediately be distributed to communities across the state to deal with the opioid epidemic.
  • Dr. Celeste Philip is ordered by Gov. Rick Scott to declare a Public Health Emergency.
  • Naloxone will receive a standing order in response to the opioid epidemic in Florida

The opioid epidemic is taking away lives throughout the nation. Every 15 hours last year, someone died of an opioid overdose in Palm Beach County. Is this a step in the right direction?  What should the next step be?


This epidemic does not discriminate. Everyone is affected. If you are struggling with addiction, please reach out. Do not wait. Your life depends on it. We are here to help. Call now.

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Inside the Packed Opioid Workshop Held In West Palm Beach

Inside the Packed Opioid Workshop Held In West Palm Beach

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

Author: Shernide Delva 

The first of four opioid workshops took place May 1st   in West Palm Beach, Florida.  Florida Governor Rick Scott initiated the workshops as a way of addressing the opioid epidemic, yet he was not in attendance for the meeting.  Instead, 22 public figures attended the workshop ranging from Florida Surgeon General Celeste Philip and Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinley.

Protesters stood outside of the West Palm Beach Police Department Community Room. Some held signs; others held photos of loved ones who had passed. Many wore shirts with the words “Fed Up!!” printed on the front.

A live broadcast of the discussion streamed via the Palm Beach Post Investigations Facebook page. Christine Stapleton, an investigative reporter for the Palm Beach Post, reported live from the event. Around 1:30 PM, Stapleton walked along the front of the building conversing with protesters prior to streaming the opioid workshop which began at 3:00 PM.

Protesters marched holding signs and chatting amongst each other. Some were parents of children who had died from overdoses. Others were Registered Nurses who witness overdose victims on a regular basis. People gathered from all walks of life with one thing in common: they were all fed up with the response regarding the opioid epidemic.

Unfortunately, most felt the workshop they were attending was not the best plan of action regarding the opioid epidemic. Some deemed the workshop pointless. However, it was a much-needed conversation and an opportunity for the community to be heard by public officials.

The timeframe of the meeting was set at only 90 minutes which received massive criticism due to the complexities of the opioid epidemic. Furthermore, Governor Rick Scott was not in attendance which only further lowered the morale of some in attendance.

Protesters Speak Out: Desperate for Action

Outside of the facility, hundreds of purple strips of cloth hung on clotheslines. Behind the strips of cloth is Gaynelle Gozland, a parent advocate whose son, at just 13 years old, became addicted to opioids. She explains to Stapleton how she wishes she had known what she does now about prescription painkillers.

At just 13 years old, Gozland’s son was prescribed a 5-day opioid prescription for a broken arm. Not long after, her son spent his 14th birthday in rehab, addicted to opioids.

“I’m one of the lucky ones,” she says in the live stream. “My son, who is 19 now, still says to me ‘thank you for what you did because if you hadn’t, I’d be dead or strung out on heroin.”

As for the hanging strips of purple cloth, they are memorial banners. Gozland says the strips represent those who have passed away due to overdoses.  Gozland’s mother, who passed away from alcoholism, influenced the idea for the purple strips of cloth.  Her mother used to run a clothesline art show stringing up kids art.

“So, I’m stringing up memorial banners, and the banners are basically prayer flags so that as the wind blows, the memory of these human beings are carried on the wind,” she says.

Inside the Opioid Crisis Workshop

At about 3:00 PM, Stapleton walks us into the opioid workshop in which public figures sit in the middle of the room.

Several called on Governor Rick Scott to declare the opioid epidemic as a public health crisis. They believe this would speed up funding.  Why is the Zika virus considered a public health crisis, yet not heroin? However, Attorney General Dr. Celeste Philip says the declaration does not always result in faster funding.

“What happened in [(sic)  Zika — the declaration occurred in February, and funding was not made available until several months later when we saw that the delay in federal funding was longer than we expected,” says Philip.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinley summed up the tone of the room:

“I’m angry today,” says McKinley. “We just did this in January in Tallahassee. We held this press conference with the Attorney General. We had this conversation. We laid out a plan of what was needed. Nothing was done.”

“If we were able to move that quickly on (the Zika) issue, why can’t we move more quickly on this (heroin) issue?’’ she asked.

The crowd erupts in applause.

Overall, one thing was clear from the workshop: talk is cheap. People need action. These opioid workshops do raise awareness and grant a voice to the community. However, the plans discussed need implementation. Not much will happen without action.

“I’m (expletive) tired of it. I’m tired of losing my friends,’’ Jordan Meyers, a recovering addict from Boca Raton, sums up in the workshop.

The remaining workshops are to be held Tuesday and in Manatee and Orange Counties and Wednesday in Duval County.


What do you think of Rick Scott’s opioid workshops? Do you feel they are making a difference? The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis that should be taken just as seriously as any other disease. If you are currently struggling with substance abuse, reach out. We can get you on the right track. You are now alone in this fight. Call now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

What Drugs Don’t Show Up on a Drug Test?

What Drugs Don't Show Up on a Drug Test?

Author: Justin Mckibben

Now this is a pretty popular question. Whether it is coming from someone trying to dodge a consequence heading their way, or a parent trying to make sure they know what to look for when worried about their kids, it isn’t a cut and dry answer. The modern drug test in general is a marvel of medical science and technology; both the home testing kits and the big corporate labs that investigate with the more extensive and expensive methods.

Some people are worried they indulge too much and want to keep out of hot water with their probation officer, while others might even be testing themselves to find out if something was slipped to them. Businesses will use them to test employees and applicants. Hospitals and doctors may use them to try and collect what they need to solve a medical puzzle.

At the end of the day, some people have a habit of blaming the drug test for being in their way from getting where they need to go. But, what if it is the drugs, or even a serious addiction, that is really in their way?

What Drugs Don’t Show Up on a Drug Test: Different Drug Tests

Before we can ask what drugs don’t show up on a drug test we have to ask what kind of drug test we are taking?

There are 5 primary types of drug tests.

  1. Urine Tests

These are the most common types of home drug test kits since they are the least expensive of the test methods. Urine tests are:

  • Considered an intrusive method of testing
  • Easily done at home, but do require lab verification for accurate results
  • Primarily detect use within the past week (longer with regular use)
  • Typically temperature tested to insure sample integrity

These are probably the most common form of drug test, and different kits may provide a different variety of screenings.

  1. Saliva Tests

These tests are a little more expensive than urine tests, but still less than hair and blood tests. Saliva tests are:

  • Considered relatively un-intrusive
  • Easy to administer but require lab to ensure accuracy
  • Detect use primarily within the past few days
  • Can detect more recent use than other testing methods.

Saliva drug tests have no nationally accepted standards or cut-off concentrations for detection, making results greatly dependent on the specific testing product. However, saliva drug tests are becoming more common.

  1. Sweat Tests

This form of drug test is still relatively uncommon, and probably because the patch to absorb the sweat must be worn for an extended period. Sweat tests are:

  • Considered to be relatively intrusive due to extended time of application
  • Controversial in terms of accuracy

One reason these tests are so controversial and unpopular is because there is belief that any surface contamination (such as second hand cannabis smoke) can actually cause false readings.

  1. Hair Tests

These are several times more expensive than urine drug tests, usually ranging over the $100 mark. Hair tests:

  • Detect substance use over a longer time period (up to months or even over a year)
  • BUT do not often detect short-term use
  • Can determine when some substances were used and/or discontinued
  • Test for a wider range of drugs and with more detail

Another advantage the hair drug test has is that shampoos and follicle cleansing do not reliably remove traces of drugs from hair.

  1. Blood Tests

These are the most expensive method of drug testing. Of course with tracking drug use by blood tests, they are considered to be:

  • Most intrusive method
  • Most accurate form of drug testing
  • Still the least common method, most likely due to cost

As with most anything, it is easier to track something through the blood, so this test is a tough one to try and fool.

What Drugs Don’t Show Up on a Drug Test: Drug Sensitivity

Another important question when trying to figure out what drugs don’t show up on a drug test, people need to take into account the testing products sensitivity. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) provides guidelines for what constitutes a “positive” result.

However, companies are getting around these guidelines by reporting the levels found without categorizing them as a “positive” or “negative” test. They just show that trace amounts are being shown, which would infer use.

The reality is, pretty much every form of the most common illicit substances (cannabis/opioids/amphetamines/etc.) will show up on a drug test. It is much harder to find drugs that wouldn’t leave any trace, and these drugs are often unpredictable and especially toxic.

What Drugs Don’t Show Up on a Drug Test: Synthetic Drugs

There are a number of drugs that are synthetic versions of common illicit substances, and many of these dangerous substances are undetectable drugs. This is a horrifying reality that many are trying to fight, because these are some of the most harmful drugs on the streets. Synthetic drugs like Bath Salts, Salvia, and synthetic marijuana like Spice have all appeared in numerous headlines over the last few years are claiming lives and doing real damage.

These drugs may manage to slide under the radar of some tests, but tests for these synthetics have begun to develop as they have become increasingly volatile and unpredictable.

The biggest issue with these drugs is they are often advertised as “safer” and “legal” alternatives. However, the “legal” aspect is a grey area depending on the substance, and we have seen time and time again they are not “safe”.

What Drugs Don’t Show Up on a Drug Test: What to Do?

Whether you are a cautious employer, concerned parent or someone who is trying to get away with something, substance abuse and addiction are very real issues. Anyone looking for ways to trick a drug test should take a moment to see there is probably something wrong when getting high is more important than getting a job, staying out of legal trouble, etc.

If you are worried about a loved one, learn how to look for the signs of substance abuse. Start a conversation about the risks of addiction and learn about the long-term effects. Don’t wait until things get worse.

Dodging drug tests and using unknown and hazardous chemicals just to get high is not a productive way to live. If the dependence on substances is so severe that you have to ask what drugs don’t show up on a drug test, you might want to think about asking- why do I need any drug this bad?

Instead of looking for ways around it, try to find a way to work and go through it. Recovery is always a better option.

Drug and alcohol abuse should be taken seriously. Faking drug tests is also not getting any easier, with plenty of new found methods of testing for drugs being researched. Getting treatment is a better plan than trying to get away with it, especially since ‘getting away with it’ can eventually end up costing someone their life. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Harvard Psychologist Believes ADHD Doesn’t Really Exist

Harvard Psychologist Believes ADHD Doesn’t Really Exist

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

Author: Shernide Delva

Jerome Kagan is not only a professor at Harvard, one of the most prestigious universities; he also is considered one of the world’s best psychologists. He was named the 22nd most eminent psychologist of the 20th century.

Yet, Kagan does not believe one of the most diagnosed mental health conditions in existence is a real condition. Kagan does not think ADHD exists. What?

That’s right; Kagan put out a statement saying that his position on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is that it is a complete hoax. Kagan’s proclamation has stirred controversy in the mental health community. Psychologist and other medical professionals have gone on the offensive, attempting to argue and discredit Kagan’s statements.

Still, Kagan is stern in his thoughts:

“…(ADHD) is an invention. Every child who’s not doing well in school is sent to see a pediatrician, and the pediatrician says: “It’s ADHD; here’s Ritalin.” In fact, 90 percent of these 5.4 million (ADHD-diagnosed) kids don’t have an abnormal dopamine metabolism. The problem is, if a drug is available to doctors, they’ll make the corresponding diagnosis.” – Jerome Kagan, Psychologist, and Professor at Harvard University

Kagan’s criticism is that the pharmaceutical industry is acquiring excessive amounts of profit from the sale of prescription drugs and this is creating a whole host of problems.

First, he says physicians financially benefit from promoting and prescribing certain medications. This incentive encourages them to prescribe more of these medications rather than recommend natural alternatives. Conditions begin to become over diagnosed because physicians want to earn supplementary income. Some doctors receive hundreds of thousands of dollars just for working with the pharmaceutical industry. In Kagan’s view, he believes this is both an immoral and corruptive practice.

Second, pharmaceutical companies have a significant influence on the political process. “Big Pharma” spends upwards of billions of dollars lobbying politicians to get what they want. Kagan believes this is contributing to the corruption within Washington D.C and elsewhere.

Finally, Kagan says more money flows to the psychologist, psychiatrists, and others who conduct research on conditions such as ADHD which results in more diagnosis and prescriptions. Kagan does not exempt these professions from criticism.

The Problem of Misdiagnosis and Over-diagnosis

According to Kagan, “If you do interviews with children and adolescents aged 12 to 19, then 40 percent can be categorized as anxious or depressed. But if you take a close look and ask how many of them are seriously impaired by this, the number shrinks to 8 percent.”

Kagan continues to elaborate using depression as an example. He believes that not everyone who exhibits symptoms of a condition has a mental health problem. Some children are a “bit” prone to unpredictability.

According to the Center for Disease Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011.” Kagan makes the argument that children diagnosed with the condition are children not doing well in school.

“Who’s being diagnosed with ADHD? Children who aren’t doing well in school. It never happens to children who are doing well in school. So what about tutoring instead of teaching?”

Kagan’s Answer

Kagan believes mental health professions must shift their approach for diagnosing ADHD, depression, anxiety and other disorders. His solution is that mental health professionals should make diagnose the same way doctors do: by looking at the causes, and not just the symptoms. When it comes to children, Kagan thinks, even more, attention should be taken since they lack the ability to explain themselves fully.

Kagan makes no illusion that it will be an easy task. When confronted with criticism that mental illnesses are an invention of Big Pharma and others. Kagan goes on the offensive.

“There are mentally ill people who need help. A person who buys two cars in a single day and the next day is unable to get out of bed has a bipolar disorder…There are people who, either for prenatal or inherited reasons, have serious vulnerabilities in their central nervous system that predispose them to schizophrenia, bipolar disease, social anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorders. We should distinguish these people…”

In other words, Kagan believes that those who administer brain-altering drugs need to search a bit deeper.

Should the mental health industry reflect on Kagan’s thoughts? What are your thoughts? Mental illnesses continue to be stigmatized. However, it is important we look at all sides involved to determine the best approach to treating these conditions.   If you or someone you love is struggling with mental illness, substance abuse or addiction, please call now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Fl. Voters Notice Medical Marijuana Vote Missing On Their Absentee Ballot

Fl. Voters Notice Medical Marijuana Vote Missing On Their Absentee Ballot

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

Author: Shernide Delva

One of the most heavily debated topics on the Florida ballot is Amendment 2. Amendment 2 poses the question as to whether or not to legalize medical marijuana.  However, several Florida residents have come forward stating their absentee ballots were mysteriously missing amendment 2.

For example, resident Karen Goldstein received an absentee ballot earlier this month in Broward County.  When she looked for the spot to vote for Amendment 2, it was mysteriously missing.  Multiple Florida voters have now reported receiving absentee ballots without the medical marijuana initiative on it.

Filing Suit

Now, a lawyer has filed suit against Broward County officials stating the ballots could cause “irreparable harm” and deny residents their constitutional rights.

“The end result of this error is catastrophic and cataclysmic,” Norm Kent, a lawyer for marijuana reform group NORML, wrote in a filing obtained by the Miami Herald.

Kent is trying to get an emergency court hearing on Monday. It is uncertain whether or not a handful of absentee ballots were affected, or thousands of them. At the time of publication, Kent had received six calls about the matter.

A pro-marijuana campaign manager said election officials told him the ballots, without the question, were likely test ballots. Still, an error like this could be huge.

Florida, with its infamous reputation for polling problems, starts early voting on Monday.

The Amendment 2 issue is only now gaining media attention. Since last week, Former Oakland Park Commissioner, Anne Sallee, says she was trying unsuccessfully to get someone at the Broward elections office to pay attention to her complaint. She noticed on her absentee ballot that amendment 2 for medical marijuana was missing.

“They said, ‘Oh, no, you’re mistaken. It’s there,’ “Sallee recounted.

The ballot, which Sallee sent to the Sun Sentinel, jumps from Amendment 1 to Amendment 3. Somehow, the ballot was missing Amendment 2.  Last Wednesday, Broward Elections Supervisor Dr. Brenda Snipes said that her team found no evidence of these faulty ballots sent to voters.

“We have a check-and-balance system. We can go back and see what we did send to the printer,” Snipes said. “When you’re dealing with this much paper and this many people, we may have made a mistake. But I haven’t heard a lot of people saying, ‘I don’t have it, either.’ We’ve already sent [Sallee] another ballot.”

One of Many Ballot Mistakes

If there is an error in the ballots, it would not be the first this election season. Snipes and her team were just cleared on Wednesday for a major election mistake. Her office received criticism after sending inaccurate voter ID cards and for printing ballots for November that included the word “no” in the “yes” line on the county’s transportation sales surtax question.

Despite, the ongoing mistakes, Snipes said she has not seen any ballots missing amendment 2.

“We can’t find a copy of a ballot that does not have the marijuana issue on it,” she said.

Still, Sallee says both her and her husband’s ballots were missing the important question.  To warn others, she sent emails to neighbors to double check their ballots. Many of them found that their ballots were in fact also missing Amendment 2.

Assistant State Attorney Tim Donnelly said in a closeout memo Wednesday that the results were “negligently posted, for a brief period of time, prior to the closing of the polls. However, there is insufficient evidence that anyone purposely intended to post any election results prior to the closing of the polls, in violation of the criminal statutes.”

Ensure Your Ballot Contains Amendment 2!

Ultimately, a mistake like this could delay election results across the state.  Vote-by-mail ballots open on Monday.  If you are utilizing this option, please ensure your Florida ballot contains all the amendments that are in this election.

What do you think happened? How will you be voting? Medical marijuana is a serious topic of debate this year. Allowing residents of Florida the opportunity to vote on this topic is crucial. Overall, whether you agree with medical marijuana or not, you should at least be able to vote on it. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free today.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

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