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Tom Marino Proud of Law Critics Say Made Opioid Epidemic Worse

Tom Marino Proud of Law Critics Say Made Opioid Epidemic Worse

Author: Justin Mckibben

Earlier this week we talked about a story that shook things up in politics as a former DEA agent threw some serious accusations at the Big Pharma industry, Congress and a number of key officials for their involvement in policies some believe helped create the enduring opioid crisis in America. Among those accused of tipping the scales in favor of Big Pharma and stripping power away from those charged with regulating the industry was Republican Representative Tom Marino.

Of course, we know that Tom Marino was President Donald Trump’s top nominee to be the nation’s drug czar.

Now, after withdrawing from the nomination to head the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Tom Marino says he is proud of his role in writing a 2016 law that many critics say paved the way for the current epidemic.

The Tom Marino Factor

What kind of role did Tom Marino have in the creation of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act? Why is it that so many are up in arms about the bill in the first place?

To recap- Pennsylvania Congressman Tom Marino and Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee introduced a bill to the House. It was advertised to officials as a way to ensure that patients had access to the pain medication they needed. In a statement released by Marino’s office, he claims the law would help “facilitate a balanced solution” by ensuring access to certain medications while allowing the Drug Enforcement Administration to prevent the sale and abuse of prescription drugs.

In essence, Tom Marino was supposedly pushing for a way to let pain management patients still get the useful medications they needed, without impeding on the process of curbing abuse.

But that isn’t how everyone sees it, especially after the 60 Minutes story.

Why it Matters

According to the opposition, the bill ultimately did little else besides weaken the DEA and the government’s authority to stop companies from distributing opioids in suspicious shipments.

For years prior to the passage of the “Marino Bill” some big-time drug distributors were getting fined thousands of dollars for repeatedly ignoring DEA warnings to shut down suspicious sales of hundreds of millions of pills. These companies were racking up billions of dollars in sales while turning a blind eye to obnoxious overprescribing of dangerous drugs.

Back then the DEA was able to immediately prevent drugs from reaching the street by freezing suspicious shipments. If the DEA judged that the drugs posed an “imminent danger” to a community, they could take action to prevent the flood of powerful narcotic medications from overwhelming the area.

However, the Tom Marino bill is argued to make it virtually impossible for the DEA to freeze suspicious narcotic shipments from the companies. Now, the agency is required to demonstrate that a drug distributor’s actions represent “a substantial likelihood of an immediate threat,” which officials say is far more difficult criteria to meet. The report against the Tom Marino bill even cited internal DEA and Justice Department documents and an independent assessment by the DEA’s chief administrative law judge.

The DEA even fought the bill, according to people within the agency, but in 2015 the law gained momentum again when the Justice Department named a new chief of the DEA- Chuck Rosenberg. After some reluctance, the report on 60 Minutes that included exclusive insight from Joseph T. Rannazzisi states the DEA ultimately took a deal they did not want.

Champion for Big Pharma

Marino disputed that, calling the reports “false accusations and unfair reporting.”

Tom Marino spent years pushing versions of this bill through Congress. He argued that it was to put an overly-aggressive DEA in check and protect drug companies from what he believed was unfair or misguided federal interference. In other words, he spent a lot of time fighting for Big Pharma’s ability to send millions of pills to communities that didn’t have half the population to justify them. All because the DEA was being aggressive?

The irony here is that the same people who pushed so hard for drug distributors ability to traffic obscene among of pills without the pesky DEA would probably be the same people demanding mandatory minimums for low-level drug offenders on the streets.

And again, many are still suspicious of those involved in pushing for this kind of legislation because of their connections to Big Pharma industry. The Post reports that the drug industry worked behind the scenes with lobbyists and key members of Congress, including Tom Marino.

Some reports indicate the Big Pharma industry poured more than a million dollars into election campaigns, including Marino’s, who received nearly $100,000 in campaign contributions from political action committees supporting the drug industry.

Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch calls the report “complete baloney” after it gained serious momentum earlier in the week.

Why are we not surprised? Because Hatch himself has received hundreds of thousands in donations from Big Pharma companies and health contributors over the years.

Holding Big Pharma accountable for their contribution to the opioid epidemic has become an increasingly popular cause. Lawyers and politicians at all levels have been pushing to put a spotlight on the shady side of the pharmaceutical industry. Now it seems that spotlight may extend more and more to exposing the politics that allow these issues to spread.

Another crucial element to putting an end to the opioid epidemic is providing safe and effective treatment for those who need help the most. A lot of people are still out there suffering because of prescription drug abuse or other dangerous substances. But we want to help. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Why Should I Travel For Rehab Instead of Staying Local?

Why Should I Travel For Rehab Instead of Staying Local?

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

Author: Shernide Delva

When it comes to looking for addiction treatment, there are a variety of concerns that need addressing. One important decision is whether or not to travel for recovery or stay at home. Regardless of what you decide, the primary concern should be finding the right treatment for your needs.

That said, sometimes it is necessary to travel for treatment to receive the best care. People often turn to their insurance to figure out what treatment centers are covered under their benefits. Many plans offer a variety of treatment options, and while some options are local, others are further away.

Regardless of how you pay for treatment, some options locally may not offer the level of care you need. If you are willing to travel for treatment, it expands your options tremendously to hundreds of thousands of centers across the country. Therefore, you can be more selective in what program suits your needs.

With all that said, are there any benefits for traveling to treatment?

The answer is Yes. There are quite a few benefits to traveling to a new city or state for treatment. Traveling puts you in the mindset of taking a journey toward recovery. It offers you a fresh step in a new environment.

For many, it is crucial to put some distance between their hometown and recovery. Some may find that staying home brings up way too many triggers which increase vulnerability to a relapse.

But Staying Home is Way More Convenient!

When looking for a treatment center, may consider convenience first. This is understandable. We all lead busy lives, and it might seem easier to go to a nearby treatment center instead of traveling hundreds to thousands of miles. However, you must remember that your disease requires the best care possible.

Your addiction has become unmanageable, and it is important to make time for yourself to heal. Your family, work life, and routine are already being affected by addiction and traveling for treatment give you the best chance of recovering.

Here are a few reasons why you should recover away from home:

  1. You get a fresh start:

    Pursuing treatment in another geographical area provides a “fresh start” both physically and psychologically. A new location allows you to move forward instead of being reminded of past mistakes. The goal is a long-term recovery, not short-term convenience. In a new location, you can focus on recovery and healing. Addiction is a brain disease, and recovery requires brain healing and restoration. Attending rehab in a new environment jumpstarts the process of your brain forming new neural connections and associations.

  2. Fewer Distractions:

    Seeking treatment far away from home limits the amount of distraction you have around you. You won’t run into “friends” who are also seeking treatment, and your old life will not interfere with your future. Traveling also makes it more difficult to continue using drugs or alcohol. Of course, it is still feasible; however, familiarity with an area can make it easier to do drugs. In a new location, there are fewer memories of past substance abuse. You are not near any drug dealers you already know or neighborhoods that you used to do drugs in. Finally, you can begin to build and experience healthy relationships and learn what it means to lead a sober life.

  3. You can curb impulsive behavior:

    When you are in a familiar area, it is easier to follow through on impulsive decisions. Remaining in rehab for a longer period is crucial to recovery. Several studies note how extended periods of time in treatment away from home increase the chance of recovery long term. It is easy to not give into impulses when you have a strong support system hoping the best for you.

While you may know of some programs close to home, that does not mean they are right for you. Price and convenience should not be the only consideration when choosing treatment. Your life depends on finding adequate care. Do not skimp on your recovery. Choose the best treatment center that you can afford to go to, even if it means spending more or sacrificing more.


Getting treatment for substance abuse is an investment.  It is your first step toward a new, sober life. What are your thoughts on traveling for treatment? Remember, if you are currently struggling with substance abuse, please do not wait. Seek adequate care today. Call now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Batman, Alcoholic: Ben Affleck Admission of Alcohol Addiction

Batman, Alcoholic: Ben Affleck’s Admission of Alcohol Addiction

Author: Justin Mckibben

This past Tuesday, Academy Award-winning actor, screenwriter and producer Ben Affleck made a powerful and inspiring announcement to his fans and friends via social media. Since then the internet has lit up with articles and insights on how this public admission could be seen as a heroic moment to so many people all over the country.

Ben Affleck has the honor of being the new face of Bruce Wayne, bringing the Batman to life in the most recent installments to DC’s feature films. So he is no stranger to the role of a hero with a dark past.

Being open and honest with the world Affleck publicized he had completed treatment for alcoholism, and so many in the recovery community and advocates for addiction have found it as a beacon… or “BAT SIGNAL” if you will… (I will)… for all those struggling to overcome the stigma and see they are not alone.

In an emotionally-charged note to his fans, Ben posted on Facebook stating:

I have completed treatment for alcohol addiction; something I’ve dealt with in the past and will continue to confront. I want to live life to the fullest and be the best father I can be. I want my kids to know there is no shame in getting help when you need it, and to be a source of strength for anyone out there who needs help but is afraid to take the first step. I’m lucky to have the love of my family and friends, including my co-parent, Jen, who has supported me and cared for our kids as I’ve done the work I set out to do. This was the first of many steps being taken towards a positive recovery.”

This is also not the first time Affleck has done battle with alcoholism. The 44-year-old actor has faced his own alcohol addiction in the past, while his childhood was also impacted by the influence of alcoholism on his father.

Alcoholism in the Family

In 2012 Ben Affleck did an interview with Barbra Walters discussing his parent’s divorce when he was 12 years old. During the interview Affleck stated:

“[My father] was an alcoholic… I did know that as a child. He drank a lot. My father was a — what did they call him — a real alcoholic. He, you know, drank all day, drank every day, and to his credit, he got sober ultimately,”

“He’s been sober for several decades, which I think is pretty impressive.”

At this time he credited his brother and his closest friends, including Matt Damon, of helping him through a difficult childhood. After Ben Affleck earned his place in Hollywood for his work with Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting in 1997, he gave up drinking at 24-years-old.

Ben Affleck’s First Time in Rehab

In July of 2001, Ben Affleck completed a 30-day residential rehabilitation program for alcohol abuse. But this experience didn’t seem to convince Affleck at the time he was in danger of real alcoholism. In a 2012 statement, he had said,

“I went to rehab for being 29 and partying too much and not having a lot of boundaries and to clear my head and try to get some idea of who I wanted to be.”

Not saying it wasn’t an important experience, but this statement seems to lean closer to the ‘I’m not as bad as some people’ line.

Family Life

In 2004, Ben Affleck married Jennifer Garner, his co-star from another comic hero film Daredevil. Sources at the time said Affleck’s new married put a halt on all the hard partying. Batfleck began to settle down and start up a family. The two were later blessed with 3 children: Violet, age 11, Seraphina, age 8, and Sam, age 5. Affleck says,

“I think becoming a father makes you see the world differently and it’s good.”

However, Jennifer and Ben did eventually split in 2015. Still, early reports are indicating Jennifer is an important part of Ben’s current path to sobriety.

Sober Supports

While Ben Affleck has been more private about his time in rehab this time around, speculation began when Batfleck was spotted with woman while out and about in Los Angeles that a source later told ET was actually a sober coach Ben had been working with named Elizabeth Weaver.

Other sources have indicated to ET reporters that while Affleck no longer works with Weaver, he was supported by another sober companion while showing up to the 2017 Oscars to support his brother Casey Affleck who won Best Actor.

Looking forward a bit, it’s interesting that the next Batman solo movie starring Ben Affleck is also set to star Joe Manganiello as the infamous villain Deathstroke. Joe Manganiello has also had his struggles with alcohol. In a past interview Manganiello stated,

“My life was ruined. I was homeless, careless and broke with no career.”

The former “Magic Mike” and “True Blood” star has been sober over twelve years! In a 2015 interview Joe Manganiello said his sobriety was “very close to [his] heart.” With him starring as a rival assassin and all out bad mofo in the next Batman against Affleck, one has to wonder if a sober bro-mance might blossom between the two Hollywood action heroes.

Heroes and Alcoholism

One inspiring aspect of all this is that it not only gives us a reason to see past the stigma of alcoholism and addiction, but it also makes those who suffer feel more connected to the people who they may look up to; more connected to their heroes.

In fact, I remember watching Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne in the recent Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice movie. In one scene Bruce Wayne wakes up, fighting back his nightmares, and reaches to a nightstand cluttered by wine bottles to get a bottle of pills. Moments later his butler Alfred Pennyworth, played by the amazing Jeremy Iron, even comments on hoping:

“- the next generation of Waynes won’t inherit an empty wine cellar.”

I related in a big way to the idea even Batman is drinking and popping pills to escape. As a recovering alcoholic and lifelong Batman buff, I felt connected to a feeling I believe is unspoken but relevant to the character, the actor, and the reality of addiction.

It’s almost ironic to me, looking back. To see a well-known and highly celebrated actor like Ben Affleck play my lifelong hero, and in the midst of critical divisiveness over his recent projects still have the strength to speak out about his hardship with alcoholism and the love of his family getting him through, it’s an interesting sense of empathy. Again, when his post says,

“… I want my kids to know there is no shame in getting help when you need it, and to be a source of strength for anyone out there who needs help but is afraid to take the first step…”

That is a strong statement. Batfleck has put himself out there with solidarity and compassion for those who are struggling with alcoholism and addiction. He may not be the first, but he is still a pretty prominent voice in Hollywood today, and that means something. He wants his own kids, and everyone else, to know they should never be afraid to ask for help.

A big piece of this we can all appreciate is that when successful professionals, artists or family-oriented individuals take a public approach to acknowledging addiction, it gives us all another perspective. Those on the outside looking in can see it in the men and women they admire. Their peers can be inspired to take a similar stand on self-improvement and raising awareness. Batman himself has said,

“I have one power. I never give up.”

Bruce Wayne is a man who dedicated himself to being a symbol. Ben Affleck is a man who has struggles and is choosing to have a voice. If more of us chose to have a voice, to take a stance and not give up, we could help others still who don’t know there is a choice.

It can be surprising to see so many successful people are recovering alcoholics and addicts. Sometimes we don’t realize our favorite artists and actors have dealt with something so difficult to get through. The more heroes we have every day that step up and share their message of hope, the more hope we may have that people seek the help they desperately need. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Overdoses Overwhelm Miami First Responders

Overdoses Calls Overwhelm Miami First Responders

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

Author: Shernide Delva

The overdose epidemic is affecting regions across the United States. In Miami Florida, deaths so far in 2016 are expected to surpass last year’s numbers, if they haven’t already.

One of the main culprits in increasing the number of overdoses in the area is fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic narcotic that can be up to 50 times more potent than heroin. The drug is killing drug users at an alarming rate. In March 2016, Miami Fire Rescue treated 273 people for heroin and fentanyl overdoses.  As a result, first responders are overwhelmed by the peak in overdoses.

The drug has flooded South Florida streets from Mexico and China over the past few years. Through August of this year, Miami-Dade Country Medical Examiner’s Office has already reported 130 deaths related to fentanyl-overdoses. Compare that to number between 2010 and 2014, when only about 20 people a year died from overusing the drug.

“The problem is bad, and it’s getting worse,” said Miami Fire Chief Maurice Kemp.

Kemp revealed that in the first eight months of this year, paramedics had administered Narcan to 1,023 people. Those numbers are shockingly higher considering only 493 doses were administered last year. Also, costs to the city for Narcan have soared from $43,000 to more than $155,000.

Law enforcement experts believe the rise in opioid abuse is due to the crackdown years back on Oxycodone. Over the past few years, drugs like oxycodone have become increasingly harder to obtain because of the now known potential these drugs have for abuse. However, because prescription painkillers are more difficult to obtain, drug users are turning to heroin because it is a cheaper, more accessible option. Sadly, often users who believe they are buying heroin are receiving fentanyl instead. The drug can be used through a patch, snorted, swallowed or injected.

The Miami Herald chronicled the rise of the synthetic drug in its Pipeline China series last year.
Attempts to cut the pipelines from other countries to South Florida have proved troublesome. Purchasers simply find new ways to ship the drugs, some ways posing a danger to postal workers who can be exposed if the drugs touch their skin.

Furthermore, prosecutions have been difficult because investigators have a difficult time targeting primary suppliers instead of low-level street dealers.  Still, there have been some. In March, a Miramar man was sentenced to a ten-year prison term after being found importing variants of fentanyl from a prisoner in Canada, who was, in turn, ordering the drugs from China. Authorities discovered that he was using the currency known as Bitcoin to pay for the drugs.

To combat the epidemic, a dozen South Florida law enforcement and government authorities gathered on Friday at the Miami Police College Auditorium. They presented slideshows and spoke on the dangers of the drugs to the public.

The arresting of dealers is difficult. The majority of fentanyl that is distributed in the country arrives through the Dark Web or Dark Net, stated Homeland Security Deputy Special Agent John Toban. These underground websites are hard to track because the IP addresses are hidden.

“It’s a national priority, dismantling those organizations,” he said.

Now with fentanyl seen on a regular basis, police are finding it takes more time for the overdose antidote Narcan to work in reversing the effects of the drug.

“Now with the fentanyl and all the other synthetic drugs that are out there, it’s taking a lot longer and, sometimes, it doesn’t even work,” Miami Department of Fire-Rescue Capt. Archie Vazquez said.

Unfortunately, the new drugs on the market make it hard to guarantee any lives will be saved directly by using Narcan.

“If their respiratory drive goes out and they stop breathing, the outcome is going to be fatal,” Vazquez said.

Overall, the overdose epidemic is affecting counties throughout the state of Florida. There needs to be a change. Addiction is a disease that requires a precise treatment plan. If you are struggling, do not wait. You owe it to yourself to get the help you need. Call now. We want to help.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Shia LaBeouf Talks Giving Up Alcohol

drinking alone

Author: Shernide Delva

Whether you remember him from Even Stevens, or from Transformers, Shia LaBeouf has had a long career so far in Hollywood. In his twenties, he scored a role with Steven Spielberg on the fourth Indiana Jones and soon was the face of the Transformers film franchise.

At the beginning, things seemed to be going great. Then, all began to change. A slew of arrests garnered LaBeouf some negative media attention. He was ordered to six months of court-ordered outpatient alcohol rehab. Suddenly, LaBeouf was becoming more known for his erratic behavior than his acting skills.

The old’ “troubled” actor narrative is all too familiar . Nevertheless, Shia LeBeouf is confident that he is on the right track. He has reinvented himself on his terms. In a recent interview, the 30-year-old revealed the circumstances that led to his downward spiral and how he is recovering from that turbulent period in his life.

Adjusting to Hollywood

LaBeouf admits starring on the Disney Channel series Even Stevens never felt quite right.  He did not feel connected to the Disney brand. He and his friends “were outsiders” and “it felt distant” from his reality.  Furthermore, LaBeouf talked about his humble beginning in Echo Park, where he was raised by his mother:

“We didn’t have nothing. So I would steal Pokemon video games and Tamagotchis,” he said.

While filming Even Stevens, LaBeouf stayed with his Father in a hotel. He remembers that “there were drugs everywhere—marijuana, cocaine, heroin. [My dad] gave me my first joint when I was probably 11 or 12.”

Labeouf continued to star in films like Tru Confessions and Holes. Then, 2007 happened, and suddenly LaBeouf was making mainstream hits such as Disturbia and the first of the Transformer franchise. The following year, the much anticipated Indiana. Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was released, although it had mixed reviews.

Downward Spiral: Giving Up Alcohol

Despite the commercial success of the film, LaBeouf said he felt disillusioned working on the big budget movies and called Spielberg “less a director than he is a fucking company.”  His comments about Spielberg were criticized heavilly in the media.

Not too long after, LaBeouf began drinking heavily.

“Part of it was posturing. I never knew how to drink. I never liked to drink, but I knew you had to drink,” he told the magazine. “It was a weird post-modern fascination with the fuck-ups.”

With all the chaos surrounding his drinking, LaBeouf had to accept the effect alcohol had on him.

“I got a Napoleonic complex. I start drinking and I feel smaller than I am, and I get louder than I should. It’s just not for me, dude.”

LaBeouf says he has not had a drink for about a year now. He regularly attends AA meetings but does not consider himself an addict.

“You don’t touch it,” he said. “Alcohol or any of that shit will send you haywire. I can’t fuck with none of it. I’ve got to keep my head low.”

LaBeouf’s commitment to sobriety has allowed the actor to make a turnaround in his career. American Honey,  which debuted at Cannes Film Festival in the spring, so far has been well received. LaBeouf is currently shooting Borg vs. McEnroe, a film about the rivalry between tennis stars Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. We applaud LaBeouf’s commitment to sobriety and his story is one many in recovery can relate to.

Remember, the road to recovery is not easy. However, like LaBeouf, once you realize how detrimental your life is abusing substances, you will know it is time to make a change. The good news is you do not have to do it on your own. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

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