Safe, effective drug/alcohol treatment

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:

Drugs and Alcohol Are Not the Problem, They Have Been the Solution!

Drugs and Alcohol Are Not the Problem, They Have Been the Solution!By Thomas G. Beley, Ph.D., LCSW

A Perfect Solution 

Why does a person use mood-altering substances?  The answer is basic and simple. Because it is fun and it often makes a person feel good.  It is an extremely fast and effective way to feel either more relaxed, more euphoric, or simply to relieve any pain or discomfort. It seemingly appears to be a perfect solution to the problems of life, at least initially.

Much has been written on the science of addiction, genetics, and neurobiological brain processes that contribute to the addictive process. However, neurobiology and genetics alone do not fully explain the addictive process.  A person born with the genetic predisposition to addiction does not necessarily become an addict.  Similarly, a person free of a genetic predisposition is not immune to the addictive process.  Everyone has the potential to become addicted. 

So what else is it that influences the addictive process?  Behavior, life experiences, and how the person has developed certain levels of functioning areas in their life play a critical role.

Stumbling Into Addiction

It may be surprising to learn that people often unknowingly stumble into the addictive process.  They do this through learned and repetitive behaviors that occur developmentally over time with family, friends, and general life experiences.  Although it is true that some people may become addicted to a substance right from the very beginning due to their genetic make-up, for others it often takes years and sometimes decades before a person actually falls victim to the addictive process. Research has demonstrated that behaviors, particularly repetitive behaviors over time, can activate dormant genes.  This may explain why certain people who start off as recreational or social users become full-blown addicts in later years.  Often, people simply train themselves into becoming addicted.

The difference in the length of time it takes a person to become addicted, genetics notwithstanding, is directly related to how effectively that person has learned to adapt to the surrounding environment and how they have developed certain functioning areas of their life.  Personal behavior, regardless of genetics and the neurobiology involved, plays a critical role in the addictive process.

An Early Start  

One of the interesting facets about substance use is that it appears to start at a relatively early age, typically during adolescence. The National Institute of Health estimates that approximately 85% of all adolescents are experimenting with drugs and alcohol.  These statistics have not really changed for the past twenty years.  The question for parents today is not whether my child is drinking or drugging, but whether my child is going to weather the storm and escape the addictive cycle.

Avoiding Pain

Why is there such a preoccupation with drug use among the young?  One answer involves the pain and pleasure sensors that we all have.  Humans are hard-wired to avoid any type of pain and to experience pleasure whenever possible.  It is an evolutionary protective mechanism in order for our species to survive.  It has also been shown that given a preference, a person tends towards avoiding pain as opposed to seeking out pleasure.  However, to complicate matters, research has also demonstrated that when engaging in a pleasurable experience in order to reduce pain, the pleasurable experience on the part of the person tends to be more pleasurable.  As a result, the mind and body work together to ensure a balance between the pain and pleasure mechanisms in the brain.  Our pain sensors alert us to a potential problem, while our pleasure sensors reduce the pain in order to maintain a focus.

Undeniably, adolescence is an extremely turbulent time.  Given even an ideal living situation, an adolescent still has to struggle with a multitude of challenges including hormonal changes, changes in brain development, the struggle with independence, the desire to establish a sexual identity, and all of these contribute to a considerable level of stress.  These developmental stressors alone can easily trigger a person’s pain sensors and their threshold of discomfort.  Now we add in certain external influences such as divorce, blended families, relocation, poverty, peer group pressure, a lack of education, trauma, and a general need to fit in and now the pain sensors are not only exposed but are conceivably being rubbed raw.  This is usually the time that a person begins to experiment with substances.  The start of this use is usually not directly associated with the discomfort the person may be experiencing.

Typically the introduction of drug and alcohol use is innocent by itself.  It usually starts with curiosity or what the person has been exposed to via the peer group or family. A person begins to experiment with something that alters the mood and in many instances, at least in the beginning, is an extremely effective way to alter one’s state. However, the result of this innocent curiosity renders an immediate effect.  The adolescent feels good and in some instances euphoric.  The person discovers an effective avenue of relief and a particularly effective solution to any type of discomfort.

Although some would assert that their first experience with drugs and alcohol was not necessarily a pleasant one, the pleasure a person derived from fitting in or being a part of a peer group was undeniable. In either case, the person found a way to feel good. The person found an effective coping strategy that was immediate and effective.

A Downward Spiral

However, “feeling good” this way has certain inherent risks.  As a result of the euphoric effects of mood-altering substances, there is the potential for a downward spiral. It is what the “feel good” does to a person that can create problems.  Due to the euphoric effects brought on by a substance, there can be a tendency to depend on the substance or the behavior as a means of relief or a coping strategy.  Often, a person begins to neglect the natural support systems around them in favor of the instantaneous effects of a substance.  As a result, important functional areas of a person can begin to deteriorate.  What was once a source of support such as family, friends, hobbies, career, health, are now neglected in favor of “getting high.”

Level of Functioning and Well-Being

The level of functioning areas refers to key specific developmental areas of a person’s life.  These include the following areas:  intrapersonal, interpersonal, social, familial, vocational, physical, and spiritual.  It is believed that how a person functions in these specific areas plays a major role in how effectively a person maintains a healthy and productive lifestyle regardless of genetic make-up.  It is also believed that these particular areas play an instrumental role in both the addictive and the recovery processes.

From the perspective of the addictive process, most of the stress that is produced emanates from one or more of these areas.  As a person begins to negotiate the developmental life cycle, each of these areas presents new and evolving challenges. Whether it is transitioning from childhood to adolescence, leaving home to attend college, getting married or divorced, relocation, or simply raising children, there is always going to be a challenge, and the subsequent stress of that challenge is always confronting the person.  This is not to say that these challenges are bad.  Often, these challenges are what make a person grow and feel a sense of self-worth.  However, these challenges also bring a degree of stress.  As a result of these challenges, a person is subject to the potential dysregulation in the neurochemistry of the brain.  The resultant symptoms that may occur, which may even be “normal feelings”, i.e., feeling sad and angry due to the loss of a job, can trigger a person to seek relief.  For many, the use of substances is that viable relief, which can also be the beginning of a learned behavior that results in the addictive process.

From the standpoint of the recovery process, the level of functioning areas can be viewed as new potential sources of dopamine.  The development of skills and the ultimate successful functioning of a person in any of these areas can bring about a sense of competence and self-esteem.  Although it is important to help a person to stop drinking and drugging, it is equally as important that the person begin to develop, refine, and maintain their skills in the level of functioning areas.

The following level of functioning areas are considered to be important markers as they relate to a person’s ability to adapt successfully to the environment and ultimately to develop a strong sense of self which is particularly important in developing healthy coping skills.  The belief is that the stronger the skills a person has in these areas, the stronger their recovery is going to be.  It is important to note, however, that there is no set way to function in these areas.  The key question is whether the person has developed the necessary skills to deal with the stressors in these areas.  It is also important to determine whether these skill sets have been productive coping skills.  Furthermore, has the person developed the necessary skills in these areas to not only have an avenue of relief and support but to have these areas be a source of pleasure and happiness?

A person’s level of functioning areas can be viewed as follows:

Intrapersonal

     This refers to how a person views both their sense of self and the world.  It is a person’s general belief system about how they need to function in the environment at hand. How a person views their self can have a major influence on the behaviors a person adopts and uses to adapt to their perceived environment.  Does the person see themselves as an “addict” who is likely going to relapse? Or, do they see themselves as a person who is recovering from a “disease,” a biological illness, ready to get back into life?  Is a person excited about the prospect of recovery or are they frightened? In all of these cases, the meaning that a person gives to their perception of what is occurring is going to influence their behavior and their behavior is going to influence their perception.  perception plays a significant role in the approach to life.  So too for the person suffering from an addiction, it is important for that person to understand their personal belief systems and how those beliefs have been an asset and a detriment in their life.

Questions to Ask:

  • How do I feel about myself?
  • How well do I know and understand myself?
  • What characteristics do I like or dislike about myself?
  • What kind of language do I use in my self-talk and inner monologue?
  • How do I handle successes and challenges?

Intrapersonal Principles to Live By:

  • Intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to identify, understand, access and express inner feelings and emotions.
  • The more self-confidence one has, the easier it is to meet people and to form healthy relationships.
  • Understanding one’s self leads to understanding others, which helps to resolve conflicts constructively.
  • Having high intrapersonal skills provides tools to adjust to new situations and change more quickly and with less stress.
  • Live life with honesty and integrity – dishonest and negative actions result in guilt and shame.
  • Develop patience and impulse control – take time with decisions rather than use knee-jerk reactions.
  • A strong sense of self enables one to be more resilient against negative behavior that is aimed at oneself.
  • Increasing self-esteem enables one to lead with one’s own values rather than follow the values of others.
  • Expressing internal self through externals – dress, groom, and act in ways that reflect your higher self.
  • High intrapersonal skills are connected to academic, career and life success.

10 Ways to Develop Intrapersonal Skills

  1. Set aside quiet time alone to meditate and to reflect upon one’s inner self.
  2. Identify and write down thoughts throughout the day and begin to turn negative thoughts around to positive ones.
  3. Start a gratitude journal by writing down five things for which you are grateful every day.
  4. Ask someone close to you to do an inventory of your positive aspects and what you can improve upon.
  5. Make a list of your values – evaluate if your values and behavior changes when around other people.
  6. Write your life story in the third person describing how that character (i.e., you) overcame challenges.
  7. Study a biography of a great person whom you aspire to emulate.
  8. Examine your wardrobe by evaluating what items will help you feel good about yourself and gain self-respect.
  9. List impulses that you have during the day and what you did instead of acting on them.
  10. Record your daily successes and positive behaviors, however big or small.

Interpersonal

This refers to how a person interacts and negotiates with others in a relationship system.  It refers to the ability to recognize the uniqueness of others as well as the varying needs of others and that the needs of others may conflict with own.  Another important facet of this area is the ability of a person to recognize the interdependence that exists in a relationship.  Interdependence refers to the ability to feel comfortable in being dependent on someone else, yet, at the same time, knowing they have the capacity to be independent.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • How well do I deal with others?
  • How do I resolve conflict?
  • What are my behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs towards others who are similar/different from me?
  • How well do I work as a team player? As a leader? As a follower?
  • How do I build trust and respect from my friends, families, bosses and co-workers?

Interpersonal Principles to Live By

  • Set your own high standards for what is healthy and positive behavior – do not just follow the crowd.
  • Evaluate people based on their actions rather than projecting your own biases and prejudices onto them.
  • Do not be afraid of authority figures – respect them as needed but know that you have your own power that can never be taken away.
  • Be a good team player – know when to take leadership and when to follow orders.
  • Deal with a conflict head-on – be honest with yourself and the conflict so that it does not become a greater problem.
  • Take responsibility for what you did to others in the past and change what you can in the present.
  • Share and express your feelings with others – let people into your world.

10 Ways to Improve Interpersonal Skills:

  1. Find three people you have not met and ask them questions about themselves.
  2. Make or buy a gift that shows appreciation for someone who has helped you.
  3. Share with someone with whom you feel safe something about which you are embarrassed.
  4. List negative behaviors of someone you dislike and then evaluate how you have similar behaviors.
  5. Find one positive thing about the people around you and let them hear it.
  6. Keep track of the number of times you smile in a day and then increase that amount the next day.
  7. Offer to do something nice for somebody without expecting anything in return.
  8. Spend the day talking to people without saying any negative statements or voicing any complaints.
  9. Take 10 minutes every day to set aside time to talk to a loved one about issues.
  10. Actively listen by not responding verbally to someone’s comments or advice and consider what they say.

Social

This refers to the social life and established social network that the person uses for support, recreation, and general relaxation. The social network can include friends, organized groups or clubs, hobbies, recreational activities, and other various outlets used to promote support and relaxation.  Social supports in a person’s life are extremely important since they play a crucial role in reducing stress as well as building healthy relationships with others.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What healthy outlets do I have to be social and connect with others?
  • How comfortable am I when I meet new people?
  • What kind of activities do I like to do?
  • How can I make sober friends?
  • What are ways that I can attract positive people in my life?

Principles to live by when making and keeping friends:

  • The more positive you become the more you will attract positive people.
  • Do not get too comfortable and fall back on friends who are a bad influence.
  • There is someone for everyone – people will like you despite your flaws.
  • When you isolate yourself you are building your own prison.
  • Do not be afraid of rejection – the more you try the higher the odds are of acceptance.
  • Share of yourself – open up to others about who you are and do not be afraid to be vulnerable.
  • Focus on the people who like you – not everyone is going to like you and that is fine.
  • Do not let negative self-thoughts exist in your mind; when they appear, focus on positive thoughts.
  • Face to face interaction is always best – if you meet or communicate online meet up in person.
  • Sincerity goes a long way – people can tell if you are not honest or appropriate in your motives.
  • Have a positive outlook on people – nobody is perfect and everyone just wants acceptance.
  • Do not settle for a social network that is anything less than one that will move you forward in life.
  • Remember that the person you meet is feeling just as awkward and unsure of themselves as you are.
  • Be open to people different than you- you always have at least one thing in common with someone.
  • Take initiative – challenge yourself and make the first step in initiating a friendship.
  • Do not get discouraged – attracting new, positive people takes time.

10 Ways to Build a Positive, Healthy Social Life:

  1. Start with someone you know through work, school, church, support group or a friend of a friend.
  2. Explore a hobby about which you are passionate about and join a club or take a class related to it.
  3. Follow the news and pop culture so that you have something about which to talk.
  4. Volunteer with a cause in which you believe and actively participate in the organization.
  5. Make a list of values and characteristics you want to see in yourself and in the people around you.
  6. Plan how you will start a conversation at a social gathering and try it out on someone new.
  7. Make a habit out of collecting people’s contact information so you may follow up with them later.
  8. Plan to do an activity or attend an event you enjoy and invite others to join you.
  9. Attend a social networking event in a field that you are or would like to be in.
  10. Ask someone you respect to tell you what you can improve on when meeting new people.

Family

     Family refers to both the immediate and extended family and/or kinship system with whom a person has been intimately and emotionally involved over the years.  The “family” are those people, not necessarily blood related, who still continue to play a role in providing support, sustenance, and are likely to have an on-going involvement in the life of a person.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What does family mean to me?
  • What unresolved issues do I have with my family?
  • How can I improve my relationships with my family?
  • What kind of family do I want to have?
  • How can I become a positive and inspiring family member?
  • In what ways can I better communicate with my family better?

Principles to live by when dealing with and understanding your family

  • Have compassion for your parents – parenting is the hardest and most demanding task in the world.
  • Learn to forgive – if a family member treated you poorly or hurt you, chances are the same thing was done to them when they were growing up.
  • Discover and evaluate your boundaries as an individual and as a family member.
  • Family relationships and conflicts can reflect to you on what you need to work to improve yourself.
  • Be responsible for yourself – take responsibility for the things you can and cannot change about you and your family.
  • Unspoken family rules oftentimes speak louder than spoken rules.
  • Family roles and behaviors shifts after significant crises and events.
  • The more you understand your family, the more you understand yourself.
  • Take the path of least resistance – family power struggles can be more trouble than they are worth.
  • Birth order plays a major part in your role in your family and your personal life.

10 Ways to Improve Your Family Life:

  1. Write down what you consider as your family, blood-related or not, and evaluate each relationship.
  2. Spend an hour or more every week or month with family members with whom you do, and do not, get along.
  3. Build a family tree – ask your parents and relatives about your family history.
  4. Research your cultural background and list the values that you and your family have adopted from this.
  5. Interview a family member about their life history and write a short biographical story about them.
  6. Make a list of values and characteristics that you want to have in forming your own family.
  7. Write down your unresolved family issues and share it with a therapist or a loved one.
  8. Enroll in family or couples counseling or take a course in family communication.
  9. Make a list of values and beliefs you have adopted from your family and evaluate if they are right for you.
  10. Identify family taboo topics and think of ways to approach these topics in a non-threatening way.

Professional/Vocational/Academic

     This refers to how a person has progressed through their life as it relates to their academic, career, and professional development.  This is important because many people spend the majority of their time in life on the job.  A good question for someone to ask oneself is whether or not they are satisfied and fulfilled with what they are doing. Because life is often very precarious and presents conflicting demands, it is always important to evaluate whether one is where one wants to be.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What are my short and long-term professional goals?
  • How can I work towards advancement in my field?
  • How do I present myself in the job force?
  • What are ways I can show leadership and initiative in my job?
  • How can I build upon and strengthen my skills for my job or career field?
  • How well do I get along with my supervisors, colleagues, co-workers, and employees?

Principles to live by when building your professional skills

  • Everyone was born with a purpose in life – find ways to use your purpose in your career.
  • Dress appropriately for the job, or one notch higher than what is expected.
  • Think about your job as being a way to give back to humanity.
  • No job is beneath you – there is always something to learn from every job that helps you in the future.
  • Identify your passion and find ways to express that passion in your job.
  • Keep up with the competition – meet the minimum requirements for your field and go beyond them.
  • Take leadership and initiative in your job – set a higher standard for your company.
  • Leave the office gossip behind – form strong relationships with co-workers and work as a team.
  • Take measures for self-care – you are more productive and positive at work if you are not burnt out.
  • Take advantage of job trainings and workshops – continually improve your job skills.
  • Know and understand what you value in life and build your job around those values.
  • Challenge yourself – get feedback from your boss and peers about how to push your self further.

10 ways to develop professional skills:

  1. Write down the activities you enjoy and find ways to incorporate these into your field of work.
  2. Make an inventory of the skills/strengths you have in your field and which other leaders in your field also have.
  3. Enroll in school or a course that will move you toward your professional goals.
  4. List your professional goals and share it with anyone and everyone around you.
  5. Evaluate and identify any issues with authority and develop address them.
  6. Examine what is in your closet and begin to develop a professional or work-appropriate wardrobe.
  7. Ask your friends and family at what you are good and on what you need to improve for the workforce.
  8. Take a course or read a book on how to develop leadership skills.
  9. Read the biography of a leader in your field and take notes on how they got where they are.
  10. Write an obituary of what you achieved in your life, then work backward on how to reach those goals.

Health and Physiology

This refers to the health and physical conditioning of a person. It also refers to whether or not a person has reached their goal regarding their health and physical conditioning.  Even people with chronic illness and conditions have the ability to improve.  It has been well documented that eating properly and doing consistent exercise not only makes us healthier, it also strengthens the immune system. The body has often been referred to as the temple of our mind.  If our body is not fit, our mind is not going to reach its highest potential.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What is the overall state of my body?
  • How much exercise do I do on a daily/weekly basis?
  • What am I doing to nourish the body?
  • How can I increase my energy through natural, beneficial ways?
  • How can I motivate myself to take great care of my health?

Principles to live by for developing health and physical skills

  • Small steps towards a healthier lifestyle are better than a complete overhaul of your current lifestyle.
  • Restlessness and boredom may be your body’s way of telling you to get up, stretch or exercise.
  • Annual physical examinations by a doctor must be an integral part of any health program, especially since they can help identify latent problem areas.
  • Getting off drugs will help reveal physical, sleep and/or eating issues that were previously covered up.
  • Everything in moderation – cross-addictions can make you go overboard on exercise or diet plans.
  • Regular sleep is important – wind down by the end of the day, go to bed early and wake up early.
  • For illnesses and physical issues, explore natural remedies and alternative therapies when possible.
  • Sugar cravings can become strong when detoxing from drugs – choose natural sugars from fruit and vegetables as much as possible.
  • Think of your body like a vehicle that needs to be cleaned regularly and maintained daily for maximum potential.
  • Staying physically active helps maintain and build a more positive self-image and world outlook.
  • Pain, discomfort, and ailments are temporary and will pass like everything else.
  • Cut down on cigarettes and stop smoking through cessation methods
  • Treat your body to massages, chiropractor, and other alternative therapies.
  • Vary your physical exercise and activities to prevent stale health regimens.
  • Give your body time to adjust to new health activities – feeling physically better comes over time.

10 Ways to a Healthy Lifestyle:

  1. Start your morning with stretching and light exercise for 20 minutes while listening to energizing music.
  2. Develop a daily/weekly schedule of all activities involving movement and/or exercise.
  3. Explore and use your insurance benefits or get on to a health care insurance plan for prevention.
  4. Identify and approach someone reliable to be your exercise buddy or health monitor.
  5. Enroll in a cooking class focused on making simple healthy meals.
  6. Join a gym, fitness class and/or sports team in your neighborhood.
  7. Take short evening walks after dinner.
  8. Plan and shop for meals and healthy snacks for the week.
  9. Sign up with a nutritionist to evaluate your current health habits and to develop a new program.
  10. Keep a food journal to find out what you are putting into your body on a daily basis.

Spirituality

     This refers to a sense of purpose and meaning in one’s life.  It is the ability of a person to bring meaning to their life experiences and to make sense of one’s e experiences and how they can contribute to others.

Questions to Ask Yourself:

  • What is your sense of a higher power?
  • What are your spiritual values and beliefs?
  • How do you connect to nature? How do you connect to others? To the universe?
  • To whom or what do you turn when you are facing a challenge?
  • How much faith or trust do you have in what life has in for your future?
  • What are ways to build upon or strengthen your spiritual values, beliefs, and faith?

Spiritual Principles to Live By

  • Trust in what the universe has for your future – you are infinite potential and creativity.
  • Human beings all share the same core essence – treat others as you would like to be treated.
  • There are no mistakes or coincidences – you are where you are at for a reason and purpose.
  • Observe your choices and actions – there are causes and effects to all your actions.
  • Avoid religious debates and arguments – instead discuss and identify common spiritual principles and values.
  • Every moment is an opportunity to begin with a fresh new perspective on life.
  • Give up your sense of control – it is illusory anyway and, instead, trust the universe to provide for the future.  Surrender.
  • Plant the seed of intention and water it – ask for help on what you want from life and it will blossom.
  • Nothing external will ever fill what is perceived to be lacking within – go internally to discover what is full and perfect as it is.
  • Discover your true Self – one purpose of life is to find out who and what you are and what you are not.
  • Understand Spirit/God/Universe with direct experience and choose your own spiritual path.

10 Ways to Improve Your Spiritual Life:

  1. Spend a few minutes each day sitting alone in silence.
  2. Volunteer for a social service agency and give back to your community.
  3. Take a walk in nature and observe the flowers, trees, and grass with childlike wonder.
  4. Make a list of all the positive things that have happened in your life and see them as miracles.
  5. Visit churches, temples and religious/spiritual groups and find the right one that speaks to your heart.
  6. Collect peaceful, calm, spiritual songs and put them on a playlist or CD to listen to every night.
  7. Make a sacred space in your room that is reserved just for yourself and includes items that symbolize what you value in your life.
  8. Interview those close to you and those you respect about their spiritual values and practices.
  9. Read a spiritual book or gather spiritual writings that help inspire you.
  10. Develop a personal ritual to dispose of past hurts and wrongs and let go of the past

New Sources of Dopamine

It is important to remember that individuals in the early part of recovery are going to experience a great deal of pain and discomfort. However, what has been emphasized repeatedly herein, this pain and discomfort may not be related as much to the physiological dependence and subsequent withdrawal to a substance as to the general lack of dopamine in the neurobiological system.

Research has demonstrated that the use of substances depletes, and even in certain cases extinguishes, the natural dopamine supply of a person.  Studies have shown that dopamine receptors can remain depleted for as much as two years for those addicted to “crack” cocaine and methamphetamines. Although other studies have suggested that the increased functioning of dopamine receptors can be brought back online in the brain much quicker via behavioral stimulation and change, a sense of well-being may still take time to develop. The challenge is for the person to develop new sources of dopamine.

The Paradox of Recovery: the Pain Source is the Pleasure Source

One of the interesting paradoxes in the recovery process is that the new source of dopamine may very well come from the old sources of pain and discomfort, namely our relationship systems in the core level of functioning areas.  As previously mentioned, pain and discomfort comes from the aforementioned life experiences which include the intrapersonal, interpersonal, family, social, professional, as well as our physical and spiritual conditioning.   These are the same areas that also have the potential to provide a person with an unlimited source of well-being and pleasure. The development of these areas has the potential to be the new dopamine source.

The problem is these areas of a person’s life have been seriously neglected because of the addictive behaviors, or in the case of people who have been addicted since their early teens, these areas have never really been developed at all.  However, it is in these very areas of a person’s life that has the unlimited potential to increase self-esteem, provide a natural network of support, and to provide a person with a real sense of belonging, nurturing, and love.  Although a person newly into recovery has a mountain of work ahead of them, they also have an untapped source of pleasurable fulfillment.

As a person once said when he came into treatment,

I came into treatment because my life was miserable and unmanageable. Now that I am clean and sober, I realize that my life is even more miserable than I thought but I now know it can be more manageable. I am in a black tunnel, not a black hole.  The miracle is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I know what I need to work in order to get better.”

 

For over 25 years, Thomas G. Beley, Ph.D., LCSW has worked in the field of addictions and mental health. Over the decades of helping people who struggle with drugs, alcohol and mental health disorders, Doctor Beley has proven to be an expert clinician and an innovative and compassionate leader. Palm Partners Recovery Center is proud to have an executive team with experience and incredible commitment to helping others. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Marijuana Is Addictive: Even If We Know It Isn’t Evil

Marijuana Is Addictive: Even If We Know It Isn't Evil

Any time you bring up marijuana and addiction in the same sentence, a lot of people get really defensive. Whether it is people claiming that cannabis has enough medical benefits to negate any side-effects, or people deflecting to other “hard” drugs like opioids to minimize the impact of marijuana, it is difficult to even broach the subject.

Before anyone reading this goes on the attack with “how dare you speak poorly of cannabis” we suggest reading this article until the end.

It is hard to have a conversation about addiction in general without the debate over marijuana abuse being brought up. Both sides of the argument have some fair points of perspective, but at the end of the day to insist marijuana addiction is utterly impossible is just intellectually dishonest. It may not be as devastating or deadly as heroin or crack-cocaine, but marijuana is addictive. And just because not everyone suffers, doesn’t mean we should neglect the people who do.

Some Basics of Cannabis

If we are going to say marijuana is addictive, we have to cover the basics.

The active ingredient in marijuana is Tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known as THC. This cannabinoid is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. It binds to the cannabinoid receptors in the brain (CB1 and CB2). Since THC is a partial agonist, it only activates these receptors to a fraction of their capacity. Cannabinoid receptors modulate a number of things, including:

  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Appetite

Short-term side-effects of cannabis use may include:

  • Decrease in short-term memory
  • Dry mouth
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Red eyes
  • Feelings of paranoia or anxiety

While there are numerous side-effects, there are no reports of fatal overdose in humans caused by cannabis.

The earliest records of cannabis use date as far back as the 3rd millennium BC. Throughout history, it has been used for recreational, medicinal and spiritual purposes across several different cultures and continents. Even though there have been restrictions put on cannabis since the early 20th century, more recently America has experienced a change of perspective, and more and more people are embracing marijuana reform.

We aren’t saying that is the end of the world. This change in drug policy could do a lot of good in many ways. But that does not mean that people should forget that marijuana is addictive.

Better Understanding Addiction

Part of the problem people have with saying marijuana is addictive is the fact that so many people refuse to accept what addiction really is. According to the vast majority of the scientific and medical community, addiction is a complex brain disease (or disorder, if you prefer) that manifests by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences. Addiction can also be used in association with behaviors like gambling addiction or sex addiction. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM):

“Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.”

Many refer to it as severe substance use disorder. Different substances cause changes in the how the brain functions. Changes in the brain’s wiring cause people to experience intense cravings for the drug. This is part of why it becomes too hard to stop using the drug. Brain imaging studies show changes in the areas of the brain that relate to:

  • Judgment
  • Decision making
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Behavior control

One big element of addiction is how despite the negative impact of using the drug on an individual’s life, they continue to engage in the behavior. It causes damage to their professional and personal life, and yet they have an inability to stop using. Over time, people suffering from substance use disorder will build up a tolerance to the substance. This means they require larger amounts of the substance to feel the same effects.

Perhaps one of the biggest issues with people accepting that marijuana is addictive is the stigma that comes with the word addiction. Far too many people still believe that addiction is a choice or a weakness of character. Therefore, it puts cannabis in a bad light if you acknowledge marijuana addiction. If you believe that addiction is only for those who have weak willpower and choose to destroy their lives with dangerous drugs then, of course, you won’t want to believe that marijuana is addictive.

So, for just a moment let us pretend that everyone acknowledges what addiction actually is- a chronic brain disorder.

A Drug by Any Other Name

When we talk about the dangers of drug dependence and addiction, people tend to envision an alcoholic falling off a bar stool, or an addict with a needle in their arm. For decades, movies and television have helped paint this picture of addiction as an extreme. In the midst of an ongoing opioid crisis in America, we see plenty of heroin and fentanyl overdoses on the news to reinforce that stereotype.

But that is not what every addiction looks like.

Still, if you focus mainly on making comparisons to try and debunk that marijuana is addictive, we can prove some points there as well. For instance, look at one of the most dangerous drugs in the world- alcohol.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are approximately 3.3 million deaths worldwide due to harmful use of alcohol every year. Yet, this drug is legal pretty much everywhere and readily available all over the United States. In truth, alcohol is responsible for far more death and destruction than cannabis.

And you will notice that not everyone who drinks alcohol becomes addicted to it.

The same can even be said for opioids, since millions of Americans use prescription opioids for pain management, but do not end up addicts. Cannabis is not the only substance with medical potential that people can abuse. It may not be as dangerous as morphine, but that doesn’t mean it is exempt from what defines an addiction.

Why? Because that is not how addiction works.

Be it narcotic medication, illicit street drugs or recreational alcohol use, substance use disorder can develop depending on many variables, including genetic predisposition. When addressing addiction and the stigma, we have to remember that the substance itself is not the only factor.

How Marijuana is Addictive Compared to Heroin

Let us get this out of the way- I am NOT saying marijuana is as addictive as heroin.

An interesting fact about marijuana that most people do not realize is that there is a significant amount of interaction between the cannabinoid receptor system and the opioid receptor system in the brain!

Yes… marijuana activates the same receptor system in the brain as heroin, morphine and oxycontin.

Research shows that without the activation of the µ opioid receptor, THC does not activate the reward system as it normally would. When marijuana activates that opioid receptor it sets off a chain reaction. The opioid system activates the dopamine reward pathway, which gives people those feelings of euphoria. These are the mechanisms believed to underlie the rewarding, and many of the addictive properties, of essentially all drugs of abuse.

Go ahead… let that sink in.

On top of all that, without the activation of the CB1 receptors, research shows that opiates, alcohol, nicotine and perhaps even stimulants would lose some of their reward properties as well. That would mean that the reward effects of more notorious drugs depend on cannabinoid receptors more than previously expected. In short, the data indicates there is a close connection between the cannabinoid receptors that THC targets and the addictive elements of most other drugs.

How does that suggest that marijuana is addictive?

Well, if we agree that addiction includes how a substance changes the way a brain functions, we can see how the impact of THC on cannabinoid and opioid receptors could play a role in the development of marijuana addiction. We learn to rely on substances and outside resources for dopamine, which in turn influences behaviors.

What about Withdrawals?

Some people assume that if marijuana is addictive, it has to be the cause of intense and debilitating withdrawals. Marijuana withdrawals are way more subtle than those associated with heroin or cocaine, but they are every bit as real. The main mental symptoms of marijuana withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Low appetite or loss of weight

Of course, the level of physical dependence concerning even the most chronic marijuana use is low compared to any other drug. Still, people do report physical withdrawal symptoms due to marijuana. These physical symptoms include:

  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Sweatiness
  • Shakiness

Even if someone does not experience painful and dangerous withdrawals, it does not mean the substance is not addictive. Again, a lot of how marijuana addiction develops has to do with the impact on the brain and how drug use impacts an individual’s life. Addiction isn’t just physical, it is also mental.

Marijuana Addiction on the Rise

Marijuana addiction is not as common or life-threatening as opioid addiction. However, reports indicate that marijuana addiction rates are on the rise in many areas. Approximately 9% of cannabis users because addicted, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). In 2015, about 4.0 million people in the United States met the diagnostic criteria for marijuana use disorder. Recent NIDA data indicates that at least 30% of those who use marijuana have some degree of marijuana use disorder.

That does not mean that all those people have an addiction or a severe substance use disorder. It does mean, however, that they are showing signs of dependence.

Many believe that the rising rates of marijuana addiction are due to the increase in potency. Currently, cannabis products are more potent than ever before. New trends like dabbing THC concentrates are also being considered as contributing to the rise in marijuana addiction.

Even the National Cannabis Industry Association does not disagree with the reports about marijuana addiction rates. The organization’s chief spokesman Morgan Fox said he is not surprised that the government cannot convince people that marijuana addiction is a real thing.

“It’s their own fault,” he said of the government. “When people find out they’ve been lied to by the federal government about the relative harms of marijuana for decades, they are much less likely to believe anything they have to say going forward, even if that information is accurate.”

Even leaders in cannabis advocacy can admit that it is possible to become addicted to marijuana. Others may be skeptical of the severity, but it doesn’t make it any less real.

Agree to Advocacy and Awareness

At the end of the day, some people are more than happy to refute any evidence that marijuana is addictive. Some people become aggressively hostile to any suggestion it could be. Some people treat it like it is all or nothing, but reality isn’t that simple.

But here is the thing- you can be an advocate for the benefits of cannabis and acknowledge it is addictive. You’re allowed to do both.

You can advocate for a substances medical potential and the many uses for its compounds that make people’s lives better and raise awareness about the risks some people face. If you want to promote the positive aspect of things like CBD oils, or medical marijuana for treating Veterans with PTSD, those are noble causes to consider. But that does not mean you have to ignore those who struggle with substance use disorder.

Every day, millions of Americans struggle with chronic pain and the medications that help with pain management are an important resource. That doesn’t mean we should ignore the fact that people do become addicted to Oxycontin.

Marijuana is addictive. It may be less common or life-threatening than other drugs like fentanyl or alcohol, but a growing number of people across the nation are still struggling. Addiction treatment facilities are reporting higher demands for marijuana addiction treatment, and more comprehensive recovery programs are helping address drug abuse in all its forms. For those who do suffer from addiction, there should be support and opportunities for compassionate care.

Instead of trying to invalidate the people who are hurting, we should try and appreciate the opportunity to better understand their addiction.

Holistic addiction treatment is about addressing every part of an individual. It is a personalized path that is designed to treat the mind, restore the body and heal the spirit. For over 20 years, Palm Partners Recovery Center has been helping people transform their lives, no matter what drug they struggle with. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll free now. We want to help.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Should EMTs Take Patients to Sobering Centers and Mental Health Clinics?

Should EMTs Take Patients to Sobering Centers and Mental Health Clinics?

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

New legislation being pushed to empower EMTs may soon change the way first responders in California help patient get care while trying to ease the overcrowding of emergency rooms. A bill as proposed will allow paramedics to bring a patient to sobering centers and mental health clinics, instead of taking them to the ER. So should EMTs take patients to these alternative facilities to receive more specific forms of care?

Giving EMTs Options

When dealing with a situation, law enforcement personnel are permitted to transport individuals who are intoxicated or experiencing a mental health crisis to sobering centers or mental health clinics if deemed appropriate. Sometimes this is the best place for a patient, depending on the specific circumstances. However, under current state law in California, Emergency Medical Technicians (or EMTs) and paramedics must bring patients to the emergency room.

Some argue that requiring EMTs and paramedics to transport these patients to the ER is not only contributing to overcrowding in emergency rooms but also it is often not the best place for them. Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn is one of many who believes this is a “common sense” option for EMTs. Hahn states,

“The bottom line is that if people like you and I can take an individual to a sobering center or a mental health urgent care center, why can’t a highly trained medical professional do the same?”

Supervisor Janice Hahn has sponsored the new bill, hoping to give EMTs more options that better serve the individual. Hahn states,

“Our mental health urgent care centers and the sobering center at Skid Row were designed to provide humane, compassionate care, tailored to meet the needs of their patients,”

In cases involving law enforcement, this option allows police to choose specialized facilities instead of booking people in jail. This allows for people who may be dealing with alcohol, drugs or mental health issues to sober up and receive on-the-spot treatment without facing charges. According to Hahn, California paramedics and EMTs have their hands tied, and it is impacting hospitals and individuals.

Assembly Bill 1795

The new legislation is Assembly Bill 1795. This proposal would allow local emergency medical services agencies to lay out plans for transporting patients to:

  • Designated behavioral health facilities
  • Sobering centers that meet specific standards

Keep in mind, these patients will have to meet specific criteria in order to qualify. The bills recently amended language also states:

The bill would authorize a city, county, or city and county to designate, and contract with, a sobering center to receive patients, and would establish sobering center standards.

However, the bills current language also states that patients can instruct EMTs to take them to the emergency room and that it does not authorize them to initiate an involuntary detention of the patient.

This legislation also has support from Assemblyman Mike Gipson. He wrote an op-ed in February for the Compton Herald to support the measure. Gipson states,

“No one will deny that our emergency rooms are drastically over-crowded. Although they may be well-equipped to handle trauma, disasters or emergency physical health conditions—they are not as well-equipped to serve patients who have mental health care needs or substance abuse problems.”

Recently, Hahn herself planned a trip to Sacramento to advocate for the bill. And she isn’t the only one getting behind it. The bill is also co-sponsored by:

  • Los Angeles County
  • California Hospital Association
  • California Ambulance Association

Another supporter of the proposal is Mitch Katz, the director of the county’s Department of Health Services. Katz points out that not only could this give EMTs the power to take patients to a more suitable facility, but that these options can also be much less expensive than taking patients to an emergency room.

While hospitals, EMTs and paramedics are a crucial part of saving lives in cases of overdose and other emergencies, when it comes to getting people a means to effective treatment unique to their needs, there are better options. Giving EMTs a resource to offer substance abuse and mental health treatment options could make a huge difference in the fight against addiction. Anything that connects people with effective treatment is an important step in the right direction.

We want to hear what you think- should EMTs take patients to sobering centers and/or mental health clinics?

Communities in many other parts of the country have begun to work on better ways to connect people struggling with substance abuse or mental health conditions with specialized treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

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.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

The Opioid Epidemic Projected to Get a Lot Worse Before it Gets Better

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

Author: Shernide Delva

If you thought all the attention surrounding the opioid epidemic would result in immediate progress, think again.

According to experts, things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.

But just how bad will it get?

Leading public experts agree the epidemic of people dying from opioids could reach up to a half million over the next decade.

Experts at ten universities were asked to project the death toll from opioid overdoses over the next decade. If the worst-case scenario plays out, by 2027, we could be losing 250 people every day to heroin/painkillers in the United States. Right now, that number is closer to 100 deaths per day.

Even scarier, substances like fentanyl and carfentanil, which are many times stronger than heroin, continue to drive up the death toll.

Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that in 2015, at least 33,000 people died from a fatal opioid overdose. Nearly half of those deaths involved prescription opioids like OxyContin or Percocet.

Still, there is hope that the death toll won’t continue to rise as fast as it currently is. In the best case scenario, STAT predicts 21,300 opioid deaths in 2027 which is lower than 2015 numbers. However, getting to this point will require major investments in evidence-based treatment.

Regardless, all experts agree on one fact: the opioid epidemic will get worse over the next decade before any improvement occurs.

Here are the 10 Opioid Epidemic Scenarios Projected by 2027

  • SCENARIO 1-

    The worst scenario: In this scenario, the death toll projection for 2027 is 93,613, an 183% increase from 2015.

    In this scenario, the drug overdose total will continue to climb at a steady rate as they have for decades. This scenario assumes that opioid deaths will continue to make up roughly the same percentage of all drug deaths.

  • SCENARIO 2-

    In this scenario, the death toll projection for 2027 is 70,239 opioid deaths. This change would be an 112% increase since 2015.

    This scenario assumes that opioid use climbs for the foreseeable future, but it takes into consideration the potential progress from reducing opioid prescriptions and other interventions.

  • SCENARIO 3-

    In this scenario, the forecast for 2027 is 56,118 opioid deaths. This change would be a 70% jump since 2015.

    This scenario assumes that total opioid deaths will rise slightly because of increasing fatal heroin and fentanyl overdoses. The influx of fentanyl and heroin will offset any improvement in prescription opioid abuse.

  • SCENARIO 4-

    In this scenario, the opioid deaths forecast for 2027 is 46,740. This would be a 41% increase since 2015.

    This scenario assumes that the death toll will increase due to fentanyl and lack of naloxone access. The decline of deaths would occur due to fewer doctors overprescribing opioids due to increase awareness.

  • SCENARIO 5-

    In this scenario, the death forecast for 2027 is 45,000. This would be a 36% increase since 2015.

    This scenario assumes an increase due to fentanyl use and a reduction in prescription opioid abuse. After several years, this scenario assumes that doctors will begin to prescribe painkillers more responsibly.

  • SCENARIO 6:

    In this scenario, the opioid death forecast for 2027 is 44,843. This forecasted change would be a 36% increase since 2015.

    This scenario assumes a sharp increase in deaths for the first few years before the effects of interventions and funding through the 21st Century Cures Act kicks into gear, driving the numbers down.

  • SCENARIO 7-

    In this scenario, opioid deaths for 2027 is 40,652. This would be a 23% increase since 2015.

    This scenario assumes opioid deaths will increase until a combination of intervention strategies like increase naloxone access, decreased prescription opioids, and increased treatment access lower fatal overdoses.

  • SCENARIO 8-

    In this scenario, opioid deaths for 2027 is 40,000. This change would be a 21% increase since 2015.

    This scenario assumes that heroin laced with synthetic opioids will cause opioid deaths to rise for several years. This rise will peak and then later decline as drug users either fatally overdose or seek treatment.

  • SCENARIO 9-

    In this scenario, the death forecast for 2027 is 25,000. This is a 24% reduction since 2015.

    This scenario assumes heroin laced with synthetic opioids will result in increased fatal overdoses for several years. Only after this increase will numbers start to decline, as increased naloxone access, addiction treatment, and more supervised injection sites reduce the numbers significantly, resulting in an overall decrease.

  • SCENARIO 10

    – The best scenario: In this scenario, the death forecast for 2027 is 21,300. This is a 36% reduction since 2015.

    This scenario assumes that doctors will prescribe fewer opioids, and states will embrace prescription drug monitoring programs. Insurers will begin to enact reforms to increase treatment access.

Overall, all scenarios projected by experts agree that the opioid epidemic will get worse before it gets better if it gets better at all.

The experts agree that opioid deaths won’t begin to slow down until at least 2020.  It takes time for governmental efforts to kick in and for education and public awareness to result in positive change.

“It took us about 30 years to get into this mess,” said Robert Valuck, a professor at the University of Colorado-Denver’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “I don’t think we’re going to get out of it in two or three.”

The opioid epidemic costs the US economy nearly $80 billion annually, according to federal officials. STAT notes that the US already spends about $36billion on addiction treatment, yet only 10% of the estimated 2.2 million Americans with opioid use disorder ever seek help.

This epidemic is not going off the radar anytime soon. Plenty of people are still deep into their addiction and need treatment immediately. If this sounds like you or someone you know, please call now. We want to help.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

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