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:

Fentanyl in Philadelphia Causing Severe Overdose Spike

Fentanyl in Philadelphia Causing Severe Overdose Spike

Author: Justin Mckibben

In Philadelphia, there have been nearly 800 fentanyl overdoses this year.

According to figures released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a sharp rise in drug overdose deaths, which many attribute in part to fentanyl, is causing a drop in American life expectancy.

As 2018 begins, many are afraid of what the future may bring concerning more deadly drugs reaching the streets, overdoses, and deaths. One area, in particular, is the streets of Philadelphia. Now, many in the area are pointing out that heroin is no longer the poison most popular on the illicit market. Fentanyl in Philadelphia is now the main ingredient in the drug problem.

How Fentanyl in Philadelphia is Changing the Scene

Patrick Trainor is a special agent with the Philadelphia division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Trainor has kept an eye on the Kensington neighborhood for two decades. When talking about the drastic impact the lethal synthetic opioid has brought to the heroin market, he states,

“Fentanyl has drastically changed the landscape… Sixty-four percent of fatals in Philadelphia County are fentanyl-related. There’s no dope out here now, it’s all fentanyl. Even the old timers are scared of it.”

In areas like Emerald Street, AKA Emerald City, even drug users carry Narcan regularly.

Dangers and Death

Even addicts who are now content with using fentanyl are aware of the risks. But many say that compared to heroin, fentanyl’s rush is intense and immediate.

It is painful to use because it burns the vein. Some choose to chance the elevated risk of abscesses by injecting under the skin. This practice is said to reduce the risk of overdose and prolong the high. Yet, overdoses come almost instantaneously. Beyond that, the comedown of fentanyl is said to be abrupt, and the withdrawal period is a long and difficult one.

Tolerance for the drug builds quickly; dependence on the drug is rapid and pretty much unavoidable. Even those revived by Narcan can fall back into overdose due to the immense strength of the drug.

Dealers Choice

A lot of the issues related to fentanyl in Philadelphia can be connected to how it hit the street in the first place. According to interviews with drug users in the Kensington area, when fentanyl first started flooding the market the dealers didn’t know how to handle it, and the users didn’t even know about it. They had no idea about the risks of the drug, and overdoses were everywhere.

But then the dealers caught on when customers started dying all over, and so they changed the way they cut the drug in order to keep their consumers. Trainor himself notes,

 “You’re paying the same for something that’s roughly 100 times more powerful, so why would you buy heroin? The demand is for the most powerful thing they can get. Heroin will never be able to compete with fentanyl. It just can’t.”

There is no wonder why fentanyl in Philadelphia has become the dealers choice, the economics of fentanyl trafficking are easy to understand.

Unlike with heroin, there is no need to wait for the poppy harvest to start production. To yield a kilo of fentanyl, the chemicals one would need cost less than $5,000. At $55,000-$60,000 per kilo delivered, fentanyl is the about the same price as heroin but earns traffickers far more once it is cut and packaged for the street.

Each kilo of fentanyl can be cut out to approximately 330,000 doses, according to Trainor. A single kilo is enough to kill half of the counties residents.

Two factors make fentanyl in Philadelphia such a difficult drug to get ahead of:

  1. No dominant trafficker

With drug problems in the past, a substance coming into any area would probably be controlled by a single, relatively predictable trafficker or trafficking family, but not with fentanyl.

This incredibly powerful and potentially life-threatening drug is coming from China, ordered over the dark web, or coming up from Mexico. It isn’t being shipped in through the typical channels, and thus law enforcement has found it increasingly difficult to track.

  1. It is easy to modify

Fentanyl is a synthetic drug, therefore it is pretty simple to change the formula. Every time traffickers make subtle changes to the chemical ingredients of their batch, the DEA analysts struggle to adapt and catch on before the recipe has been changed again.

Trainor states:

“It used to be just fentanyl but now we’ve noticed eight different analogs in this area and around 40 nationally. Our chemists estimate there could be 200 additional variants.”

One of those variants is Carfentanil. This horrifically hazardous material is a painkiller… for elephants and other large mammals! It is estimated to be up to 10,000 times stronger than morphine. Carfentanil has shown up in other areas in the past, such as Cleveland, Ohio. It is still rare for street consumption, but it has shown up along with fentanyl in Philadelphia medical examiner’s office.

Over the past three years, fentanyl-related deaths across America have increased by 540%. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, for the first time, the majority of fatal overdoses are fentanyl-related, accounting for nearly all the increases in drug overdose deaths from 2015 to 2016. Part of facing the ongoing opioid epidemic is providing effective and comprehensive addiction treatment opportunities. As more and more people die every day from these insidious substances we have to do all that we can to help fight back. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. We want to help!

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6 Ways Addiction is Treated Differently in America

6 Ways Addiction is Treated Differently in America

Although we are considered the Leader of the Western World, America has a lot to learn about addiction and addiction treatment. Here are 6 ways addiction is treated differently in America.

#1. We Incarcerate People to Stop Drug Use

America holds the title of incarcerating more people than any other country in the world.

As one of the main fall-out effects from the nation’s War on Drugs approach, many people who should have been given access to treatment were, instead, dropped into the criminal justice system. As a result, we have more people in prison than anywhere else in the world.

And unfortunately, it looks like we’ll be holding this title for quite some time. Some 2.2 million Americans are locked up at any given time—compared to a mere 676,000 in Russia and 385,000 in India.

Half of all federal prisoners and 17% of state prisoners and are incarcerated for drug-related crimes, and these statistics don’t include the percentage of those who committed other crimes related to addiction problems, which would make the numbers far higher.

#2. We Rely on Prohibition-like Methods to Deter Substance Abuse

America has the world’s highest legal drinking age, and advocates of this policy argue that it has reduced accident-related deaths and high school binge drinking, which has actually declined significantly since the early 1980s.In 1983, 41% of 12th graders reported having had five or more drinks on one occasion in the past two weeks; the number for 2013 was 22%, a drop of nearly half. Deaths resulting from drunken driving incidents have also plummeted, from 21,000 in 1983 to around 10,000 in 2013.

Yet, it’s not clear that an older drinking age is the main factor in these reduced numbers. For example, Canada, whose drinking age is 19, has experienced similar declines and now has fewer deaths from drunk driving when compared to the US.

If a higher drinking age actually did encourage people to begin drinking alcohol at an older age, it might reduce the risk of alcoholism, which has been linked to early on-set of alcohol use. It’s not clear that the 21 age limit can be credited with this trend; factors such as growing up in an alcoholic family, which can independently affect risk, so postponing initiation might not help that much.

#3. Our Treatment System Is Dominated by 12-Step Programs

This not the case the world-over, where, for example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the preferred mode of treatment.

Of all the American addiction treatment programs, 95% refer patients to 12-step meetings as a matter of course and 90% base a good portion of their treatment on 12-step principles. Fundamental to treatment in this system is the idea that, complete abstinence from all “mind and mood altering” substances, is the basis of recovery. People who recover on their own are often viewed with skepticism, as possibly being “dry drunks,” and the idea that someone can stay sober without meeting attendance is seen as “denial.”

In many other countries, treatment is more varied, consists of talk therapy and may include attempts at moderation.

#4. Coercion Is a Common Route to Treatment

The majority of addiction treatment in the US is now outpatient—and 49% of all patients in these programs are referred to them, typically as an alternative to incarceration by the criminal justice system.

When it comes to long-term residential treatment, criminal justice referrals are also the main source of patients, accounting for 36% of all participants. 29% of residents in long-term treatment make the choice for themselves, while the rest are primarily referred by other treatment or healthcare providers.

#5. We Spend the Most Money on Addiction Research

The National Institute on Drug Abuse is the world’s largest funder of research on psychoactive drugs and addiction. In 2012, its budget was $1.05 billion. But that’s not the only major federal funder of addiction research in the US. We have another national institute that covers addiction research: the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, whose budget in 2012 was $459 million.

America spends nearly $1.5 billion a year, mainly on basic neuroscience research that, while generating enormous value in terms of understanding fundamental brain systems, has not yet generated much that is of direct use in treatment.

#6. Treatment is Cushier in America Than Other Places


In Russia, for example, the approach to addiction treatment is a forced approach to drug treatment.

The idea is to get addicts to just stop taking drugs and rough it out. They mostly just want to keep them clean a certain period of time so that the system cleans itself out and if they behave then they send them home. Therefore, “detox” consists of locking men in a room, where they are essentially being detained, on bunks with no way out, and only given bread and water. This is called the ‘quarantine room.’ After they have withdrawn completely, which can take up to a month or more, the men usually work a job, lift weights and cook.


In Iran, treatment of drug addicts is quite lenient, when compared to that of drug traffickers.

Iran imposes capital punishment – the death penalty – for crimes such as the cultivation certain drugs, trafficking, import, export, production, sale or distribution, or even possession (if over a certain amount).

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is a pioneer country in the fields of opium substitution therapies and prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS,” the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports on its website. Also noteworthy is that 88% of such programs are funded by the private sector and by non-governmental organizations.

Iran spends quite heavily when it comes to drug education and treatment. According to Foreign Affairs, by 2002, 50% of Iran’s drug control budget was spent on public health campaigns. Iran has also established numerous methadone clinics and needle exchanges and spends as much on treatment and prevention as it does on prohibition.


The first time you are caught for drug consumption in Singapore is one year, the second time is three years and the third time is five minimum with three strokes of the cane. Consumption just means that your urine has tested positive. They will pick up people randomly, who have a record of drug offenses so, even after you have served your sentence, you can be tested at any time.

Singapore does not respect the privacy of its citizen’s seeking treatment either. Once you’ve seen a psychiatrist for your drug issue or you have gone into a hospital for detox, public or private, your name will be surrendered to the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB). Once you complete your detox, you are likely to be randomly picked up again and tested, at any point in the future. And this could happen while you’re at your home, school, or on the job.

As far as drug treatment goes, Singapore takes the boot camp approach. After a week of detox, addicts are receive an orientation to a regimen of paramilitary discipline. After they are considered to be ready and able to quit drug use, first-time addicts are put into two weeks of intensive physical training in the tropical sun and equally intensive personal, group and family counseling.

Although there is much work to be done in understanding substance abuse and addiction, what we do know is that these are chronic medical conditions and that treatment does work. Call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist. We are available around the clock. You are not alone.

In the News: Lana Del Rey Romanticizes Cocaine in New Single

In the News: Lana Del Rey Romanticizes Cocaine in New Single


There’s a bonus track on Lana Del Rey’s new album Ultraviolence that’s called “Florida Kilos,” which kind of glorifies the cocaine scene in South Florida.

Now, Miami has been known for its major role in cocaine dealing, which is alluded to in many movies and songs.

In fact, Del Rey says that she was inspired to write the track after seeing the now legendary drug documentary, Cocaine Cowboys. Released in 200g, the film was produced by the Miami-based media studio Rakontur, and explored the rise of cocaine and the ensuing crime epidemic that tore Miami asunder in the 1970s and 80s.

Glossing over the reality of that tragic era, Del Rey’s lyrics are delivered in her trademark sexualized little girl voice and sound like more of a celebration of that era, rather than a lamentation; “Florida Kilos” glorifies a certain nostalgia for those very dark times.

Co-written by Harmony Korine, best known for writing the disturbing movie, Kids, he’s also the director of Spring Breakers. The Del Rey track is slated to be the theme song for the upcoming Spring Breakers sequel and has been designed as the theme song for the planned Spring Breakers sequel.

However, an interview given by Del Rey reveals that she is claiming to be sole author of the song’s after having watched the documentary. “I was inspired by a documentary called Cocaine Cowboys speaking of traffickers in Miami in the 70s,” Del Rey said. “I attract those who use illegal methods to get what they want. When I was a kid I thought I had the right to have whatever I wanted at any cost. I like the idea of getting to the top with your method, it is legal or illegal.”

Del Rey has previously opened up about her own battle with addiction as a teen saying that she experienced alcoholism beginning at the age of 14, when she was sent to boarding school. “I would drink every day. I would drink alone,” she told GQ. “I knew it was a problem when I liked it more than I liked doing anything else.”

The pop singer admits that it’s a struggle to stay sober in the face of criticism from the media and musical peers.

“I feel like my work’s important, but I don’t always feel like I get respect for it,” Del Rey told Canada’s Fashion Magazine, “when I feel like people don’t like this music and that the 10 years I spent making what I made was not for a good reason, that makes me want to drink again.”

After releasing a music video for her song “Carmen,” about a teenage addict, Del Rey responded via YouTube comment suggesting that she may have been addicted to crystal meth, too.

When one fan commented on the song, stating her gratitude for such a touching and accurate portrayal of meth addiction, Del Rey replied, “I see you. Love you. I got clean too, so I know how it goes.”

The bonus song is will probably cause quite the stir once it’s released as a single.

Del Rey, who is no stranger to controversy, was recently in the spotlight for saying “I wish I was dead already” in an interview with The Guardian when talking about her musical heroes Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain. Frances Bean Cobain, Cobain’s daughter, responded via tweet saying, “The death of young musicians isn’t something to romanticize…I’ll never know my father because he died young, and it becomes a desirable feat because people like you think it’s ‘cool.’ Well, it’s f**king not.”

Substance abuse, alcoholism, and drug addiction are no laughing matter. If you are struggling with substance abuse or suspect that someone you love may have a problem, please call us toll-free at 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions and share resources with you.

The 10 Most Notorious Mexican Drug Lords

Mexican drug lords are an interesting bunch of people. Whether they are still at large, have been captured or are deceased; they are some fascinating individuals. Here is the list of the 10 most notorious Mexican drug lords, in no particular order.1. Joaquín Guzmán – Joaquín Guzmán was born on April 4th, 1957 in La Tuna, Sinaloa and is known by the name Chapo (or shorty in English). His affiliation is with the Sinaloa Cartel. He escaped from a high-security prison in a laundry cart in 2001 and has since been held responsible for starting bloody territory wars all over Mexico. He allegedly got married to an 18-year-old beauty queen in 2007; in 2008, his son was shot dead and Guzmán supposedly had 50,000 red roses sent to the funeral. He was recently captured.

2. Héctor Beltrán Leyva – 

Héctor Beltrán Leyva was born on February 15th, 1964 in Sinaloa and is known by the name El H (or the H in English). His affiliation is with the Beltrán Leyva Organization. He was one of five brothers who transferred tons of drugs to the U.S. The brothers used to work with other Sinaloan criminals but took their leave in 2008 and have been in a violent territory war with Joaquín Guzmán’s clique since. His brother Arturo was shot dead by marines in December 2009. Gunmen then annihilated a marine’s family in what appears to be an act of vengeance. Leyva has been prosecuted in New York and the District of Colombia. He is still at large.

3. Ismael Zambada – 

Ismael Zambada was born on January 1st, 1948 in Sinaloa and is known by the name El Rey (or the king in English), the MZ and El Mayo (named after a native Sinaloa tribe). His affiliation is with the Sinaloa Cartel. Zambada supposedly once worked as a furniture removal man before becoming a criminal. He’s an old associate and friend of Joaquín Guzmán and appeared on the front cover of Mexico’s top newsmagazine Proceso this year. He said in the discussion that he had one wife and five lovers and claimed that the army had been close to catching him numerous times. He is still at large.

4. Luis Fernando Sánchez Arellano –

Luis Fernando Sánchez Arellano was born sometime in 1980 in Tijuana and is known by the name El Ingeniero (or the engineer in English). He is affiliated with the Tijuana Cartel. He is the inheritor of the Arellana Félix clique, which has held power over the border city of Tijuana since the 1980s. His uncles were depicted in the movie Traffic as the Obregón brothers. Although declining by the rise of other criminal outfits, the Tijuana cartel still controls a respected piece of trafficking territory along the Mexican border. He is still at large.

5. Heriberto Lazcano –

Heriberto Lazcano was born on December 25th, 1974 in Veracruz and is known by the name El Lazca, Z-3 and the Executioner. He is affiliated with the Los Zetas. Lazcano served in the Mexican armed forces as part of the elite Airborne Special Forces Group. He allegedly received U.S. and Israeli military training, but deserted in the late 1990s to work as an enforcer for the Gulf cartel. He has since broken off to head one of the most brutal gangs in the Mexican drug war, the Zetas — supposedly responsible for the latest massacre of 72 migrants. Lazcano was reportedly killed on October 9, 2012 in a shootout with marines in the northern Mexico border state of Coahuila, according to material from the Mexican navy.

6. Jorge Eduardo Costilla –

Jorge Eduardo Costilla was born on August 1st, 1971 in Matamoros and is known by the name El Coss. He is affiliated with the Gulf Cartel. Costilla heads a cartel that allegedly first grew out of a gang of bootleggers back in the days of American prohibition. Costilla was indicted in the United States for being part of a clan that endangered an FBI and DEA agent with Kalashnikov rifles. He used to work diligently with the Zetas cartel, and then was leading a war to eliminate them. Costilla was arrested on September 12th, 2012 in Tampico.

7. Vicente Carrillo Fuentes –

Vicente Carrillo Fuentes was born on October 16th, 1962 in Guamachilito, Sinaloa and is known by the name the Viceroy. He is affiliated with the Juarez cartel. Fuentes inherited the Juarez cartel from his brother, who was notorious as the Lord of the Skies because of a fleet of Boeing 727 jet planes used to transport cocaine. He supposedly formed a cruel band of killers, with crooked police officers, known as La Linea. His cartel is also said to work with the United States prison gang known as the Barrio Azteca to carry out killings. He is still at large.

8. Antonio Ezequiel Cárdenas –

Antonio Ezequiel Cárdenas was born on March 5th, 1962 in Matamoros and is known by the name Tony Tormenta. He is affiliated with the Gulf Cartel. He was the brother of Osiel Cárdenas( who was known as the friend killer), who led the Gulf cartel until his capture in 2003. He now runs the group along with Jorge Eduardo Costilla. Ezequiel Cárdenas supposedly forged associations with the Italian Mafia to move drugs through the United States and on to Europe. On November 5th, 2010, the Mexican government publicized that Cardenas had died that day in a shootout with security forces in the border city of Matamoros. The death came after hundreds of soldiers moved into Matamoros, across from Brownsville, Texas, and launched a full-blown attack on Cardenas’ cartel. Cardenas was killed during this encounter with the Mexican Marines. The gun fight lasted six hours and saw over 300 grenades go off.

9. Nazario Moreno González –

Nazario Moreno González was born on March 8th, 1970 in Guanajuatillo, Michoacan and is known by the name El Chayo and El Mas Loco (the maddest one in English). He is affiliated with La Familia Michoacana. González specifies in handling crystal meth. He transformed to evangelical Christianity while in the United States and has since written his own Bible, which is required reading for his groups. He raises principles of divine justice when setting out to conquest his opponents and is also a fan of the Godfather trilogy and the film Braveheart. Moreno was supposedly shot dead by federal police in Apatzingan in December of 2010. His men seemingly escaped with his body.

10. Juan José Esparragoza –

Juan José Esparragoza was born on February 3rd, 1949 in Chuicopa, Sinaloa and is known by the name El Azul (or the blue in English). He is affiliated with the Sinaloa Cartel. Esparragoza is associated with Joaquín Guzmán and Ismael Zambada. His nickname is related to the appearance of his skin, which is considered by some as dark enough to be blue. He is thought to have had plastic surgery and sources say he just had a huge wedding-anniversary celebration in central Mexico. He is still at large.

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


World’s Worst Places for Addicts: Iran

World’s Worst Places for Addicts: Iran

Drug Use in Iran: A Grim Reality

UN statistics estimate that roughly 2.2% of Iranian adults are hooked on drugs, which means that Iran holds the current world record for the highest rate of addiction.

And some experts say that that number might be much higher – as much as 5% of the total Iranian population. This would mean that, of roughly 80 million Iranians, 4 million are hooked on drugs.

Iranian addicts’ drugs of choice: crack, heroin, and “shishe,” an Iranian version of crystal meth. These substances are cheap and easy to make at home or in a thrown together lab.

When Traveling Abroad, Know Your Sh*t

If you break local laws in Iran, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It is very important to know what is legal and what is not when traveling to points abroad and especially to places that are way stricter than the U.S. when it comes to socially accepted behavior and norms.

And beware: some countries will automatically notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested, however this isn’t necessarily the case in Iran.

Drug Penalties

There are severe penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Iran and, once convicted, offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Iran is a Muslim country and, as such, alcohol is totally forbidden. Drinking and possession of alcoholic beverages and drugs is severely punished.

In fact, Article 179 of the Islamic penal code allows for the death penalty for drinking alcoholic beverages after three convictions, after the suspect has received punishment of eighty lashes in the previous two convictions.

60% of prisoners in Iran are incarcerated for drug offences. Iran executes many people each year on drug-related charges.

Iran, Drugs, and the Death Penalty

Capital crimes for which the death penalty is enforced include the cultivation of coca, cannabis, or poppies for the purpose of making narcotics after three previous convictions; the import, export, production, sale or distribution of more than 5 kilograms of bhang, Indian hemp juice, grass, opium and opium juice or residue; and the import, export, distribution, production, possession or transport of more than 30 grams of heroin, morphine, cocaine and other chemical derivatives of morphine or cocaine.

It is clear that Iran is one of the world’s most active countries when it comes to the death penalty and that drug offenders represent a significant amount of people who are executed. Some sources estimate that Iran has executed 10,000 drug traffickers since the revolution of 1979.

Addiction Treatment in Iran

Surprisingly, Iran is quite lenient with its drug addicts – not so much with drug traffickers.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is a pioneer country in the fields of opium substitution therapies and prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS,” the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime reports on its website. Also noteworthy is that 88% of such programs are funded by the private sector and by non-governmental organizations.

Despite the diminished funding, Iran spends quite heavily when it comes to drug education and treatment. According to Foreign Affairs, by 2002, 50% of Iran’s drug control budget was spent on public health campaigns. Iran has also established numerous methadone clinics and needle exchanges and spends as much on treatment and prevention as it does on prohibition.

Concern remains.

Abbas Deilamizade, director of Rebirth Society, a non-governmental drug treatment program in Iran states, “Our concern is how sanctions and the [worsening] economy can make addicts change their consumption patterns from low-risk behaviors like smoking opium to high-risk behaviors such as injection of heroin or use of shisheh.”

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





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