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Facts and Statistics on Alcohol and Health in the United States

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

Facts and Statistics on Alcohol and Health in the United StatesAll over the United States, people drink alcohol in excess, which has not only a detrimental effect on their physical health, but on the mental health of their families. Learn how alcohol affects the mind and body, as well as the health of the nation.

Alcohol Use Versus Abuse: What’s Healthy?

First, it’s important to distinguish alcohol use from alcohol abuse. Drinking alcohol isn’t necessarily detrimental to your health if you’re considered a “light” or “moderate” drinker. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designates “moderate” drinking as one drink per day for women and two drinks a day for men.

A drink is:

  • 12 oz. of Beer
  • 8 oz. of Malt Liquor
  • 5 oz. of Wine
  • 1.5 oz. of Liquor

Moderate alcohol consumption may actually be beneficial to your health, including decreased risk of stroke and heart disease. Experts think part of this may be because moderate drinkers are more likely to drink in a social setting, and strong interpersonal relationships decrease stress.

Drinking alcohol in excess of moderation is called heavy drinking or binge drinking. Binge drinking is defined as more than 4 drinks in a single session for women, or more than 5 drinks for men. Excessive drinking is considered more than 8 drinks per week for women, or 15 drinks a week for men. It’s important to realize that most people who drink, even those who binge drink or drink excessively, are not alcoholics or alcohol-dependent

Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Use Disorder

When alcohol use begins to impair your ability to lead a healthy and productive life, it may be a sign of something more. Prolonged and heavy drinking can lead to alcohol use disorder (AUD).

AUD is a medical condition that requires people meet certain diagnostic criteria. For example, if you experience a strong craving to drink and drinking (or being sick from its aftereffects) interferes with your job, schooling, or ability to care for your family within the same 12-month period, you may have AUD.

You don’t have to have AUD to experience the negative health effects of drinking. Alcohol can be a risk factor for other conditions, like obesity, cancer, and diabetes.

The Prevalence of Alcohol Abuse in the United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that, excessive alcohol use led to almost 90,000 deaths annually from 2006-2010, shortening the average lifespan of those who died by 30 years. Excessive drinking is responsible for 10% of deaths among working-age adults in the United States.

The Prevalence of Alcohol Abuse in the United States

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), conducted annually by the National Institute for Health, found that 27% of those surveyed in 2015 reported binge drinking within the previous month. In the same year, 15.1 million adults aged 18 and older had alcohol use disorder. Of these people, only 8% received treatment.

Unfortunately, the death rate associated from alcohol use has increased in recent years, according to federal data. In 2015, the death rate reached a 35-year high, claiming nearly 31,000 lives. The United States has experienced a 37 percent increase in the number of alcohol-induced deaths since 2002. This number only includes deaths directly related to alcohol consumption – victims of drunk driving, accidents, and homicides where alcohol was a factor were excluded.

Alcohol Claims American Lives

Much of the public health headlines dominating the news of late have surrounded the opioid epidemic. Americans focus much less attention on the dangers of alcohol, perhaps because of its legal status. But it’s no less deserving of our attention. In fact, in 2014, alcohol-induced accidents killed more citizens than heroin and prescription opioids combined.

Drinking has increased across all Americans in recent years, but the increase has been more pronounced among women. The percentage of women reporting past month drinking rose from 47.9 to 51.9.

Alcohol Has Negative Health Effects

Heavy and prolonged alcohol abuse can lead to a host of health problems. Long-term drinking often leads to cirrhosis, a liver condition that can lead to death. In 2013, nearly half of all liver disease deaths were caused by alcohol. This was slightly more likely in men than women. Among all cirrhosis deaths in 2013, 48% were alcohol-related. Alcohol-related liver disease is also the primary cause of an estimated 1 in 3 liver transplants.

Alcohol Has Negative Health Effects

Alcohol abuse affects more than just your liver. Drinking also increases your risk of oral cancer, including the esophagus, pharynx, and larynx. In women, alcohol abuse is linked to an increased incidence of breast cancer.

Lastly, heavy drinking is bad for your heart. Over long periods of time, excessive drinking can cause serious health problems. Excessive drinkers are more likely to develop arrhythmias, stroke, high blood pressure, and cardiomyopathy, a condition characterized by the stretching of the heart muscle.

The Alcohol-Obesity Connection

Alcohol also has an indirect effect on our health by causing us to be more prone to obesity. At 7 calories per gram, alcohol is a calorie-dense substance that is often sweetened with sugar and other caloric additives. Excessive consumption of these calories can lead to positive energy balance and weight gain. Excess weight is also associated with numerous negative health outcomes, from cancer to diabetes.

Alcohol and Your Mental Health

Drinking can also increase anxiety or exacerbate feelings of depression. When we drink, our brains are wired to produce more cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. This can lead to increased anxiety when we stop drinking, which in turn may lead to an urge to drink more. It’s easy to see how a vicious cycle of alcohol abuse and stress can develop.

Alcohol Abuse in America

Alcohol use continues to be a major issue in America. Even though the majority of Americans who drink are not alcoholics or alcohol-dependent, they may still struggle with health problems caused by the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol-related health problems cost Americans almost $250 billion each year. It is time we take steps to address the problem.

 Alcohol Addiction Is Becoming More Common and at Younger Ages! Please Don’t Let Alcohol Take over You or a Loved Ones Life! Speak to One of Our Counselors Today Before It Gets Worse!

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

The Link Between Alcohol & Cancer

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016
Link-Between-Alcohol-&-Cancer

Alcohol consumption, especially in frequent and/or large amounts, has long been known to negatively affect drinkers in a variety of ways. Alcohol significantly contributes to social and economic concerns–it causes the weakening of relationships, lack of productivity at work, and costs that are detrimental to the community. Alcohol is also the third leading cause of preventable death. An average of six people die every day due to alcohol poisoning in the United States. Other fatal effects of alcohol use include traffic accidents, injuries, interpersonal violence and even suicide. In addition, there are commonly known health risks from long-term alcohol abuse, such as cirrhosis, liver damage, heart disease and stomach bleeding. However, alcohol consumption also poses a lesser-known threat: cancer.

More and more research is proving that alcohol consumption increases the risk of at least seven different cancers. A new publication by a scientific journal, Addiction, covers years of research data from around the world and reports that drinking alcohol can cause the following types of cancer: throat, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum and female breast. There is even strong evidence that other cancers could be caused by alcohol as well. The publication states that, according to current estimates, “alcohol-attributable cancers at these sites make up 5.8% of all cancer deaths world-wide.” This actually makes alcohol use one of the main risk factors for cancer, along with tobacco use, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity.

How Does Alcohol Increase the Risk of Cancer?

There are different ways in which alcohol affects the human body that increase the risk of cancer, and they may vary. Here are some ways in which alcohol can cause cancer:

  • Alcohol impairs the body’s ability to absorb important nutrients whose low levels are associated with cancer risk, such as folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and more.
  • The human body converts alcohol into acetaldehyde, a toxic chemical that not only damages DNA, but also prevents our cells from repairing the damage inflicted.
  • Some carcinogenic contaminants added during fermentation may be found in alcoholic drinks.
  • Drinking raises the levels of estrogen in blood, which is linked to the risk of developing female breast cancer because of estrogen’s importance in the growth of breast tissue. In fact, the increased risk of female breast cancer seems to be one of the cancers most affected by alcohol consumption. A study conducted in the UK concluded that in women, for every 10 grams of alcohol consumed per day, there was a 12 percent increase in the risk of breast cancer.

Should Only Heavy Drinkers Be Worried?

You might think the risk of cancer from alcohol is only a concern for heavy drinkers, but that’s not the case. Although the risks are higher for those who consume alcohol regularly or drink large amounts, all drinkers are advised to cut down on their intake.

Studies show that even light to moderate drinking increases the risk for cancer, so there is no entirely “safe” alcohol limit when it comes to cancer risk. It is also important to note that all types of alcoholic drinks are linked to the increased risk of cancer, regardless of whether they are in the form of beer, wine or spirits. The amount of alcohol consumed over time is the main factor in the increase of cancer risk, not the type of beverage.

Those who smoke should especially consider reducing their alcohol intake, because alcohol and tobacco have been proven to work together to harm the cells in our bodies. Alcohol, for example, makes it easier for the carcinogenic chemicals in cigarettes to be absorbed into the mouth and throat. The use of both of these drugs combined presents a much greater risk for cancer than the use of either one by itself–a study conducted in 2012 found that drinkers who also smoked cigarettes were 3 times as likely to develop cancer as drinkers who did not smoke.

What Can We Do?

The answer is simple: reduce your alcohol intake. Scientists have found that over time, the alcohol-related risk of cancer decreases in people who quit drinking. As a factor in more than 200 diseases and injury conditions, alcohol consumption is a dangerous habit that is very much worth kicking. Quitting or limiting your alcohol consumption will not only reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases, but also benefit you in numerous other ways.

Here are just some of the other benefits of being alcohol-free:

  • Better sleep
  • Increased concentration, productivity and work performance
  • Lower levels of cholesterol and glucose
  • Improved complexion
  • Less empty calories consumed
  • More money saved

The negative effects of alcohol are undeniable. Whether it is by dividing families, posing a financial burden, causing traffic accidents or bringing about disease, alcohol consumption has the potential to destroy and end lives. Quitting alcohol isn’t always easy, but it is possible, even for those who suffer from alcoholism.

If you or someone you know needs help recovering from alcoholism, we can help – chat with an admissions counselor or call us at 844-816-1662.

Combating the Epidemic Levels of Opiate Addiction

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Combating-the-epidemic-levels

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is taking new measures to combat our country’s opioid epidemic, which was described by HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell as, “One of the most pressing public health issues in the United States.” The HHS’s new actions include the following:

Eliminating Potential Financial Incentives for Doctors Prescribing Opioids

In order to eliminate monetary incentives for prescribing opioids, HHS proposes removing pain management questions from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS)’s hospital payment calculation. The HCAHPS is a patient satisfaction survey required for all hospitals in the U.S., and it contains questions about pain management that are tied to Medicare payments to hospitals. This connection sometimes makes physicians feel pressured to overprescribe opioids. Removing the pain management questions from the hospital payment calculation would mean that the questions are still on the survey, but they no longer affect the payment to hospitals.

New Policy for Indian Health Service

In an effort to reduce inappropriate prescribing, HHS has also made adjustments to its Indian Health Service (IHS). IHS, which provides healthcare to Native American and Alaskan Native peoples, will now require prescribers and pharmacists to check their state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) database before prescribing opioids. PDMP databases help identify patients who may have opioid misuse problems. IHS will also provide law enforcement officers with naloxone and train them on its proper use. Naloxone is an overdose-reversing drug that can quickly restore breathing that has stopped or slowed due to an opioid overdose.

The actions taken by HHS are a step forward in the U.S.’s battle against opioid misuse. Focusing on prevention and treatment is a great approach that even President Obama has committed to. In addition to these new measures, HHS announced that it will initiate over a dozen new scientific studies on opioid misuse and pain management. Expanding our knowledge on these topics will arm us with the right tools to fight the epidemic.

Opiate Addiction: There is Hope

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 78 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day, and half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription drug. Recovery from an opioid addiction is possible. If you or someone you love is struggling, help is available. Call us today at (877) 443-7342. Our compassionate and knowledgeable admission counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on holidays.

Tips on Preventing and Treating Opioid Abuse

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Furanyl Fentanyl: A Dangerous New Opioid

Preventing and Treating Opioid Abuse

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 78 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day. In the last several years, the United States has witnessed an increase in overdose deaths, particularly as they relate to synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl. We have recently discussed the dangers of fentanyl in one of our blogs, but information is surfacing that there is a new form of deadly fentanyl circulating. Chinese laboratories are producing and selling a new form of fentanyl – called furanyl fentanyl – to get around China’s recent export ban on the synthetic drug that is responsible for thousands of overdose deaths across the United States.

Furanyl fentanyl is a slightly altered version of fentanyl that is not currently on the United States’ government’s list of controlled substances. This means that the slightly tweaked version of fentanyl is technically legal for dealers to sell. The United States is moving quickly to ban the new fentanyl product. The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) spokesman Russell Baer stated that the DEA plans to classify furanyl fentanyl as an analog to fentanyl, which means that the altered version would be treated in the same fashion as fentanyl.

The chemical structure of furanyl fentanyl and its effect on the body’s central nervous system is nearly identical to that of fentanyl. Last fall, China banned more than 116 synthetic drugs, which included other analogs of fentanyl, such as acetyl fentanyl. As soon as the ban was imposed, furanyl fentanyl began to appear in the United States. Furanyl fentanyl was recently identified as the cause of death in a fatal overdose of a 30-year-old-man in Illinois. This is apparently the first public reporting of a case in which furanyl fentanyl caused a deadly overdose.

Opioid Abuse Prevention

According to the CDC, at least half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid. While the best form of opioid abuse prevention would be to recommend abstinence, we cannot stop people from taking opioid medications for pain. What we can do is educate families on the risks of opioid abuse and provide early interventions before an individual loses everything to their dependency.

The negative side effects, potential for abuse and fatal nature of prescription opioids are well-documented. If you have been prescribed prescription opioids and are concerned about the possibility of dependency, we urge you to get a second opinion regarding non-opioid alternatives for chronic pain, including holistic therapies, such as cold laser therapy, chiropractic care and acupuncture. Help is available and recovery from an opioid dependency is possible.

Freedom from Addiction

If you are considering whether or not you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid dependency, we urge you to seek help now. Opioid abuse and addiction is deadly, so it is essential that you reach out for help as soon as possible.

At The Treatment Center, we utilize top-notch holistic therapies to treat pain without the use of narcotics. We will provide you with an assessment of your health, as well as an understanding that there are treatment alternatives to prescription painkillers. If you are already stuck in the vicious cycle of opioid use and need professional inpatient detoxification services, the experienced medical staff at The Treatment Center will help you detox safely. We will help you learn a new way to live, without abusing drugs and alcohol. Do not delay any longer – reach out for help today. Call The Treatment Center at (877) 443-7342, or chat with an admissions counselor online.


What You Need to Know:

  • Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid narcotic — a prescription drug primarily used for cancer patients in severe pain
  • Fentanyl is 50-100 times more toxic than morphine
  • Overdose deaths related to fentanyl have been on the rise because it is often sold as heroin
  • In China, fentanyl continues to be altered slightly to get around export bans — e.g., furanyl fentanyl
  • There are non-narcotic alternatives for treating chronic pain
  • Recovery from an opioid dependency is possible

National Prevention Week: May 15-21, 2016

Monday, May 16th, 2016

SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week: Strong as One, Stronger Together

National Prevention Week

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Prevention Week occurs May 15-21, 2016. National Prevention Week is an annual observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues. The theme for this year is: “Strong as One. Stronger Together.” According to SAMHSA, there are three primary goals of National Prevention Week: to involve communities in raising awareness of behavioral health issues, to foster relationships with federal agencies and national organizations and to promote and distribute quality resources and publications regarding behavioral health.

This year, the daily themes of SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week are as follows:
• Monday, May 16: Prevention of Tobacco Use
• Tuesday, May 17: Prevention of Underage Drinking and Alcohol Misuse
• Wednesday, May 18: Prevention of Prescription and Opioid Drug Misuse
• Thursday, May 19: Prevention of Illicit Drug Use and Youth Marijuana Use
• Friday, May 20: Prevention of Suicide
• Saturday, May 21: Promotion of Mental Health and Wellness

Prevalence of Co-Occurring Mental Health Issues and Substance Abuse

Approximately 37% of individuals with alcoholism and 53% of individuals suffering from drug addictions have at least one serious mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. And according to SAMHSA, approximately 7.9 million adults in the United States had co-occurring disorders in 2014. More than 50% of those with a dual diagnosis did not receive any treatment to help them progress in their recovery. More men than women are diagnosed with co-occurring disorders, but the percentage of females living with a dual diagnosis has increased in recent years (SAMHSA). Of the almost 3 million adults employed and living with a dual diagnosis, only about 40% received any treatment for either disorder, and less than 5% received treatment for both issues.

Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness

Mental and substance use disorders have a powerful effect on the health of individuals, their families and their communities. These disorders are among the top conditions that lead to disability and result in significant costs to families, employers and publicly funded health systems.

Preventing mental and/or substance use disorders in children, adolescents and young adults is critical to Americans’ physical and behavioral health as a whole. People with a mental health disorder are more likely to use drugs and alcohol than those not suffering from a mental illness. Symptoms that signal the development of a behavioral disorder typically manifest two to four years before a disorder surfaces. If families and communities can intervene early, behavioral health disorders may be prevented altogether. Data shows that early intervention following the first episode of a serious mental illness can also make an impact.

“I’m Already Struggling, What Can I Do?”

If you are struggling with addiction and mental illness, help is available and recovery is possible. It is never “too late” to seek help for a mental or substance use disorder. Reaching out to a loved one and a behavioral health professional is the first step in preventing or recovering from mental health and/or substance use disorders. Professionals can help you receive the treatment you need to recover from both mental illness and addiction. They may suggest you attend an inpatient program, or they may recommend treatment in an outpatient setting. Regardless of how far along you are in your disorder, help is available.

Find Freedom from Mental Illness and Addiction

By being aware of the signs and symptoms of behavioral health disorders, we can help individuals receive the help they need before their struggles progress into full-blown mental health or substance use disorders.

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be struggling with mental illness or substance abuse, reach out for help today. Call The Treatment Center at (877) 443-7342. We have compassionate and experienced admissions counselors prepared to answer any questions you may have on how we can help you or your loved one.

Prince’s Tragic Death and the Perils of Opiate Addiction

Monday, May 9th, 2016

Prince’s Death Spotlights Opiate Addiction

Prince's Tragic Death and the Perils of Opiate Addiction

In the final weeks before his death, Prince’s struggles with opiate addiction were spiraling out of control as he arranged to meet with Howard Kornfield, a prominent California doctor who specializes in treating addiction. Toxicology reports will not be available for several weeks, but law enforcement officials and investigators are exploring the probability that Prince died from an overdose and whether a doctor was prescribing him drugs in the week before his death. Prince had rescheduled concerts in the days before his death, citing illness.

The day before he died, Prince’s representatives reached out to Howard Kornfield to set up an initial meeting between the two, said Kornfield’s attorney, William Mauzy. Because Kornfield couldn’t leave right away, he sent his son, Andrew, who took a red eye flight that night. According to officials, it was Andrew Kornfield who called 911 the next morning after he and two staff members found Prince unresponsive in an elevator at his studio complex in Paisley Park. Prince was declared dead shortly after on April 21, 2016.

Dr. Howard Kornfield hoped to get Prince stabilized in Minnesota and then fly him to California to his addiction treatment center, Recovery Without Walls. Mauzy declared that Andrew Kornfield was carrying a small amount of buprenorphine, a long-acting opioid similar to methadone, which he planned to give to the Minnesota doctor who was scheduled to see Prince that day. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration are joining with local officials in investigating Prince’s death.

The Dangers of Opiate Addiction

Prince’s death is a tragic reminder of the importance of seeking addiction treatment for an opiate addiction as soon as possible. Addiction is a chronic, progressive and fatal disease if left untreated. With the appropriate treatment and support, recovery is possible. But left untreated, addiction is a deadly disease.

If there is even an inkling that you or a loved one may be suffering from addiction, it is essential that you reach out for help immediately. Opioids, primarily prescription painkillers and heroin, are the primary drugs associated with overdose deaths. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014, opioids were involved in 28,647 deaths, or 61% of all drug overdose deaths. The most common drugs involved in prescription opioid overdose deaths include: methadone, oxycodone (e.g. OxyContin) and hydrocodone (e.g. Vicodin).

Unfortunately, it is far too easy to become addicted to opiates. Millions of people turn to prescription painkillers to treat their health conditions, but millions more end up taking them for non-medical use. There are signs of opiate abuse and addiction that you should be aware of.

Reasons to Seek Help Now

What are some of the reasons to seek addiction help now?

1) Addiction is progressive: This means that over time, addiction gets worse, never better. The longer you abuse drugs and alcohol, the stronger your addiction becomes. Detoxing is never easy, but it will be easier today than in the future. The chemical changes that occur in your brain due to prolonged substance abuse make it nearly impossible to stop using on your own. This is not about willpower or good intentions; rather, addiction is a disease.

2) You can seek help at any point in your addiction: You do not have to wait until a catastrophic event happens. You hit bottom when you stop digging. Perhaps you have already experienced serious consequences, or maybe you have a lot of “yets.” Either way, the longer you remain in active addiction, the worse your consequences will become. You do not need to wait until you’re “sick enough” to seek treatment – if you are addicted to drugs and alcohol, the time to seek help is now.

3) It’s okay to not be 100% sure you want recovery: Treatment is a safe space for you to explore how much better your life can be without drugs and alcohol. Once you have finished detoxing and the haze of drugs and alcohol has lifted, your thinking will become much clearer. Rehab will provide you with the tools and support you need to stop using drugs and alcohol and begin a new life in recovery.

4) Addiction is a deadly disease: We cannot say it enough – this disease is taking lives each and every day. Each day that you are in active addiction, you are jeopardizing your health. This is not a scare tactic to get you into treatment; it is simply the unfortunate truth. There are more deaths, illness and disabilities attributed to substance abuse than from any other preventable health condition.

Recovery Is Possible

Recovery from addiction is possible. If you are questioning whether or not you have a substance abuse problem, reach out for help today. Talk to a loved one, a doctor or an addiction specialist about your concerns. If you are a loved one of an addict, help is available for you too. We urge you to seek help now.

Counterfeit Fentanyl-Laced Prescription Drugs: Deadly New Trend

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Fentanyl-Laced Prescription Drugs: A Rising Problem

Fentanyl-Laced Prescription Drugs

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently warned the public about fake prescription drugs laced with fentanyl. Counterfeit pain and anxiety medications are being sold on the streets that actually contain fentanyl, a drug that is 25-50 times stronger than heroin. The pills are being disguised as common prescription drugs such as Percocet, Norco and Xanax, and are much cheaper than the real versions. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports that some of these pills are manufactured in China and then smuggled into the United States.

Many communities are warning the public about the counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl. In March 2016, street Norco pills laced with fentanyl were responsible for at least 12 fatal overdoses in Sacramento County in just 48 hours. The situation in Sacramento County has gotten so serious that the public health department has started releasing overdose and death updates three times a week.

Deaths caused by fentanyl-laced heroin have skyrocketed throughout the nation. Law enforcement officials have found that illicit varieties of fentanyl from Mexico and China are flooding the streets. Fentanyl began showing up laced in heroin around 2014, but by 2015, drug dealers were selling pure fentanyl disguised as heroin.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an anesthetic and an analgesic used to manage severe pain after surgery. It is also commonly used to treat chronic pain. In recent years, the United States has seen fentanyl-laced heroin pop up around the country. Fentanyl is often mixed with heroin to get a longer lasting high, but unfortunately, fentanyl is often the cause of overdose due to its high potency.

The side effects of fentanyl include: nausea and vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, lethargy, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, unconsciousness and deadly overdose. Fentanyl overdoses can be reversed if Narcan, the overdose-reversal drug, is administered promptly. In many states, naloxone is being distributed to injection drug users and other laypersons to use in case of an overdose.

What to Do About this Deadly Trend?

The DEA’s current plan to fight the fentanyl trend is to use traditional methods of disrupting drug cartel operations. The DEA also plans to educate the public and promote awareness about the dangers of fentanyl. On April 30, 2016, the DEA hosted National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. This initiative is successful both in urging Americans to get rid of their prescription drugs and as a way to educate the public about the dangers of prescription pills. The DEA and CDC are also trying to communicate with the medical community about safer prescribing methods. In March 2016, the CDC issued its first guidelines for limiting the availability of prescription painkillers. They urged medical professionals to rely on non-opioid options if possible and to limit the amount of pills in opioid prescriptions.

Help is Available

Addiction is a chronic, progressive and fatal disease if left untreated, but there is hope. If you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid addiction, help is available and recovery is possible at The Treatment Center. Addiction does not have to be a life sentence. With the appropriate treatment and support, you, too, can recover from your addiction and thrive in recovery. For additional information on how we can help you, call us now at (877) 392-3342.

Good Financial Health: Cleaning Up the Wreckage of our Past

Monday, April 18th, 2016

Good Financial Health: Tax Season

Good Financial Health

By TTC Alumni, Christian McLaughlin

Tax season can conjure up thoughts of finances and hopes of getting a big return from the IRS. Part of getting sober is cleaning up the wreckage of our past. For many of us we have gotten into quite a deal of financial issues due to our using/drinking. It can be through running up credit cards, cashing fraudulent checks, borrowing money, or not paying due taxes. Now that the drugs are gone, we start having money again, and we receive our tax returns, it is tempting to want to spend it on ourselves and ignore what we owe. It can seem a daunting task at first, but just as we face those we have harmed and make amends, so must we do with our finances. Here are some practical tips to help you on the route to good financial health.

It’s important to lay out a practical plan. It may take years to pay back, but don’t ruin yourself now by trying to pay it back all at once. You may feel guilt with some of the debts owed, but it’s better to start remedying them than to ignore them. Speak with those you owe money to whether they be individuals or financial institutions. They will normally work out a payment plan based on your income and current expenses. Once you start paying it back, the guilt will begin to subside as you are now doing the right thing.

Try to write out a budget. Look at your all your monthly expenditures. What are your necessities? What are you spending on leisure? How often and how much are you spending on restaurants? What are your frivolous expenses that you likely regretted later? Once you know what you’re spending, it is easy to change.

Look at where you’re spending unnecessary money on things such as frequently eating out, shopping and other activities. See what percentage of your budget this is taking up and where you might be able to cut back. Go through your belongings and look at things you regret buying. Perhaps sell them through an app or a consignment store.

After paying for monthly necessities, try to budget at least one-third to one-half of your additional income toward repaying debt. You’ll still have the rest to enjoy life, but will also have the comfort of fixing your financial past.

Start setting aside some money for savings. Life is full of sudden expenses so it’s always good to have something in reserve to for when something unexpected occurs. Speak with someone such as a sponsor or sober friend who might have gone through similar financial issues and is now financially stable about how they did so.

Financial responsibility is an important aspect of getting and staying sober. We must be thorough in correcting the wreckage of our past, but also plan for the future, so as those tax returns come in, make sure to spend them wisely.

President Obama Addresses Addiction as a Health Problem

Monday, April 4th, 2016

President Obama Addresses Addiction as a Health Problem

On March 29, 2016, President Barack Obama spoke at a National Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. At the summit, Obama committed to tackling the opioid epidemic plaguing our nation by focusing on prevention and treatment, rather than on dated “war on drugs” policies. Obama emphasized the importance of altering the lens in which we view drug addiction. Instead of looking at substance abuse as a criminal problem, President Obama suggested that we view addiction as a health problem.

Changing the Discourse on Addiction

Obama’s statements build on this month’s congressional movements to change the political discourse regarding addiction and to allocate government funds to fight the opioid overdose epidemic in the United States. Historically, addiction has been viewed as a criminal problem, not as a public health concern. The Obama administration is working to overturn that perspective on addiction and shift it towards a health concern. Obama stated, “If we treat addiction like a crime, we aren’t doing anything scientific and it’s ineffective.”

In many societies, substance abuse became heavily criminalized due to the belief that addicts and alcoholics were immoral, weak in character, selfish, and lacked self-control. In essence, addiction was seen as a moral issue. Over the years, advocates have worked tirelessly to convince the public that addiction is a disease, not a moral failing. They attempted to change the approach to treating addiction from a punitive approach to a more rehabilitative one.

Obama said that historically, addiction has not been viewed as a public health concern, primarily because it was believed to affect “the poor and minorities.” Addiction was seen as a character flaw, rather than as a disease affecting people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses.

Taking Steps to Tackle the Opioid Epidemic

The Obama administration has taken steps to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders. According to Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, “research clearly shows that [the medication-assisted treatment] approach, when combined with behavioral therapies, is more effective at sustaining recovery and preventing overdose.” The Obama administration plans to expand access to treatment by issuing $94 million to 271 community health centers across the country to increase substance abuse treatment, with a focus on expanding medication-assisted treatment in underserved communities.

In addition, President Obama signed a memorandum calling for the creation of an interagency task force to expand access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) will soon release a new $11 million funding opportunity to states to purchase and distribute naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug.

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain. It was the CDC’s first-ever recommendations for primary care physicians on prescribing opioids. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced safety-labeling changes for all immediate-release opioid pain medications, which included requiring a new warning about the serious risks of opioid abuse, opioid addiction, and opioid overdose deaths. As evidenced above, the White House and several government agencies are working hard to combat the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic affecting the United States. Addiction is a chronic, progressive and fatal disease if left untreated, but recovery from opioid addiction is possible. With treatment and support, you or your loved one can recover from opioid use disorder.

Recovery is Possible

Are you or a loved one struggling with drug addiction? If so, help is available. Individuals struggling with substance abuse can experience hope and healing at The Treatment Center. We offer a variety of treatment programs, services, and therapies to best suit the needs of each individual patient. To find out more about our facility, contact us today at 877.392.3342, or chat with an admissions counselor online. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

CDC Urges Against Prescribing Opiates for Chronic Pain

Monday, March 28th, 2016

CDC Urges Against Prescribing Opiates for Chronic Pain

On March 15, 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged doctors to avoid prescribing powerful opiate painkillers for patients with chronic pain given that the risks for taking such drugs far outweigh the benefits for most people. The CDC is taking action to combat the nation’s fatal prescription painkiller epidemic.

The new CDC guidelines include an exception for patients receiving cancer treatment or end-of-life care. If doctors determine that such painkillers are necessary in other situations, the CDC suggests that doctors prescribe the lowest possible dose for the shortest amount of time.

The Dangers of Prescription Painkillers

According to the CDC, roughly 40 Americans die each day from overdosing on prescription painkillers. In 2013 alone, an estimated 1.9 million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opiates. CDC director, Thomas Frieden, commented, “We know of no other medication routinely used for a nonfatal condition that kills patients so frequently…These are really dangerous medications that carry the risk of addiction and death.” Many prescription opiates are as addictive as heroin and poorly control chronic pain.

The CDC hopes their new guidelines, directed to primary care physicians who prescribe nearly half of the opiates, will help doctors determine better practices for prescribing prescription painkillers. Although doctors aren’t legally obligated to follow the guidelines, such directives often have a significant influence. For the first time, the government is communicating that the practice of treating non-fatal pain conditions with long-term opioids is dangerous and inappropriate. Andrew Kolodny, executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, called the guidelines a “game changer.”

Nonopioid Therapy for Chronic Pain

The CDC recommends nonopioid therapy to treat chronic pain outside cancer, palliative and end-of-life care. What types of nonopioid therapy exist for chronic pain? The Treatment Center’s outpatient care center, Restore, provides evidence-based treatments for chronic pain sufferers by offering a wide variety of holistic treatment services. We believe in teaching our patients how to safely and effectively manage their chronic pain. Our alternative pain therapies include chiropractic care, cold laser therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, traditional physical therapy, yoga and meditation:

  • Chiropractic care: Can increase mobility in your neck, back, legs, and arms; relieves stress, tension, and headaches you may experience when quitting narcotic painkillers
  • Cold laser therapy: Effective in reducing joint inflammation and muscle spasms; also increases the effectiveness of chiropractic care
  • Acupuncture: Useful in treating depression and insomnia; reduces drug cravings without the use of other prescription drugs
  • Massage therapy: Can ease anxiety and muscle tension; promotes restful sleep
  • Physical therapy: Can improve your physical health and mobility, particularly if you experience chronic pain or have endured an injury
  • Yoga: Boosts self-esteem; improves physical strength; improves mind-body-spirit connection
  • Meditation: Can improve your ability to cope with stressful situations; promotes feelings of calmness and happiness

At The Treatment Center, we believe that holistic therapies are an essential component to an effective pain recovery plan. Our pain management program will teach you safe and effective ways to manage your chronic pain. With the proper treatment and support, it is possible to learn how to manage your pain without depending on opiate medications.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, help is available. The Treatment Center is here to help suffering individuals find lasting recovery. Call our 24-hour confidential helpline today at 877.392.3342. Our compassionate and knowledgeable admissions staff will find you the appropriate help you need to combat your addiction.

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the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval.