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Archive for the ‘Substance Abuse’ Category

Links Between Social Media Usage and Substance Abuse

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Links Between Social Media Usage and Substance AbuseSome people are at a greater risk of substance abuse than others. Researchers believe there is a genetic link to addiction, as people with a family history of substance abuse disorders may struggle with addiction themselves. While there are inherent factors that contribute to illness, lifestyle also plays a role. A lack of support system and intense exposure to peer pressure, for example, are contributing factors to substance abuse and addiction. Even our social media networks can influence our decision to use drugs or develop unhealthy behaviors. Could Facebook be putting your loved ones at risk?

Social Networking and Teens

In 2011 when Columbia University added relevant inventory items to their annual National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XVI: Teens and Parent, researchers began examining the link between social media use and substance abuse. The survey asked 12 to 17-year-olds whether they spent time on social media sites, such as Facebook, every day. The overwhelming majority (70%) reported typical day social media use. This daily use put them at higher risk for several kinds of substance abuse. Compared to their peers who did not use social media, these teens were five times more likely to smoke, three times more likely to drink, and twice as likely to use marijuana.

Social Networking and Teens

Evidence also suggests that Facebook and other social media sites can normalize binge drinking and other dangerous substance abuse behaviors among teens. According to the survey, nearly half of all teens that use social media regularly have also seen pictures of their peers drinking, passed out, or using drugs. These children were three times more likely to drink and four times more likely to use marijuana themselves.

A 2013 study from the University of Michigan found a positive correlation between Facebook use and unhappiness and dissatisfaction with lives. In other words, the more some teens use social media, the more discontented they can become. Combined with co-morbid mental disorders such as depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety, or environmental factors such as lack of social support or situational induced stress, teens are more likely to turn to substance abuse. 

Cyber-Bullying and Substance Abuse

Teens are more vulnerable to peer pressure and bullying than they ever before. It’s easier for teens to achieve anonymity online. The disconnected nature of online discourse causes teens to be bolder in regard to teasing. About half of young people (aged 18 and younger) admit to being cyber-bullied at some point. Over half of young people who use social media admit observing cyber-bullying. Compared to their peers who have not been bullied online, teens that experience cyber-bullying are twice as likely to abuse alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana.

Can We Become Addicted to Social Media?

A 2015 study from the University of Albany revealed we could actually become addicted to social media. Published in the journal Addiction, the study found about ten percent of Facebook’s user’s display “disordered social media use”. The individuals who met this criterion were also more likely to have impulse control disorders and drinking problems. The study’s head researcher suggested these findings illuminate the idea that the same risk factors that increase susceptibility to substance addiction also increase the likelihood of disordered online social networking.

Addiction, Facebook, and Our Brains

These findings aren’t entirely surprising when we consider our biology. Drugs are addictive because of the way they interact with our brains neurotransmitters; creating a rush of endorphins we call a high. While chemical substances create a more intense cycle or high and withdrawal, other activities such as sex, gambling, and even social media use create similar cycles of cravings and rewards. The social media rewards we receive (for example, a notification saying someone “likes” our activity) can create cravings for more approval, generating an addictive pattern much like substances do.

In its most basic form, this is called variable schedule reinforcement, and it’s effective in creating patterns of compulsive behavior. Facebook makes it easy to fall into addictive behavior because of things like push notifications and apps. Users don’t even need to log in to get their social approval; it’s available on the go with their mobile app.

Correlation, Not Causation

While the literature regarding social media use, addiction, and substance abuse are illuminating, it’s important to consider them in context. These studies suggest a link between social media use and addictive behaviors in at-risk members of the population. This doesn’t mean that we are all addicted to social media. People that already struggle with impulse control are more likely to display disordered social media use, and these people are also more likely to struggle with substance abuse.

Correlation, Not Causation

Addiction is a complex medical condition that arises from a combination of risk factors. Biological predisposition, co-occurring mental disorders, and environmental reasons such as stress and lack of family involvement all contribute to addiction. There is never just one reason for addiction, and each struggle with substance abuse is unique.

Social media can be a wonderful way to connect with others and share experiences. On the other hand, overuse can become a problem for some. In teens exposed to illicit drug use online, social media use can lead to an increased likelihood of smoking, drinking, and marijuana use. Parents should take steps to be involved in their teen’s online activities by talking to them about online safety and the dangers of using illicit substances.

Teens Are Becoming More Active on Social Media Which Leads to More Cases of Cyber-Bullying and Substance Abuse! Speak to Our Counselors About How to Help Prevent Your Teen from Experimenting with Drugs and Alcohol Today!

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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.

Depression and Substance Abuse: Dealing with a Dual Diagnosis

Monday, May 30th, 2016

Depression and Substance Abuse

Depression and Substance Abuse

Depression is often a gateway into substance abuse. Individuals suffering from depression may turn to drugs and alcohol as a means to escape their negative emotions. Almost one-third of people with major depression also have a substance abuse problem. Unfortunately, drinking and using drugs only makes depression worse in the long run.

What comes first –the depression or the substance use? It’s difficult to discern whether substance use leads to depression, or if people drink and drug because they feel depressed. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, roughly 20% of Americans with an anxiety or mood disorder, such as depression, have a substance use disorder. And about 20% of those with a substance use disorder also have an anxiety or mood disorder.

More about Depression

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide, and only about 50% of these people will ever receive treatment. In fact, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Unlike ordinary sadness, which may occur temporarily after a loss or major life event, the symptoms of depression occur nearly every day for weeks – and sometimes months or years – interfering with every aspect of a person’s life. Depression can increase the risk of chronic illness – including substance abuse.

People often think that using drugs and alcohol may relieve their depression symptoms, but chemical intoxication actually makes depressive episodes worse, increasing the frequency and intensity of symptoms.

Treating Depression and Substance Use

Solely treating one disorder will not eliminate the other. For example, treating the substance abuse will not help with the depression. Instead, it is necessary to treat both disorders together, particularly to decrease the chance of relapse. It is best to enter an integrated dual diagnosis program that will address both the substance use and the depression.

The Treatment Center’s intensive dual diagnosis treatment program will help you recover from substance abuse and mental illness. With the proper treatment, you can find freedom from addiction and relief from depression. For more information on our dual diagnosis program, call (877) 392-3342. Our admissions counselors are prepared to answer any questions you may have on how we can help you or your loved one.


What You Need to Know

• Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide
• Over 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide
• Nearly one-third of people with major depression also have a substance abuse problem
• If you are struggling with both depression and substance abuse, it is essential to enter an integrated dual diagnosis treatment program

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.

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.

Codependency (Part I): Addiction in the Family

Monday, April 11th, 2016

Codependency: What To Do If Your Loved One is Addicted

Codependency: Addiction in the Family

When someone you love has become addicted to drugs or alcohol you may find yourself trying to protect them from the consequences of their own actions. You believe that by doing all in your power to help that person recover, to help that person stay on the straight and narrow path, all will be well. However, there is a fine line between offering healthy support versus harmful enabling behavior.

Enabling is often seen in relationships between addicts/alcoholics and codependents. Enabling behavior occurs when a codependent person, either directly or indirectly, takes on the full responsibility for tidying up the wreckage of the addict’s self-destructive actions or makes excuses for their conduct.

Rescuing someone or solving someone’s problems may seem like a caring and compassionate action, but in the case of the disease of addiction, trying to control another’s harmful and destructive abuse of chemical substances is an impossible task. What you can do is to focus on your own life, your own well-being.

Only when the addicted person is faced with the consequences of their actions, only when the realization that they have hit rock bottom and have no one there to pick up the pieces of their self-destructive behavior/conduct will they be able to come to the realization that they need professional help.

When we find ourselves trying to fix another’s problem or if we find ourselves needing to help the other person for the purpose of feeling our own sense of identity – then we are dealing with co-dependency. There may be times when we all battle some form of co-dependent behavior but when the struggle becomes all-encompassing and affects one’s emotional, spiritual and physical well-being, then it’s time to seek help.

In my next blog we will delve into the patterns and characteristics of codependent behavior (or codependency).

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, help is available. At The Treatment Center, we help our patients experience hope and healing from their addiction. Regardless of what substance you are addicted to, The Treatment Center can help you break free from the chains of addiction. Call us now at 877.392.3342, or chat with an admissions counselor online. Our admissions counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on holidays.

 

By Judi Jenett

Judi Jenett is the Family Program Coordinator for The Treatment Center.

Judi's pic

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.

CARA Senate Bill Passed 94-1 to Combat Opiate Addiction

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

CARA Senate Bill Passed 94-1 to Combat Opiate Addiction

Our Nation’s Opioid Epidemic

On March 10, 2016, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) Senate bill passed 94-1 to combat opiate addiction. The United States is currently facing an opioid epidemic. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with 47,055 lethal drug overdoses in 2014. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 18,893 overdose deaths related to prescription painkillers, and 10,574 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2014.

Prescription drug abuse and heroin use has taken its toll on the country, while also straining law enforcement and addiction treatment programs. Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, as well as the prescription pain relievers oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, codeine, fentanyl, and others.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

Introduced by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, the bipartisan bill, known as the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) would expand access to naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug, improve prescription drug monitoring programs, and provide opiate addiction treatment to people who are incarcerated due to drug use. CARA has been in development for three years and is currently the only bill in Congress that includes all four aspects of an appropriate and effective response to combat opiate addiction: prevention, treatment, recovery, and law enforcement.

CARA would provide a series of incentives and resources designed to encourage states to pursue a wide variety of proven strategies to combat opiate addiction. The bill is comprised of six major sections: prevention and education, law enforcement and treatment, treatment and recovery, addressing collateral consequences, addiction and recovery services for women and veterans, and incentivizing comprehensive responses to addiction and recovery.

Senator Whitehouse commented on the bill saying, “This legislation identifies specific steps that will help us combat addiction and support those in recovery, and provides the tools needed for states and local governments –in coordination with law enforcement, educators, and others — to take them. It’s a comprehensive approach to a problem that demands our full attention.”

Improvements in 2016 CARA Bill

What are some of the major features of CARA?

  • Expand prevention and educational efforts to prevent the abuse of opioids and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery
  • Expand the availability of naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders
  • Expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction with evidence-based treatment
  • Expand disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications
  • Launch an evidence-based opioid treatment and interventions program
  • Strengthen and improve prescription drug monitoring programs to help states track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals in order to combat opiate addiction

Although there are some concerns with CARA, the effort made by the Senate shows a shift in the political discourse regarding the nation’s opioid epidemic. Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs with the Drug Policy Alliance, commented, “the momentum behind CARA offers hope that lawmakers are starting to evolve toward treating drug use as a health issue, rather than a criminal justice issue.”

On March 7, 2016, the bipartisan bill passed its first procedural hurdle with the Senators voting 86-3 to advance the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. A vote on the final passage of the bill took place on March 10, with the Senate almost unanimously voting in favor of the legislation. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives and Senate leaders are pushing for quick action. The bill is expected to face a more difficult battle in the House, but if CARA reaches the White House, the president is expected to sign it.

Help for Opiate Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with an opiate addiction, help is available. Call us today at (877) 392.3342. Our compassionate and knowledgeable admission counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on holidays.

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