Can Food Help Cure Addictions?

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The role of nutrition and a proper diet in addiction recovery is an important, but often overlooked one. Nutrition in a long term substance abuse treatment program is often neglected due to lack of knowledge, negative conditions for recovery or even the economic inability to afford healthy food for many recovering addicts. Different drugs of choice can be among many contributing factors to a patient’s overall malnutrition. Co-occurring mental health disorders may also play a part in the lack of eating healthy, nutritious foods.

Most people recognize or know that a substance use disorder contributes to destruction of relationships, legal troubles, loosing a job, financial troubles along with physical and mental health deterioration. Many fail to recognize that a lack of proper nutrition is a common issue that plagues people who have struggled with addiction and substance abuse problems. Some drugs cause you to eat too much, other commonly abused drugs will stifle your appetite. In the case of a long-term addiction to drugs, the substance may have created a mental stimulus that can cause someone to skip meals entirely, for days on end.

With alcohol abuse, the subject may replace their caloric intake for the day with the consumption of alcoholic beverages. This may cause them to feel full and not eat enough food for the day. As this problem persists over time, the alcoholic is more likely to experience some forms of malnutrition.

Opioid abuse can contribute to poor eating habits as well. Opiates like Oxycontin, codeine, methadone, heroin, hydrocodone and fentanyl cause euphoric feelings in the individual. They often cause drowsiness and nausea which can make it difficult to eat regular meals. As the drugs slow bodily functions, digestion becomes affected and many people who are abusing opioids experience constipation.

Stimulant abuse for drugs like crack, cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamines, even nicotine and caffeine are all appetite suppressants. Using or abusing these drugs can make it difficult to even develop a desire for food, let alone eating regular, healthy meals. Since these drugs cause a loss or reduction of appetite, weight loss is common in people who become addicted to stimulant drugs. Cocaine abuse has been tied to anorexia and other eating disorders.

Marijuana use typically causes an increased appetite. It is also the most commonly used drug in the United States. For someone who has used marijuana for long periods of time, weight gain may become an issue. Marijuana users may require a reduced calorie diet and the effects on digestion from cannabis can take 3-6 months to return to normal.

How healthy, nutritious food can help cure addictions.

Various drug rehab clinics will address nutrition because a healthy lifestyle can improve both physical and mental health. Eating healthy meals on a regular basis can assist in the addiction recovery process through:

  • Scheduled, regular eating patterns can aid in reducing stress and stabilizing mood.
  • Nourishing and healing organs and body tissues impacted by substance abuse.
  • Reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and drug abuse.
  • Helping address medical conditions and problems compounded by substance abuse.
  • Encouraging an overall healthy lifestyle through making healthy choices.

“Nutrition education is an essential component of substance abuse treatment programs and can enhance substance abuse treatment outcomes. Dietitians should promote and encourage the inclusion of nutrition education into substance abuse treatment programs.” NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information)

Nutritional therapy can greatly increase the effectiveness of drug abuse treatment programs. It turns out, eating healthy can really help people who are recovering from addiction feel better, both mentally and physically. Combined with regular exercise and strength training, proper nutrition is an essential component of a successful recovery plan. As these efforts will greatly improve the physical health of the patients, they also help train the mind to act in it’s own self interest by developing healthy habits to replace the old, unhealthy ones.

An addiction is by itself a dangerous activity for the human body. It’s not just the effects of the drugs that play a negative influence on the overall health of the individual. Addiction is often associated with a variety of bad habits and negative health implications. These harmful lifestyle choices which are associated with addiction include: not eating healthy, lack of exercise and irregular sleeping patterns. These patterns can all negatively affect the body and can result in major long-term health problems, including: diabetes, hypertension, weight gain and eating disorders like anorexia.

The importance of eating healthy, nutritious food while in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction.

Since substance abuse can dramatically alter the brain’s chemistry, it may be difficult for someone just beginning recovery to recognize the signals their body is sending them. Are they craving alcohol and drugs, or are they just hungry? This is a common occurrence for someone as many simply have forgotten what it feels like to be hungry and they will mistake the feeling as a desire to relapse. As such, studies have shown that people with poor eating habits are more likely to relapse during recovery, than those who eat regular meals.

At 10 Acre Ranch, we take our meal schedule very seriously.

We emphasize diet as part of a radical change in people’s lives. Our meal plan includes foods rich in healthy fresh ingredients with an emphasis on protein, healthy carbohydrates, probiotics, fatty acids and essential vitamins and minerals. We teach our clients to avoid fast food, sweets, caffeine and empty calorie intake. These foods can often become abused as a replacement for the substance abuse. Some people turn to sugary, unhealthy foods as a coping mechanism, so we avoid them from the start in our recovery program.

Since our recovery program focuses on a social model of recovery, all of our nutritional meals are prepared by the clients. When most people come to 10 Acre Ranch, they don’t know how to cook for themselves, or the components of a well-balanced, healthy meal. Clients will take turns preparing meals for everyone in the facility and cleaning up after the meals. This process helps them develop the skills they need to maintain their sobriety, long after they leave our facility. We call these Activities of Daily Living Skills (ADLS) and they are a cornerstone of our successful recovery program. To find out how 10 Acre Ranch can help you or a loved one recover from addiction, please call us today! We are available 24/7:

877-228-4679

Why Is Stopping Drugs So Hard?

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Addiction is a disease of the brain. Your brain is the control center of your body, affecting your thoughts, feelings, decisions and actions. Addiction to drugs or alcohol is hard because it changes the signals in your brain, which makes it difficult to feel okay without using the drugs. When you first take drugs you feel a high or a rush from the substance. But over time, the high is not as strong and you must take more and more of the drug to keep from feeling bad. This is what happens when you become addicted. Many people who are addicted want to quit and they think they can do it on their own. Stopping drug use is hard to do alone because the brain’s pleasure centers have been chemically changed over the course of the addiction. There is no shame in asking someone for help in stopping drugs. In fact, most people simply cannot do it alone. The first step is to ask for help to overcome your addiction. Luckily, there are many great resources that are available today to help you stop using drugs.

Drug abuse is not a moral failing.

For the greater part of human history, alcohol and drug abuse has been viewed as a moral failing of the individual. It was easy to write off people’s bad behaviors as some sort of problem the individual chose to do. For many, it meant the addict was a bad person who simply wanted to make bad choices. Society has locked people up in jail, only to be forgotten and a negative stigma about addiction and drug abuse became pervasive in human culture. Only recently, science has learned more and more about the brain and the neurotransmitters that are affected through addiction. In reality the addiction is a shift in the wiring of the brain’s neural pathways that leaves people seemingly helpless in overcoming their habit. It is these alterations in the brain that make stopping drugs so hard.

Traumatic experiences can lead to addictive behavior.

It is natural for the human brain to look for quick and easy solutions to our problems. Many people begin using drugs and alcohol because it makes these difficult feelings go away, even if only momentarily. While some people are able to “party” or experiment with drugs without developing an addiction, others who are dealing with unresolved mental issues can continue using to the point that they become addicts. This type of person will continue to use because it seemingly helps make their problems go away for a short period of time. Continued use of drugs will change how the brain deals with emotions and stress to the point that life can feel unbearable without them. This leads to further use which can rapidly turn into abuse and addiction.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and helps a person experience the feeling of reward. Most substances of abuse affect the absorption, production and pathways related to dopamine. Dopamine is released in many experience of life without drugs. Falling in love, playing with your pets, listening to good music, exercising or eating good food can all release dopamine, naturally. When a person uses drugs over a long period of time these natural pathways are disrupted and trained to only release dopamine when the drugs are used. This definitely makes it hard to stop using drugs because the brain forgets how to experience pleasure without the drugs. Many people are prone to relapse after they go through rehab for this reason. Addicts may miss being “high” when they first experience sobriety, but a lot have a hard time dealing with emotions that had been masked for so long while they were abusing drugs and alcohol.

Withdrawal symptoms can often be uncomfortable, even painful and unbearable for some recovering addicts.

When using drugs, the brain will adjust to the increase in dopamine and other neurochemicals by reducing normal production. For many people who abuse drugs or alcohol feeling normal is no longer being sober. Being high, or drunk is the new normal for them. When this is the case, a tolerance has been built up and many people will not even notice they are taking more and more of the substance to attain the feeling of normality. Once the tolerance is built up, quitting use can result in withdrawal symptoms. These can often be painful even excruciating to overcome, in some rare cases people have been known to die from their withdrawal symptoms

For many people who are addicted and want to quit using drugs, the fear or very real physical pain associated with withdrawal compels them to continue their abuse. Avoiding potential withdrawal symptoms can be a strong motivator for addicts to keep abusing drugs, even when they want to stop using drugs. When your brain has been conditioned to use drugs to the point that they help you feel normal, quitting can seem impossible. Fortunately, curing addiction is not an impossible feat. It is quite difficult for most people, but sobriety is always within the realm of possibility.

Scientific research has dramatically changed the addiction treatment industry in recent years.

We have learned about the brain’s reward system and the potential underlying emotional and mental issues that contribute to substance abuse and addiction. This has led to a rapid advancement into drug rehabilitation techniques that go far beyond the failures of old approaches to viewing addiction as something only bad people do.

Medication assisted treatments have shown great potential in treating patients who have become addicted to opioids, like heroin or Oxycontin. Psychologists have learned more about cognitive behavioral therapy and how to teach the brain new ways to approach emotions or past traumatic experiences that may have led to the initial use of drugs.

Some modern advancements of addiction science have been focused on researching mindfulness mediation, magnetic stimulation of the brain and even vaccines that could prevent drugs from entering the brain. These techniques may be far away from becoming reality, but they do show the potential of emerging science.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction, know that it is okay to ask for help. Simply asking for help could be the most important decision you make in your entire life. At 10 Acre Ranch, we strive to help people rebuild their lives. We can help you today. We are open 24/7 and are available to guide you in the right direction. All you have to do is call:

877-228-4679

Can I Tell if Someone is on Benzos or Xanax?

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Benzodiazepines are type of powerful pharmaceutical drug, typically prescribed to treat anxiety and a variety of other mental health ailments. Treatment with these types of drugs can also be used for panic attacks, seizures and as a sleep aid for people suffering from insomnia. In extremely rare circumstances, Xanax has been prescribed to patients to ease withdrawal symptoms resulting from an alcohol or drug addiction.

Benzos like Alprazolam are commonly referred to on the streets by their brand name: Xanax. “Xanny bars,” or “zanny planks,” totem poles, white girls and blue footballs are all street names for this class of drugs. The benzodiazepine family of prescription drugs also includes Klonopin, Librium, Ativan and Valium. The “date rape drug” Rohypnol is also a form of benzodiazepine. They are often among the most commonly abused pharmaceutical drugs, on par with prescription opioids like Vicodin, Percocet and Oxycontin.

One of the most common questions surrounding the field of substance abuse treatment is how to tell if someone is abusing a particular drug. Xanax is commonly known for its relaxing effects on the human brain. Many people begin abusing this drug after it is prescribed to them by their doctors. When people use these medications to get high, they will often mix them with other prescription drugs like opioids, marijuana and even alcohol, as it is perceived to increase the drug’s pleasurable effects. People who are addicted to stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine will often use benzodiazepines to help them sleep after a long coke or meth binge. Excessive abuse of benzos like Xanax can lead to respiratory failure, coma heart attacks and even death.

Fentanyl is commonly found in street versions of Xanax and there have been numerous reported cases of people dying after taking just one dose of Xanax. In addition to these dangers, Xanax can become highly addictive when taken at a high dose, over a long period of time. This addiction to benzos can be difficult to get over for many people as the acute withdrawal symptoms are often very painful and difficult to manage.

So what are the signs that a family member, close friend or loved one may be abusing Xanax?

Quite often whether used as prescribed by a doctor, or as an illicit substance people on benzodiazepines exhibit quite a few distinct signs of use.

  • Often seeming drowsy, sleepy or a general state of constant sedation.
  • Confusion, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. 
  • Feeling light-headed.
  • Excessive sleeping, often for a long, unexplainable amount of time.
  • Concentration problems and frequent memory loss.
  • Slurred, slow speech.
  • Declined physical coordination, stumbling around.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Psychosis.
  • Lack of motivation and general loss in personal interests.

These symptoms will obviously vary from person to person, so it is good to look for a combination of these symptoms if you suspect a friend or family member of Xanax abuse.

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If someone is compulsively using benzos or Xanax, they may have an addiction.

It is important to note that abusing Xanax and benzos will look quite different than a full-fledged chemical dependency on the substance. Some people who experience addiction to Xanax could be taking upwards of 20 pills each and every day. Most teens who become addicted to the drug say they started by using what they could find in their home medicine cabinets. Since Xanax is a fast-acting drug, it can lead to taking higher doses at a much faster pace. This increases the dangers of developing an addiction, even for people who are prescribed the drug by their doctor.

Just like many other types of addictions, an addiction to Xanax will affect nearly every aspect of the person’s life. A typical addict will let their personal relationships deteriorate, while often isolating themselves socially. Job loss, financial hardship and legal troubles are common with those who are addicted to benzos. Developing a chemical dependence on Xanax can lead to many dangerous situations. Since benzodiazepines are sedatives, it is generally unsafe to operate an automobile, even when on a prescribed dose from a doctor. Physical problems are likely to occur after prolonged use, such as musculoskeletal deterioration, memory loss, depression with suicidal thoughts and a multitude of gastrointestinal issues. In some circumstances, an overdose on Xanax can cause a person to enter a coma or even die from the overdose.

In 2017, benzodiazepines were present in the system of 11,537 Americans who died from a drug overdose.  –National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Since many people who abuse benzodiazepines often mix the high with other drugs that are commonly abused, most people who enter treatment are often suffering from addiction to multiple substances. Treatment for addiction to Xanax and other benzos is often a very nuanced process with severe side effects and withdrawal symptoms. It is never recommended to quit abusing benzodiazepines “cold-turkey”. It is highly advised that an addict or someone who has used Xanax or other benzos, do so under close medical supervision.

The withdrawal symptoms alone can be lethal to someone who had built up a tolerance and was taking a lot of the substance over a long period of time. If prescribed by a doctor, the procedure for stopping use will be to slowly taper-off doses in incremental amounts. This will help mitigate the severe withdrawal symptoms. For addicts who undergo an inpatient treatment program at a drug rehab center the process is going to be specialized to suit your individual needs. If you have a family member or loved one who you suspect is struggling with any type of addiction, and intervention may be necessary for them to address their potentially deadly substance use disorder. Most people won’t want to admit they have an addiction, but they will be glad to see that someone in their life cares about them deeply enough to get them help.

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Xanax abuse is a serious matter, but overcoming addiction is possible.

Overcoming an addiction to Xanax or other benzodiazepines is not easy, yet people do it every day. 10 Acre Ranch offers a full medical detox and recovery program that will help you, every step of the way. Call us today to speak with an addiction specialist and we can get you, your family member or loved one the help they need right away. We are open 24/7:

877-228-4679

 

How do I know if my teenager is on drugs?

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Finding out that your teenager may be abusing drugs is one of the most painful events that far too many parents experience in the United States these days. Communication with your child is an important tool you have at your disposal that can help prevent further teen drug abuse. Talking to your kids is always a great way to help them grow into their young adulthood. These conversations should, at some point address the dangers and risks associated with drug and alcohol abuse. It is important to be aware of the signs of drug use, as your son or daughter might have begun experimenting with them. Early detection is crucial to helping your teen avoid a full-blown addiction that could potentially come with deadly consequences.

How can I tell if my son or daughter is abusing drugs?

Young SoCal resident struggling with addiction in the Riverside, CA area.
                     How can you tell if your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol?

A very telltale sign of drug use is sudden and abrupt changes in behavior. Many American kids will go through rapid shifts in behavior as they approach early adolescence and puberty. This is a natural part of their physical and cognitive development. However, if your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol, the changes you notice are probably going to be much different than your typical ‘growing pains’. Some changes you notice may lean towards outright self-destructive behavior, anger and depression. These will only become amplified with further substance abuse, so you will want to get help for your child quickly.

Examples of cognitive and behavioral change associated with teen alcohol and drug abuse may include the following:

  • Lower academic performance and/or ditching school.
  • Intense hostility and defiance for authority. Lashing-out at the world.
  • Suddenly acting secretive and intensely demanding their personal privacy.
  • Getting in trouble at school.
  • Decrease in motivation and not wanting to do anything.
  • Constant forgetfulness. Problems with remembering basic things.
  • Suddenly changing friends and social circles.

Noticing one, or many of these behavioral changes in your child may be an indication that he or she has began experimenting with drugs and/or alcohol. As we mentioned above, a lot of teens experience some of these traits, simply as a normal part of growing up. Going through puberty and early adolescence can be a tremendously difficult adjustment for any child. The early teen years usually come with normal fluctuations in behaviors and physical actions. But when these changes are amplified or compounded with other physical behaviors, they may indicate a sign of teen drug abuse.

Examples of physical symptoms and actions associated with teen drug and alcohol use:

  • Sleeping all day, being constantly fatigued, lethargic or excessively lazy.
  • Intense hyperactivity, staying awake for long periods of time.
  • Laughing uncontrollably, even at seemingly nothing.
  • Bloodshot eyes or widely dilated pupils.
  • Appetite changes, either eating constantly, or not eating anything for days.
  • Twitching, spastic or erratic body movements.
  • Nosebleeds or constantly runny nose. Scratching or touching their nose a lot.
  • Unexplained injuries, cuts, sores or bruises.
  • Teeth clenching, rapid deterioration of dental health and bad breath.
  • Stealing money or constantly asking family members for money.
  • Smell of smoke or alcohol on their breath, clothing or in their bedroom.

If you are experiencing any of these conditions at your home with your teenage child, maybe it is time to have a real face-to-face conversation with them. While you’re thinking of what to say as you approach your kid about their drug abuse, be mindful to lay the foundation for a positive interaction. Speak with your partner or spouse and come to an understanding that you will work together as one single entity to help your child. Now is not a time to play the old ‘good cop, bad cop’ routine. It is important to work in concert together, as a solid parental unit here. Even if you disagree on minor details of how to deal with the problem, understand that you both are doing out of love for the child.

It is also important for your teen to feel like you are trying to help them. Let them know it’s because you are concerned for their safety and well being. This shouldn’t be an emotional lecture on how they have let you down, or how much trouble they’re in. Addiction and drug use is actually quite normal for teens and adults alike. The negative stigma associated with alcoholism and drug abuse is the reason a lot of addicts go without treatment. They are afraid to ask for help because of their fears of their parents or authority figures in society will judge them or punish them. Sadly, this stigma forces a lot of people with substance abuse problems to go into hiding, or out on the streets, where their disease can only get worse.

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Teenage drug use is on the rise in the Los Angeles, California area.

With over 70,000 Americans dying from drug overdoses in 2017, the time to get serious about helping people who are experiencing drug abuse is now.

You may have discovered your teen’s drug abuse through any of the signs listed above, or snooping through their room or looking through their phone. Your child will likely feel attacked as you confront them about their drug use. As a parent, you shouldn’t set your expectations too high. It is highly unlikely they’re going to simply admit to using and promise to quit.

Sometimes just communicating the fact that you are aware of their substance use and you’d like them to quit can be considered a productive conversation. It is important to keep moving forward, one small step at a time. We sincerely hope that you caught on to the signs of your teen’s drug use early, before their problem has become a full-fledged addiction. Following up with your child about this topic is the important part after your first conversation with them. For a teenager, sometimes all it takes is a little parental involvement for them to understand how much you still care for them. This feeling can go a long way to boost their self-esteem and get them to think of the external consequences of their actions.

While the development of an addiction is gradual, it may be difficult to spot the thin line between recreational use or experimentation and full-blown drug abuse and addiction. If you feel like you’re at the end of your rope, your child doesn’t want help or has completely shut themselves off from you and other members of the family, 10 Acre Ranch has the resources, services and expert staff to help you during this difficult time. Our drug treatment program for teens and young adults is widely-recognized for laying the groundwork to a lasting sobriety through recovery.

If you need help finding the best treatment program in the Riverside, California area for your teen, please call us today. We are open 24/7 and a caring, certified addiction specialist is available to talk to you right away.

877-228-4679

 

What Motivated You to Get Drug Therapy?

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In the world of recovery from addiction, personal motivation and the willingness to accept change should be a top priority. Most people who become addicted to drugs or alcohol will want to change their destructive behavior at some point in their addiction. Many people experience the disease of addiction as a series of chaotic situations and self-destructive behavior that results in humiliation and sorrow. As your substance abuse becomes worse and worse, your motivation to change will ultimately become more and more important.

The motivation to seek rehabilitation at an addiction treatment facility will always have to come from within. Your personal desire to want to change things in your life will help guide you to make the right choices. Maybe you have suffered long-term negative consequences as a result of your addiction, such as losing a job, getting arrested or ruining your personal relationships with friends and family. Or perhaps you understand that your addiction could completely drain your bank account and it could eventually kill you.

Choosing to seek treatment at a drug rehabilitation center could be one of the most important decisions you make in your life.

A good addiction treatment center will offer a safe, healthy environment for someone seeking recovery. A severe drug and alcohol abuse problem can significantly affect your cognitive reasoning and decision making skills. Beginning your recovery at a detox center is a great place to start. You will be surrounded by medical professionals and people who have been where you are that are willing to help you succeed. As you navigate your recovery over the coming weeks, these addiction specialists will help teach you how to handle the intense physical and emotional changes you are going to encounter throughout your recovery. The emotions you encounter will be difficult to process, but with the help of treatment professionals you can enable the changes necessary to start your new, healthy life in sobriety.  

Regardless of the source of motivation, once you go to treatment your journey is only beginning.

When substance abuse becomes a prominent part of someone’s life, motivation can become severely lacking. Many find their motivation by simply recognizing how messed up their life has become. Through the challenges of withdrawal symptoms, your motivation to change can become difficult to maintain. Many will experience the psychological symptoms of anxiety or depression through the early withdrawal process. Often times these psychological problems were part of the reason you began using drugs or alcohol in the first place. Learning how to live with out your drug of choice as your coping mechanism is very important during this phase of recovery.

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Alcohol & drug rehabilitation works best when you want to change.

Keeping the motivation throughout your recovery is not only crucial to becoming sober, you have to keep a strong desire to STAY sober once you leave an inpatient rehab center.  Many people who complete recovery at a drug treatment center think once they quit using they are cured. There is a persistent view that once you get sober, everything is “fixed” and will return to normal. Some people will even use the triumph of being sober as an excuse to start using again. This becomes a trap that many people enter, thinking they are cured simply because they graduated from drug therapy. It is of utmost importance to have the motivation to quit using on day one, but the real challenge is to stay sober every single day after that.

Relapse is a normal part of recovery from addiction.

Most people who complete a drug rehabilitation program will relapse. Relapsing is a normal part of addiction recovery. As you begin to encounter the challenges of reintegration into everyday life, problems you had been avoiding by getting high will have to be dealt with. The other problems created out of the consequences of your past drug abuse will have to be addressed here as well. This will require an ongoing motivation to stay sober.

Developing purpose and meaning in your life is a great tool to keep your spirits high and keep you motivated to stay sober.

By now you have realized that giving up certain things has helped you gain other positive outcomes in your life. Your addiction will be at constant battle with your recovery. You have traded one for the other and you must continually realize that you are making the right choice. Being constantly mindful of the pros and cons associated with your choices will help you to strengthen your motivation. Now you understand that continuing your addiction wasn’t worth the price you paid for it. This is essential to keep you going down the right path.

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Addiction treatment center in Southern California. For you or a loved one.

Recovery can be a whole different animal for each and every individual. No one person’s treatment schedule will be the same. Some are able to quit cold-turkey, no problem. Those cases are few and far between, but most people will require some guidance along the way. Professional help is recommended for most people who have experienced a struggle with addiction. Continuing with help from a 12 step program outside of the treatment center will greatly improve your chances for a successful recovery. Utilize your resources from friends and family who care about you. Talk to them regularly and be honest with your feelings. Most importantly however, be honest with yourself and your needs throughout your recovery. Setting your mindset to one of fully-integrated honesty with yourself and others is a great policy to keep you on the right track.

Spend your time learning sober activities as these will positively reinforce your recovery. Building confidence and self-esteem should be consciously sought out as an essential component to your continued success. Full recovery is only truly possible when you are ready, willing and able to accept change. Once you have that motivation, continue to maintain it by seeking praise and approval from a trusted support system, like family, friends and loved ones. These social support structures will greatly benefit your continued motivation.

New SAMHSA data shows that in 2017, 18.7 million people in the United States had a substance use disorder. With over 72,000 Americans dying from a drug overdose in 2017, the time to get serious about addiction recovery is now.

If you, or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact 10 Acre Ranch. Our licensed, professional, caring staff has the tools you need to successfully complete your journey to sobriety. We are available 24/7 to help you. All you have to do is come up with the motivation to make that first call:

(877)-228-4679

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Holiday Stress: How it presents special challenges for recovering addicts and helpful tips to avoid a relapse

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Family gatherings, holiday office parties, everywhere you turn, drug and alcohol use is on prevalent display.  The stresses of the busy holiday season can be overwhelming to even conventionally well-balanced people. Loneliness, buying and being able to afford gifts, long lines in stores, long lines in traffic and financial uncertainty are all potentially stressful endeavors. For many people, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is in full swing during even the brightest days of the season. The relationships with your family and friends can cause great stress that all comes out during the hustle and bustle of this busy time of year. It certainly is an emotional time for everyone. All of this is especially true for a recovering addict or someone who currently is struggling with substance abuse.

Whether you are just beginning a rehabilitation program, or you are celebrating years of successful sobriety, temptations that challenge your recovery will present themselves this holiday season.

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Holiday stress can challenge even the strongest of those in recovery.

Experiencing feelings of “the blues” is a common occurrence for many individuals between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Many are reminded of the fact they are alone. Some holidays are key dates reminding us of the loss of a loved one or family member. Perhaps this is the first holiday since a family member’s passing and experiencing it without them just isn’t the same.

For others with a troubled family upbringing, it could be quite the opposite. Many people did not have a good relationship with their family and the holidays can bring up a barrage of emotions tied to past physical or mental abuse within the family. In some instances, personal guilt may arise from memories of your own struggle with addiction and the effect it had on your family and relationships. Throwing yourself into a situation with people you haven’t seen for long periods of time can greatly amplify any emotions you have attached to them.

Likewise for many recovering addicts, the holidays can remind them of times of severe overindulgence, past parties and long benders of hardcore substance abuse. This can lead some people to romanticize these past experiences. For someone in recovery this could be a great temptation to relapse back into his or her old habits.

With the right plan, it is absolutely 100% possible to attend holiday gatherings and events without indulging in drug or alcohol use.

Even if you are currently overtaken by your addiction, there is a way to get sober and stay sober, not only for your family members and loved ones, but for yourself as well. We suggest being prepared with a plan to maintain your sobriety and avoid or at least limit your exposure to potential relapse triggers. Be aware of an exit strategy if everything simply becomes too much to handle. Don’t be embarrassed about your struggle. As we all know with addiction, the struggle is a lifetime battle and you should have your exit strategy thought out well in advance. You should spend time thinking about your plan because your sobriety is absolutely worth the extra effort.

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Having a plan to stay sober for the holidays is an important step in relapse prevention.

Having a concrete plan can help build your personal confidence that you can successfully stay sober. This plan should include: 

  • Having someone to call for help in case you experience relapse triggers.
  • Take a sober friend with you to events, so you don’t feel like you’re the only sober person at the party.
  • Formulate a confident, solid response when someone asks why you aren’t drinking or using drugs. *Hint: your answer is more for yourself than it is for them.
  • If you know you are going to feel uncomfortable, let the hosts know you can only stay for a short time. This will take pressure off of yourself and you won’t feel like you need to stay to please everyone else.
  • Have a non-alcoholic beverage in your hand at all times. Bring your own drinks if you have a preference. Don’t rely upon others to cater to your personal needs.
  • Do your best to surround yourself with supportive, loving, caring people. In many instances, reinforcement from family members can be a great help on your path to recovery.
  • Eat something sweet to temporarily nullify a craving. This has been shown to be effective in distracting your brain, although temporarily.
  • Try to eat healthy and feel healthy. Maintaining a positive, healthy mindset and lifestyle will greatly reduce your urges and cravings. Feeling good is crucial in maintaining sobriety and a sustained recovery.
  • Be honest with yourself. Tell those who you trust about your recovery. Let them know if you feel pressure to use again and use this plan to help you stay away from a relapse.  

Most importantly, be constantly aware of your own mental health and the physical needs associated with your recovery journey. Never be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. If you feel challenged by a family member or loved one, take a step back. Think about your life. Think about your choices. Know you are on the right path and walk away if you feel that your personal well-being is in danger. Knowing these risks will help you know yourself. This will strengthen your perspective and hopefully it will help keep you on the right path.

If you encounter a relapse, or run into an old friend or family member who needs help with their substance abuse, know that help is always just one phone call away. Call us anytime. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year to help.

Call Us Today: (877)-228-4679

The Opioid Crisis: How The Sackler Family Made Billions, While America Became Addicted to Oxycontin.

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The Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, the company that makes Oxycontin is coming under a lot of intense legal pressure. As the opioid crisis wages on in the United States, the legal battles will likely ramp up in the years to come. While these ongoing lawsuits are being played out however, the opioid epidemic continues to kill 130 people per day. More than 1,000 government entities have sued Purdue Pharma along with other prescription drug makers, claiming they are responsible for the increase of overdose deaths that have plagued this nation for the greater part of the last two decades.

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Doctors prescribe potentially deadly opioids to patients who suffer from chronic pain.

In January of 2019, a Massachusetts lawsuit publically brought out documents that show members of the Sackler family were well-aware of the abuse potential of their products. Court documents state: “Purdue Pharma created the epidemic and profited from it through a web of illegal deceit.” The documents also show that along with complacency of the family, (many of whom also serve as the board of directors) Purdue intentionally tried to hide the negative effects of their drugs from the public and the government. Further allegations in the case suggest that the Sackler family overwhelmed the medical industry in the state with aggressive sales representatives to promote their drugs. Furthermore, as part of an ongoing strategy, Purdue successfully influenced state legislation to protect their economic interests in the state.

The Sackler family is widely known as ardent philanthropists. They regularly donate to art and history museums, universities and medical facilities to put a positive spin on the family name. This was achieved through various public relations campaigns, including charitable donations to educational institutions and art museums. These donations to medical universities enabled the makers of Oxycontin to obtain good faith from aspiring, young doctors who would have a favorable view of opioids upon graduating with their medical degree. These favorable views of opioid use in pain treatment would garner lavish financial returns, as there would be more and more prescribing of the patented drugs. Many would argue that under the guidance of the Sackler family, the aggressive marketing tactics of Purdue Pharma really helped ignite America’s current opioid crisis. The Massachusetts lawsuit claims that when patients showed signs of addiction to their doctors, Purdue actually urged the doctors to increase the patients’ dosage. Richard Sackler has been shown in internal documents to push the narrative that people who became addicted were the ones to blame for their substance abuse.

“We have to hammer on abusers in every way possible. They are the culprits and the problem. They are reckless criminals.”

Richard Sackler in a 2001 email, while president of Purdue Pharma

While the Sackler family was pushing blame onto people who helplessly became addicted to their drugs, they raked in billions and billions of dollars. The family fortune is said to have exceeded $13 billion dollars at the end of 2018. While the Sackler family was making their fortune in the last two decades, over 200,000 people have died in the US as a result of prescription opioids since 1996. It was in the late 1990’s when Purdue began their aggressive marketing Oxycontin to doctors and the public.

The sales of Oxycontin rapidly increased over the years, while the Sackler family pushed a multitude of false information about their products. The company actually began marketing Oxycontin as a drug that was non habit-forming. Purdue claimed that since the drug was slow acting and long lasting, drug addicts wouldn’t use the drug to get high. The company’s sales representatives pushed a claim that the drug had a dependency rate of “less than one percent” which had no basis in scientific research or fact. They just told doctors this in an attempt to market their product as safe.

Marketing opioids: making billions of dollars off of human suffering and death.

The problems with marketing of the opioids were in the aggressive nature Purdue sought massive profit margins. Internal Purdue memos sought to sell higher doses of the drugs over long periods of time. This obviously made the company more money, while the higher doses also increased the likelihood of their patients to develop an addiction. Many internal emails have proven that the Sackler family cared only about their sales numbers, not the safety of the patients who were taking the drugs. These accusations led to a 2007 federal court case, in which the family voted to plea guilty to misleading marketing practices. The court case did not hold any individual in the Sackler family accountable, nor did it force any legal penalties on them individually. Purdue Pharma was simply ordered to pay $600 million in fines.

The federal case was supposed to curb the aggressive marketing of the drug, while also removing the Sackler family from direct involvement in decision making. This did not happen as recent court documents have proven. The June, 2018 Massachusetts court case proved that the family was still heavily involved in marketing, claiming they put profits over people. Various other states, including Ohio are also seeking litigation regarding the Sackler family’s responsibility in the ongoing opioid epidemic.

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Developing a tolerance to opioids can lead to heroin abuse very easily.

The Sackler family: profiting from the response to problems they created.

To further matters, Richard Sackler was awarded a patent for an opioid addiction treatment drug, a version of buprenorphine that dissolves rapidly. Many see this patent as a way for the Sackler family to profit off of the problem they helped create. This is considered a bold move by some, as the company stands to make even more money off of the addicts they helped to create.

Treatment and drug rehab for addicts is the best response to the opioid epidemic.

While many are hoping these lawsuits may help bring about funding for more access to treatment options, the fight will be a long, contentious one. Purdue claims to be on the frontlines of combating the opioid crisis, working with the FDA, law enforcement and prescribers to limit exposure to the potentially deadly drugs. As patients see their prescriptions expire, there are many people who continue to be addicted to the drug. One Oxycodone pill can get as much as $80 on the streets, so these addicts will often turn to cheaper, illicit street drugs like heroin in an effort to simply quell their painful withdrawal symptoms.

Heroin is cheaper and easier to obtain for many opioid-addicted patients. The people who become addicted simply cannot just quit cold-turkey when their prescription runs out. As they find street drugs to alleviate their withdrawal symptoms, they are being exposed to dangerous cocktails of fentanyl and heroin and other substances that are prone to causing drug overdoses. This epidemic is killing thousands of Americans every single year in the US. One thing that is missing from Purdue’s response to the crisis is increased support and access to addiction treatment programs and drug rehab.

Many Americans simply cannot wait for addiction treatment. The disease of addiction is a strong one, but treatment is available. 10 Acre Ranch offers a comprehensive treatment program for opioid abuse beginning with a fully-supervised medical detox. This helps our clients fully-recover from the drug addiction, as they are monitored by our licensed medical staff, navigating the dangerous stages of their withdrawal symptoms. Our inpatient facility treats each individual with a personalized approach with therapy suited to their unique needs. Ongoing outpatient treatment and 12-step meetings are supported through our comprehensive, evidence-based rehabilitation program.

If you, a family member or loved one needs help with their addiction, please don’t hesitate to call us today:

877-248-4679

How to Cope with the Loss of a Loved One During Recovery from Addiction

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You may have recently suffered the loss of a loved one, a family member or friend while you’re going through recovery. You used to handle the stress from everyday life events by using drugs or alcohol. But now, you’re sober. If you are finding it difficult to resist temptations, or you’ve found that this is the hardest time you’ve experienced in trying not to relapse, let us assure you, you are not alone. Losing someone close to you is one of the most difficult parts of the human experience. It is no different for you or anyone else. It hurts… A lot! You probably don’t know where to turn next, but you know you have to stay sober throughout the pain and grieving process, so what can you do?

Understanding that the grieving process is an important part of recovery is a good start. While a person recovers from an addiction, intense changes are taking place in the mind and body. Changes are taking place within and all around the individual who is attempting to resolve their body’s physical and mental addiction. Grieving is a natural part of this process and simply accepting this fact is going to be inherently beneficial for you. The addiction likely caused trauma in your personal life, as with members of your family and other loved ones. Many of these problems are not addressed until a patient begins their recovery.

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Losing a loved one while in recovery from addiction can bring back cravings for drugs & alcohol. Have a relapse prevention plan in place.

When a major loss occurs in addition to these normal changes in the psyche, it can be one of the most difficult emotional battles in a person’s entire life.

The loss of a loved one can be one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. This loss could be from a sudden death, an illness such as a continued, unregulated addiction or even the loss of a relationship with someone you deeply cared about. When someone accidentally or purposefully leaves your life it can be devastating for even the strongest amongst us. These emotions can be overwhelming and life itself can seem unbearable during this most difficult time. These harrowing parts in your recovery can really challenge your resolve to stay sober.

Understanding the inevitable processing of grief and sorrow as a normal part of life, will help you over time and throughout your recovery.

Grief can manifest itself as one of the major contributing factors in a relapse. Losing a loved one through death or other unfortunate circumstances can create a high risk situation, even for someone who has been clean and sober for years. Using simple techniques to process difficult emotions and set backs can help you avoid a potential relapse.

The first and most important step to consider when faced with a stressful, painful situation is to ask for help. Call on the support of your close friends and family members. Even if they are grieving themselves, simply having the presence of someone who cares about you can give you a lot of strength.

Secondly, being honest with your emotions is essential to process the pain you may be feeling after the loss of a loved one. Your old response was to turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain. By now, you must realize that is not a healthy or productive choice anymore. You need to process your real emotions in a way that will help you grow and become stronger in your life. Cry if you feel like crying, it is okay to cry. Express your emotions in a safe manner, hopefully with the help of your family, friends or a support group. If you’re angry, let it out and let the world know you are angry. Just be careful to not express any anger you may have in a way that would be harmful to others. Try to keep it constructive with a goal of ultimate healing in mind.

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Loss is never easy to process, especially when you are in recovery from an alcohol or drug addiction.

Speaking of support groups, attending meetings on a regular basis will help you process your complex range of emotions in a more productive manner. Whether you return to outpatient meetings at a rehab clinic, or attend regular Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings, this will help you let out your grief in a positive, productive manner. You will likely meet other people who have gone through similar situations before. This will help you feel supported and not alone in your sorrow.

None of these techniques are meant to completely cure or take away the sadness that comes with losing a loved one or member of your family. They will however help you process the emotions you experience through the grieving process without the use of alcohol or drugs. These techniques can be added to your go-to relapse prevention plan, in case the urge to use becomes too much to bear. The first step, (as it was before you entered recovery) is to ask for help. At 10 Acre Ranch, we can help you overcome your addiction and help you deal with recurring issues with addiction through a social model approach to treatment. Please let us know if we can help you.

(877) 228-4679

 

A Brief History of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Treatment

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Throughout history, the use of illicit substances is documented as far back as the earliest of recorded human civilization. 5,000 year-old Egyptian hieroglyphs show us that people who suffered from alcohol addiction were cared for in the homes of other people. Both the ancient Greek and Roman empires carry records of not only people suffering from alcoholism, but also for those people receiving treatment in “public, or private asylums.”(1) The ancient Chinese civilizations also had problems with their citizens abusing opium, which was first imported from Great Britain. Opium abuse also gave westerners a sense of moral obligation to colonize the greater part of Asia and help them wean off of their addiction to opium. As such, the British government began compelling the Chinese to cut poppy production after the second Opium War.

In America the first instances of any substance abuse treatment were in the Native Americans’ ‘sobriety circles’. The European settlers of the 1600’s had brought alcoholic beverages to the Americas and soon they began trading alcohol to native tribes, sometimes for nefarious reasons. It is known that the European settlers would give chiefs gifts of alcohol before they negotiated settlement and trade deals, to loosen them up. It has been argued that the European settlers of the 1600 and beyond would often give alcohol to native populations to decimate them and make them conquered more easily. Members of many tribes attributed the alcoholic liquids to ‘bad spirits’. They would gather those affected in a circle formation to give them a sense of tribe and to try to repel those bad spirits. The 12-step program model is loosely based on the natives’ sobriety circles.

In colonial America, Benjamin Rush, the father of modern psychiatry was the first to attribute addiction as a type of mental illness and therefore one that could be treated. This was the first time addiction was seen as anything different than the stigma of a moral failing. In Rush’s mind, alcoholism was a chronic disease that could be treated with various techniques. Those techniques became very hot properties, as every form of experimenter and entrepreneur wanted to try to profit off of the treatment of this disease. This led to some practices that we now know today to be very harmful such as electro shock therapy and injecting the body with various substances like gold, silver, mercury and arsenic. This injection therapy was the brain-child of Dr. Leslie Keely and while that method was unorthodox, and just plain wrong, one of his ideas, a 31-day stay at a treatment facility is the foundational drug and alcohol abuse treatment models primarily used today.

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History of mental health treatment techniques and substance abuse therapy.

These substance abuse treatment centers were a huge step in understanding addiction and the ability to treat it as a disease.

Along came the era of prohibition and the temperance movement thought they had a major victory in reducing alcoholism in the United States. Prohibition however, was a colossal failure. Alcohol use continued to rise and after thirteen years, the 21st amendment was ratified to help fight organized crime and allow citizens to continue to consume alcohol legally. After just 2 short years, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith founded Alcoholics Anonymous. In the formation, they channeled the concept of the sobriety circles from the Native Americans and also were the first to use the 12 steps in recovery. These steps were a pathway of different techniques, geared towards living a life free from alcohol or drugs. AA remains today as the most commonly used resource for someone looking to steer away from substance abuse.

Many people have found the help they need in AA or their offshoot, Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Still, others criticized the use of the ‘higher power’ and surrendering to being powerless against their addictions. As this was the classic AA model, today there are alternative versions of the program for agnostics and secular considerations of the twelve-step program.

The Minnesota model really cemented the version of the substance abuse treatment facility that we know and understand today. In 1948, this model incorporated the principles of the 12-step program, but added family involvement within a 28-day inpatient stay. AA was attended both during and after the inpatient stay. They also believed that addicts could help each other through their recovery so the hospital was staffed with both medical professionals and trained resource personnel that were usually recovering addicts themselves. This treatment model was instrumental in suggesting that alcoholics and other addicts were not morally inept and instead had a physical disease that was treatable. The stigma of substance abuse continues to this day, but more and more are becoming increasingly understanding of the concept of addiction as a disease, instead of a moral failing.

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Physical & mental health treatments have evolved over the years. Science is still learning more.

During the early years of substance abuse treatment, many experimental methods were adopted and tested.

One example was the United States Narcotics Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. This farm legitimately had good intentions in helping addicts recover from their disease. They were among the first to use methadone to help heroin addicts, a practice that continues with success to this day. The Central Intelligence Agency however found an unnoticed resource with the farm, using it to conduct early experiments with LSD on their patients. The Federal Government decided to turn its work with substance abuse to the states in 1975.

Substance abuse and mental health treatment has come a long way since then, and science is still progressing to more effectively treat those in need.

Medications have been developed to help fight substance abuse and are showing great promise. Medically assisted treatment (MAT) programs are being used today to fight the current opioid epidemic. These medications help the patient control and manage their withdrawal symptoms, which is a reason many don’t want to quit their addictions. A recent move towards an evidence-based approach to recovery has advanced rehabilitation facilities in a positive way. This approach uses scientific verification to prove the success of their treatment or rehabilitation programs. However, there are still a lot of recovery centers that try to take advantage of addicts, as they are seen as a vulnerable and marginalized group.

Progress in psychology and psychotherapy have shown addiction specialists a deep connection between mental health and substance abuse. Today virtually all alcohol and drug abuse treatment programs use a combination of social, psychological and medical treatments.

As we continue to learn from our history, there is continual pressure for the substance abuse treatment industry to innovate and evolve with the trends and new discoveries science has offered. This pressure is guiding the treatment industry in the right direction, but there are still many who need help. If you or your family member or loved ones are seeking treatment, give us a call right away. We are open 24/7 and we can help you get the help you need.

(877) 228-4679

 

(1) White WL (1998) Slaying the Dragon. Chestnut Health Systems, Bloomington

The 2018 Opioid Bill

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The United States Congress reconciled both House and Senate opioid bills aimed at reducing the deadly toll of the nation’s top health care crisis: the opioid epidemic.

In the SUPPORT For Patients and Communities Act, Republican and Democrat lawmakers came to a rare agreement between both parties. The drug overdose epidemic claimed 72,000 lives in 2017 alone and roughly two thirds of those deaths were from prescription and non-prescription opioids. The bill will now head to the Senate as the House of Representatives almost unanimously passed the bill in a rare, 393-8 vote. President Trump is expected to sign this legislation into law before the midterm elections.  This is a fairly large bill, that will cost the US billions of dollars but many argue that the bill doesn’t do enough to address the nation’s greatest public health issue. Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed a bill that would cost the US tax payer $100 billion over the next 10 years, as she argues this is what is really necessary to fully address the opioid crisis.

The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act takes a wide approach to the opioid epidemic from law enforcement, treatment and public health care measures.

We will talk about some of the major policy changes in the bill and the full-text of the bill is available here.

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The 2018 SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act was passed by United States Congress and signed into law by President Trump.

One of the greatest achievements of the new bill is a provision to allow Medicaid recipients to seek care at addiction treatment centers. The restrictions on Medicaid funding for substance abuse treatment had been long outdated and congress finally addressed this problem. Allowing Medicaid to help fund up to 30 days of inpatient rehab stays, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is going to help a lot of people get the help they desperately need. The bill authorizes a grant program through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to help communities develop opioid recovery centers. While the bill does address the lack of funding for increased access to treatment programs, many addiction specialists argue the bill does not do enough in this regard. While noting that the bill is not itself bad as it does a lot to address a multitude of issues, it is severely lacking on access to treatment, which many believe is the most important technique that could help solve the opioid crisis.

Another provision in the bill lifts restrictions on medications used to treat opioid use disorder and other types of addiction. This measure simply allows more medical practitioners to prescribe medications such as buprenorphine, used to help ease withdrawal symptoms in addiction recovery. As it stands today only 5 percent of doctors are licensed to prescribe this life-saving drug. Another medication, naloxone was addressed in this bill. One provision allows first responders greater access to the life-saving opioid antagonist which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.

The major law enforcement provision of the SUPPORT Act is aimed at the trafficking of drugs through the postal system. Fentanyl that is illegally imported from Mexico and China has been blamed for many of the opioid-related deaths in recent years. One package seized in Philadelphia last June contained 110 pounds of fentanyl, valued at $1.7 billion dollars. This was estimated to be enough of the dangerous substance to kill the entire population of the state of Pennsylvania two times over. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin, so it is easy to smuggle large amounts of the substance through the mail system. This bill makes it harder for people to sneak illicit substances into the US from abroad. The bill will require packages coming in from foreign countries to reveal their contents and where and who they’re coming from. While the bill is broadly aimed at targeting illicit drug suppliers, it includes protection for individuals looking to import cheaper prescriptions from overseas. This was in direct opposition to pharmaceutical companies’ requests to include enforcement against importing cheaper prescriptions from other countries.

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The opioid epidemic kills nearly 200 Americans every single day.

While the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act does a lot to fight the opioid epidemic, there is still a lot of work to be done in the near future. The bill even authorizes research into opioid alternatives to pain management and penalizes drug manufacturers and distributors for overprescribing. A lot more could have been done to address the root causes of addiction and it should have offered greater access to outpatient treatment programs. However, while a lot of divisive partisan issues like funding were ignored in the bill, the Democrats and Republicans agreed on a lot of ‘second-tier’ issues that will definitely help save lives. Given the extreme divisiveness in American politics in the Trump era, this is a small political victory.  Thankfully, everyone finally seems to want to work together in fighting this urgent national health crisis.