Substance Abuse in the Workplace: How an Effective HR Policy Can Help Employees who are Struggling With Addiction.

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An effective Human Resources strategy on drug and alcohol abuse must confront the fact that one in ten Americans are currently struggling with addiction. As such, the odds are that one in ten of your employees could be struggling with one form of substance abuse or another co-occurring mental health issue. Substance abuse in the workplace is common today and many organizations are working hard to reduce the negative stigma surrounding alcohol and drug abuse. This stigma, where people tend to see a person as ‘just an addict’ instead of seeing them as another human being is causing a great harm to our society. This negative stigma often discourages people from seeking help with their addiction or substance abuse problem, endangering themselves, coworkers, family members and their loved ones.

 

As an employer, you are in a unique position to help address the drug crisis in America.

 

With the drug overdose epidemic reaching record proportions in the United States, employers can find themselves in a pivotal role to help address the epidemic at a key stage in an addicts’ recovery journey.

 

“An estimated 23.5 million Americans are currently addicted to alcohol and/ or other drugs and need treatment and other supportive services. Unfortunately, only one in 10 of them (2.6 million) receives the treatment they need.”

 Open Society Foundations

 

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Helping an employee who is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol could save their life.

 

With only 10 percent of Americans receiving treatment through a drug rehab program, the remaining 90 percent of our nation’s addicts go without treatment. This faces them with an increased potential for a drug overdose and, in some cases, their untimely death.

 

Addiction and substance abuse in the workplace costs American businesses billions of dollars each year.

 

The current opioid epidemic alone is estimated to have cost American business $504 billion dollars in 2015, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisors.  Workers who are struggling with addiction are also noted to miss an average of 29 days of work, compared with the overall national average of 10.5 days of work missed per year. A huge impact could be made by employers in the current drug abuse crisis, with the implementation of a few valuable, actionable substance use disorder treatment programs.

 

Any employer should already have a drug-free workplace program on the books, as well as a written substance abuse policy. These policies are a good start, but as an employer there is so much more that can be done. Reducing the likelihood of your employee’s substance use will help your company save money on health care costs and insurance premiums, improve worker productivity and lower the frequency of workplace injuries.

 

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An effective HR policy, addressing workplace substance abuse can help you save lives, while maintaining safety and productivity at your workplace.

 

Addiction is a treatable disease.

 

Many beneficial and practical solutions to these problems exist and they begin with an understanding that addiction is a treatable disease. Much like diabetes or asthma, addiction is a chronic disease that can be managed, with the right access to treatment and drug rehab programs. Identifying the problem early is also crucial in the success of treatment for a substance use disorder.

 

Identifying substance abuse through a workplace drug testing program is an easy way to find out if some of your personnel are experiencing problems with addiction. From there, an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can administer help in resolving the drug or alcohol abuse problem. These programs can help focus attention on employees who need help with a drug or alcohol problem. They can offer your employees drug and alcohol detox, intensive outpatient treatment, residential addiction treatment and a host of aftercare services.

 

An educational program about substance misuse problems can also benefit employees who need help with their addictions. Many people do not seek help for their alcohol, prescription drug or illicit drug problem because they think they will be perceived negatively, especially by their employer.

 

Employees are more likely to seek help when it is approached as part of an existing employee health and wellness plan. This resource can be recommended to them by their immediate supervisor, or through the company’s human resources department.  Fear of losing their job, or being reprimanded for their substance abuse should not be a barrier for anyone seeking help with their addiction. Treating your employee as a person with a treatable, medical illness is the best way an employer can help with the recovery process.

 

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Evidence suggests that someone who enters an employer-sanctioned alcohol or drug rehabilitation program is more likely to succeed at sobriety.

 

A team of addiction specialists from 10 Acre Ranch can come to your work in the greater Los Angles area to help train your HR staff, and give you the resources necessary to help your employees succeed in recovery.

 

10 Acre Ranch is located in Riverside, California and we are industry leaders in scientific, evidence-based alcohol and drug abuse treatment. 10 Acre Ranch’s Workplace Substance Abuse Program can help train your supervisors and human resources staff to detect the warning signs of an alcohol, prescription or illicit drug abuse problem in your workplace. We can also help provide tools and resources to help your employees who are in desperate need of help.

 

Our programs emphasize long-term treatment on a continual basis, that will address the immediate problems of substance use, addiction and mental health. Many people self-medicate their problems and mental health issues with drugs or alcohol. Sometimes the root of the problem lies within an underlying mental health issue, such as childhood trauma, PTSD or other behavioral disorders. The thorough addiction treatment programs at 10 Acre Ranch address these issues, as we feel it is the best way to help an individual achieve a long-lasting sobriety.

 

Ignoring the potentially life-threatening illness of substance abuse and addiction will only further perpetuate the problems in their lives. This could someday lead to a serious workplace injury or even someone’s unfortunate death. It is in the interest of the safety of all of your employees to address these problems as they arise. Acting expediently when suspicious behavior is noticed could help your employees seek the treatment they need. This is help that could ultimately save their lives.

 

 

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You can put a stop to substance abuse in the workplace. Give your employees the chance to ask for much needed help. Reach out to us today.

 

Don’t let one person’s substance abuse affect the safety of your workplace.

Please call 10 Acre Ranch today. We will help you plan an appropriate, beneficial and cost-effective response to the growing problem of substance abuse in the workplace.

(877) 228-4679

 

9 Tips to Identify Drug Abuse in Your Workplace: How You Can Help Employees Who Are Struggling With Addiction

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As the United States continues to experience the worst drug overdose epidemic in history, employers will often find themselves at the frontlines of an employees’ substance abuse problem. While the opioid epidemic has been prominent in the headlines of the past couple of years, almost every single person in America has come into contact with someone who is struggling with addiction. For many, it is a coworker, a neighbor, a close friend or a family member who has been fighting addiction publicly, or privately. We all tend to know someone who has been affected by this ongoing tragedy. As a human resources professional, identifying drug abuse in your workplace is increasingly likely and you are in a great position to offer much needed help.

 

Drug abuse tends to be a sensitive topic at the workplace. Most people feel like they need to hide their problems with drugs or alcohol due to the negative stigma surrounding their substance abuse. The problem with the stigma is that many who know they need help simply won’t ask for it. They fear losing their family, job, social status or freedom because they feel people would stop seeing them as a person. Many people continue to negatively judge others for their addictions. That stigma greatly contributes to the problem, as many ultimately lose their lives when their substance abuse goes without the treatment options and resources they so desperately need.

 

More than 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (1)

 

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Employers can be on the front lines of addressing a substance abuse problem with one of their employees. While many will hide their drug use, some are simply afraid to ask for help.

 

As employers, we can identify potential drug abuse problems in the workplace and help our employees get access to the health care they need.

 

Once a substance use disorder is identified, an employer is at an integral position in the recovery effort. Employees are arguably the most valuable assets for your organization, so it makes sense as an HR professional to help your personnel attain a lifetime of sobriety through healthy choices. Two of the greatest tools available to a company are random drug testing, and knowing how to spot the different types of erratic behavior that is often associated with drug abuse. Frequent absenteeism is one common sign that someone who works for you could be struggling with a substance use disorder.

 

Illegal and prescription drugs are commonly abused in the United States. It is estimated that for every 50 people you employ, 3 to 4 are currently experiencing a problem with drugs and/or alcohol. (2) Have your department supervisors been trained in how to identify a potential problem? Do you feel that the safety of employees at your company could be compromised by a person’s alcohol or drug abuse? Regardless of your answers to those questions, it is always a good idea to understand the warning signs of a potential addiction occurring within your workplace.

 

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Many times, another co-worker might know something you don’t know. Learn the signs to spot workplace substance abuse, before it’s too late.

 

If you suspect an individual has a drug or alcohol problem and it’s affecting their work productivity or the safety of others, you should act immediately.

Here are some common signs of substance abuse you can look for to help you identify a potential alcohol or drug problem with one of your employees:

 

1. Missing work or frequent instances of being late:

Many who struggle with a substance abuse disorder miss more days of work than the average employee. They are also late more frequently than your average worker. In 2016, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that a worker with a prescription pain medication addiction missed an average of 29 days of work per year. (3) Compare that with the 10.5 average number of days missed by most other employees. Frequent absences occurring after holidays, weekends and paydays are normal for a drug addict. These are all common signs that may stand out to you or your department supervisors. While missing a lot of work doesn’t necessarily mean a drug abuse problem, it should be worth taking notice.

 

2. Noticeably lower productivity in job performance:

When an employee shows up to work but somehow doesn’t seem to get the job done, this may be a sign of a chemical dependence issue. This is costing the American economy a lot of money, roughly $504 billion dollars per year (4), according to the White House Council of Economic Advisors. As you try to identify drug abuse in the workplace, take note of employees who were once productive, but now seem to produce less in an average workday.

 

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Using drugs, or alcohol can have dramatic impacts on an employee’s productivity.

 

3. Higher health care expenses, worker’s compensation and disability claims:

It is estimated that employees who abuse illegal drugs have health care costs that are 3 times higher than the average worker. Factor this in with the increased likelihood of an on the job accident and you can see where the costs could exponentially grow.

 

4. Changes in outward physical appearance:

It could be an employee who has suddenly lost a lot of weight, or someone who comes into work looking disheveled, with dirty, wrinkled clothes. Personal hygiene is often neglected with a severe addiction, so look for these signs as well. These can be symptoms of an underlying problem with drug or alcohol abuse.

 

5. Major shifts in mood (abruptly or over time)

Behavior that is typical of a person addicted to drugs can be very subtle or depending on the types of drugs they are abusing, over the top. Simply withdrawing from other employees, or sudden quiet shyness could be a warning sign of an addiction or another mental health issue, such as anxiety or depression. Paranoid behavior can be more pronounced; the person may develop a temper that can be easily set off. Sometimes this results in violent, aggressive behavior that should not be tolerated at a place of work.

 

6. Physical symptoms that are visibly noticeable:

Look for these signs in your employees and you just may find someone who needs help with their addiction: Bloodshot eyes, shaking, body tremors, dilated pupils, bad breath or constant use of gum or breath mints. Constant sweating, clammy hands, a runny nose or constant touching of their nose could also be signs of someone who is getting high while on the job.

 

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If an employee is suddenly acting out of character, they may just be having a bad day. If the problem persists, it could be a sign of something much worse.

 

7. Avoiding people after breaks from work:

If an employee seems to act strange after personal time, such as a lunch break or a simple trip to the bathroom, there may be a reason. They may be attempting to hide the smell or other physical sign of the drug they were using. It may be out of the paranoia which is often associated with abuse of various illicit or prescription drugs.

8. Employees caught sleeping on the job:

If one of your workers has fallen asleep at the job, this is could very well be a sign of drug abuse. In an office setting this may not be a major safety concern. Everyone experiences drowsiness every now and then. In an industrial or intensive production environment however, falling asleep on the job could become a deadly mistake. Either way, sleeping on the job is a detriment to the overall health and safety of your workplace, and if it happens often with a particular employee, they may be exhibiting signs of a substance use disorder.

 

9. Concerns brought up by coworkers and other employees:

Listening to your employees as a valuable resource is highly recommended here. Most often, employees who work closely with the individual will know more than you do about the situation. If you have a drug-free workplace agreement in use, other employees will be aware of the dangers that come with drug use at your company. Make sure you investigate the situation, talk to their supervisors and other coworkers to get concrete answers and make a swift judgment of the situation.

 

 

A drug-free workplace plan should be implemented to address any concerns or suspicions regarding potential drug abuse issues.

 

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Offering help to your employees is a great way to help address the substance abuse problems in the United States as a whole. Many times, employers are the first to identify the problem.

 

Perhaps it is time to consider a comprehensive workplace alcohol and drug abuse program for your employees. Team training initiatives can greatly increase awareness to the threats associated with drug abuse on the job. Many human resource departments cover all of this but if you are unsure of your company’s policies you should talk to your HR department for more information.

 

According to a recent National Safety Council study (5), less than one fifth of employers in America feel “extremely prepared” to address drug abuse at their company. 76% of employers do not offer any training on how to spot on the job drug abuse.

 

Once alcohol or drug abuse is identified, an evidence-based rehabilitation program should be instigated as soon as possible.

 

In America, a large portion of the over 20 million people who struggle with addiction do not receive the treatment they need. An employer is uniquely positioned to help their people here. This help may ultimately save someone’s life. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP’s) are a popular form of assistance that can help you keep your most valuable assets living healthy, productive lives. Your employees are the backbone of your corporation. Your EAP could be a confidential service to help them deal with a substance abuse problem or another physical or mental health issue. These programs typically reduce harm associated with drug use, such as injuries, lowered productivity and theft. EAP’s are also are helpful in boosting overall job performance and employee morale.

 

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A successful recovery from addiction is a long, continuous process, but a worthwhile one. Find out how you can help your employees today!

 

Through most employer insurance plans, we can help guide our employees find the treatment and resources they so desperately need. Is your company currently ready to meet the challenges facing your employees? Wouldn’t it feel good to know you might have a hand in saving someone’s life?

 

 


The Bottom Line:

Employer supported and monitored treatment yields better sustained recovery rates than treatment initiated at the request of friends and family members. (5)

-(2009) Substance use, symptoms, and employment outcomes of persons with a workplace mandate for chemical dependency treatment. Psychiatric Services, 60(5), 646-654.


 

 

With the help of our compassionate, professional, evidence-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, 10 Acre Ranch can help you to better serve your employees. We will show you exactly where and when you can offer them support. Through our combined efforts we will help you foster productivity and a safe environment for your employees and everyone who comes into contact with your organization or business.

 

Want to schedule an on-site training? Give us a call so we can help you right away:

 

(877) 228-4679

 

 

 

(1): https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/drug-overdose-data.htm

(2): https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/nationwide-trends

(3): https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/opioids/data.html

(4):https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/images/TheUnderestimatedCostoftheOpioidCrisis.pdf

(5): https://www.nsc.org/Portals/0/Documents/NewsDocuments/2017/Media-Briefing-National-Employer-Drug-Survey-Results.pdf

 

 

 

What is the Social Model of Recovery and How Can it Help Addicts?

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In today’s fast-paced world where drugs seem to be increasingly more available as markets for illicit drugs persist even after years of policing, it is no surprise that people suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol have also increased in numbers. With the coronavirus pandemic keeping everyone at home, away from family and friends, alcohol and drug abuse has seen a sharp increase in just the last six months. Drug overdose deaths have also increased substantially. The social model of recovery is an important component of most addiction treatment programs. With the lack of social interaction, how are people who are currently struggling or, inactive recovery able to find crucial peer support networks and resources? The problem is staggering, especially as alcohol and drug abuse only continue to rise.

Statistics on Alcohol & Drug Abuse:

 

The United States alone is estimated to have 21 million people who suffer from substance abuse problems every day.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 5.1 million young adults ranging in age from 18-25 suffered from a substance abuse disorder of some kind in the year of 2017– that’s nearly 15% of the population in that entire age group. For adults over the age of 26, that number grew to 13.6 million people, while only accounting for 5% of the population within that age group. Even more interestingly so, was that for the elderly population, meaning anyone above the age of 65, the number of people who suffered from an addiction to drugs or alcohol rose to a number just over one million.

With numbers like that it would come as no surprise that someone may have either experienced their own substance abuse problems or knew someone that had. Even with those odds, many people also know that there is a chance for recovery. Programs like Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are testaments that sobriety can be achieved given the right tools and knowledge. Many have been down that same path of destruction, caused by using drugs or alcohol, and there are those who have recovered, although many not without help. While addiction itself has been around for some time, it wasn’t just until recently that we began to understand how it all works.

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Isolation from others can do great harm to your mental health. Many who are struggling in isolation turn to drugs, or alcohol to cope with feelings of loneliness and depression.

Understanding the Root Causes of Addiction has Helped Shape Treatment Initiatives

What was first misunderstood as a problem with people having low morals, or a lack of self-control, we now know that is not the case at all. Addiction is a brain disease that is caused by chemical changes to the structure and the function of the brain. These changes can have a lasting effect, depending on the severity of use. This is one reason why many people who suffer from a substance abuse disorder are unable to stop using drugs or alcohol on their own, especially without getting help. As science got a better understanding of just how addiction worked, new therapies were being developed in order to help people who may be suffering. Today, the social model of recovery is one of the most widely practiced recovery techniques.

How The Social Model of Recovery Works in Addiction Treatment Programs

Using a social model of recovery can be defined in a number of ways. This technique takes a peer-oriented approach to relearn responses to challenges, stresses, and anxieties by experiencing the situation in a new way by observing a role-model. These types of programs also place a strong emphasis on things like peer-support, building strong connections, and holding each other accountable. All too often, an addict is also suffering from a lack of social support. A social model of recovery aims to build a strong community of support that encourages and promotes good changes in behavior, while also giving that person a sense of connection.

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Finding a connection to others can be an important aspect of addiction recovery. Peer support groups can help people actively engage with others.

These types of programs became popular in California, especially as a lower cost option to the more clinical rehabilitation setting that some addicts often find uncomfortable. As with every individual who suffers from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, their recovery program needs to be just as unique. For many who have struggled with addiction, the social model of recovery has been the option that saved them. Scientists and addiction specialists all seem to agree that the more social connection an addict has, (outside of their life that revolves around drugs), the better chance they have at achieving a lasting sobriety.

Humans have evolved as social creatures, and we begin learning from a very young age by watching what other people around us do. This makes sense, as there was strength in numbers and we had to learn to get along to form a working society. Unfortunately, “monkey see monkey do” may be one of the biggest reasons as to why there was an addiction in the first place. Many of us grew up watching our parents or siblings, not only that, but research suggests that genetics make up for anywhere between 40-60% of the likelihood that someone will develop an addiction. Needless to say, it could be very easy to understand how it would be a more successful approach to recovery, by learning how to live a life of sobriety through watching what other people in recovery are also doing.

How the Social Model of Recovery Helps Addicts

There are many reasons why the social model of recovery can be helpful to recovering addicts. These programs give them a chance to learn how to adapt to stresses or challenges in life without needing drugs or alcohol. These programs also allow the chance for a strong social support group to be built, one that will hold each other accountable and offer advice for dealing with whatever life may throw at them, all while staying sober. There are those who say that the opposite of addiction is connection, and for many that is true.

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Having a network of peers who actively encourage your recovery from addiction is an important component of a successful rehabilitation program. Call us to find out more.

As mentioned earlier, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is perhaps the most widely-known example of the social model of recovery. But sometimes, attendance to these programs just aren’t enough, especially very early on in recovery. That is why there are also many residential and inpatient rehabilitation programs for drugs and alcohol, regardless of your age.

Here at 10 Acre Ranch, we understand what it takes to lead a life that is successful in sobriety. We know that addiction is never one size fits all, and we offer many individualized programs that are tailored to fit the specific needs of any person who needs it. We even have programs for employers who want to help their employees who are struggling with the deadly disease of addiction. We believe in the power of social interaction and the benefit of learning from your peers, many who have been in recovery would say that they couldn’t do it without the help of the people in their recovery support group.

Do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call, we will be here to help!

(877)-228-4679

Are Drugs Drying Up During Quarantine?

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All across the globe, people are feeling the effects of Covid-19. Also commonly known as the Coronavirus, Covid-19 has caused widespread panic as the rates of infection continue to grow increasingly higher. This pandemic has caused major disruptions to everyone’s daily way of living, even for drug addicts. As we witness this unprecedented time in history, even the manufacturing and distribution of illegal drugs has been affected. Many items, including drugs are drying up during the quarantine.

Many of us have never seen a time in our lives where shelves in grocery stores remain nearly empty as masses of people panic buy items for safekeeping. This virus has also caused economic shut downs, calling for the forced closure of any business deemed non-essential. While the world has slowly tried to return back to normal we are still reminded that this is not over yet. Along with the shutdown of businesses, and the laying off of millions people, has come the restrictions on travel.

Covid-19 has severely impacted day-to-day living.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has not just affected our physical health. Many struggle with mental health issues due to social distancing and fear of these uncertain times.

The coronavirus has caused a number of ramifications on daily life, that are more than surface deep. One issue at the forefront of discussion, at least for some, is the impact it has had on the substance abuse community. Early records indicate that there has been an increased rate of relapse among those in sobriety, this is in part due to unemployment and stimulus money. Seeing as how we are now a few months into this pandemic one may begin to wonder what effect that has had on the drug community in terms of access to their substance of choice?

Drug use has increased, even as the supply of drugs are drying up during the quarantine.

 

While data shows that there has been an increase of drug trade activity, primarily in England, on the dark web, an area of the internet that requires certain knowledge or software in order to access, the majority of the drug trade in the United States has all but dried up. Of course, that is not to say that there is no way to continue getting drugs, because most addicts will find a way. But, for several reasons, the illegal drug trading market has also taken a nose-dive during this time of quarantine and self-isolation.

A major reason why drug dealing has taken a hit is because of a rather obvious reason– the lockdowns that were being enforced across the country. With less and less people going out, drug dealers and buyers who were used to meeting face-to-face somewhere like in the supermarket parking lot would likely be putting themselves more at risk of getting caught as they could easily be seen as most people were at home or otherwise practicing social distancing. Social distancing has also led to a sharp decline in club drugs, such as ecstasy, as people were no longer able to gather together and use drugs to party. This has also led to an increase in pricing, which in turn has also caused some people to stop buying certain drugs on such a frequent basis.

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People often turn to drug use during stressful or unstable times. This has increased dramatically during the coronavirus global pandemic.

The closing of stores also seems to have had a major impact as addicts who made their money by criminal activity, such as pawing stealing items or shoplifting, were now left without a way to make money and support their habit. Without many options to “hustle” or make money to buy these drugs that are being steeply priced, this left many addicts without another option.

As the supply of drugs is drying up, drug street prices have increased.

A major increase in prices across the globe has also become a major concern for those in the illegal drug trade or black market. Many suppliers are being faced with shipment difficulties, causing them to hike up their prices as uncertain availability seems  to loom somewhere in the near distant future. There has been a huge spike in prices for many drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and spice (synthetic marijuana). Additionally, a large number of suppliers in the illegal drug trade operate their business out of China, a known source of the coronavirus outbreak.

Another explanation for why the drug supply in America is drying up is the increased restrictions on United States borders. Due to this, many Mexican drug cartels are suffering as the transportation of illegal drugs across different countries has become more and more difficult. Many dealers became worried about a border shut down and retreated back to their hometowns in Mexico, leaving a huge hole in the local drug trade of many cities.

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As the government cracks down on the illegal drug trade, availability of certain street drugs is decreasing in American cities.

While the drug trade drying up may sound like a good thing to some, and surely it is, but, what many people may not be aware of are the further implications that this has caused on the drug abusing population. As addicts are now having to look for new sources they are also having to adjust to different products whose strength to them is highly unknown. Unfortunately, has led to an increase of drug-related overdoses even though many drugs are not as readily available.

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People with an addiction are finding other, sometimes more dangerous ways to maintain their drug habit.

Another factor to consider in all of this is what happens when an addict is cut off from their drug of choice? Many of them are unable to stop using drugs on their own, and will turn to other substances, such as heroin or alcohol, in order to continue getting high. This can have major ramifications as people are not used to dealing with that certain substance, this issue has also led to an increased number of unwanted overdoses.

There still remains a huge gap in data as far as how exactly the illegal drug trade has suffered, and just how deep it goes exactly, due to the coronavirus. But many addiction specialists and law enforcement agencies agree that, for the most part, there has been a significant decrease in drug availability. Although that seems to be true, there has also been an increase in overdoses, largely related to opioids, along with increased rates of relapse, as this epidemic continues.

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Isolation can be incredibly difficult for an addict, or someone who is in recovery. Reach out for help. It’s never too late to turn your life around!

If you, or someone you know, may be suffering from a substance abuse disorder, especially during these trying times, then we are here to help. We have many trained addiction specialists who are able and ready to help get you back on track to a healthy and fulfilling life of sobriety, even during quarantine.

Do not hesitate to call, we are here 24/7.

(877)-228-4679

Who is 10 Acre Ranch?

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For those who do not know, 10 Acre Ranch is a highly professional, and extremely qualified, drug and alcohol rehab treatment center. It is a residential treatment center for both men and women. It is located in the heart of beautiful Southern California. The town of Riverside, California is just about 60 miles outside of Los Angeles, surrounded by wonderful mountain ranges and great weather year round. Another nice thing about Riverside is that it is about an hour drive outside of pretty much everything – places like the beach, the desert, and even snowboarding are all within reach. It is an amazing place where you can practically wear a t-shirt year round, all while still being close enough to take advantage of different places and different types of weather. These factors make Riverside, California a perfect central location for anything fun you might want to do.

About the addiction treatment programs at 10 Acre Ranch.

The program, of course, is designed to help anyone who is seeking help and is willing to take treatment for their drug or alcohol addiction. People from all over the world have come to Riverside, California just to get treatment from the 10 Acre Ranch facility. As the name suggests, it is also situated on a wonderful ranch where you can play with dogs. Animals are great for therapy as well as additional companionship while learning how to be your best self.

Offering a wide range of outdoor activities, such as a backyard pool for a nice relaxing swim, so that you aren’t cooped up in a house all day while trying to begin a new life of sobriety. Not only that, but the back of the property opens up to one of the most beautiful sets of mountains and the Santa Ana River. Just in case you don’t feel like enjoying the great outdoors just yet, then don’t worry, the 10 Acre Ranch facilities also have plenty of common areas for people attending treatment. You can always kick back downstairs, watch some TV, or take advantage of the game room. The residences include three fully equipped houses with kitchens, so there is high likelihood of a spot being open should you ever need it.

During the treatment program at 10 Acre Ranch, each day typically starts out with a morning meditation before moving on to a peer processing group. These groups try to address things like self-image, addiction and disease education. You can always count on group sessions to be super interactive, but no one is ever forced to talk if they don’t feel like it. If you just want to just sit back and listen, that is always okay too! Each person will have their own unique sobriety plan involving several different techniques and therapies.

The professional addiction treatment specialists are like family.  

At 10 Acre Ranch, there is always a therapist you can talk to for additional support, not to mention other psychiatrists or doctors so that all of your needs are being met. You are always guaranteed personal one-on-one time, too! The reason why their rehabilitation programs have been so successful in treating patients, is because it truly feels like a home. Everyone at the addiction treatment facility is like a family. The staff, the clients, and even the alumni who make frequent visits to check in become a huge part of the peer support group for those who attend 10 Acre Ranch for addiction recovery.

Everyone who comes to 10 Acre Ranch is welcomed with open arms and taken in as a new member of a loving, supportive family. The staff strives to make you feel like you are not alone, because no one should ever have to go through life feeling that way, especially when taking on something as challenging as achieving a life of sobriety. Another unique quality about 10 Acre Ranch is that the majority of the staff are also people in recovery, which only helps to add to the family feel. They are not an institution, but a home to recover. Which is why the ratio of clients to staff is significantly lower than most drug and alcohol rehab facilities.

10 Acre Ranch offers personalized addiction treatment, based on your unique, individual needs.

As you may know, not everyone who is addicted to something is the same. Just as every individual is unique, so is an addiction to different types of drugs. It is true that each person will most likely require specialized care. While 10 Acre Ranch is fully equipped to handle any and all sorts of addictions, they also specialize in a wide variety of them, including:

  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Meth
  • Prescription pill addiction
  • Oxycontin
  • Percocet
  • Fentanyl

When first entering treatment at 10 Acre Ranch, it is likely they will take your vitals and get a good description of any and all drugs you may be detoxing from. They will get a full medical history and then tailor make your treatment plan, specifically for you. A complete coordination between the doctor, physician assistant, and psychologist will help to ensure that you are getting the best care possible for your recovery. That original assessment will be used to determine the best course of action for medication to make you as comfortable as possible as quickly as possible. It is their utmost desire to provide a safe, secure, and comfortable place for their clients while undergoing inpatient addiction treatment at their facility. They even have a huge cabinet of snacks purely at your disposal.

At 10 Acre Ranch, there is never a shortage of good, healthy food. Things like steaks and backyard barbeques are all part of the normal routine. Not only that, but clients are taken to the gym nearly 4 times a week and allowed to play softball every Friday where they compete for a trophy against several other rehab facilities. For those who enjoy something a little less fast paced, clients are offered yoga classes at the corporate office twice a week, along with things like bowling or movies. They teach you how to have fun without drugs or alcohol. We offer both religious and non-religious programs, and employee assistance programs for employers. If you, or a loved one, are ready to get help and you’re looking for treatment, then there is no better place to get treatment than at 10 Acre Ranch.

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Sobriety is entirely possible, with professional help, you will be more likely to succeed.

Don’t let your addiction ruin another day.

Call one of the addiction specialists from 10 Acre Ranch today!

Someone is available to take your call 24/7.

(877) 228-4679

Are Drug Implants the Future of Drug Addiction Treatment?

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One of the most common misconceptions about drug addiction revolved around the idea that addicts somehow lack a sense of self control and moral fortitude. However, decades of research and science have led experts to a deeper understanding of how addiction actually works. Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and drug use despite harmful consequences. Many people with addiction (or substance abuse disorder) have an intense, unrelenting focus on obtaining and using a certain substance, such as alcohol or methamphetamine, even to the point where it will take over their lives. Many addicts suffer job loss, homelessness, loss of personal relationships, and sometimes even legal trouble. Drug implants are a new development in the field of addiction treatment.

How addiction and human brain function are interlinked

People with a substance use disorder have chemically altered the wiring of their brain and how it functions, because of this many people have distorted thinking, behavior, and bodily functions. The majority of drugs work on an area of the brain commonly known as the “reward center”. When a person uses alcohol or drugs, chemicals, mainly dopamine, are released inside the brain. These chemicals are meant to train the brain for survival, increasing the likelihood a certain action will be repeated again in the future. Over time, with repeated use of drugs or alcohol, the brain begins to rely on this substance because it has been tricked into believing that it needs it in order to survive.

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Addiction tricks your brain into thinking it needs more drugs to survive or even function properly.

Additionally, the brain begins to associate certain things like people, places, or objects with this behavior and can be triggered even years after getting sober. This helps to explain why some people relapse after they have stopped using drugs or alcohol. Thankfully though, there are many treatment options available for those seeking help with a substance abuse problem.

How to find addiction treatment options for yourself, or a loved one in Riverside, California 

Making a quick search on Google for support groups will likely bring up hundreds of results for anonymous 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). While these are offered in almost every city, for free, sometimes it just isn’t enough, especially for someone who is just getting sober for the first time. Alternatively, depending on the level of care needed, there are many drug and alcohol treatment programs available as well, such as medical detox, inpatient programs, outpatient programs, intensive outpatient programs, group counseling, and so on.

Factors to consider when trying to decide what level of treatment may be appropriate for you or a loved one will depend on many factors, such as: severity of addiction, type of drug used, quantity of drug being used, whether or not multiple drugs are being used at the same time, and how long they have been using drugs or alcohol. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to one of our addiction treatment specialists for a personalized plan today!

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Our addiction treatment specialists in Riverside, California are available to take your call 24/7.

Unfortunately, addiction treatment is not one size fits all. Otherwise, that would make solving this disease a whole lot easier, and though there may be many tried and true treatment options available for anyone who may be suffering from an active addiction, there are still ongoing studies and clinical trials with the intention of solving this problem. Their passion is to find alternative treatment methods for those individuals who are more likely to benefit from their application. One of the methods that are currently underway, and is actively being studied, is the use of implants to treat drug and/or alcohol addiction. Below is a list of several different methods currently being studied that involve the use of drug implants that work to re-wire the addicted brain.

Naltrexone Drug Implants

Perhaps the most popular of this emerging field of science would be the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved treatment of naltrexone implants for addiction. Naltrexone is used to help combat heroin, or other opioid addiction, as well as an addiction to alcohol. An addiction to heroin, or prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, codeine, or Oxycontin, can be extremely dangerous. The safest, sometimes only, way is to attend a medical detox program. The same can be said with an addiction to alcohol. The problem with both these substances is that the cravings for the drug early on in recovery can be extremely intense.

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The Naltrexone implant works by slowly administering an opioid antagonist that helps reduce cravings and prevent relapse.

Fortunately, the naltrexone implant works by delivering a consistent dose of naltrexone into the body for 3-6 months. It is usually implanted into the abdominal wall and has little to no recovery time after surgery. Additionally, there is no need for removal as the implant, resembling a pellet, will eventually dissolve after the allotted time frame. The important part of this medication is that it reduces the craving for drugs or alcohol by blocking the pleasurable effects substances send to the reward center of the brain, essentially re-training the brain to no longer associate drugs and alcohol with a pleasurable experience.

Deep Brain Stimulation

Another promising method for addiction treatment is deep brain stimulation. Deep brain stimulation is also gaining popularity for the treatment of things like obsessive compulsive disorders and Parkinson’s Disease. This approach to treatment hopes to combat the underlying causes for cravings, addiction itself, and relapse. Deep brain stimulation will be the tool to essentially aid in the rewiring of a person’s brain. Typically, an implant resembling that of a pacemaker is inserted under the skin, with a wire attached to the brain. In some cases, though, a person can have a chip implanted directly in the brain. The electrodes they emit target specific areas of the brain, impacting the brain’s reward system.

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Deep brain stimulation targets certain areas of the brain with electric pulses that help to train the brain to operate differently.

Buprenorphine Implants

Another implant meant to aid in the war against the opioid crisis is the buprenorphine implant. It was FDA approved in 2016 as a 6 month subdermal implant for the treatment of opioid dependence. Similar to the naltrexone implant, it releases a study supply of buprenorphine for 6 months. Although, they do not dissolve and must be surgically removed.

Keep in mind these drug implants are just a few of the alternative methods currently being researched. At its heart, addiction is a disease and needs to be treated as such. Thankfully, with decades of research behind the current science, we are becoming better at solving this problem.

Christian Rehab in the Age of COVID-19

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In today’s world, thanks to the Coronavirus, it may seem like uncertainty and fear are behind almost every corner. Also commonly known as COVID-19, this virus has caused extreme unrest and panic across the world. Since being brought to all of the main media outlets and grabbing our somewhere back in the beginning of this year, COVID-19 has forced nations to shut down, causing businesses and government agencies to shut their doors to the public in hopes of flattening the curve. Since the virus has a high-exposure rate, and lives on surfaces for an extended period of time, only businesses that were deemed essential were allowed to stay open. Unfortunately, this has caused many problems of its own that are being felt across the globe.

COVID-19’s Effect on Drug Use And Relapse

One of the main issues being seen are the high percentage of relapse rates among people in addiction recovery from drugs and/or alcohol. This is due to a large number of reasons. Things like high unemployment rates and isolation due to cities being shut down and large numbers of people who are self-quarantining. Additionally, free federal aid is being granted, which may allow easier access to drugs, there have been closures of outpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, there is no longer any access to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings, etc. Unfortunately, due to the nature of coronavirus, people are being forced to self-isolate and they are being cut off from the important lifelines that help to keep them clean and sober.

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Options are available for Christians seeking drug rehabilitation in these trying times.

Although drug and alcohol rehab facilities, including those that are Christian based, have been forced to make some difficult decisions, they have also come up with some revolutionary ways to remain a valuable source to those in recovery who may still need it. It is through Christ that many are able to be saved, and in order to help God’s followers who may be in need, especially during this time of social distancing, is by offering remote drug and/or alcohol rehab.

Remote rehab is usually an outpatient program that is designed to fit the specific needs of an individual with the use of digital technologies, such as Facetime, Zoom, or Skype. This is great for anyone in the faith who still needs rehab treatment during this time. Below are some of the benefits that Christian-based remote drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs offer;

Increased Level of Privacy From Remote Drug Rehab

All too often it seems like nothing is ever kept a secret anymore. Well, with remote drug rehab you never have to worry about that again. It can help save you the potential embarrassment of someone seeing you while at an alcohol or drug treatment facility. Not only that, but being able to attend a counseling session, with a licensed Christian therapist one-on-one, through the internet, on your phone, computer, or tablet provides an increased sense of privacy as you do not have to leave the comfort of your own home. You could even attend your meetings in your pajamas.

More Flexibility in Addiction Treatment

It is pretty typical of outpatient programs to require their participants to attend classes on a specific day at a certain time, usually several times a week. This can be difficult to fit in with a busy schedule. Most of us know how stressful it can be trying to keep up with a high amount of demanding tasks in our everyday life. The good news is that remote rehab offers more flexibility.  Remote drug and alcohol programs will usually allow you to pick an available appointment that fits easily into the schedule you already have. A lot of times this is better than having to be somewhere, all the way across town at a certain time of day.

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Attending an outpatient drug rehabilitation program is easier than you think. Many of your meetings can now be done online.

Added Comfortability – Drug Rehab From Home

In addition to increased flexibility and added privacy is the enhanced comfortability of Christian based remote rehab. Gone now are the days where we have to decide what to wear to our next meeting or appointment. Instead, it has become easier than ever to get closer to God while in recovery as we can attend rehab, and do all of the other things that we need, and never change out of our sweatpants. Remote rehab lets you get the help that you need right from home, and you never have to worry what anyone else but what God thinks, because who cares what you look like when you’re just sitting on the couch at home?

Guaranteed One-on-One Time With An Addiction Specialist

Another great thing about remote drug rehab is that you are guaranteed to get more one-on-one time. Most outpatient rehabilitation programs require that you meet a few times a week with a group of peers who are also on the journey to sobriety. Although this can be great at times, it can also sometimes mean that you don’t get all of the feedback that you would like. The great thing with remote drug and alcohol rehab is that you are guaranteed to get more one-on-one time with your Christian counselor or addiction treatment specialist. This can be even more useful during a time where life is drastically changing on a daily basis for everyone. A little extra time with someone who truly understands, can make all the difference, especially in these uncertain times of quarantine.

So, if you are a follower of God, and our Savior Jesus Christ, and you are struggling with an addiction, then do not worry. There is still hope, even in a time where it may not feel like it. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). There has never been a more powerful time to reach out for help. It may seem like the world has shut down, but at 10 Acre Ranch, we are still here to help you, in the name of the Lord. If you, or a loved one, have strayed from the path of righteousness, just know that you are not alone. Christ, our Lord, will always have a hand for you to reach out and hold.

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If you’re staying at home, many addiction treatment services are available from 10 Acre Ranch over the phone, or online. Call us right away!

 

(877) 228-4679

Does God Hate Drug Users?

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Being raised in the Christian faith allows the followers of Our Lord and Jesus Christ to learn important values that show us how to lead a moral way of life. While it is always our intention to never stray from the righteous path of Christianity, sometimes decisions in life can lead us astray and down a winding path of destruction. In the Bible, there are many sins that have befallen mankind; adultery, envy, greed, thievery, etc. Through Christ, our Savior, all of these sins are forgivable, as long as the sinner repents for their mistakes and for being tempted by the devil. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). As long as we confess to all of our wrongdoings, God is just and merciful.

Is developing an addiction to drugs, or alcohol a sin?

One sin that has become more of a problem in our society is an addiction to drugs or alcohol. An addiction is a chronic disease that is often characterized by the users inability to stop using drugs or alcohol even though they most likely have experienced some severe and negative consequences, such as ending up homeless or losing their job. When a person of Christian faith wanders from the path of righteousness, they are often concerned that God may now hate them or that they will never be forgiven. This is simply not true.

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God loves all of his children. Some people struggle with the demons of addiction and desperately need help.

Take into account the reason why Jesus was even sent to humankind in the first place. Along with spreading the holy word and teaching others how to live a moral life, he was sent here to deliver us from our sins, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). To say that God hates drug users would be like saying he hates every other person with or without Christian faith. It is the sinners that he cares most deeply about, as he wishes to offer each and every son and daughter a place in his eternal glory. He wishes to offer eternal life to those who believe in his power and mercy.

God’s intention is pure love.

While the problem of addiction may be relatively new compared to the teachings of the bible, it is both Our Lord and his son Jesus Christ’s intention to deliver us from evil. If you are a member of the Christian faith and have struggled with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, just remember that you are never alone. Christianity is the most practiced religion in all of the world. It is known to include many other denominations, such as Catholicism, Anglicanism, Lutheran, Protestant, and many others. Just like religion, addiction does not discriminate. It touches many different races, ages, classes, and genders. Today, in our country, more than 21 million people struggle with addiction.

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Finding God’s true love is a great way to help solidify your recovery from addiction.

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). This is to say that, even though you may have strayed from the correct path, God will always be there to save you. It is his teachings that will provide the way out.

How to find Christian, faith-based drug and alcohol treatment.

It is no secret that the only true way out of an addiction, or any immoral way of living, is through the teachings of Our Lord and Jesus Christ. This is the reason why the majority of drug and alcohol addiction treatment is based on the Christian faith and having to believe in a higher power. It is because of our Savior and the Lord that we are able to be forgiven for our sins and be restored to the proper way of life.

If you or a loved one happen to be struggling with an addiction and are wanting to restore or establish your faith and relationship with God, then there are many Christian faith based programs out there. Christian drug and alcohol rehab facilities provide standard drug treatment and have a much stronger emphasis on the Bible. The majority of Christian drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs include;

  • Bible study sessions and scripture readings
  • Faith based 12-step programs
  • Sermons that discuss addiction in the terms of Christian faith
  • Daily prayer and reflection sessions
  • Attendance of regular church sessions
  • Ministerial and pastoral counseling
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Recovery is entirely possible. Some people need professional help. 10 Acre Ranch offers a faith-based treatment program for addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Do not worry, there is always hope for recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol!

God is merciful and he will lift you up from the depths of addiction, as he has done to many others before you. We are all sinners, in one way or another, yet we are all still his children. It is through Christ our Lord that we are able to be forgiven.

“I will exalt you, Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit” (Psalms 30:1-3). The road to recovery does not have to be walked alone. He will always welcome those who have strayed back with open arms, safe into salvation. For he loves all of us sinners, each and every one the same.

He does not wish to see us suffer, and has provided a way for us to have eternal life and salvation, in this world and up in Heaven. For those who follow His teachings, we know that the Bible and the Christian faith show us the true way of living. It is never too late to make amends and confess our sins to the Lord. He will always welcome us back with open arms, as it was his purpose to save sinners from evil. Rejoice in his mercy and his love!

 

(877) 228-4679

What is Kratom? Cutting Edge Treatment, or Addictive Drug?

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UPDATED APRIL 14TH, 2020

 

As the opioid epidemic rages in the United States, the Food & Drug Administration has issued new warnings about kratom. Many people have begun talking about this widely used, natural supplement and its benefits and potential risks. Native to Southeast Asia and a member of the coffee family, kratom is seen by many as an all-natural supplement to help in a myriad of physical and mental ailments. Some of the purported uses include treatment for:

  • Pain-management
  • Opioid withdrawal symptom relief
  • Depression
  • Obesity & high blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • As an energy boost
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Is kratom dangerous? Many scientists and government agencies say yes.

But many scientists and the FDA disagree with these claims. In a statement from September 11, 2018, FDA chairman Scott Gottlieb, M.D. claims:

Science and evidence matter in demonstrating medical benefit, especially when a product is being marketed to treat serious diseases like opioid use disorder (OUD). However, to date, there have been no adequate and well-controlled scientific studies involving the use of kratom as a treatment for opioid use withdrawal or other diseases in humans. Nor have there been studies on how kratom, when combined with other substances, may impact the body, its dangers, potential side effects, or interactions with other drugs.”

While there may have not been adequate study to substantiate either side of these claims, many leading scientists and addiction specialists are championing the concerns as expressed by the FDA.

To begin, the agency claims that kratom contains opioids, which is not entirely true, yet the relationship is virtually undeniable. Mitragyna speciosa is a tree related to the coffee plant, which is not from the poppy family, but according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), some compounds found in kratom affect opioid receptors in the brain. Perhaps this is why many sufferers of opiate addiction swear by its usefulness in helping manage their withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, the reasons for this are certainly indicative of the strong potential for addiction to kratom. Because kratom affects the same brain receptors as opioids do, it is essentially like substituting one opioid addiction for another one.

Kratom exhibits a high potential for abuse and can lead to further opioid addiction.

In a study published by Addiction Biology in June of 2018, one of the two psychoactive compounds in Kratom, 7-hydroxymitragynine (or 7-HMG) has a “high abuse potential that may also increase the intake of other opiates”. The study showed that the other of the 2 psychoactive constituents, Mitragynine (MG) does not have a high potential for abuse and can actually decrease subsequent opiate intake. Since kratom is a plant, certain strains can be bred to intentionally have more 7-HMG than occurs naturally, so someone that uses kratom should be warned. The harvesting and extraction of the plant before it is packaged can also be adulterated to some extent. This could pose dangerous consequences to unsuspecting users of kratom extracts and supplements.

The safety of kratom is a major concern that has been taken into account by the FDA. In November 2017 the FDA claimed that kratom was responsible for 44 deaths since 2011. These reports hold true the assessment that kratom is an addictive drug, with a high potential for abuse that can create various health problems, including death.

These same government agencies are also warning that kratom can deter people from seeking medication-assisted treatment (MAT) such as buprenorphine, naloxone and methadone. These substance abuse treatment medications are scientifically proven to reduce opioid dependence in addicts:

“Patients who were using opioid agonist medications at the 18-month interview were more than twice as likely to report abstinence as those who were not (80.0 percent versus 36.6 percent).”National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

With this evidence aside, many people are currently using kratom as a self-administered, step-down treatment for opioid dependence. They might think this will help them steer away from opioid drugs like heroin, yet there is no research-based evidence to back up these claims.

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Many people claim an array of benefits from kratom, yet the research is limited.

 

Kratom is fairly unregulated in the US and as a result potential dangers associated with the product certainly do exist. For instance, nine of the 44 kratom-related deaths the FDA claims in their report, were from a string of overdoses in Sweden, where a mixture of kratom and tramadol (4) was the culprit.

While the FDA tries to classify kratom as an opiate, they may be only partially right. Compounds in the plant affect the same areas of the brain as poppy-based opiates do. The compounds in the plant have been shown to trigger respiratory depression, much like opioids do. This affects the brains’ ability to tell the lungs to breathe and is ultimately how many people die from opioid overdoses. They simply quit breathing, which can result in their untimely death.

Withdrawal symptoms associated with kratom further prove its addictive properties.

Just like most other drugs, kratom can result in a chemical dependency, when taken over a period of time. When a person quits using kratom, they can experience painful withdrawal symptoms. The side effects of kratom withdrawal can include: anxiety, aggression, nausea, vomiting, irritability, depression and even seizures.

Kratom is an absolutely harmful drug whose dangerous risks far outweigh any perceived benefits. Poison control center calls concerning kratom increased ten fold from 2010 to 2015. Just like other drugs, kratom must be taken in higher and higher doses to produce the desired effects over any period of use. Your body can develop a tolerance to kratom much like it can for opioids.

Since the market is relatively unregulated, different batches of kratom can be wildly different from the next, even when it comes from the same brand. This is why many kratom consumers themselves, actually advocate for better regulation of the supplement. They want whole, pure leaf supplements that are not adulterated with other compounds, as these mixtures can be extremely dangerous.

While kratom exhibits a potential for abuse and addiction, many people still make illegitimate claims on the benefits of the plant. Some people are led to believe that it can help treat opioid addiction, then they find themselves addicted to kratom. Hopefully with more research being done, we can fully understand the potential dangers of this natural supplement.

Can Brain Imaging Help Beat Drug Addiction?

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The word addiction itself comes from the latin phrase meaning “enslaved to” or “bound by”. Addiction is a disease of the brain that is characterized by the inability to stop using drugs or alcohol despite the user having experienced severe negative consequences throughout their everyday lives, such as job loss, relationship problems, or extreme poverty. People who suffer from this disease experience compulsive behavior related to using drugs and alcohol, they are unable to stop doing them even though they know it will cause further problems in life or keep them from bettering their situation entirely.

People with substance abuse problems have distorted thinking, behavior, and bodily functions. However, not everyone who uses drugs or alcohol will become addicted, there are many factors that can lead to someone developing an addiction, such as genetic predisposition, environmental factors like peer pressure, and dynamics in the family and home. When someone begins using drugs or alcohol, a surge of chemicals, mainly dopamine, are released inside the brain. Dopamine is often referred to as the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, this chemical is released naturally in the brain when we experience pleasurable moments like eating a delicious meal or participating in your favorite activity. When a person continuously uses drugs or alcohol, our brains begin to rely on this surge of chemicals and it needs them in order to function properly.

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Disease is any condition that changes the way an organ functions, much like how heart disease permanently damages the heart. With prolonged and repeated use of drugs and alcohol, the brain begins to change over time, creating new pathways for these chemicals to go back and forth between neurons. This ultimately causes changes to the brain’s structure and the way the brain functions, some of these changes are even permanent. Drugs and alcohol change the brain in many ways but there are 3 areas that are most heavily affected.

Areas of the Brain Affected by Drugs and Alcohol

  • Basal Ganglia- This area of the brain plays an important role in positive forms of motivation and our habit forming principles. This area of the brain allows us to feel pleasure and when it becomes inundated by drugs and alcohol it becomes less sensitive to the natural reward system, making it difficult to feel pleasure without the use of drugs and alcohol.
  • Extended Amygdala- The extended amygdala plays an important role in producing feelings such as anxiety, irritability, and overall uneasiness, which are typically synonymous with feelings of withdrawal. With repeated use of drugs and alcohol, this area of the brain becomes more sensitive, causing the user to seek drugs and alcohol again to avoid these negative feelings.
  • Prefrontal Cortex- Perhaps the most crucial of all, this area of the brain plays an important role in the ability to think, plan, solve problems, make decisions, and exert self control over impulses. This is also the last part of the brain to mature, making teens more susceptible to becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. When drugs and alcohol are repeatedly used, it shifts the circuits from stress, to reward, to lack of impulse control, ultimately creating a situation where drugs and alcohol have taken over.

How Brain Imaging Can Help Fight Addiction

With the evolution of science, this has changed the model of addiction. What was once seen as lacking moral fortitude or the ability to control one’s actions, scientists and doctors now understand that it requires more than good intentions to fight this disease. Now widely recognized as a brain disease and cataloged as a mental health disorder, doctors and scientists have been conducting brain imaging studies in order to better understand how to effectively treat and manage this chronic disease.

Since addiction causes changes to the brain, there are differences when comparing brain image scans of a non addict to an addict. Areas like the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for decision making, show major differences that can be attributed to the lack of self control in addicts and their inability to stop using drugs and alcohol. Using brain scans to help treat addiction has shown significant promise to recovering addicts and their families. Aside from the medical standpoint, brain scans help in many ways when it comes to recovery.

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How Brain Scans Help Recovering Addicts

  • Brain Scans Don’t Lie- Brain scans clearly show toxic damage and exposure that is caused by drugs or alcohol. These illegal substances negatively impact areas of the brain that play an important role in being able to control one’s emotions and critical thinking abilities, brain scans show the damage left by drugs and alcohol.
  • Brain Scans Reveal Effects of Drugs- Seeing as how brain scans don’t lie, it is much easier to understand the correlation between drug and alcohol use and the visible damage caused by them. Substances like marijuana and nicotine cause significant changes in brain function and even everyday things like sugar can impact the way our brains operate on a daily basis.
  • Brain Imaging Shows That There is More Than One Addiction- Through brain imaging, we have been able to gain a deeper understanding into addiction. Now, addiction can be broken down into different categories.
    • Compulsive Addicts
    • Impulsive Addicts
    • Impulsive-Compulsive Addicts
    • Sad or Emotional Addicts
    • Anxious Addicts
    • Temporal Lobe Addicts

Researchers have gained valuable insight into how to effectively treat and manage multiple types of addiction, instead of grouping them all together.

  • Brain Imaging Helps to Break the Stigma and Shame- For years, decades even, addiction was treated as a lack of will power and moral discipline. With the advancement of technology, brain scans prove that drugs and alcohol alter the structure of the brain. An addict who is suffering may also feel as though it is all their fault, brain imaging helps show that addiction is a disorder of the brain.
  • Brain Scans Help Remove Denial- Many people with addictions are in denial that they even have a problem. When an addict is confronted with a brain scan image that shows visible damage from drugs and alcohol, it is difficult to deny that there is an underlying issue.
  • Brain Images Help Families Understand- Much like when an addict is shown their brain on drugs, when a family member is shown the scans of loved one it can help remove any blame they place on each other knowing that addiction is a result of chemical and structural changes to the brain, not something they did personally.
  • Brain Scans Can Reveal Co-occurring Disorders- Another benefit when using brain imaging as an additional tool to combat addiction is that it can also reveal co-occurring disorders, such as traumatic brain injuries, depression, or ADHD. In order to heal from addiction, these issues also need to be addressed.
  • Brain Scans Give Hope- Being able to see that your brain is toxic can be a great motivator. Brain scans also make it easy to track the progress of an individual throughout their treatment plan and their sobriety. Using before and after pictures can help someone stay motivated by being able to actually see the healing of their brain.

With a deeper understanding of addiction, we hope to remove the stigma surrounding it. There is no shame in asking for help, if you or someone you know are addicted to drugs, reach out to us for help today! We have many treatment programs available designed to fit your needs.

 

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