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

 

What Are the Behaviors of Current Addicts?

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If anyone has ever known a person who has struggled with a substance abuse disorder, they may know just how disruptive an addiction can be in a person’s life. Normally, a person who suffers from an addiction is unable to maintain normal things in life that we often take for granted, like healthy relationships, stable jobs, regular access to food, water, and shelter, the list goes on and on. This is because their addiction to drugs or alcohol has literally taken over nearly every aspect of their life. So what are some common behaviors of current addicts?

Addiction is characterized as a brain disease that is manifested through a compulsive desire to seek out and use drugs or alcohol, even if they experience negative consequences because of their drug or alcohol abuse. One reason for that is an addiction to drugs or alcohol chemically alters the brain. This happens in several ways. One of them being that drugs and alcohol trick the brain into believing that it literally needs these substances in order to survive, ultimately leading to an inability to stop using drugs or alcohol. Most of the time, especially after repeated use of drugs or alcohol, an addict is unable to stop to stop on their own.

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If you have ever known an addict, it may have come as a surprise, at least initially. You may have only put the clues together after having found out the truth.  Some addicts have grown so accustomed to hiding it after years of abuse that it may have been difficult to otherwise, there was always an excuse for the unexplained or out of the ordinary behavior. For others, it may have been more obvious, as there are usually some tell-tale signs that someone may be abusing harmful substances. If you are wondering now whether or not someone you know may be hiding an addiction, then here are some common behaviors of current addicts.

Abrupt Changes in Mood

One of the most common behavioral traits seen in addicts is an abrupt change in mood. This is due to chemical imbalances that occur in the brain due to drug and alcohol abuse. Feelings of depression, anxiety, anger, and joy that seem to come out of nowhere may be a sign that your loved one has a substance abuse problem.

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People who are in active addiction can exhibit wild mood swings, from anger to depression, very rapidly.

They Lie

One thing that all addicts have in common is that they lie. They lie to support their addiction, they lie to hide their addiction, they lie to avoid feelings of shame and guilt. It is possible that a skilled addict has been able to pull the veil over someone’s eyes for years, but eventually the truth always comes out. They may always have an excuse about where all their money went or why they were gone for 5 hours when they just went to the grocery store for milk.

Sudden Lack of Interest in a Former Hobby

Another common sign that someone may be struggling with an addiction is a sudden loss of interest in an activity that was previously enjoyable for them. When a person becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, it consumes their lives and becomes the main focus. This leaves little to no time for things that they enjoyed before, like hobbies, sports or creating art. If someone you know suddenly lost interest in a hobby, sport, or activity that was previously very important to them, it may be a sign that they are struggling with an addiction.

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Suddenly losing interest in a hobby that once brought joy, is a tell-tale sign of an addict.

Emotional Blackmail

An addict may use emotional blackmail in order to get someone to do things they don’t want to do. They typically start by asking for small favors that allow the other party to feel like they are doing something good, eventually they will ask for something bigger and use emotional blackmail in order to get what they want. They may say things like, “You don’t love me enough” or “If you really loved me”. This is an attempt to use your love for them against you.

They Manipulate

All addicts are expert manipulators of one form or another. This is one of the ways that they are able to continue their behavior. The majority of addicts will say or do anything in order to continue using drugs or alcohol. They may make promises to change when caught in a bad situation, or deny the problem entirely, even trying to switch the blame on you. They use guilt in order to make you believe them, and oftentimes we so desperately want to. Drug addicts can manipulate sometimes for years without ever changing their behavior.

Criminal Behavior

While not all addicts get in trouble with the law, a large portion of them do. Many addicts will do things like steal, forge prescriptions, or even write fake checks all in an attempt to continue getting high. This may also include things like violence and driving under the influence. Many drugs, like heroin or cocaine, can change the personality of the person who is under its influence, causing them to do things they most likely wouldn’t do while sober. Job loss and other legal problems are common with people who become addicted to drugs or alcohol.

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Drug abuse and addiction typically lead one of 2 places: Being arrested, or dying from a drug overdose. There is a 3rd option: addiction treatment and a lifetime of sobriety!

Verbally, Mentally, or Physically Abusive

Many addicts will become verbally, mentally, or physically abusive, especially when confronted with their addiction. This can be an additional mechanism to shift the blame away from their substance abuse disorder. They may act aggressive or irrational when told no. They may threaten to hurt you, or even themselves in order to get what they want. This type of manipulation is likely just another attempt to continue their addictive lifestyle.

These are just a few of the common behavioral signs that someone may be struggling with an addiction. While these are good indicators that someone is suffering from substance abuse, there could always be another underlying reason like other mental health issues. If you are unsure whether or not a loved one may be struggling with an addiction, please call us today! We have many trained addiction specialists who will be able to help address some of your concerns and figure out a treatment plan if that is what your loved one needs in order to begin living a happy, healthy life once again.

Call Us 24/7 (877)-228-4679

What Are Some Popular Drug Slang Words in 2020

The word slang is often used to describe language whose meaning is very informal and is commonly understood only by a certain group of people within a given context. Some popular slang terms that are used today include words like “salty” and “extra”. The word “salty” usually means a person is unnecessarily annoyed, upset, or bitter while “extra” means someone is displaying behavior that is considered to be over-the-top or dramatic. Historically, other generations have had their own set of popular slang terms, things like “rad”, “totally tubular”, or “far out” were other common terms that were only understood by a certain group of people in the past.

While slang language is used by a large variety of the population, it is also widely practiced among teens and other members of the drug community. The reason why they use slang words for drugs is to help conceal their actual meaning from their parents, or other people who might suspect they have a problem, when they are talking about drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, there are slang words for just about every popular drug that is out there. If you are a parent of a teen and you suspect they might be abusing alcohol or other illicit substances, and are using slang terms to conceal it, or if you suspect another loved one or a friend, then here is a common list of some popular drugs and the slang terms that are associated with them.

Marijuana

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Although legal in some form in many states, marijuana still poses some clear health risks.

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug made from the cannabis plant. It is often smoked in things like “blunts”, “bowls”, “swishers”, “bongs”, or “doobies”. It can also be eaten in “edibles”, “space cake”, or “hash cookies”. Marijuana became popular in the 70’s and is still a widely used substance among teens and other drug users. Some other names for marijuana include:

  • 420
  • Hash
  • Dojo
  • Mary Jane
  • Herb
  • Pot
  • Reefer
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DXM is found in various over-the-counter cough remedies. If taken in excess, it can cause psychoactive reactions in users.

Dextromethorphan (DXM)

DXM is found in numerous over-the-counter medications, most commonly in cough medications. It is abused by many teens and young adults as it’s readily available for purchase at almost any market or grocery store. Dextromethorphan has hallucinogenic and psychoactive effects when taken in abundance, it can also have very severe side effects. Common names for DXM include:

  • Robo
  • Red Devils
  • Triple C
  • Velvet
  • Juice
  • Tussin
  • Gel

MDMA

MDMA, or 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, is a dangerous psychoactive, synthetic drug that is popular among youth at places like dance parties, raves, or nightclubs. The drug is known to create a “euphoric” high along with other things like increased energy, but it has been known to cause some serious side effects such as addiction and even death, especially when combined with other substances such as alcohol. Common drug slang words for MDMA include:

  • Ecstasy
  • XTC or X
  • Molly
  • E or E-Bomb
  • Love Drug
  • Disco Biscuits or Dancing Shoes
  • Beans
  • Candy or Skittles
  • Thizz
  • Vitamin E, Vitamin X, or Malcom X
  • Rolls

Cocaine

Cocaine is extracted from the leaves of a coca plant and is normally seen in the form of a white powder. It can be snorted, smoked, or injected. It is a powerful and dangerous nervous system stimulant that can have many adverse effects. It has been known to last anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour, making it highly addictive with an increased risk of overdose. Some slang terms that are often associated with cocaine include:

  • Coke
  • Blow
  • Powder
  • Dust
  • Nose Candy
  • White
  • Devil’s Dandruff
  • Ice
  • Charlie
  • Bump
  • Yale

 

Methamphetamines

Methamphetamines are a powerful class of stimulants that affect the central nervous system. Meth is usually seen in the form of a crystal like powdery substance that comes in rock-like chunks, sometimes being compared to “shards” of glass. Crystal meth is highly addictive and extremely dangerous. It is one of the most widely abused substances. It is also reported to have the highest relapse rate among users. Some other common names for methamphetamines are:

  • Crank
  • Chalk
  • Crystal
  • Glass
  • Shards
  • Gak
  • Fire
  • Speed
  • Ice
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Smoking meth is addictive and highly dangerous form of substance abuse in CA.

Heroin

Heroin is a high strength opioid made from a powerful drug known as morphine, which is derived from a naturally occurring substance produced from various poppy plants that are grown in places like Asia, Mexico, and Columbia. It is also very highly addictive and has caused a widespread pandemic that has swept across the country. It can be injected, snorted, or smoked. Heroin is commonly mixed with things like cocaine or meth, a deadly mixture known as a “speedball”. Other words associated with heroin include:

  • Black Tar
  • Smack
  • Dope
  • Black
  • Tootsie Roll
  • Brown Sugar
  • Junk
  • Anti-freeze
  • Dragon

 

LSD

Lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as LSD, is a popular hallucinogenic drug that is common among teens and young adults. LSD is usually seen in liquid form, it can be “dropped” on pieces of candy, paper, or even sugar cubes. It can also be seen as gel tabs or in the form of capsules. It is a highly dangerous and mind-altering drug that often leads to lack of inhibitions and is associated with serious adverse side effects. Other drug slang words for LSD are:

  • Cid, Acid, or Battery Acid
  • Lucy or Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
  • California Sunshine, Hawaiian Sunshine, or Yellow Sunshine
  • Dots
  • Doses
  • Looney Tunes
  • Tab or Tabs
  • Hippie
  • Blotter
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LSD, or acid has become popular again, especially in the rave and live concert scenes.

Ketamine

Ketamine is a medication mainly used for starting and maintaining anesthesia. It induces a trance-like state that helps to pain relief and sedation. It is a clear liquid or off-white powder. While it is sometimes used for medicinal purposes in both the human and veterinary fields, it is also highly abused by adolescents and members of the drug community. Ketamine has been known to have hallucinogenic effects and can cause respiratory distress and overdose when taken consumed for illicit purposes. Ketamine is commonly referred to different drug slang words on the street, such as:

  • K or Special K
  • K2, Super K, or Vitamin K
  • Cat Valium
  • Purple
  • Jet
  • Lady K
  • Kit Kat
  • Special Coke
  • Super Acid

 

These are just a few of the terms associated with the most commonly abused drugs. It is important to keep an eye, or an ear, out for anything that seems out of the ordinary or where the meaning is unclear. Any phrases or words that seem to be used out of context or repeatedly are other clues that it may be a slang term, trying to conceal drug or alcohol abuse. If you have concerns about a loved one who might be struggling with an addiction, please call us. We are available 24/7.

 

877-228-4679

 

 

Sleep and Addiction: Is Sleeping Too Much Okay?

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Anyone who has ever gone through an addiction to drugs or alcohol, or anyone who has ever watched a loved one struggle with one, knows firsthand just how difficult that journey to sobriety can be. An addiction, or substance use disorder, can wreak havoc on all areas of a person’s life. It can cause financial hardship, deterioration in health, loss of one’s job, homelessness, death, etc. Addiction can also have a devastating effect on a person’s sleep. Some people end up sleeping too much, which can result in other problems for your ultimate recovery from your addiction.

Addiction is often defined as “a brain disease brought on by chronic drug use that interferes with and makes changes to brain circuitry and chemistry, and these changes lead to compulsive drug using behaviors.” These changes in the brain are also what lead to both long-term and short-term sleep difficulties. The connection between drug use and sleep often goes both ways; substance abuse can hinder a person’s ability to sleep, and subsequently, difficulty with one’s sleep can also lead to an addiction or substance abuse problem as people turn to them in order to help them fall asleep.

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Sometimes, withdrawal symptoms from an addiction can cause problems with your sleep schedule, which can result in over-sleeping.

Unfortunately, once someone achieves sobriety, this problem doesn’t just go away. During the first week of sobriety, most people experience some level of withdrawal symptoms, some more severe than others. While the withdrawal symptoms that are experienced can differ depending on things like that type of drugs that were used, the amount of drugs that were used, and how long the person has been using those drugs or alcohol, problems with sleep remain the most common withdrawal symptom regardless of what substances were being used.

Tips for Getting Good Sleep in Sobriety

If you are like millions of other Americans who are new to recovery, then here are a few tips to help you get restful sleep while still maintaining your sobriety.

  • Stick to a Schedule- If you used drugs or alcohol shortly before bed, then it can be even more difficult to fall asleep once you get sober as your brain is no longer sure when it is time to go to bed. Creating a new, and healthy, sleep schedule is essential to getting good sleep while sober. Going to bed at the same time every night will help let your brain know when it is time to go to sleep.
  • Have a Nightly Routine- While this may be difficult for those who work odd hours or those who don’t have a set schedule, doing the same thing each and every night before you go to bed will help ensure you fall asleep faster. Try doing a light exercise 30 minutes before you go to sleep, or read your favorite book for an hour. This will also help train your brain when it is time to go to sleep.
  • Eliminate Screen Time- Research has shown that electronic devices, such as computers, phones, or TVs, can have a negative impact on the quality of one’s sleep. Cutting back on the amount of screen time you have, at least one hour before bed, can greatly reduce the chance of disrupting the quality of sleep.
  • Create a Space for Sleeping- Limit the amount of extracurricular activities you do while in bed, such as checking your phone, watching TV, or stressful conversations with your partner. This will help train your brain that the bed is where you sleep, not for everything else.

These are just a few tips you can implement to help increase the quality of your sleep, especially early on in recovery.

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Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to help you maintain sobriety, early in your recovery from an addiction.

Effects of Oversleeping

While sleep is essential early on recovery, there is still a chance that you could be sleeping too much. There is a difference between getting the right amount of sleep needed to recover and simply just getting too much sleep to begin with. It may sound absurd at first because whoever thought you could get too much sleep, but it is possible. The amount of sleep needed can vary depending on the individual, but most experts agree that anything above 10 hours for an adult is considered to be too much.

Oversleeping can be a sign of many underlying issues, such as depression and heart disease. The effects of oversleeping are much like the effects of not getting enough sleep to begin with. Getting enough sleep especially while undergoing withdrawal from drugs or alcohol is essential as the brain and body need this time to repair itself. However, a person can sleep too much. Here are a few side effects associated with getting too much sleep;

  • Higher risk of obesity
  • Higher risk of diabetes
  • Higher risk of heart disease
  • Depression
  • Increased pain
  • Impaired fertility
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Depression
  • Higher risk of overall mortality (death)
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Sleeping too much can become a problem in addiction recovery.

The importance of a healthy sleeping schedule in addiction recovery

Just like with anything in life, having a proper sleep schedule requires a good amount of balance. While it is important to get enough sleep to ensure a successful sobriety, it is also important to remember that there is such a thing as too much. We know that this can be a struggle for many Americans, as nearly 70 million people in the United States all suffer from a sleep disorder of some kind. There has long been a connection between sleep problems and substance abuse disorders, that is because many drugs and alcohol disrupt that natural circuit in the brain. Not only that, but there is also a link between poor sleep and the rate of relapse. For those in recovery, and anyone else who might be curious, we hope that this information was useful to you!

If you, or a loved one, are new to recovery and are having a difficult time with getting the right amount of sleep, then please reach out to an addiction specialist today. There is no shame in asking for help, especially when you need it! We know what a huge struggle trying to get enough sleep can be, especially early in the road to recovery, that is why we are here and we are always ready to help! We wish you the best!

 

(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.

Who is to Blame for the Drug Crisis?

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If there’s one thing Americans of all backgrounds, religions and political affiliations agree on, it’s that the United States is in the midst of a drug overdose epidemic, one that is fueled, largely by opioids. While virtually everyone agrees that losing over 70,000 lives a year to the drug epidemic is a travesty, many people are looking to place blame where blame is due. Complicating things further it is no one person, place or thing that created the opioid epidemic. Many historical, socioeconomic and individual factors play a role in the crisis.

One reason people look to assign blame is they believe (sometimes rightfully so), that finding the one thing to blame is the first step to solving the problem. This may be partially true, but for an honest, successful solution to the drug overdose crisis, we need to look at every possible factor that plays a role in the growing problem. Being honest with the findings is the best way to address the multitude of issues that contributed to the crisis.

Illicit drug dealers and pharmaceutical companies are who most people automatically blame for the drug crisis.

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“Big Pharma” drug manufacturers most certainly played a role in the drug crisis, by overselling the benefits of opioids and downplaying the risks. Yet there are various other factors that contributed to the opioid epidemic in the United States.

Of course the first place people look to when placing blame for the opioid epidemic is the drug dealers and manufacturers. Since President Nixon declared the “War on Drugs” in 1971, our strategy for dealing with the problems drugs cause in society was to go after the supply chain. In the nearly 50 years since this war on drugs was declared, we are nowhere close to solving the problems drugs have created in our society.

Certainly, drug dealers and big pharma have played a major role in creating the drug crisis in the United States. Many companies (including, most notably Purdue Pharma), have been found in court to have lied about the safety and efficacy of their prescription drug products. In the late 1990’s, Purdue aggressively marketed Oxycontin to doctors, claiming the extended-release of opioids would prevent misuse of the drug. This formula allowed the giant pharmaceutical company to receive FDA approval to put more opioids in each pill and we all know how that turned out.

The reality of Oxycontin was that it is much more prone to be abused or misused. People who developed a dependency to opiates found that the extended release formula could be bypassed by crushing up the pills and either snorting the powder or injecting the drug directly into their veins with intravenous needles. Because the oxycodone pills are so powerful, an addiction to opioids could develop very fast. Once the prescription ran-out, the addicted patients were forced to move on to street drugs like heroin, just to avoid the excruciatingly painful opiate withdrawal symptoms.

Even when someone successfully quit using opioids, they are highly prone to experience a relapse. A 2016 study found that people who are in recovery from opioid addiction experienced at least a 30% to 70% relapse rate within the first 6 months of their recovery. Fortunately, as a response to this contributing factor, the same pharmaceutical companies developed medications to help treat opioid addiction. Medication assisted treatment (MAT) can greatly help ease painful withdrawal symptoms from opioid addiction and they can greatly lower the rate of further relapses into substance use.

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Are doctors, physicians and other medical professionals to blame for the drug crisis? While some doctors ignored the warnings others may have been intentionally misled.

Doctors who overprescribed opioids and other painkillers are also rightfully to blame for the drug crisis in the United States.

While it is certainly easy to blame drug dealers and multi-billion dollar corporations for the opioid epidemic, the problem equally rests in the interpersonal and professional relationships of patients and doctors in their local communities. A 2016 survey found that about as many Americans blame doctors for overprescribing opioids (34%) as they do the patients who abuse prescription painkillers themselves (37%).

Illicit drug dealers market street drugs like heroin, counterfeit versions of prescription opioids and various forms of fentanyl. However, according to SAMHSA data, fewer than 10% of prescription opioids are obtained from drug dealers or other strangers. Over 50% of the misused or abused pills come from family members or close friends, while only 25% are obtained with a prescription from a doctor or physician. While the problem of patients receiving multiple prescriptions from different doctors, this only represents 3.1% of the opioids obtained for non-medical use, whereas over 22% receive prescription opioids from only one doctor.

Our overall approach to pain management drastically changed in the 1970’s when pain became the “fifth vital sign”.

Before the 1970’s, the medical profession virtually ignored the importance of pain management in a patient’s medical care. The inclusion of the question: “was your pain adequately treated” on patient surveys brought about a sort of preoccupation within the medical community on how to provide adequate pain management. Pain became the “fifth vital sign” along with body temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respiratory rate.

As a doctor, you certainly don’t want to see your patients suffer with pain symptoms. With a newfound focus on pain management, physicians and hospital administrators began aggressively treating pain symptoms, which led to a massive increase in opioid prescriptions.

We have to admit that opioids do serve as effective pain relievers and, when used appropriately, they can benefit the overall quality of health care services available in our society. Opioids do serve to benefit people who have recently undergone surgery, experienced a major bone fracture, cancer patients and other severely painful medical events. We cannot simply prohibit doctors from prescribing them appropriately.

Various forms of alternative pain management techniques are available, yet many doctors aren’t taught them in medical schools. The pharmaceutical industry provides massive funding to most of the medical schools in the US. This problem is compounded by the health insurance companies’ reimbursement policies. These policies make prescription opioids a much cheaper option for patients than other, alternative approaches to pain management, such as acupuncture, physical therapy or chiropractic techniques.

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Opioid manufactures, over-prescribing doctors, insurance policies and patients themselves have all played major roles in the drug overdose epidemic. Now that we know, it’s time to start fixing the problem.

While it is easy for people to simply blame “big pharma” as the culprits of the drug overdose crisis in America, we think that is simply just the tip of the iceberg. Of course the Sackler family from Purdue Pharma, along with other pharmaceutical giants like Johnson & Johnson seriously downplayed the risks associated with their products.

Currently, over 2,000 court cases against opioid manufactures are pending in the US. These cases rightfully assert that “big pharma” may have intentionally misled doctors into prescribing more opioids, which most certainly played a role in the creation of the opioid epidemic. Yet opioid misuse is a much more complicated issue than that.

Drug abuse typically coincides with strong feelings of hopelessness, depression and despair. The states that are the worst-hit by the opioid epidemic also suffer from the highest rates of joblessness and economic turmoil. Until we address all of the underlying causes of the current drug crisis in America, we are going to be fighting an uphill battle.

Overcoming an addiction is never easy, yet there are people who do it every day. 10 Acre Ranch offers a full medical detox and recovery program that can help you, every step of the way.

Please call us today to speak with one of our addiction specialists and we can get you, your family member or loved one the help they need right away. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Call now:

 

877-228-4679

 

 

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.

Recovery Support This Christmas

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It’s Christmastime, and for those working a program of addiction recovery, it’s a time for extra vigilance. People who are working a Program must double their recovery efforts to ensure relapse isn’t a part of one’s holiday. This weekend may be the first sober Christmas for some of our readers; as a treatment provider, we’d be remiss for failing to share some helpful advice for making it through the holiday dry.

Truthfully, it really doesn’t matter how much sobriety time you have, important holidays can wreak havoc on anyone’s program. Being around friends and family for extended periods of time can be too much for some. Not having family in one’s life can be extremely difficult for others. Emotions run high this time of year, but that doesn’t mean we have to react to such feelings in unhealthy ways.

The program teaches us to live one day at a time, staying present is vital to the goal of lasting recovery. If we are having a rough day, we know that “this too shall pass;” we know that drinking alcohol or doing drugs will not help us feel better about our current situation. If malaise comes over you this Christmas, you know what you need to do—get to a meeting, share with the group, and call your sponsor.

Staying Close to Recovery Support

Programs of recovery are jeopardized during the high holidays, more times than not, because individuals do not have their finger on their recovery pulse. Some convince them self that their program is stronger than it is, and as a result, they decide to go to a holiday gathering. Once there, such people are usually OK for a little while, and then other party goers start offering them beverages. If one’s program is healthy, a simple “no thank you” should suffice. If a person’s Program is fragile, the temptation may prove too much.

Keep in mind, those in their first year can take part in holiday festivities, but preparations are in order. While the safest course is to stay close to your recovery support network this weekend, we know that some people will attend parties due to a sense of obligation. Please note, you don’t have to attend Christmas parties, rather than risk relapse just don’t go. If you feel you must go to a party, then maybe you can bring a friend who’s in the program. Have your phone charged so you can call someone in the program if you get shaky, such as your sponsor. Go to a meeting before the gathering, and one afterward; even if you don’t feel it’s necessary—go anyway. Better to be safe and sober, than drunk and sorry. If you are planning to go to a party, and you’ve discussed it with your sponsor and home group, here are a few tips:

  • Get a nonalcoholic beverage immediately upon arriving and keep it by your side at all times. People are less likely to pressure you to drink if they think you are already drinking.
  • If someone notices you are not drinking alcohol and inquires, simply inform them that you have to drive; everyone agrees DUIs are not worth the risk.
  • Have a way home from the party, either in your car or have somebody to pick you up. You never want to be beholden to another partygoer in these kinds of situations.
  • Again, if not going to the party better protects your sobriety, strongly reconsider not going to the party at all. If you don’t hang around the pool, you won’t get wet.

A Sober Christmas to All

Everyone working a program of recovery has a lot to be proud of, and you can use such feelings to empower your resolve. Our future depends on continued spiritual maintenance and practicing the principles of recovery in all our affairs. Take stock of the progress you have made, doing so may help you ward off the temptation to drink or drug this Christmas. A relapse-free holiday is the best Christmas present of all.

All of us at 10 Acre Ranch hope you have a sober and safe holiday and if a problem arises, remember, you are not alone.

Addiction Recovery in The Music Industry

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With each year that passes, it seems like another talented musician falls victim to addiction and other forms of mental illness. For some people that may feel commonplace; after all, genius is often accompanied by psychological turmoil. On the other hand, most of the general public is shocked when they learn about the passing of a beloved musician. Who can forget the confusion in many people’s mind upon learning of Prince’s death last year, a megastar who was known to rail against substance use and abuse only for Prince to die of a fentanyl overdose!

What we imagine the lives of celebrities to be like is usually miles off the mark. All of us are accustomed to thinking that fame, fortune, and success are impervious to despair; we say to ourselves, ‘how can a person who has everything throw it all away for a high.’ A line of thinking that just goes to show the paradox of addiction; the disease does not care who you are, how many friends you have, and what your financial standing is presently. Everyone has some level of propensity to get caught up in the cycle of substance use when the factors and conditions are just right.

With the year coming to a close, we should all consider the number of people who seemingly had everything, but still could not escape the consequences of untreated mental illness. Some of you were probably saddened to learn of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell’s suicide after struggling with addiction. A short time later Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington followed suit. Just last month, Lil Peep, a young rapper with a promising future ahead of him died of an overdose, he was 21.

Addiction Doesn’t Need to Be The End

It might come as a surprise to learn that there are some mental health resources available for musicians. In fact, it’s not uncommon for meetings of recovery to take place backstage before a concert. The Recording Academy’s charity MusiCares, helps people in the industry get assistance for mental health conditions, such as addiction. The foundation has helped struggling artists get into treatment, and in some cases covers the cost.

“I actually used MusiCares’ Musicians Assistance Program to get sober,” MusiCares board chairman, Michael McDonald, tells Billboard. “They provided two group therapy sessions a week. Eighteen years later, I’m sober.”

It’s also worth pointing out that a significant number of famous musicians have given up drugs and alcohol, adopting a path of addiction recovery. Including, but not limited to Trent Reznor, Billy Joel, Elton John, Flea and Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pete Townshend, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Smokey Robinson, U2 bassist Adam Clayton, Billy Idol, Slash, and the late David Bowie. The list goes on, but you get the idea; recording artists can recover from mental illness, too.

“During the past 13 years, the organization [MusiCares] has provided close to $10 million in ­assistance to nearly 3,000 people in need of help,” said Harold Owens, who assists The Recording Academy’s MusiCares ­foundation address ­substance abuse, addiction and ­recovery in the industry.

You Are Eligible for Addiction Recovery

Alcohol and substance use disorder can affect the lives of anyone, and we can say the same for recovery. It’s sad to learn that the disease wins from time to time, but the list of musicians above is testament that working a program of recovery saves people’s lives. If you are a male struggling with addiction, musician or not, please contact 10 Acre Ranch. We can assist you in realizing your dream of recovery.

Recovery Fellowship During Thanksgiving

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All of us at 10 Acre Ranch would like to wish everyone in recovery a safe and sober Thanksgiving. With less than 24 hours to go, it’s vital you have or are creating a plan for getting through the day. If this isn’t your first significant holiday in the Program, you know that this can be a difficult time for a substantial number of people. There is a list of reasons why holidays are more trying on one’s recovery, compared to standard days of the year.

One of the byproducts of many people’s addiction is your dear ones may have cut ties with you. Years and decades of abuse can wear one’s loved one’s thin; while it is possible to rekindle relationships in recovery, it doesn’t occur overnight. You can’t blame family for being skeptical about your recovery, at first, they must protect themselves from upset. In early recovery, the risk of relapse is unfortunately high, because of this families are cautious not to get their hopes up. If your story is anything like most people in recovery, then you have a history of breaking commitments and falling short of expectations.

Please do not get discouraged if your family chooses to stay on the periphery of your life for now. In time, your actions will prove to your family just how earnest you are, they will see that your choice to seek recovery is not another manipulation. If there is one thing addicts and alcoholics understand well, it’s that one’s word doesn’t carry much weight. Without visible action, people are unlikely to believe one’s seriousness regarding recovery. Those who honestly work the program will not receive any guarantees in life, but family is likely to come around to trusting you again, if one stays the course.

A Family in Recovery

You may not have family back in your life, yet, but rest assured they are in fact rooting for your recovery. It’s crucial that you keep doing the next right thing in the program, regardless of how you feel about what you don’t have in your life today. Instead, be grateful for what you do have, like a fellowship of men who will do just about anything to help your recovery.

In early recovery, individuals have a fellowship to rely on when times get rough. It’s wise to lean on such people during the holidays, for these are days of the year that are likely to stir up one’s emotions. People relatively new to the program are often inclined to isolate during major holidays. It’s only natural, many people’s go-to-setting is to recoil into their shell when they are unhappy with the situation. For some, being unable to spend time with family this Thanksgiving is a severe blow. It can make one question why they are bothering with this “recovery stuff” anyway?

Naturally, that’s a selfish and self-centered response to an undesirable situation. When we can’t get what we want when we want it, it’s common to bemoan one’s position. If you find yourself questioning your mission for change this Thanksgiving, please call your sponsor or another person in recovery immediately. Get to a meeting, or go to several; you have a support network, please utilize it whenever necessary. You may not have biological family back in your life yet, but you do have recovery family now. You are not alone, others are feeling the same way you are, and meetings are a perfect opportunity to hear how others manage these situations. Who knows, you might share something that helps another who’s having a hard time, as well.

Sober Holidays

Everything that happens in our recovery takes place on our “higher power’s” schedule. Exercising patience is difficult early on, but it gets simpler in time. Traversing the holidays is exponentially more comfortable if you take time throughout your day to recognize everything you have today is worth your gratefulness. If you didn’t drink or drug today, that’s as good a starting point as any. You may find that you have more to be grateful for then you realized, draw strength from such a realization. And remember, wherever you are, the helping-hand of recovery is close.