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

 

 

 

Popular Heroin Slang: Terms Heroin Addicts Say While Using

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More and more Americans every day are realizing that the disease of addiction truly knows no bounds. There are no rules or limits on who it will affect– regardless of age, gender, social status, or race, people from all walks of life can become addicted to things like drugs, alcohol, sex, food, or even gambling. Many who develop these addictions can allow them to take over their lives. One of the most addictive drugs out there is heroin. If you suspect someone you know may be addicted to the drug, we will present some popular heroin slang words they may be using to hide their addiction.

An addiction to drugs or alcohol occurs when a person becomes physically and/or psychologically dependent on a substance, such as alcohol or heroin. When an addiction is formed, something that can happen even after just one time of using, the person suffering is unable to stop seeking and using drugs or alcohol because of the chemical changes that happen in the brain once an addiction develops.

The opioid epidemic has sadly made addiction fairly common in the United States.

A recent study found that 1 out of every 7 people will struggle with a substance abuse disorder of some kind throughout the duration of their lives. In recent years however, heroin or opioid abuse has drastically increased. Data collected from 2017 shows that 130 people in the United States die every day from an opioid overdose. In 2016 alone, more than 948,000 Americans tried heroin for the first time, a number that has been on the rise since 2007. It is estimated that nearly 25% of people who try heroin will become addicted, adding to the growing concern of the opioid crisis.

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Many who become addicted to heroin, began with a simple prescription for opioids from their doctor. Addiction is not a moral failing. It is a treatable disease.

If you suspect a loved one might be abusing heroin, there are many signs you can look out for that might indicate they have a problem. Heroin is usually seen as a white or brown powder, but it can appear as a black, sticky substance. Heroin is a very powerful substance when abused, and is similar to morphine, causing many physical symptoms and other signs to appear. These can include:

  • “Track marks” or injection sites
  • Pinhole pupils
  • Skin infections or excessive itching
  • Finding paraphernalia such as needles, burnt spoons, glass pipes, lighters, belts, or rubber tubing
  • Scabs or bruises from picking at the skin
  • Delusions, hallucinations, or paranoia
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness or nodding off at random times throughout the day
  • Decreased attention to personal hygiene
  • Shortness of breath

Of course, these are just a few signs or symptoms to look out for if you suspect a loved one of an addiction to heroin. There may be other warning signs that you may want to look out for. For instance, many addicts develop a type of “slang” language that is meant to conceal drug use from those who may suspect they might have a problem.

The term “slang language” is meant to describe words or phrases that are informal, and whose meaning is only known by a certain group of people. Slang language can be used for many reasons, some groups use it to form a certain identity or, for others, there is a more illicit purpose. As mentioned, many addicts use slang language in order to hide their drug use from others and since heroin is illegal, there are many slang words that have been created to refer to the drug without arousing suspicion.

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Heroin is derived from the poppy plant found in Asia, Mexico and Columbia.

Slang Based Upon the Appearance of Heroin

 

  • Black Pearl
  • Black Sheep
  • Black Tar
  • Brown Crystal
  • Brown Rhine
  • Brown Sugar
  • White Junk
  • White Nurse
  • White Stuff
  • Salt
  • Spider Blue
  • Dirt
  • Diesel
  • Golden Girl
  • Red Chicken

Heroin Slang Based Upon Location Of Origin

 

  • Chinese Red
  • Mexican Horse
  • Mexican Mud

Slang For Low Quality Heroin

 

  • Bad Bundle
  • Crap
  • Crop
  • Flea Powder
  • Garbage
  • Ragweed

 

Slang Terms Based Upon Packaging

 

  • Bag
  • Balloon
  • Bindle
  • Blue Hero
  • Brick Bum
  • Burrito

 

Slang Names Based Off The Word Heroin

 

 

  • Big H
  • H
  • Charlie Horse
  • Galloping Horse
  • Capital H
  • H Caps
  • Heavy
  • Helicopter
  • Hero

Drug death from fentanyl. American opioid crisis

Other Slang or Street Names for Heroin

 

  • A-Bomb
  • Antifreeze
  • Tootsie Roll
  • Smack
  • Ballot
  • Basketball
  • Fairy Duster
  • Life Saver
  • Noise
  • Scag
  • Smack
  • Bozo
  • Bonita
  • Butter
  • Aunt Hazel
  • Beast
  • Hombre
  • Old Steve
  • Henry
  • Helen
  • Hercules
  • Rambo
  • Witch
  • George Smack
  • Dragon
  • Boy
  • Charlie
  • Morena
  • Junk
  • Snow
  • Chiba
  • Chiva
  • Skunk
  • Tar
  • Number 4
  • Number 3
  • Number 8
  • Poison
  • Dog Food
  • Curly Hair
  • Doggy
  • Doogi
  • Hats
  • Heaven Dust
  • P-funk
  • Patty
  • Sweet Jesus
  • Thunder
  • Modela Negra
  • Puppy
  • Pure
  • Raw
  • Sticky Kind
  • Mojo
  • Mole
  • Chinese Food
  • Engines
  • Whiskey
  • Comida
  • Coffee
  • Chorizo
  • Black Paint
  • Black Olives
  • Cardio
  • Cement
  • Coco

 

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Heroin is a particularly dangerous drug that is easy to develop an addiction to.

Slang Terms For Heroin Combined With Other Drugs

 

  • Dynamite, Bellushi, Boy-Girl, Goofball, H&C, He-She, Primo, and Snowball- used to describe heroin mixed with cocaine
  • Primo, Chasing the Dragon, Dragon Rock, Chocolate Rock, Eightball, Moonrock- all terms meant to describe heroin mixed with crack cocaine
  • Screwball- refers to heroin mixed with methamphetamines
  • H Bomb- a mixture of heroin and ecstasy
  • Neon Nod- heroin and LSD (acid)
  • Chocolate Bars- a mixture of heroin and xanax
  • Atom Bombs or A bombs- slang for a combination of heroin and marijuana
  • El Diablo- can be used to refer to heroin by itself, but can also refer to a combination of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana
  • LBJ- refers to heroin mixed with LSD and PCP
  • Cheese- mixture of cold medicine and heroin
  • China White- fentanyl and heroin, a highly dangerous combination
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies- MDMA (ecstasy) and heroin
  • Cotton Brothers or New Jack Swing- mixture of morphine and heroin
  • Meth Speed Ball- Meth (methamphetamine) and Heroin
  • The Five Way- a deadly combination of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, rohypnol, and alcohol

Keep in mind that some slang words may mean something else depending on different factors like location and age, as these have been known to change, but the intending meaning is usually pretty close to the same. This is also not an all-inclusive list, as there are many other names for heroin on the street. We hope that this helps you decide whether or not your loved one may need help with an addiction to heroin.

If you are not sure what steps to take next, then please do not hesitate to reach out to us for help! We have many addiction specialists that can help you figure out the next plan of action if you suspect that a loved one needs help with their substance abuse problem. Or, if you yourself are struggling, then there is no shame in getting help. We know how difficult it can be to get sober, even if you really want to stop using drugs or alcohol. We can help give you the tools necessary for a healthy and sober life!

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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

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.

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

 

 

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.

 

(877) 228-4679

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

 

 

Can I Tell if Someone is on Benzos or Xanax?

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Just like many other types of addictions, an addiction to Xanax will affect nearly every aspect of the person’s life. A typical addict will let their personal relationships deteriorate, while often isolating themselves socially. Job loss, financial hardship and legal troubles are common with those who are addicted to benzos. Developing a chemical dependence on Xanax can lead to many dangerous situations. Since benzodiazepines are sedatives, it is generally unsafe to operate an automobile, even when on a prescribed dose from a doctor.

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A Brief History of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Treatment

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

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

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

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History of mental health treatment techniques and substance abuse therapy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(877) 228-4679

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

The 2018 Opioid Bill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The opioid epidemic kills nearly 200 Americans every single day.

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