California Law Attacks Rehab Facilities

By Zachary Siegel and Allison McCabe 04/18/16

Despite a nationwide drug epidemic, California lawmakers have come up with draconian legislation that will result in the loss of thousands of treatment beds.

 

Earlier this year, a small handful of state legislators began what can only be described as an all-out assault on California’s behavioral and mental health care industry. They introduced four separate bills on February 19th that, each in its own technical way, take immediate aim at different facets of the continuum of substance abuse treatment. Though these bills serve only the self-interest of a few affluent, coastal communities, they are being pushed at a state level, which makes their potential impact widespread.

In the late ‘80s, the Fair Housing Act (FHA) was expanded to protect people from discrimination based on disabilities, including those who have substance use disorders. Then in 1990, these protections were further enforced under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Upon signing the act into law, President H.W. Bush called it a historic opportunity, signaling “the end to the unjustified segregation and exclusion of persons with disabilities from the mainstream of A

few affluent, coastal communities, they are being pushed at a state level, which makes their potential impact widespread.

segregation and exclusion of persons with disabilities from the mainstream of American life.”

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Prince

Prince’s Tragic Death Underscores the National Opioid Epidemic

Like | May 4, 2016 | Blog |

The surprising and sudden death of musical superstar Prince bears to light the increasing problems and challenges our society faces with the onslaught of opioid-based pain medications. Prince, long considered a genius for his ground-breaking musical creativity that crossed so many boundaries, was found unconscious in his Paisley Park compound recently. Although many close to the icon suspect that sleep deprivation played a role in his death, the legendary performer, who was just 57, was found with a prescription opioid medication, leading to initial conclusions that these powerful pain killers also contributed to his untimely death. Prince had been treated a few days prior to his death for a potential overdose of pain medication, which had forced his plane to make an emergency landing, where he was then taken to a nearby hospital and released a few hours later

For The Parent's

Source: Drugfree.org

When looking for addiction treatment, become an informed and educated consumer
It is a well-known fact that over the course of the last several years our country has found itself in the grips of the worst addiction epidemic in American history. Numerous factors such as pharmaceutical companies’ marketing tactics and doctors’ overprescribing of opioids (prescription pain medication), all taking place within our current instant-gratification society, have brought the country to the breaking point now faced by every community nationwide.

Parents and families find themselves in fear and crisis, often uneducated and not knowing where to turn to find the help vitally needed for their children and young adults.

Unfortunately, the opioid crisis has become the breeding ground for numerous unethical people to prey upon the fears of families. Addiction treatment has become big business and a family in crisis or an individual suffering from addiction are now commodities.

Marketing companies’ call centers and even many treatment centers have engaged in immoral and sometimes even illegal behaviors in order to lure potential patients through their doors, offer sub-standard care for the purpose of making money off their insurance. Addiction treatment is often the Wild West in terms of the healthcare services industry – often unregulated and with many states having poor oversight due to understaffed government organizations.

While years ago addiction treatment was a small industry run by a dedicated few – often people in recovery themselves or clinicians with a heart to help those suffering from addiction – over the last decade the industry has caught the eye of Wall Street. Large organizations and venture capitalist companies have entered the picture, putting bottom-line profits ahead of patient care.

The corrupt and often illegal behaviors within the addiction treatment industry can take many forms.

One well-known corrupt behavior is patient brokering, where treatment centers pay brokers a fee in order to gain patients. Each patient has a price tag and brokers are paid for sending kids to specific treatment centers. The brokers, typically people with no training or clinical expertise, sell patients to treatment centers regardless of how clinically appropriate that rehab may be to meet the needs of the patient.

Illegal enticements by patient brokers or even directly from treatment centers are another example, sometimes offering free plane tickets to fly patients to treatment or offering free rent at recovery or sober homes if a person is enrolled in a specific outpatient program.

Many treatment centers utilize online marketing tactics including posturing online as inpatient or residential treatment while they are actually an outpatient treatment facility with sober living which is a much less intense and restrictive level of care.

Online marketing tactics also include treatment centers setting up generic looking websites and call centers and “Help Lines,” posturing as objective but with the purpose of steering families and patients toward a specific facility that owns them or selling those patient leads to the highest bidding treatment center.

There has also been a recent trend of treatment centers hacking into the online listings of other facilities and changing the contact information, so when a family or individual attempts to call a specific rehab for help they instead reach someone else who redirects them to their facility.

I see this every day.

All of these predatory practices within the addiction treatment industry are something that I see and hear about on a daily basis. Not a day goes by that I or someone on our admissions team doesn’t receive a call from a parent or family member regarding a horror story they’ve experienced with their loved one dealing with an addiction treatment center or industry-related individual. This is both heartbreaking and infuriating.

Parents complain that the experience they were expecting for their child was nothing like what actually occurred. They report that there was little to no interaction with the treatment center when their loved one was there and they received no explanation for how or why certain situations were handled. They complain about receiving enormous bills after the treatment episode, for toxicology tests, treatment services and other ancillary services. And they have every right to complain and be outraged.

The truth is that within the addiction treatment field there are many good quality treatment providers that go above and beyond for those in need and their families and continually put patient care first.

If your child was diagnosed with a potentially fatal illness like cancer or heart disease, you wouldn’t jump at the first option, would you? You wouldn’t send them across the country to a place you’ve never seen simply because they had a sleek website and sounded nice on the phone, would you? No. You would make sure the facility was vetted thoroughly. You would ask other professionals for their recommendations of that hospital. You might ask family and friends if they had any experience with that specialist or facility. You would go with your child to meet the hospital and staff and make sure everything meets your standards.

Unfortunately, this isn’t so with addiction.

Because the crisis occurs and the stigma exists, the natural inclination of parents and loved ones is to not talk about it with their friends and rather to simply find the first place that seems nice and that will immediately get their child in the door so that mom and dad can finally sleep at night, knowing their child is safe. This is understandable, but it has created an environment where the unethical, unscrupulous and dishonest prey upon the scared and helpless.

So What Can Parents Do?

The best way that parents and families can protect themselves and make sure they are sending their loved one to an ethical, quality treatment providers that best fits their child’s needs is to become an informed and educated consumer. This can guard you against being taken advantage of during these anxious times.

1. Be wary of information you find via an online search. All you will find is an overload of information on treatment centers, all with great websites claiming to do everything for everybody. Instead, ask questions. Reach out to local professionals, therapists or other addiction specialists in your area. They will be able to give you a better understanding of the issues your child is suffering from and thus what types of clinical services will best meet their needs. Is this simply addiction – or are there other mental health issues at play? Is there trauma? Grief and loss? Are they dealing with gender issues? Behavioral issues? Every case is different, which it is why it is imperative to understand what the issues are in order to find the best clinical fit for your child.

2. Vet the treatment center you’re considering. Use your consumer education skills that you would use in any serious health care decision. Trust your judgment and your feelings about the answers you get from the people you talk to. Here are some things to consider:

Are they transparent?
Is their staff listed on the website, with their experience and qualifications?
Are they easily accessible to answer your questions? Make sure to listen to what they are saying. Are they just telling you what they want to hear? Treatment for addiction is uncomfortable, for both the child and family. If a treatment center is explaining themselves and their programs to you, listen to see if they explain why they do what they do and what is the rationale behind their practices.
Ask about their clinical philosophy. Every treatment center should be able to explain this, the philosophy behind their decision-making and ultimately their patient care.
Ask about their programs and what they entail. If they say they offer detox, make sure that means an actual detox with 24-hour medical care. If they say they are residential, what does that look like?
Ask about licensing and accreditation (although be careful if they sell themselves too much on their accreditation, as many centers hire consultants that basically walk them through the accreditation process.)
Ask if the program uses a published assessment tool. Assessment is the cornerstone of the decision-making process from which all else should flow. As you look for a program, check to see if they use an assessment tool that has been tested and found to be reliable and valid versus an assessment that the program designed by itself.
Because mental health issues often go hand-in-hand with drug and alcohol abuse, it is important that your son or daughter will be be assessed for co-occurring mental health problems.
Ask them pricing upfront. If they accept insurance, they should be easily able to give you a full amount of what treatment will cost.
Ask about their urinalysis billing. If they are residential, there should be little need for your loved one to be drug tested more than a few times. If it is an outpatient program, there is a need for drug testing but no more than twice a week at most unless there is suspicion of drug use.
Listen if the treatment center is trying to sell you on their facility because of the amazing amenities. Single rooms, big-screen TVs and pools are nice, but are not treatment for addiction. Rather, they should be explaining their clinical services.
Ask if the staff is full time.
Ask for references.

Treatment Options

Drug treatment is intended to help addicted individuals stop compulsive drug seeking and use. Treatment can occur in a variety of settings, take many different forms, and last for different lengths of time. Because drug addiction is typically a chronic disorder characterized by occasional relapses, a short-term, one-time treatment is usually not sufficient. For many, treatment is a long-term process that involves multiple interventions and regular monitoring.

There are a variety of evidence-based approaches to treating addiction. Drug treatment can include behavioral therapy (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or contingency management), medications, or their combination. The specific type of treatment or combination of treatments will vary depending on the patient’s individual needs and, often, on the types of drugs they use.

Treatment medications, such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone (including a new long-acting formulation), are available for individuals addicted to opioids, while nicotine preparations (patches, gum, lozenges, and nasal spray) and the medications varenicline and bupropion are available for individuals addicted to tobacco. Disulfiram, acamprosate, and naltrexone are medications available for treating alcohol dependence,1 which commonly co-occurs with other drug addictions, including addiction to prescription medications.

Treatments for prescription drug abuse tend to be similar to those for illicit drugs that affect the same brain systems. For example, buprenorphine, used to treat heroin addiction, can also be used to treat addiction to opioid pain medications. Addiction to prescription stimulants, which affect the same brain systems as illicit stimulants like cocaine, can be treated with behavioral therapies, as there are not yet medications for treating addiction to these types of drugs.

Behavioral therapies can help motivate people to participate in drug treatment, offer strategies for coping with drug cravings, teach ways to avoid drugs and prevent relapse, and help individuals deal with relapse if it occurs. Behavioral therapies can also help people improve communication, relationship, and parenting skills, as well as family dynamics.

Many treatment programs employ both individual and group therapies. Group therapy can provide social reinforcement and help enforce behavioral contingencies that promote abstinence and a non-drug-using lifestyle. Some of the more established behavioral treatments, such as contingency management and cognitive-behavioral therapy, are also being adapted for group settings to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness. However, particularly in adolescents, there can also be a danger of unintended harmful (or iatrogenic) effects of group treatment—sometimes group members (especially groups of highly delinquent youth) can reinforce drug use and thereby derail the purpose of the therapy. Thus, trained counselors should be aware of and monitor for such effects.

Because they work on different aspects of addiction, combinations of behavioral therapies and medications (when available) generally appear to be more effective than either approach used alone.

Finally, people who are addicted to drugs often suffer from other health (e.g., depression, HIV), occupational, legal, familial, and social problems that should be addressed concurrently. The best programs provide a combination of therapies and other services to meet an individual patient’s needs. Psychoactive medications, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety agents, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotic medications, may be critical for treatment success when patients have co-occurring mental disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders (including post-traumatic stress disorder), bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. In addition, most people with severe addiction abuse multiple drugs and require treatment for all substances abused.

The Right Treatment

                                                       

                                           What is Drug Rehabilitation?
Drug rehabilitation (often drug rehab) is a term for the processes of medical or psychotherapeutic treatment, for dependency on psychoactive substances such as alcohol, prescription drugs, and street drugs such as cocaine, meth, heroin or amphetamines.
The general intent is to enable the patient to confront substance dependence, if present, and cease substance abuse in order to avoid the psychological, legal, financial, social, and physical consequences that can be caused, especially by extreme abuse and addiction to such substances.

                              What is a Residential Rehabilitation Facility?
A facility or distinct part of a facility that provides a 24 hr therapeutically planned living and rehabilitative intervention environment for the treatment of individuals with disorders in the abuse of drugs, alcohol, and other substances.

                                       Residential Rehab for Children
A facility or distinct part of a facility that provides a 24 hr therapeutically planned living and rehabilitative intervention environment for the treatment of children with disorders in the use of drugs, alcohol, and other substances. Medical and supportive counseling services and education services are included.

Body Brokering 101


“Body Brokering” Casts Shadow Over Substance Abuse Treatment Industry

1 | September 7, 2016 | Blog |

Patient brokering, also known as “body brokering”, is the practice of off-trading a client referral for money, and it’s becoming more common in today’s drug rehab and substance abuse treatment industry, and threatens to undermine the overall success rate for treating patients. Cases of patient brokering, insurance fraud and other unethical practices have led the FBI to investigate several drug rehab facilities and prompted drastic actions by health insurers, yet recent reports suggest such illicit activities are still taking place. Typically, “body brokering” works like this: a patient/body broker contacts a treatment center with a specific person who is in need of treatment. In return for this referral he/she expects a payment. This transaction could potentially come from another treatment center, a counselor or coach, a freelance treatment placement specialist, an interventionist, call centers who ask for a marketing agreement and most clearly, the street level marketer.

449 Recovery Goes on the Offensive

Recently, in an effort to outline and address the growing concern over “body brokering”, Andrew Maloof, Business Development Representative at 449 Recovery, was a featured speaker at an area round table and discussion in San Juan Capistrano. In general, the cost of patient acquisition involving the practice of paid referrals, or “body brokering” is between $10,000 to $15,000 per patient. In addition, many of those who are ‘sold’ to a clinic don’t receive the appropriate care that addresses their specific addiction situation. “To some, this practice may seem harmless,” explains Andrew, “but it’s clearly not. First of all, a good treatment center should not need to pay someone to send them clients. Their clinical work should speak for itself. Secondly, many clients you pay for may end up being inappropriate for your program.” Maloof and the staff at 449 Recovery have adopted an aggressive “hands-off” policy concerning the practice of paid referrals, and are actively seeking to influence other addiction treatments centers to do the same. Says Maloof, “The sale or purchase of a client/patient referral in our industry is nothing less than poaching. Not only is it unethical, it’s illegal, and it is a disservice to our patient/clients. We need to create a spirit of cooperation among all addiction treatment centers and do a better job of self-regulation so our industry can see improvements in our patient treatment success rates.”

C

Stricter Regulations and Tighter Enforcement May Be on the Way

To combat the rising tide in patient brokering, there are hints that additional regulations and enforcement may be coming. According to Bryn Wesch, Chief Financial Officer for Novus Medical Detox Center, regulation concerning substance abuse treatment centers is long overdue. “So many other businesses are regulated, yet these addiction centers and halfway houses escape regulation because they are classified as ‘residences.’ We’ve seen the consequences of unregulated recovery residences and the harm they can cause,” said Wesch. “That’s why we’d like to see regulations expanded throughout the addiction treatment industry, so that people with substance use disorders can be assured of safe, outcome-focused care from legitimate providers of detox, drug rehab and intensive outpatient treatment programs.”

What kind of Rehab is Best?

National Treatment Solutions Network.

TYPES OF ADDICTION PROGRAMS-WHICH ONE WILL WORK BEST FOR ME?
TYPES OF ADDICTION PROGRAMS-WHICH ONE WILL WORK BEST FOR…
March 31, 2017by jdkelleher1313@gmail.com
I’ve decided I need an addiction treatment program for my addiction to Opiates, Oxycodone (Blues)-What happens next?



Residential Addiction Treatment

These are inpatient programs requiring the individual to stay in the facility for the entire term of the program. These programs provide in house counseling sessions, regulated meal routines, regulated drug treatment if withdrawal blocking drugs are required and life sessions designed to help the individual re-establish successful work, family and spiritual routines and behaviors. These programs can be as posh and fancy as a long term spa-like treatment in a luxury hotel type such as Florida House or as basic as 4 adults in bunk beds sharing one bedroom in a house with 8 more adults in two additional bedrooms such as First Step. The basic treatment adage for this type of addiction center is the separation from outside forces, intensive addiction counseling and daily drug testing.

Pros-Cons of inpatient addiction treatment

The most significant benefit for an inpatient treatment program is that it cuts all ties and contacts for the individual to obtain drugs for the duration of the treatment. The hope is that once the individual has overcome the physical withdrawal and has had time to work on the emotional issues of withdrawal, their return to their normal environment should have less risk of relapse.

Another advantage to inpatient addiction treatment centers is the availability of insurance coverage. Insurance companies have been taken to task as of late by state and federal government administrations that they are required to provide coverage to their insured members who are deemed “ill” and in need of treatment.

But be careful because not all treatment centers are created equal. You must research, call past clients, check with your insurance carrier and speak with the staff before committing to any program. In some cases, insurance will only cover one such treatment.

The most significant objection to an inpatient treatment program is that the addiction of the individual has been treated without the environmental stresses they will face once they return to their normal element.

Another downside to inpatient addiction recovery programs is the cost and lack of insurance coverage that many addicts face. Many addicts live paycheck to paycheck and have neither the money nor time off from work to allow for a lengthy addiction recovery program.

Outpatient Addiction Treatment

These programs can be found in almost any community. These addiction treatment programs can be local municipal treatment programs; faith based addiction counseling programs Calvary Addiction Recovery, Salvation Army, private organization addiction programs sponsored by a doctor (Pain Management Strategies-Dr. Melanie Rosenblatt), as well as home based programs. These programs work on the premise that the individual treat the addiction on a visit based treatment status such as once per day, once per week, ect, rather than a 24/7 program. The idea behind this type of treatment is to treat the addition while the individual is encountering the stresses and temptations of everyday life. Thus, once the individual has completed one or more steps or stages of the program and “graduates” to the final or next level, they have dealt with the conditions that led them to their addictive behavior during the entire process of their addiction treatment program.

Pros-Cons of Outpatient Addiction Treatment

An important benefit to outpatient addiction treatment is that the individual has the ability to remain in normal society. They can work; take care of their family; remain active in church or school as well as remain active in their social activities. The anonymity of many outpatient addiction treatment programs enable the individual to enter and progress through the treatment without anyone knowing that they are in treatment.

Another advantage to outpatient addiction treatment is the cost of these programs. Because the inpatient addiction treatment programs require the individual to live on campus for an extended period of time, the cost can be substantial depending upon the level of treatment and the number of amenities offered. Many outpatient addiction treatment programs are offered by doctors on a visit by visit basis. The office visits as well as the medication can be covered by insurance. If a doctor’s office type treatment is not the answer, there are many more free or low cost alternatives. Many of the free programs such as AA, NA, Salvation Army, New Life Recovery, ect. have services offered 7 days a week. The individual need only find where and when the meeting is taking place. Other low or minimal charge programs can be found at Calvary Addiction Recovery and Faith Farm just to name a few.

A notable drawback to outpatient addiction treatment programs is the ability of the individual to seek out their “dealer” and “use” while still in the program. Sometimes the individual is contacted by their “dealer” because they miss the money from a once loyal client. The fact that the individual has the ability to remain in their day to day activities also means that they have the ability to pursue what used to be their main job-getting drugs.

Holistic Addiction Treatment

Holistic Medicine has long been a mainstay of Eastern societies. What used to be viewed as “fringe medicine” by western medicine is now viewed as a long term lifestyle beneficial to an addiction free existence. Some of the types of treatments employed by holistic providers are: Meditation, Prayer, Art therapy, Dance therapy, Poetry writing, Animal-assisted therapy, Massage, Acupuncture, Yoga and Tai Chi. Some of the same treatments used by psychiatrists and psychologists to treat children of abuse are similar to the holistic approach. The ability to “get it out of your system” by drawing, writing, enjoying the company of an animal can be just as beneficial as sitting in a meeting listening to other people talk about their addiction issues.

Pros-Cons of Holistic Addiction Treatment

A significant disadvantage to holistic addiction treatment is that some insurance companies do not cover this type of program. Another drawback is the stigma associated with holistic medicine can be passed on to the addiction program and even when the program is completed the individual is not seen to have been “cured” by mainstream medicine. This stigma can cause doubt in the treatment so that even the individual begins to be unsure of their therapy.

A major benefit to holistic addiction treatment is the “whole” body approach to healing. Rather than just receiving a withdrawal blocking drug and a once per week meeting with other addicts, holistic treatment works on the entire person. Daily meditation, prayer, massage any type of daily therapy the individual can encompass themselves in helps with the daily struggle of wanting to get more drugs. If the individual can give themselves sufficient pleasure inducing therapies and activities, drugs are not needed to fill that void.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual diagnosis treatment programs work on the premise that some trigger whether emotional or physical abuse, mental illness or physical illness caused the individual to become addicted in the first place. This type of treatment combines the addiction recovery treatment with counseling, mental or physical health treatment or therapy.

If mental health issues are found to be the trigger the individual is given a regiment of drugs or therapy to deal with that disorder prior to the addiction being addressed. If physical
or emotional abuse is the trigger the individual is counseled to deal with the abuse before the addiction is addressed. Whatever the trigger is found to be it is important that it (the trigger) is addressed before the addiction.


Pros-Cons of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

A major disadvantage of this treatment would be availability. Treatment centers designed to deal with both addiction and therapy might not be widely available in all areas. In addition to availability might be the disadvantage of cost. Addiction therapy and mental health treatment could be quite costly and might not be covered by some insurance plans.

A significant benefit of Dual Diagnosis Treatment is the long term success of such treatment. Treating the underlying problem (trigger) as well as the resulting addiction (symptom) provides the individual the best of long term treatment programs. No longer will the underlying trigger keep coming back to the surface to encourage the addiction to come back time and time again.

THE POINT TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS?

Get Help Now!

No matter what your addiction the most important step to take is getting help. Go to the internet and find treatment programs. Go to your parents and ask them for help. Go to your church or spiritual center and ask them for advice. If you are covered by insurance, call them and ask what type of treatment is covered by your policy.

Get Away From the Source of Your Addiction

If your “using buddy” is your spouse, a parent, a sibling or a co-worker-get away from them.

If your “dealer” is your spouse, a parent, a sibling, a friend or a co-worker walk away from them until you have made plans on how to deal with your addiction.

If drugs can be found at your workplace then get a different job. If drugs can be found at your school, tell a teacher, parent, principal.

Find the Reason for Your Addiction

Think back. What happened in your life that caused the addiction? Was it a sports/recreation/work related injury that caused you to seek out pain medication? Was it an emotional issue that caused you to seek out drugs as an emotional pain reliever? Was it abuse either as a child or in a current relationship?

This is important to figure out. One thing that Addiction Recovery Counselors have learned is that until the underlying cause to your addition is overcome, the addict will go from one addiction to another. Alcohol to pills to food to gambling, ect. An addictive personality is a symptom of an underlying problem. Try to heal the cause of the addiction while you are working on overcoming the addiction itself.

Think of Your Addiction as an It-An Enemy to be Beaten

Separate your addiction from you as a person. Remember that you are not your addiction. Your behavior while addicted is a result of the addiction and not a result of a flaw in your personality. You will be healed when your addiction is gone.

Figure Out Your Addiction Trigger

This may be something you can only determine after counseling or therapy but if you know at least one of the triggers-cut it out of your life.

Fight Your Addiction on Every Level

Use every tool at your disposal to fight your addiction. If church helps to calm you or keep you from using then find a church and talk to the pastor. You will be surprised at how many people have battled the same addictions that are plaguing you. If exercise keeps you from using, then walk. Go to a local park that provides work out machines.

Give Yourself a Break

No one is perfect and we all screw up. We have all done some really stupid things in our lifetime and have things that we regret. Just remember that you can get better. You can heal yourself. Give yourself the grace to get better. Get Help Now!

ASAM Criteria

ASAM’s criteria, formerly known as the ASAM patient placement criteria, is the result of a collaboration that began in the 1980s to define one national set of criteria for providing outcome-oriented and results-based care in the treatment of addiction. Today the criteria have become the most widely used and comprehensive set of guidelines for placement, continued stay and transfer/discharge of patients with addiction and co-occurring conditions. ASAM’s criteria are required in over 30 states.

ASAM’s criteria is an indispensable resource that addiction medicine professionals rely on to provide a nomenclature for describing the continuum of addiction services. 

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.


Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.


Opiate War

Posted on July 3, 2017 by

More Americans than ever are turning to the use of drugs and alcohol. Statistics from 2013 revealed that 24.6 million citizens 12 or older had used an illicit drug in the previous month. These growing numbers are more than a little worrisome, and Maryland’s drug and alcohol related deaths are being affected just as much as the rest of the country. The addiction to alcohol and other substances, it seems, has become an epidemic.

Many people don’t realize just how costly America’s drug and alcohol problem has become. For prescription drug abuse alone, it’s estimated that the United States loses up to $72 billion per year. Lost productivity, criminal justice costs, treatment, and medical expenses pile up with every case of abuse. Combined with illicit drugs and alcohol, substance abuse is taking quite a toll on our economy.

However damaging the problem is financially, it is much more devastating to the minds and bodies of those who use. A ripple effect also brings emotional harm to their family, friends, and coworkers. Each substance poses different risks, but none of them are menial.

There’s a long list of drugs designed purely to get people high. Cocaine, crystal meth, ecstasy, PCP, marijuana, and heroin are only a few of the most popular varieties circling our streets. The consequences for using these substances are generally much worse than alcohol or prescription medications, without even accounting for the fact that they’re illegal. The specific physical reactions depend on the drug of choice and can vary from hallucinations, anxiety, and paranoia to heart malfunction and respiratory issues. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Long-term exposure can completely change a person. Facial features and skin conditions can alter and degrade, and changes to one’s mental state (such as irritability and trouble concentrating) remain for months or years. Many people who are addicted to such substances must begin committing crimes to keep up with their cravings and spiral into dangerous dealings for a secure supply.

Alcohol’s popularity is built on its legality and easy accessibility. In fact, there are more than 40,000 different liquor stores across the nation, selling $45 billion worth of spirits annually. People like to “unwind” with drinks, consuming alcohol everywhere from restaurants to college parties to their living room couches. Along with this temporary feeling of relaxation, however, comes a deluge of negative effects.

There are numerous short-term consequences of alcohol. For example, there are minor symptoms that most people are familiar with and will experience, such as slurred speech and drowsiness. More intense manifestations include breathing difficulties, unconsciousness, anemia, blackouts, and even coma. The most severe of the temporary results, however, pale in comparison to the long-term dangers of continued use.

Liver disease, nerve damage, ulcers, gastritis, heart disease, brain damage, and cancer are examples of why engagement with alcohol is so dangerous. Of course, these conditions are in addition to the unintentional injuries that come with a clouded state of mind. Almost 10,000 people are killed each year in accidents involving the influence of drinks, and thousands more are wounded or crippled.

Despite their noble intent, opioids and other painkillers are taken for the wrong reason all across America. They’re a bit harder to come by, but the implementation of “pain clinics” has helped streamline the process of acquiring them. Prescription drugs pose some universal risks – especially the high chance of addiction.

When abusing these medications, the particular effects vary between drugs. There are some general symptoms, however, that painkillers share in common. Mood swings, poor judgement, altered mental status, increased need of sleep, changes in energy, nausea, and headaches can all signal recent misuse of the drugs.

Over long periods of time, users can experience a barrage of other changes within their bodies and lives. Problems tend to arise in their finances, careers, and academics. They’re also more likely to engage in illegal activities to secure more drugs and please their cravings. Withdrawal can happen quickly and powerfully and cause tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, hallucinations, and more, in addition to the regular altered mental states that the influence presents.

There’s a long list of drugs designed purely to get people high. Cocaine, crystal meth, ecstasy, PCP, marijuana, and heroin are only a few of the most popular varieties circling our streets. The consequences for using these substances are generally much worse than alcohol or prescription medications, without even accounting for the fact that they’re illegal. The specific physical reactions depend on the drug of choice and can vary from hallucinations, anxiety, and paranoia to heart malfunction and respiratory issues. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Long-term exposure can completely change a person. Facial features and skin conditions can alter and degrade, and changes to one’s mental state (such as irritability and trouble concentrating) remain for months or years. Many people who are addicted to such substances must begin committing crimes to keep up with their cravings and spiral into dangerous dealings for a secure supply.

Opioids—prescription and illicit—are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. Opioids were involved in 33,091 deaths in 2015, and opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999.

In 2015, the five states with the highest rates of death due to drug overdose were West Virginia (41.5 per 100,000), New Hampshire (34.3 per 100,000), Kentucky (29.9 per 100,000), Ohio (29.9 per 100,000), and Rhode Island (28.2 per 100,000).

Significant increases in drug overdose death rates from 2014 to 2015 were primarily seen in the Northeast and South Census Regions. States with statistically significant increases in drug overdose death rates from 2014 to 2015 included Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington, and West Virginia.

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What Rehab Works 4 Me?

National Treatment Solutions Network.March 31, 2017by jdkelleher1313@gmail.com

I’ve decided I need an addiction treatment program for my addiction to Opiates, Oxycodone (Blues)-What happens next?



Residential Addiction Treatment

These are inpatient programs requiring the individual to stay in the facility for the entire term of the program. These programs provide in house counseling sessions, regulated meal routines, regulated drug treatment if withdrawal blocking drugs are required and life sessions designed to help the individual re-establish successful work, family and spiritual routines and behaviors. These programs can be as posh and fancy as a long term spa-like treatment in a luxury hotel type such as Passages Malibu or as basic as 4 adults in bunk beds sharing one bedroom in a house with 8 more adults in two additional bedrooms such as First Step. The basic treatment adage for this type of addiction center is the separation from outside forces, intensive addiction counseling and daily drug testing.

Pros-Cons of inpatient addiction treatment

The most significant benefit for an inpatient treatment program is that it cuts all ties and contacts for the individual to obtain drugs for the duration of the treatment. The hope is that once the individual has overcome the physical withdrawal and has had time to work on the emotional issues of withdrawal, their return to their normal environment should have less risk of relapse.

Another advantage to inpatient addiction treatment centers is the availability of insurance coverage. Insurance companies have been taken to task as of late by state and federal government administrations that they are required to provide coverage to their insured members who are deemed “ill” and in need of treatment.

But be careful because not all treatment centers are created equal. You must research, call past clients, check with your insurance carrier and speak with the staff before committing to any program. In some cases, insurance will only cover one such treatment.

The most significant objection to an inpatient treatment program is that the addiction of the individual has been treated without the environmental stresses they will face once they return to their normal element.

Another downside to inpatient addiction recovery programs is the cost and lack of insurance coverage that many addicts face. Many addicts live paycheck to paycheck and have neither the money nor time off from work to allow for a lengthy addiction recovery program.

Outpatient Addiction Treatment

These programs can be found in almost any community. These addiction treatment programs can be local municipal treatment programs; faith based addiction counseling programs Calvary Addiction Recovery, Salvation Army, private organization addiction programs sponsored by a doctor (Pain Management Strategies-Dr. Melanie Rosenblatt), as well as home based programs. These programs work on the premise that the individual treat the addiction on a visit based treatment status such as once per day, once per week, ect, rather than a 24/7 program. The idea behind this type of treatment is to treat the addition while the individual is encountering the stresses and temptations of everyday life. Thus, once the individual has completed one or more steps or stages of the program and “graduates” to the final or next level, they have dealt with the conditions that led them to their addictive behavior during the entire process of their addiction treatment program.

Pros-Cons of Outpatient Addiction Treatment

An important benefit to outpatient addiction treatment is that the individual has the ability to remain in normal society. They can work; take care of their family; remain active in church or sc
hool as well as remain active in their social activities. The anonymity of many outpatient addiction treatment programs enable the individual to enter and progress through the treatment without anyone knowing that they are in treatment.


Another advantage to outpatient addiction treatment is the cost of these programs. Because the inpatient addiction treatment programs require the individual to live on campus for an extended period of time, the cost can be substantial depending upon the level of treatment and the number of amenities offered. Many outpatient addiction treatment programs are offered by doctors on a visit by visit basis. The office visits as well as the medication can be covered by insurance. If a doctor’s office type treatment is not the answer, there are many more free or low cost alternatives. Many of the free programs such as AA, NA, Salvation Army, New Life Recovery, ect. have services offered 7 days a week. The individual need only find where and when the meeting is taking place. Other low or minimal charge programs can be found at Calvary Addiction Recovery and Faith Farm just to name a few.

A notable drawback to outpatient addiction treatment programs is the ability of the individual to seek out their “dealer” and “use” while still in the program. Sometimes the individual is contacted by their “dealer” because they miss the money from a once loyal client. The fact that the individual has the ability to remain in their day to day activities also means that they have the ability to pursue what used to be their main job-getting drugs.

Holistic Addiction Treatment

Holistic Medicine has long been a mainstay of Eastern societies. What used to be viewed as “fringe medicine” by western medicine is now viewed as a long term lifestyle beneficial to an addiction free existence. Some of the types of treatments employed by holistic providers are: Meditation, Prayer, Art therapy, Dance therapy, Poetry writing, Animal-assisted therapy, Massage, Acupuncture, Yoga and Tai Chi. Some of the same treatments used by psychiatrists and psychologists to treat children of abuse are similar to the holistic approach. The ability to “get it out of your system” by drawing, writing, enjoying the company of an animal can be just as beneficial as sitting in a meeting listening to other people talk about their addiction issues.

Pros-Cons of Holistic Addiction Treatment

A significant disadvantage to holistic addiction treatment is that some insurance companies do not cover this type of program. Another drawback is the stigma associated with holistic medicine can be passed on to the addiction program and even when the program is completed the individual is not seen to have been “cured” by mainstream medicine. This stigma can cause doubt in the treatment so that even the individual begins to be unsure of their therapy.

A major benefit to holistic addiction treatment is the “whole” body approach to healing. Rather than just receiving a withdrawal blocking drug and a once per week meeting with other addicts, holistic treatment works on the entire person. Daily meditation, prayer, massage any type of daily therapy the individual can encompass themselves in helps with the daily struggle of wanting to get more drugs. If the individual can give themselves sufficient pleasure inducing therapies and activities, drugs are not needed to fill that void.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual diagnosis treatment programs work on the premise that some trigger whether emotional or physical abuse, mental illness or physical illness caused the individual to become addicted in the first place. This type of treatment combines the addiction recovery treatment with counseling, mental or physical health treatment or therapy.

If mental health issues are found to be the trigger the individual is given a regiment of drugs or therapy to deal with that disorder prior to the addiction being addressed. If physical or emotional abuse is the trigger the individual is counseled to deal with the abuse before the addiction is addressed. Whatever the trigger is found to be it is important that it (the trigger) is addressed before the addiction.

Pros-Cons of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

A major disadvantage of this treatment would be availability. Treatment centers designed to deal with both addiction and therapy might not be widely available in all areas. In addition to availability might be the disadvantage of cost. Addiction therapy and mental health treatment could be quite costly and might not be covered by some insurance plans.

A significant benefit of Dual Diagnosis Treatment is the long term success of such treatment. Treating the underlying problem (trigger) as well as the resulting addiction (symptom) provides the individual the best of long term treatment programs. No longer will the underlying trigger keep coming back to the surface to encourage the addiction to come back time and time again.

THE POINT TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS?

Get Help Now!

No matter what your addiction the most important step to take is getting help. Go to the internet and find treatment programs. Go to your parents and ask them for help. Go to your church or spiritual center and ask them for advice. If you are covered by insurance, call them and ask what type of treatment is covered by your policy.

Get Away From the Source of Your Addiction

If your “using buddy” is your spouse, a parent, a sibling or a co-worker-get away from them.

If your “dealer” is your spouse, a parent, a sibling, a friend or a co-worker walk away from them until you have made plans on how to deal with your addiction.

If drugs can be found at your workplace then get a different job. If drugs can be found at your school, tell a teacher, parent, principal.

Find the Reason for Your Addiction

Think back. What happened in your life that caused the addiction? Was it a sports/recreation/work related injury that caused you to seek out pain medication? Was it an emotional issue that caused you to seek out drugs as an emotional pain reliever? Was it abuse either as a child or in a current relationship?

This is important to figure out. One thing that Addiction Recovery Counselors have learned is that until the underlying cause to your addition is overcome, the addict will go from one addiction to another. Alcohol to pills to food to gambling, ect. An addictive personality is a symptom of an underlying problem. Try to heal the cause of the addiction while you are working on overcoming the addiction itself.

Think of Your Addiction as an It-An Enemy to be Beaten

Separate your addiction from you as a person. Remember that you are not your addiction. Your behavior while addicted is a result of the addiction and not a result of a flaw in your personality. You will be healed when your addiction is gone.

Figure Out Your Addiction Trigger

This may be something you can only determine after counseling or therapy but if you know at least one of the triggers-cut it out of your life.

Fight Your Addiction on Every Level

Use every tool at your disposal to fight your addiction. If church helps to calm you or keep you from using then find a church and talk to the pastor. You will be surprised at how many people have battled the same addictions that are plaguing you. If exercise keeps you from using, then walk. Go to a local park that provides work out machines.

Give Yourself a Break

No one is perfect and we all screw up. We have all done some really stupid things in our lifetime and have things that we regret. Just remember that you can get better. You can heal yourself. Give yourself the grace to get better. Get Help Now!



TYPES OF ADDICTION PROGRAMS-WHICH ONE WILL WORK BEST FOR ME?