opioid overdoses in arizona

Opioid Overdoses in Arizona

100 Deaths from Opioid Overdoses Each Month in Arizona

Opioid overdoses in Arizona are at their highest rate in a decade. As the opioid crisis escalates across the country, Arizona has been hit especially hard. It currently sits at second in the nation for drug-related death, coming in just behind Nevada. Worse, the numbers have been steadily rising over the last few years.

In 2016, there were 790 overdose-related deaths, representing a 16 percent increase from the previous year. Of these deaths, 482 were caused by prescription drugs; the other 308 were attributed to heroin. This year, the numbers have been even higher, with some estimates placing overdose-related deaths at around 100 per month.

These numbers reflect only a small part of the growing opioid problem in the state. Overdose deaths may be under-reported. These numbers also do not account for all of the non-lethal overdoses that are treated each month nor for the other physical, psychological and economical impacts of the drug crisis.

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opioid overdoses in arizona

The Opioid Epidemic is a Complex Issue

Many of those who develop opioid addiction are individuals who originally obtained their drugs legally through a doctor’s prescription. They may have obtained these drugs for a specific surgery or injury, or they may suffer from a chronic pain condition.

However, thanks to the highly addictive nature of opioids and their difficult withdrawal symptoms, going off of prescription drugs can prove challenging for many people. Additional factors, such as life stress and interpersonal relationship trouble, can contribute to the likelihood of developing an addiction. Once legal access to painkillers is ceased, some addicts may turn to buying their drugs off the street or switching to the comparatively cheaper illcit drug, heroin.

Since the 1990s, America has led the world in opioid prescriptions, and doctors have been known to write extensive prescriptions beyond what is actually necessary to deal with pain. For example, a patient might go to a dentist for a wisdom tooth removal and leave with a weeks-long supply of Vicodin, even though a milder painkiller would likely be just as effective after the first day or two. Having so many extra drugs left over creates opportunities for drug misuse and abuse.

Additionally, despite the real dangers posed by these drugs, prescription painkillers are often viewed by users as being safer than other kinds of drugs. There is less social stigma against taking prescription opioids, and people may not seek help for their dependency until the problem gets out of hand.

Opioids are also notoriously easy to overdose on. Drugs available on the street may not be as pure as what a user is accustomed to. They may be laced with stronger opioids, such as Fentanyl, or they may be in a higher concentration than the user is expecting. A person who has become habituated to a specific dose may also be extremely sensitive to that same dosage after a period without any drugs; when tolerance wanes, a previously safe dose can cause a deadly overdose.

A Holistic Look at Opioid Addiction

Because so many people get hooked on prescription drugs, one suggested solution to controlling the epidemic is to limit the amount of opioid drugs in circulation. That has been the suggestion of Dr. Cara Christ, Arizona’s head health official. Dr. Christ suggests heavy restrictions placed on opioid prescriptions, preventing doctors from prescribing more than are absolutely necessary.

Other solutions, such as the growing availability of the overdose-reversing drug NARCAN®, can help to reduce the amount of opioid-related deaths. However, these measures do not strike at the root of the problem. Being revived does not put an addict into recovery; without further treatment, the user may end up overdosing again in the future.

The reality is that drug addiction is complex, and no single solution will help to solve Arizona’s opioid crisis. While issues are being discussed and implemented on a policy level, it’s important for individuals to obtain the care and intervention that they need.

At Desert Cove Recovery we recognize that addiction is deeply personal and affects each person differently. We offer treatment programs that help people to get sober and stay that way by addressing the underlying causes and contributing factors to their addiction. For more information about our program, contact us today.

most addictive substances

The Most Addictive Substances

What Are the 5 Most Addictive Substances?

While use of any psychoactive substance with pleasurable effects may lead to psychological addiction, certain drugs come with a heightened potential for both physical and psychological addiction. Physical dependence compounds the psychological aspects of addiction as both body and mind crave the drug, resulting in difficult withdrawals. Drugs with these properties have earned notoriety as the most addictive substances in the world.

Using an addictive substance does not guarantee that a pattern of drug abuse will follow. Whether a person becomes addicted to a substance depends on complex factors such as genetics. Repeated use of a highly addictive drug will put the user at a higher risk of developing a habit that requires treatment, particularly if the user is turning to the substance as a coping mechanism.

A scale developed by drug researcher David Nutt and his colleagues is commonly referenced in lists that rank the most addictive substances. The published report assesses how dangerous each drug is based on its potential for dependence, physical harm and social harm on a scale of zero to three. The dependence score takes into account pleasure, physical dependence and psychological dependence.

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most addictive substances

So, what are the most addictive drugs? Here are five that are high on the list:

Opioids

Heroin, an opioid, earned the highest mean score on Nutt’s dependence ranking with a 3.00. It also ranked as the most dangerous drug overall once physical and social harm were taken into account. All drugs in the opioid class, which contains heroin and legal painkillers alike, act similarly on the brain, binding to opioid receptors and increasing dopamine levels. Opioids are depressants that provide pain relief and a feeling of relaxation and euphoria. Because opioids are highly addictive, it’s not uncommon for those who are prescribed painkillers to become dependent and start seeking out heroin on the street. Between 26.4 million and 36 million people are estimated to abuse opioids worldwide.

Cocaine

Cocaine has a significantly lower potential for physical dependence than opioids, but it comes second to heroin on Nutt’s dependence scale with a 2.39 because its ratings for psychological dependence and pleasure are high. Both crack and powder cocaine are included in the rating. This stimulant drug influences the behavior of the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, resulting in euphoria and a perceived increase in confidence and energy. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), young adults have the highest rate of cocaine use. In the survey, 1.4 percent of adults ages 18 to 25 reported cocaine use within the past month.

Methamphetamine

Similar to cocaine, methamphetamine is a stimulant that floods the brain with the pleasure-inducing neurotransmitter dopamine. Known as crystal meth on the street, this drug may be snorted, smoked or injected. Meth use results in increased heart rate, appetite suppression, insomnia and paranoia. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that methamphetamine abuse is on the rise with a 30 percent increase in overdose deaths from 2014 to 2015.

Alcohol

Unlike many other drugs, alcohol is universally legal for recreational purposes and is widely accepted by the mainstream. It is frequently cited as the most commonly used addictive substance. Because alcohol is both highly ubiquitous and addictive, a vulnerable person can easily become exposed to it and then addicted. In the US, one in 12 adults is addicted to or dependent on alcohol, which gets an overall addictiveness score of 1.93 according to Nutt’s rating system. Alcohol is classified as a depressant, but its initial effects are more like those caused by a stimulant. Users typically become more talkative and outgoing prior to experiencing alcohol’s sedating effects.

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are a class of prescription drugs that act on the neurotransmitter GABA and depress the central nervous system. Due to their sedating properties, they are frequently prescribed for anxiety and insomnia, but unfortunately, some patients end up abusing them. Benzodiazepines are also commonly sold on the street for recreational use and known as benzos. They have a mean dependence score of 1.83 on Nutt’s scale. They are notable for their significant potential for physical dependence and their risky withdrawals that can cause seizures. Benzodiazepines become more dangerous when combined with opioid drugs, and a study reported on by CNN found that 75 percent of benzodiazepine overdose deaths also involve opioid use.

Seek Addiction Treatment to Overcome Abuse of Highly Addictive Substances

Drug abuse is a serious problem all over the world as people from all walks of life turn to psychoactive substances to cope with their struggles, and the more addictive a substance is, the greater the risk.

If you or a loved one is battling addiction, know that you are not alone and that treatment is available. Placeholder is a drug rehabilitation center that provides treatment for addiction to the substances mentioned in this list. Contact an addiction counselor today to learn more about your addiction treatment options.

Sources:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673607604644

https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/legislative-activities/testimony-to-congress/2016/americas-addiction-to-opioids-heroin-prescription-drug-abuse

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-scope-cocaine-use-in-united-states

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db273.pdf

https://www.ncadd.org/about-addiction/alcohol/facts-about-alcohol

http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/18/health/benzodiazepine-sedative-overdose-death-increase/index.html

Should Hospitals be Accountable for Post-Surgical Painkiller Addiction?

Patients checking into a hospital for surgery is a very common occurrence. After their procedure, they want and expect to be given enough pain medication to be kept comfortable while they recover.

Often, the pain medication given by the surgeon and other medical providers is an opioid. They are prescribed for severe pain and are considered effective at providing temporary relief. The problem is that a number of doctors are prescribing these powerful painkillers without understanding how quickly patients can develop a dependency and thus start to experience withdrawal symptoms. When patients ask about how to taper off the medication when they are recovered from their surgery, they are often not getting enough information or accurate instructions.

Post-Surgical Opioid Dependency

Some doctors and hospital administrators are now asking the question, If some patients are becoming addicted to opioids starting with a stay in a hospital for surgery or another procedure, should the hospital be held responsible? Is the addiction a medical error in the same category as an infection acquired in hospital?

At least three physician/executives with the Hospital Corporation of America have argued that the answer should be, “Yes.” Drs. Michael Schlosser, Ravi Chari and Jonathan Perlin have stated that since this type of addiction arises during a hospital stay and is a “high-cost and high-volume condition,” and that it can often be avoided by implementing and applying new guidelines for patient care.

The doctors say that although it would be difficult for hospitals to monitor all the patients being given opioid pain medications in the weeks and months after their release, hospitals should have a system in place to try. The issue of long-term opioid use as a hospital-acquired condition opens the door for standards of care to be put in place to help patients manage their pain and protect them from coming to future harm.

Holding Hospitals Responsible May Have Financial Impact

Compensation and bonus structures at many hospitals are tied to patient satisfaction surveys, and that has been cited as one reason for doctors to continue over-prescribing drugs in an effort to keep patients happier. Less painkillers initially may mean that more patients experience some additional discomfort, and even though they may be saving lives from potential addiction, the doctors could wind up getting lower reviews and thus less pay.

Majority of Surgical Patients Have Drugs Left Over

Studies have revealed that the majority of patients (between 67-92 percent) have painkillers left over after surgery. Approximately 10 percent of patients need what is described as “intense pain management,” but it is difficult for physicians to identify which patients need this level of pain relief.

There are no set guidelines for what types of opioids should be prescribed after surgery, the typical dose that should be prescribe or how long patients should take them. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released prescribing guidelines for opioids for chronic pain patients, but they only addressed acute pain briefly.

A new study published in September found that the optimal time for opioid use after surgery is between four and nine days.

extended addiction treatment

Benefits of Extended Addiction Treatment – 28 Days Isn’t Long Enough

When 28 Days Isn’t Long Enough; Extended Addiction Treatment Benefits

Drug and alcohol addiction can wreak havoc on a person’s life, sometimes for decades, and the societal cost is exponential: Conservative estimates place a $442 billion price tag on the economic impact of drug addiction. The number includes health care costs, criminal justice costs and loss of workforce hours.

Substance abuse can also negatively impact families and interpersonal relationships, and the cost of addiction in those cases is difficult to measure. The majority of addicts experience the onset of addiction before the age of 25, and the condition is typically a life-long struggle.

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The Numbers Around Addiction

What often begins as a way to unwind on the weekend can quickly turn sour. While concrete drug-related hospitalization numbers are hard to come by, data collected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows an upward trend of ER visits related to drug and alcohol use from 2009 – 2011.

The estimated number of drug-related emergency room visits across the U.S. in 2011 was 1.52 million, with another 1.2 million hospitalizations where illicit drug use was reported. And as early as 2009, the World Heath Organization placed drug addiction on their top 10 list of preventable diseases with the highest overall cost.

But within the sobering data lies a possible solution: Extended addiction treatment may improve an addict’s chances of staying sober for the long haul. Extended treatment means a period of time lasting at least 90 days, a far cry from the traditional 28- or 30-day model used by many treatment facilities.

Why Does Addiction Treatment Fail?

Substance abuse is more than a social problem; addiction is recognized as a medical condition, but it’s often treated using psychological methods alone. This single-faceted approach to treatment is the primary reason why so many people who abuse drugs or alcohol remain addicted or stuck in a relapse-recovery cycle.

One of the biggest fallacies regarding the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction is the idea that relapse equals failure. Relapses occur for a number of reasons, most of them highly personal, but they are not indicative of treatment failure.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 – 60 percent of drug addicts relapse following treatment. That number dwindles in extended treatment settings, however, as addicts are continuously monitored and given a variety of resources that serve as alternatives to their addict lifestyle.

Benefits of Extended Addiction Treatment

Time plays a crucial role in addiction recovery: Among addicts seeking treatment or order to do so by a court or other legal entity, only about 10 percent receive treatment in a timely fashion, as reported by the U.S. News & World Report in 2016.

In addition, a large percentage of addicts are only involved in an active treatment program for a short time – typically one month, a time-frame that almost lends itself to failure, according to health care professionals. Even a 90-day treatment program may not even be a sufficient amount of time for substance abuse recovery, experts say. In fact, individuals dealing with opioid addiction may require methadone maintenance for years.

Drug addicts and alcoholics are often standoffish and demonstrate a lack of trust in regards to authority figures and clinicians, especially if addiction treatment is court ordered. Extended treatment, whether performed in an inpatient or outpatient setting, allows health care professionals an adequate period of time in which to develop a trusting, positive relationship with their patients.

How Successful is Extended Treatment?

Recovery rates among drug addicts and alcoholics are hard to measure, for several reasons. First, the definition of “rehab” is not standardized. To one addict, rehab could mean a self-administered, cold turkey method of detox. To another, the word is synonymous with a facility, such as an addiction center or hospital.

But no matter what rehab means to the individual addict, many experts agree that continual evaluation and follow-up treatment are the keys to overcoming substance abuse. Without active participation in a recovery or treatment program, it’s easy for an addict to fall back into old habits, especially during periods of stress or when experiencing a change in life.

In many cases, addicts fall into a cycle of treatment-relapse-legal problems that can seem impossible to overcome. But extended treatment at facilities such as Desert Cove Recovery has been shown to help a number of addicts and alcoholics escape the bondage of substance abuse. And when addicts break free from the crutch of addiction, they can begin to rebuild their lives, develop stronger interpersonal relationships and increase productivity both at work and within their household.

FDA Approves Nerve Stimulator for Opioid Withdrawal

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given its approval for a specialized tool that will be used to help US patients addicted to prescription pain medications and get them off opioids.

The newly-approved device delivers electric pulses to the area behind the patient’s ear. This electric pulse triggers a current which travels to the person’s occipital nerves (the ones reaching from the spinal cord to the back of the neck) and cranial nerves. It functions as a PNFS (Percutaneous Nerve Field Stimulator) device system and stimulates the patient’s brain to mask opioid withdrawal symptoms.

This medical device has been named the NSS-2 Bridge (NSS stands for “Neurostimulation System”.) Research shows that when used over a five-day treatment period, the process can be effective. The device is used during the period when an opiate-dependent person is likely to experience the most intense pain, as well as body tremors and sweating, during withdrawal.

Seventy-three patients were involved in the trials to determine the device’s effectiveness. Close to one-third (31 percent) of the participants noticed a reduction in symptoms within half an hour of getting the device. The trial found that 64 of the patients got relief and were ready to move forward to medication-assisted therapy after using the device. This represented a success rate of 88 percent after the five-day trial. However, other applications may include permanent abstinence rather than switching to a maintenance drug.

The FDA has decided to approve the device, even though the results of the study are limited. Further trials will be undertaken to evaluate its effectiveness in various settings.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb stated in his reasons for approving the new device that there is a need for finding new ways of helping people who are addicted so that they can achieve sobriety with “medically assisted treatment.” He went on to say that while research is continuing to find better medicines to treat opioid use disorder, medicine also needs to look to devices to help as well.

Finding alternative methods of treating opioid dependency is a major topic of discussion regarding dealing the epidemic our nation faces. In addition to helping people get off these drugs, it is imperative to find more ways to reduce or avoid using these highly addictive substances.

sober during holidays

Staying Sober During the Holidays

Avoiding Relapse During the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us once again. This time of year brings about many joyful opportunities for gathering together with friends and family members to enjoy food, fun, and laughter. However, for many who were once addicted to alcohol or other substances, the holiday season can prove to be a difficult time as well.

It can be difficult for many people who were once addicted to harmful substances to remain sober during a time when stress and many temptations abound. However, with a plan of action in place, it is possible to fight off temptations and remain sober during this trying time of year. The following tips have been gathered to help you remain sober during the holidays and get your new year off to the best and healthiest start.

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What Makes the Holiday Season Difficult for Many People in Recovery

The holiday season is something many people look forward to. It is a time of excitement, cheer, and happiness for most of us. However, there are certain things about this time of year that can trigger a person in recovery to drink or use a substance again. These temptations might include the following triggers or events.

Added Stress During the Holidays

Shopping for gifts for loved ones, making last minute travel plans, and having a house full of loud relatives can add to the already present stress of everyday life. Add in grocery shopping and cooking an elaborate meal for close friends and family and you have the recipe for a very stressful period of time. Handling stress and not letting it build up is an important part of maintaining control of the situation and your reaction to the events that occur. Sometimes controlling how you react to the situation is all you can do, so it’s vital to have proper ways in which to manage stress to help prevent relapse.

Running into Negative Associates

Whenever someone who is addicted to alcohol or other substances seeks proper treatment, part of the recovery plan usually involves creating a new circle of friends and avoiding those they once abused substances with. While attending holiday parties and other gatherings, it is possible that you may run into people you once spent time with when you were actively abusing alcohol or other substances. For many people, this may bring back memories that can create a strong desire to engage in those negative behaviors once again. Having a plan in place for proper ways to handle these temptations before they occur is an important part of triumphing over them.

Temptations at Gatherings

Holiday parties and gatherings usually include both food and alcohol. Just the mere presence of alcohol can be a reminder of the sensations you experienced when you were consuming it regularly. Therefore, it is important to realize ahead of time that these types of gatherings will almost always include alcohol. A support system that you can rely on to distract you from temptations can be helpful. Knowing your limits and weaknesses can also be beneficial. If you feel being confronted with the temptation of alcohol at parties will be too strong, it may be best to avoid attending them at all.

Tips for Remaining Sober During the Holidays

Having a proper plan in place for dealing with the previously mentioned temptations is an important part of overcoming them. The following tips can give you a good idea of different ways to start formulating a plan for remaining sober this holiday season.

Keep Your Distance from Negative Locations or People

Bumping into people you once spent time with while you were engaging in destructive patterns of drinking could potentially set off emotions that can create temptations to drink again. If you know the areas that these people tend to gather, it is best to avoid them altogether. It is even better if you can arrange to spend time with new friends that help you fight the temptations to drink.

Create New and Healthy Traditions

Replacing old patterns of destructive behavior with new and healthy holiday traditions can help you overcome memories and fight off temptations to engage in these actions again. Starting new traditions will give you something exciting to look forward to each holiday season as you create new memories with your loved ones.

Attend Support Meetings or Groups

Support groups can be a huge blessing during the holiday season. It can be very helpful to associate with others who have overcome their addictions just like you. These individuals know firsthand how hard it can be to fight off temptations during the holidays. Their empathy and understanding can go far towards helping you feel a level of support that will prove encouraging all season long.

Create a Network of Support

Creating a strong network of individuals who understand the temptations this season can create will be beneficial for you as well. Knowing their support is just a phone call away can offer the strength and peace of mind you need to have confidence in your ability to remain sober.

Get Adequate Sleep

Adequate sleep, along with the support provided by nutritious foods and moderate exercise, can go a long way toward strengthening your resolve to stay sober. Sleep deprivation, while common during this time of the year, can weaken your resolve to decline tempting activities, events, or invitations. Taking care of the physical needs of your body and mind is an important part of remaining emotionally strong.

Start the New Year in Continued Recovery

You fought long and hard to break free from the chains of alcohol addiction. You probably attended a treatment program, completely changed many aspects of your life, and endured the difficult time of detoxing your body from the effects of alcohol abuse. Remember the things that you have gone through and how hard you have fought to achieve sobriety. Keeping this journey fresh in your mind can help you fight temptations and remain strong this holiday season and all the ones still to come.

Compound May Offer Pain Relief Without Fear of Addiction

New research from Indiana University-Bloomington may give doctors and their patients living with pain a non-opioid option for treating severe pain.

Researchers conducted a pre-clinical study involving mice. They discovered that compounds known as PAMs (Positive Allosteric Modulators) heighten the effect of natural pain relievers the body produces internally when injured or exposed to stress. PAMs were first discussed with attendees at the 2016 Conference for the Society for Neuroscience, held in San Diego, California.

About PAM

The researchers chose a PAM that would intensify endocannabinoids. These two brain compounds (anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol) specifically act on the CB1 receptor that responds to the presence of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The PAM used in the study was GAT211, a molecule that coauthor Ganesh Thakur at Northeastern University created that had effects that concentrated on the brain.

The PAM increased the effects of the endocannabinoids without creating the undesired side effects associated with marijuana use. These include lowering of body temperature and clumsiness.

The pain relief achieved from PAM was more effective and lasted longer than when drugs were used that work by breaking down then metabolizing the brain’s cannabis-type compounds. Using PAM on its own means natural painkillers target the correct part of the brain as needed. The alternative is take drugs that bind to receptor sites throughout the body.

Increases the Body’s Natural Ability to Relieve Pain

Study leader Andrea G. Hohmann, a professor and chair of neuroscience at the University’s Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences, stated that the study revealed a PAM increases the body’s pain relieving ability without decreasing effectiveness over time. This is a key component of addiction; a person finds that they need to consume more of their drug of choice to experience the desired effect.

Professor Hohmann went on to say that she sees the research her team is doing as “an important step forward” in the goal to find new, non-addictive pain relievers.

The results of the study were published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Non-Addictive Painkillers Help Save Lives from Opioid Overdose

Continuing to find ways of providing pain relief for patients that don’t involve drugs with a high potential for abuse is of utmost importance in the battle against opioid addiction. Tens of thousands of lives are now lost each year due to overdoses and millions of people are abusing these drugs.

If you have a loved one who needs treatment help for a substance abuse problem, contact Desert Cove today for more information about our program.

Nearly Half of Americans Know Someone Addicted to Drugs

The results of a PEW Research Center survey found that 46 percent of American adults stated they knew of either a family member or a close friend who was

• Addicted to drugs; or
• Had been addicted previously.

There are no major differences in the numbers when sorted by race: white (46 percent), black (52 percent), Hispanic (50 percent) or gender (men and women are equally divided at 46 percent).

Substance Use Disorder

Researchers looked at federal government data to compile their findings. In 2016, approximately 7.4 million Americans (2.7 percent of the population) over the age of 12 met the criteria for illicit “drug use disorder” (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA).

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) doesn’t use terms like substance abuse and substance dependence to describe those who have issues with chemicals. Instead, it uses the term “substance use disorder.” The severity of the disorder is classified as being mild, moderate or severe based on the number of diagnostic criteria that each client meets.

Definition of Substance Use Disorder – A substance use disorder occurs when the repeated use of drugs or alcohol leads to a “significant impairment.” – a health issue, disability or a failure to meet responsibilities at home, work or school. The diagnosis of substance abuse disorder is made based on evidence of issues in a person’s social life, risky use, lack of control, as well as pharmacological criteria.

Substance use disorders include the following:

• Alcohol Use Disorder
• Opioid Use Disorder
• Cannabis Use Disorder
• Stimulant Use Disorder
• Hallucinogen Use Disorder
• Tobacco Use Disorder

Substance Use Statistics

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2016), 20.1 million people in the US over the age of 12 had a substance use disorder. Approximately 15.1 million had an alcohol use disorder and 2.1 million had an opioid use disorder.

The survey was a self-reporting one for participating households. The true figures may well be much higher. There is also an unmarked void for the tens of millions of Americans who take other kinds of prescription drugs and are dependent on them, whether they are needed or not. The opioid epidemic has shed light on the over-prescribing issue our nation faces, but the problem is by no means limited to painkillers.

Getting Help for a Drug or Alcohol Problem

One of the first things to do in order to help someone recover from a drug or alcohol problem is to locate an effective treatment program. Desert Cove Recovery is here to assist you by helping to answer your questions and learn more about the rehabilitation and recovery process.

Contact us today to speak with a treatment specialist who can help.

never drinking again

Another Sunday of “Never Drinking Again?”

Spending Another Saturday or Sunday Hungover? Weekend Binge-Drinking Is a Serious Issue

“Ugh, I feel awful. I’m never drinking again.”

How many times have you mumbled something similar after waking up with a hangover? You have good intentions when you claim you’re never going to drink again, so you believe your declaration of sobriety. Unfortunately, you find yourself dealing with the hangover/hungover cycle again next weekend…and the weekend after that.

It doesn’t have to be like this. You can break your weekend binge-drinking habit with help from supportive, compassionate people who understand your situation.

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What is binge drinking?

Binge drinking refers to heavy drinking that quickly raises a man or woman’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) to a percentage of 0.08 grams or higher. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this usually occurs when a woman has more than 4 alcoholic beverages or a man has more than 5 alcoholic drinks in a 2-hour period.

Binge drinking is common at parties, bars, and events centered around alcohol. Some adults mindlessly consume multiple drinks as they socialize, dance, or snack on appetizers. Other folks intentionally down alcoholic beverages during drinking games, such as beer pong or Quarters.

Does binge drinking each weekend make me an alcoholic?

Not all binge drinkers are alcoholics. The CDC states that approximately 90% of heavy drinkers do not have an alcohol use disorder. (Alcoholism is an example of an alcohol use disorder.) However, that does leave approximately 10% of heavy drinkers that DO have an alcohol use disorder.

Why is binge drinking bad?

There are numerous risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption, including:

  • Vehicular crashes
  • Abnormal and/or inappropriate behavior
  • Injuries
  • Alcohol poisoning

Drinking heavily may lower your inhibitions, making you more likely to engage in activities you would normally avoid. Some potential side effects of excessive drinking, such as liver damage and memory issues, may not appear immediately.

Can a teen have a binge-drinking problem?

Binge drinking affects people of all ages, including teens and preteens. One out of every 5 drinkers are under the age of 21, and 13% of underage drinkers admit they have had recent episodes of binge drinking.

What should I do if someone I love is a weekend binge drinker?

It’s difficult to watch a loved one battle hangovers or other unwanted side effects caused by binge drinking. If you’re concerned about a loved one’s drinking, don’t lecture her or criticize her actions. Invite her to attend alcohol-free events with you, and let her know that you’re happy to lend an ear if she ever wants to talk about her drinking. Don’t press the issue; you don’t want to push your loved one away.

How do I know if I’m drinking too much?

Ask trusted friends or family members how they feel about your drinking, but keep in mind that some loved ones may sugarcoat potential issues to avoid conflict. Make a list of how your drinking affects your life. It may help to track what, how much, and when you drink on a calendar.

After tracking your alcohol consumption, do you notice a pattern of hangovers, fights with your significant other, or missed shifts at work? These are all signs that your weekend drinking habits are impacting your life in a negative way.

If I have a problem with binge drinking, does that mean I have to give up drinking forever?

This is a common concern that people who consider giving up alcohol completely. It’s difficult to imagine an alcohol-free life, especially if your social outings or business meetings frequently involve alcoholic beverages or if those around you would not be willing to cut out alcohol during gatherings.

Some binge drinkers become dependent on alcohol, so they decide it’s best to adopt a sober lifestyle. There are also people who successfully modify their drinking habits without permanently giving up alcohol. An alcohol abuse specialist can help you decide if you should limit or eliminate alcohol consumption.

You can have fun without alcohol, but adjusting to sobriety takes time. If you decide to quit drinking, make sure you surround yourself with encouraging people who support your path toward sobriety. You deserve a happy, healthy and rewarding life.

happy life not hungover

Research Indicates Link Between High Sugar Diet and Opioid Addiction

New research from the laboratory of behavioral neuroscience at the University of Guelph has suggested a possible link between diet and risk of opioid addiction. Specifically, children and adults may be more vulnerable to opioid addiction when high amounts of refined sugars are consumed.

There has been a lot of press recently about the current opioid crisis — and for good reason. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that provisional counts for the number of deaths has increased by 21 percent in the period 2015-2016. Drug overdoses are now claiming lives at double the rate of motor vehicle accidents and firearms combined.

Sugar Activates Reward Centers in Brain

Research studies have revealed that refined sugar activates the reward centers in the brain in the same manner as addictive drugs. Opioid abuse has also been linked to poor diet, including a preference for foods that are high in sugar. Based on this link, researchers had questions about whether there was a connection between a diet with an excessive amount of refined sugar and an increased susceptibility to opioid addiction.

How Research Was Conducted

The research team looked at whether an unlimited level of access to high fructose corn syrup changed laboratory rats’ behavior and responses to oxycodone, a semi-synthetic opioid. High fructose corn syrup, a commonly used food additive in North American processed foods and soft drinks, was selected for this study.

In one study conducted by doctoral student Meenu Minhas, the rats were given unrestricted access to drinking water sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. The sweetened water was removed after about a month. After a few days where the rats didn’t have access to any sweetened water, researchers evaluated the rats’ response to oxycodone.

The researchers found that when the rats consumed high levels of corn syrup, they may experience less rewards from the oxycodone. As a result, the rats may be looking to take higher amounts of the drug.

High Sugar Diet May Contribute to Opioid Addiction

The results indicate that a diet high in sugar may dampen the pleasure that someone may get from taking drugs such as Percocet, Percodan, and OxyContin at lower doses. Since these sedative drugs normally make a user feel more relaxed shortly after being ingested, someone who isn’t getting these results is likely to take a larger dose to get the desired results.

Higher doses of sedatives and painkillers can be dangerous. At high levels, they can interfere with central nervous functioning and slow down breathing, leading to coma or respiratory arrest. When combined with alcohol, their effects multiply since alcohol is also a depressant drug.

This research is another good reason to eat a balanced diet, including lean meats, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. There is a place for sweets, but in moderation.