Category Archives: Treatment Admissions

Searching for Addiction Treatment Help

Searching for and settling on the right treatment facility can be a daunting task for even the most skilled researchers. There are so many factors that need to be taken into account. How much does the rehab cost? Where is it? Will they accept my insurance? Will they address the other problems in life that may have preceded the drug and/or alcohol use?

Currently there are various ways to look for treatment options, with search engines such as Google being the most prominent, but it is mainly left to the family members or the addicts themselves to try and locate something. This can pose a problem for some families and even prevent addicts from getting the help they need if they are met with barriers such as running into predatory call centers, waiting lists, higher than usual financial obligations and more.

Earlier this month Google made an unprecedented move in this realm by removing paid ads from many addiction treatment related keywords. The problem, though, is that they also are preventing the good places from being able to advertise there as well. The restriction is reportedly being placed on tens of thousands of keywords and may continue to roll out over time.

Aside from going to a search engine, there aren’t many known resources that people can call and get help searching for rehabilitation programs and supporting services. One college professor and her graduate research assistant are seeking to change that, starting with compiling a list of all of their local resources.

The list encompasses all available treatment options for an addict, including hotlines, prevention services, sober living providers, rehab programs, other medical professionals, and more. The hope is that with one master list, someone searching for help can easily access it, as the goal is to streamline the process.

“My hope is that while we’re getting information to learn more about substance abuse and addiction services across [our area], we are also able to capture what the state of mental health resources are and then to provide resources that have been validated and new information,” explained Amitta Parker one of the lead researchers of the project.

However, this is just one local area. In order to provide comprehensive help to all of those in need, a nationwide master list would have to be constructed and maintained. This massive undertaking has been attempted by government entities like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), but it is far from complete. In fact, many treatment facilities are left off the list and it is unclear how often the database is updated or what other resources are available as a clearinghouse.

The continued loss of lives from addiction makes it clear that we must do a better job connecting up those who are looking for help with the people and places that can provide the services they’re looking for. Maybe Google and SAMHSA could start to work together on such a massive project, and learn a thing or two from these local researchers.

Many Patients Receiving Treatment for Opioid Addictions Still Being Prescribed Painkillers

Opioid AddictionsA new study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health revealed a major problem with prescribing practices in several states throughout the country. It was discovered that many patients who were receiving prescriptions for buprenorphine to treat their opioid addictions were also receiving prescriptions for prescription painkillers at the same time.

According to information from eleven states, two in five patients that were using buprenorphine were also being prescribed prescription painkillers. Additionally, it was discovered that 66% of people who had completed treatment were also being prescribed painkillers within 12 months.

This shocking discovery only serves to highlight the obvious need for better prescribing practices, prescription drug monitoring programs and more education for doctors. “Policymakers may believe that people treated for opioid addiction are cured, but people with substance abuse disorders have a lifelong vulnerability, even if they are not actively using. Our findings highlight the importance of stable, ongoing care for these patients,” commented Dr. G. Caleb Alexander, study author.

Many experts agree with Dr. Alexander. Treatment has been found to be one of the most effective ways to overcome an addiction to opiates. However, many people struggle to find a treatment facility that is right for them. This is made even more difficult by the potential changes being implemented surrounding the Affordable Care Act, which helped increase access to treatment for more people.

There are many successful ways of treating opioid addiction, and using burprenorphine (Suboxone) as an aid to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings has proven to have multiple benefits. What this study shows is that the healthcare system in America has a long way to go to help fix the opioid crisis that appears to be continuing to escalate.

Who Gets Left Behind if the Affordable Care Act is Repealed?

Affordable Care Act There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the Affordable Care Act. The Bill, passed by the Obama administration (dubbed as “Obamacare”) aimed to provide every American with health insurance and eliminate many of the policies that prevented people from obtaining or affording quality insurance coverage. And while many support the Affordable Care Act and want to see it remain intact, there are others who desperately want to do away with it.

This is such a popularizing topic that President Trump made the repeal of the ACA one of the main issues in his campaign. With the new Administration, many stand to lose vital access to healthcare. According to a new study, people with mental health and substance abuse issues are among those who can get stripped of their coverage.

“We estimate that approximately 1,253,000 people with serious mental disorders and about 2.8 million Americans with a substance use disorder, or whom about 222,000 have an opioid disorder, would lose some or all of their insurance coverage [if the Affordable Care Act was repealed],” explained researchers from Harvard Medical School and New York University.

According to the information gathered by the research team, if the ACA is repealed $5.5 billion dollars will be cut from programs that provide services for substance abuse users and mental health patients. This means that there will be a 50% increase of people unable to obtain quality health care for their drug or mental health problems.

There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the future of health insurance coverage in America, and a total repeal of the ACA would be particularly bad news for residents of Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Under the law, these states were able to direct Medicaid funds to pay for substance abuse and mental health treatment. The repeal would eliminate 30-35% of total funding for programs in these states.

There has not been a firm plan presented yet, but people all over the country are anxiously watching. Many are worried that their loved ones will not get the care they need, because there simply isn’t enough money to obtain quality help. Perhaps there can be a better way to generate needed funds for addiction treatment services.

How Much Does Addiction Cost the United States?

facing addiction in americaIn an attempt to really shine a light on the addiction epidemic in this country, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report from the Surgeon General about the current state of alcohol and drug abuse in our country. Among the many statistics, it was determined that substance abuse and addiction costs taxpayers $442 billion.

“The effects of substance use are cumulative and costly for our society, placing burdens on workplaces, the health care system, families, states, and communities,” explained Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in regards to the report.

Although a fair amount of money is going into research, there are many who still feel that too much is being spent on incarcerating drug users and reducing the supply when those dollars would be better spent on education and rehabilitation. Many people in the behavioral healthcare field are concerned that political changes could negatively impact the legislative actions in recent years that have allowed greater access to treatment.

It is clear that with record numbers of fatalities tied to substance abuse in the past year, more must be done. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending more money, as it could simply include spending it in more effective ways. There could also be additional sources of revenue collected that providing funding directly to rehabilitation and prevention programs. Ideas for this could including mandatory taxes on certain prescription drugs, alcohol, marijuana (where it is legal) and other substances so that more dollars are going to addressing the problems associated with their use.

After all, the real cost associated with alcohol and drug addiction can’t be measured in dollars. It is the accumulation of heartache, loss, disease and upsets connected to substance abuse that far outweigh the estimated price tag.

If you have a loved one in need of help for substance abuse or addiction, contact us today to find out more about our program.

Tracking The Need for Addiction Treatment Among Age Groups

need for addition treatmentAlthough there may be a larger percentage of people who misuse or abuse substances between the ages of 18 and 25, the more serious levels of addiction are usually reached after the age of 26. Evidence of this is shown in the fact that the highest percentage of people receiving treatment are aged 26 and older.

Perhaps there are multiple reasons for this, such as resiliency decreasing as the number of years go by, while tolerance increases. Therefore substance abusers continue to feel like they need more and more of their drugs of choice and cannot live without them. The eternal dichotomy of addiction is that the substances they feel they need to survive are the very things that are killing them.

That being said, percentages of new drug initiates (first time users) and occasional users are often higher in the teenage and young adult years. There is often a crossroads of maturity and desperation when it comes to addiction. This is why substance abuse prevention programs that actually work are so vital to our nation.

One couple that has struggled with addiction, and only found help as adults, works with other addicts to get them the help they need. Developing a community where other addicts can see that recovery is possible is one way for adults to seek and attain sobriety. “We can go to bed at night and think about all the things we did that day to make our family better. We have the tools to make our lives better and manage them. We don’t need drugs and alcohol to make it better anymore,” commented Stephanie Valenti in a recent story.

For those who are fortunate enough to get into treatment and follow their chosen direction to recovery, continuing on that path takes a lot of work. Recovery support from friends, family and groups can provide a much-needed lifeline.

If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, contact us today to learn how we may be able to help.

Illicit Drug and Alcohol Use Linked to Schizophrenia Risk: Study

substance abuse and shizophreniaThe results of new research released at the annual International Early Psychosis Association (IEPA) meeting in Milan, Italy in October. They indicate that illicit drug and alcohol use can increase the risk of developing schizophrenia. The study was conducted by Dr Stine Mai Nielsen and Professor Merete Nordentoft of the Copenhagen University Hospital, Mental Health Center Copenhagen in Gentofte, Denmark, and their colleagues.

In the past, research has focused on potential links between addiction and this major mental illness. Due to limitations in study methods used in previous research, it had remained uncertain whether a link existed.

In the Copenhagen University study, researchers were able to establish a group of more than three million people to study. Of these, 204,505 had substance abuse issues and 21,305 had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Study Results Found Increased Risk of Dual Diagnosis Developing Later

The study authors found that when someone is diagnosed with a substance abuse issue, their risk of developing schizophrenia also increases. The risk factors break down as follows:

  • Any substance – 6 times
  • Cannabis – 5.2 times
  • Alcohol – 3.4 times
  • Hallucinogens – 1.9 times
  • Sedatives – 1.7 times
  • Amphetamines – 1.24 times
  • Other substances – 2.8 times

The authors stated, “The increased risk was found to be significant even 10 to 15 years after a diagnosis of substance abuse. Our results illustrate robust associations between almost any type of substance abuse and an increased risk of developing schizophrenia later in life.”

They went to say that it was impossible to state with certainty whether alcohol or substance abuse causes the schizophrenia. People who are at higher risk of developing this type of mental health concern may be more likely to turn to substances to self-medicate. It’s also possible that the same person could be at higher risk for both substance abuse and schizophrenia and develop both conditions. Each of these explanations could be correct, and the relationship between substance abuse and schizophrenia is a complicated one.

If you or a loved one are living with a substance abuse issue and a mental health concern, help is available. Contact us today for more information about our dual diagnosis treatment options.

Opiate Dependent People Suffer More Medical Complications

prescription opiatesIn one of the first studies of its kind, researchers have found that people who are dependent on opiates are much more likely to require additional medical services than people who aren’t. In fact, one recent study found that the number of opiate-dependent people who received additional medical treatments rose 3,000% from 2007 to 2014.

The study authors poured over data from 150 million patient records, and they were able to identify anyone who had been diagnosed with an opiate dependency, heroin abuse problem and any problems caused by opiate consumption. This allowed the researchers from FAIR Health to also see what other medical services these patients required, some of which included additional lab costs, treatment re-admissions, medications and more.

The research team also found that the numbers and percentages of people in this category varied from state to state. For instance, Rhode Island reportedly had the highest rate of opiate dependency, while Montana and Maine had the lowest. Despite this, each state is still feeling the effects of opiate abuse and the toll it takes on the overall healthcare system and in communities throughout the country.

“The reality is, even in states that have done that [providing more treatment options for people seeking help], demand is far in excess of what they can provide. What this tells you is this is not limited to a problem of the poor and unemployed. This is a problem that is cutting right across society,” explained Allan Coukell, senior director for health programs at Pew Charitable Trusts.

While the major concern with opiate and heroin abuse will always be overdose deaths, there are still a lot of health risks associated with taking these drugs. Users are more likely to suffer from emotional problems, respiratory issues, liver problems, injuries and the spread of diseases from sharing needles.

This information provides even more evidence as to why it is so important to reverse this deadly trend and get people into treatment programs. The cost is much more than the dollars associated with the additional care. We must stop the cycle with effective recovery centers and prevention measures.

Recovery Tips for a Drug-Free 2016

 New Year's Resolutions ListWhile innumerable people around the country are preparing for the new year with typical resolutions such as losing weight, exercising more, eating better or taking vacations, there are millions of Americans hoping to become drug-free in 2016.

Here are a few New Year’s recovery tips:

1. Decide – The first thing you have to do is decide that you no longer want to be addicted and lead the lifestyle that is associated with it. Making this decision automatically puts you ahead of the pack on your road to recovery, as others may still be struggling with the idea of sobriety.

2. Get help – If you haven’t done so already, enrolling in a treatment program is the best way to build a solid foundation for recovery by learning the tools you’ll need and having an opportunity to address many of the issues that have been barriers for you previously.

3. Develop a recovery plan – People aren’t magically cured after they leave a treatment center. Sustained recovery takes work and perseverance. This is something that should incorporate all areas of your life so that you can continue building on the foundation that you’ve set for your new life.

4. Stay connected – Recovery support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and other similar meetings or organizations can be vital components to long-term sobriety. They have helped millions of people by providing a safe place to go and people to be with who share your same goal of recovery. You can also stay connected to treatment center alumni organizations, recovery advocacy groups and other similar forms of support.

5. Help others – One of the greatest aspects of 12 step groups is the action of Sponsorship. Just as having a Sponsor when you first join is beneficial to helping you through a crucial time, becoming a Sponsor is invaluable toward maintaining sobriety. This can also come in other forms, such as volunteering with your church, civic groups or other non-profit organizations. The point is to stay involved in drug-free activities designed to help other people.

Of course there are many other helpful tips for long-term recovery, but these five can help you make 2016 one that is drug-free and happy. If you have any questions or would like help implementing this now, contact us today.

Sentenced to Rehab Instead of Jail: Does it Work?

sentencedtorehabWhile few can argue that treating addiction provides better outcomes than locking up addicts, there are varying scenarios that start to add questions to such an assertion. One of them is in regard to sentencing people to rehab after committing other crimes, rather than going to jail as punishment. It is one thing for someone arrested for a drug-related offense, but what about theft? What if someone doesn’t want to go to treatment, but would rather serve out a few months in jail – can they still be helped?

Philosophical arguments go in many different directions, but there is information that backs up the notion that treatment is better for both the individual as well as society. The Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Dr. Nor Volkow, claims that treatment can be effective even if the client is not their voluntarily at first.

When the arguments focus on where to draw the line on types of offenses, many people feel that the dealers should be locked up. However, most dealers are also addicts who started selling to support their habits. In these cases, some areas still provide the opportunity for dealers to receive treatment, such as a recent case in California. When this is the situation, the presiding judge often gives additional stipulations, such as reinstating the original suspended sentence if there are any failures to complete treatment or parole violations.

Such tight restrictions have appeared to be successful in settings known as drug courts. This is where non-violent offenders who have alcohol and other drug problems are dealt with. Rather than being sentenced to jail, they’re often diverted into treatment and probation, with additional goals that have to be met on employment, routine drug screening, and paying back court costs. This blend of the criminal justice system and addiction treatment field may provide the most balanced approach, combining compassion and recovery with accountability and potential punishment.

People Over the Age of 50 at Biggest Risk for Alcohol Abuse

older AmericaSurprisingly, researchers have determined that teenagers are not the most a- risk group for developing drinking problems. In fact a study appearing in BMJ Open found that older people who enjoy financial success are more likely to abuse alcohol than teenagers.

This is contrary to what most people think when it comes to at risk groups for alcohol misuse. Perhaps teenagers get the most attention because evidence has shown that too much alcohol at a young age can put children at risk for other, more severe addictions in the future. Throughout most children’s high school careers they are given lectures, information and warnings against consuming too much alcohol. While this type of attention and care is likely beneficial for young people, it seems that more focus needs to also be placed on older adults.

“Or findings suggest that harmful drinking in later life is more prevalent among people who exhibit a lifestyle associated with affluence and with a ‘successful’ ageing process. Harmful drinking may then be a hidden health and social problem in otherwise successful older people. Consequently, and based on our results, we recommend the explicit incorporation of alcohol drinking levels and patterns into the successful ageing paradigm,” explained Jose Iparraguirre, the lead author of the study.

While the focus remains on the children, many older people are slipping through the cracks. Researchers determined that middle-aged adults who are financially stable are more likely to frequently consume more than two drinks in a sitting, oftentimes at home. Additionally, meetings and social gatherings often include alcohol.

The healthcare community is especially affected by later in life alcohol abuse because of the costs associated with treating those suffering from problems associated with the behavior. Researchers warn that in order to curb the amount of older adults who consume too much alcohol, family members and primary care practitioners need to spot the warning signs that someone may be struggling with alcohol. Early intervention could be most important factor in preventing long term alcohol-related health risks.