Category Archives: Treatment Admissions

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.

Conflicting Information Over Marijuana Use Statistics

smoking marijuanaRecently, there have been several stories printed in various media outlets regarding marijuana use trends, especially concerning teenagers. While one study showed that use has slightly declined on a broader scale, other reports have indicated a serious jump in adolescent use in places where marijuana has been legalized for recreational use by adults.

So who should we believe? While survey samples can potentially taint information or estimates, it is certainly possible to have differing results. Something that cannot be changed, though, are the statistics regarding treatment admissions for people abusing or addicted to pot.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) report, primary treatment admissions for marijuana have been increasing. The latest statistic showed that they accounted for 17 percent of all treatment admissions, which outnumbered all other illicit substances.

So, while attitude tracking surveys and early use research are definitely important, there are other sources to help verify the scope of the problem as well. Regardless of what someone believes about marijuana, there are real people who need real help to stop using it, just like there are people needing help to quit other substances as well.

For many in the addiction treatment and prevention field, the advent of marijuana legalization in some states is a warning sound for an influx of people needing assistance in the very near future. Hopefully the novelty of it will wear off and the over-promotion of it by zealous supporters will quiet down if they realize they are causing harm to young people who think it’s safe for them to keep getting high.

Methamphetamine Rising Again in Many Areas

methnamesDespite the lack of media attention methamphetamine has gotten over the last several years, it is still a widely abused drug. In fact, methamphetamine users are showing up in larger numbers again – even rivaling opiates in some areas.

The drug, known for its powerful effect on the body, is a highly addictive stimulant. Users often fall into an intense addiction very quickly upon trying the drug. This is likely a reason why the abuse rate is so high with methamphetamine. Oftentimes users will seek out the drug and feel compelled to keep taking more.

Methamphetamine experienced a surge in popularity when users realized they could manufacture the drug from their homes. Using ingredients that were common among households and easy to obtain at drug stores and home improvement stores, addicts soon were able to produce their own supply. Then, about ten years ago, states started to regulate the methamphetamine ingredients more, and the number of at-home meth lab busts dropped significantly.

Unfortunately, there was still a large demand for methamphetamine. Drug cartels in Mexico realized that they could manufacture the drug and smuggle it into the United States. A recent study in the Twin Cities in Minnesota noted the increase of meth users there.

“Since 2009 it’s been creeping up again and now the supply is from Mexico,” explained Carol Falkowski, the lead author of the study. In addition to fueling the methamphetamine habit, cartels have also made the drug stronger. The methamphetamine brought in from Mexico is 80% pure and creating even more addicts.

In addition to the rise in treatment admissions again, emergency rooms have also seen an increase in people checking in for complications resulting from methamphetamine use. If you know of someone in need of help for a methamphetamine problem, contact us to learn more about effective treatment options.

Debate Over New Law Regarding Pregnant Substance Abusers Heats Up

Tennessee became the first state to pass a law aimed at trying to charge pregnant women with a crime if they are addicted to drugs and refuse to get treatment. Addicted mothers who reject help would be charged with misdemeanors. Recently signed by Governor Bill Haslam, the law has not come without controversy.

According to news sources, The American Civil Liberties Union and some other groups argue that the law attempts to punish women for private choices in life, while the other side of that says that they’re causing potential harm to the child. When does the protection of personal rights become more important than protection of the rights of others?

Other critics of the law say that it might be a deterrent for pregnant women to receive proper medical care during pregnancy if they feel they’ll be punished. However, the law is intended for help and instead of punishment, providing a form of intervention so that mothers and babies can become more healthy.

Some people have said that separating a mother from her baby and forcing her to into treatment is not responsible, but these people aren’t understanding that there are many kinds of rehabilitation programs, including ones where mothers can have their children with them as well as outpatient centers.

Among the varying points made by proponents and detractors, they all seem to have some sensibility and intend to offer support for society and individuals in their own ways. Whether or not you agree with the new law, it became clear to officials in the state, and elsewhere, that something else needed to be done to reduce the percentage of babies being born addicted to drugs.

Did they go too far with this law, or is a misdemeanor not severe enough for those who refuse help? Where is the line drawn between accountability and compassion? The state has agreed to review the effects of the law after two years and implement adjustments and improvements if needed. Meanwhile, similar laws could start popping up in other states.

Males Twice as Likely to Wind Up in Treatment for Substance Abuse

genderreportOf the many studies and surveys conducted routinely throughout the country regarding drug and alcohol use, one of them includes information on admissions to treatment programs. Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) provides a look at statistics related to people seeking rehabilitation services for drug and alcohol abuse.

A recent TEDS report showed that of the nearly 2 million treatment admissions in 2011, two-thirds of them were for males, making them twice as likely as females to be admitted. The numbers seeking help typically reflect the percentage of overall users as well, though there certainly are variations in use patterns among different age groups.

For example, the report stated that the rate of substance abuse for both genders was similar between the ages of 12 and 17. The primary substances used also varied, with alcohol being more prevalent for female teens while marijuana was cited in a greater number of males. A somewhat surprising statistic included that women over the age of 65 were nearly 3 times more likely to abuse prescription painkillers.

Regardless of the gender or substance, Desert Cove Recovery strives to provide excellent treatment for people in Arizona. Clients come from all over the country for this quality treatment program. If you know someone in need of rehabilitation services, contact us today.

More Than a Quarter Million People Dependent on Methadone Daily

methadonepillsThe National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS) is a routinely updated gathering of information on various types of addiction treatment and rehabilitation programs throughout the country. It represents a snapshot of the field on a single day, rather than a compilation of a year’s worth of statistics.

One of the categories that it surveys includes Opioid Treatment Programs, which provide medication-assisted therapy to treat opiate addictions. The replacement drugs given in these programs are usually either methadone or buprenorphine. On March 31, 2011 there were over 268,000 people taking methadone and 3,300 taking buprenorpine (which doesn’t include those taking the drug prescribed from other treatment facilities or primary care physicians).

Aside from the sheer number of people taking methadone each day, and equally alarming statistic for some is the amount of the drug they are taking per day. The survey showed that 18 percent of methadone patients are taking 120 milligrams or more, compared to only 10 percent of them taking 40 milligrams or less.

Methadone itself is an opioid agonist that has a high level of toxicity. Many users say that withdrawing from methadone is much more difficult than coming down from heroin or other opiates. This, as well as building up a tolerance, is one of the reasons why so many methadone users continue to increase their dosage amounts. The scariest part is that according to the CDC, methadone accounts for more than 5,000 overdose deaths each year.

At Desert Cove Recovery, we strive to help people become completely free from opiates. If you have a loved one dependent on drugs such as heroin or prescription painkillers, contact us today to compare our rehabilitation center with your other options before choosing any kind of opioid replacement therapy maintenance program.

Glenn Close Advocates for the Excellence in Mental Health Act

gcemhdsAcclaimed actress Glenn Close joined Senator Debbie Stabenow (D – MI) in support for the Excellence in Mental Health Act. The bipartisan legislation is co-authored by Senator Roy Blunt (R – Missouri) and seeks to establish a criteria and provide additional funding for community mental health centers so that more people can have access to critical behavioral health care services.

As an advocate for mental health, Glenn Close stated, “It is critical that people come out and talk about mental illness to reduce the stigma surrounding those living with mental illness. This legislation is so important in the effort to expand access to mental health services and improve the quality of treatment available. With reduced stigma and discrimination, and increased access to quality care, people living with mental illness can get the treatment they need.”

After passing the Senate Finance Committee last week the Act has been attached as an amendment to another “must pass” bill regarding physicians’ payments. The original bill was co-sponsored by at least two dozen Senators and supported by more than 50 organizations, including notables such as the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Council for Behavioral Healthcare, and many others. For many in the field, it is refreshing to see legislators from both major parties working together for the common purpose of helping Americans rather than trying to serve their own agendas.

Desert Cove Recovery recognizes the need for effective behavioral health care, which is why our professional clinical staff offer custom mental health treatment plans. Contact us today to find out more about our programs.