Tag Archives: cocaine

12 step rehab

How 12 Step Rehab Works

Will 12 Step Rehab Work for Me?

The 12 step method is considered by many addiction experts to be the best help for long-term addiction recovery. However, it is not without controversy.

Keep reading to get a better understanding of this groundbreaking approach and find out why millions of people in recovery still trust it.

How the 12 Steps Started

Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in Ohio in 1935 by Bill Wilson, a recovering alcoholic, and Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith. AA was based on this premise: When it comes to staying sober, there is strength in numbers. Alcoholics from all walks of life began meeting to share their struggles, celebrate their successes and lean on one another throughout the journey to recovery.

The 12 steps were established in 1946. Originally, the steps emphasized the importance of surrendering one’s addiction to a higher power for healing and restoration. AA also embraced the Serenity Prayer, which was penned by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Throughout AA’s history, nonreligious people have objected to its heavy emphasis on spirituality. As a result, the language in many 12 step models has been amended to accommodate people from a myriad of belief systems. References to the presence of God are open to a wide variety of interpretations. Even atheists can use the basic principles for guidance.

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12 Step Sponsors

Sponsorship is also an important feature. Newcomers navigate the 12 steps alongside someone who has already worked through them and is successfully staying sober. Sponsors are typically available for questions, intervention or encouragement almost 24/7.

Another benefit is the ability to learn from others who are farther along on the journey. New members can pick up coping skills and tips for avoiding relapse from seasoned group members. There is also a compassionate atmosphere of accountability without judgment.

12 Step for Addiction Treatment

Over the years, the success of AA has spawned hundreds of other organizations for people with all kinds of addictions. Groups exist for those who struggle with drug abuse, gambling, overeating, hoarding and even addiction to using credit cards. The 12 basic steps are applicable to almost any struggle.

Nationwide, membership in groups that use the model is estimated in the millions. Many fellowships cater to specific demographic groups such as veterans, men or women only, gay people, clergy or seniors. You name it, and there’s probably a 12 step group for it somewhere.

If you talk to recovering alcoholics about the 12 step program, you may start to see a funny pattern. Many express mixed or negative feelings about going to meetings week after week or year after year. However, they grudgingly admit that attendance keeps them sober. When the choice is continued participation or relapse, many people choose to stay involved.

What Are the 12 Steps?

According to the website 12step.org, this is the most current version of the original 12 traditions:

  1. Admit powerlessness over addiction.
  2. Find hope through a higher power or higher goal.
  3. Turn the power to manage life over to the higher power.
  4. Analyze the self and behaviors objectively, described as taking a moral inventory.
  5. Share the results of the analysis with another person or the higher power.
  6. Prepare to allow the higher power to remove the negative aspects discovered in the analysis.
  7. Ask the higher power for these negative aspects to be removed.
  8. Make a list of wrongs done to others.
  9. Make amends for those wrongs as long as it is not harmful to the recipient to do so.
  10. Make self-analysis, removal of faults and amends regular practices.
  11. Meditate or pray for the continued ability to recover.
  12. Help others in need to go through the same process.

Each of the 12 steps expresses an essential value for healing. Working through them one by one empowers addicts to manage their disease and regain control of their lives.

Again, there are many alternative 12 step organizations for people who oppose the idea of God or a higher power.

12 Step Rehab

Around 75 percent of treatment programs incorporate the 12 step philosophy in some form. Most experts recommend the 12 step approach as an established, methodical process for understanding and managing addiction.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse endorses the 12 step premise that addiction cannot be cured and that preventing recurrences is a lifelong process. A study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that the 12 step method perfectly complements therapies geared toward changing thought patterns and behavior.

Like many other treatments, 12 step is most effective as part of a comprehensive program that incorporates other proven methods. Here are just a few treatments that can be supported by the 12 step philosophy:

  • Detox
  • Cognitive behavior therapy
  • Motivational incentives
  • Holistic methods
  • Family counseling
  • Long-term aftercare

Most people who have an addiction also have at least one other mental disorder. This is called dual diagnosis. Treating both conditions at once is far more effective than treating them separately. A study of 12 step programs published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs found them beneficial in treating dual diagnosis.

If you need help deciding on the best treatment plan, call Desert Cove Recovery today to speak with an experienced counselor.

vaccine for cocaine addiction

Research Continues on Cocaine Addiction Vaccine

Dr. Ron Crystal, a researcher at Cornell University’s Weill Cornell Medical College, is working on a vaccine to treat cocaine addiction. The inspiration for the project came to Dr. Crystal in an unusual way: As he was walking by a new stand, he happened to see a copy of the magazine, “Newsweek,” with the words, “addiction vaccine” printed on its cover.

The idea took hold with Dr. Crystal. He started thinking about the possibility of linking an addictive molecule, such as cocaine, to a cold virus or certain parts of a cold virus. If successful, he thought, there was a potential to “trick the immune system” into thinking that the addictive molecule was a cold virus. The body would respond by developing an immunity to the cocaine.

How the Vaccine Works

The vaccine induces antibodies in the body. When someone snorts cocaine, the antibodies bind it up and prevent it from reaching the brain. As a result, the user doesn’t experience the “rush” or sense of euphoria associated with cocaine use.

The vaccine would render cocaine ineffective as a way to get high. Without the physical and psychological rewards associated with cocaine use, it may be easier to stop using the drug.

Cocaine Vaccine Wouldn’t Stop Cravings

The cocaine vaccine wouldn’t stop cravings that an addict experiences. A person would still need to undergo addiction treatment to learn strategies for coping with them.

Human Trial Starting Soon

The cocaine vaccine has already been successful in animal trials. Dr. Crystal commented recently that experimental animals can be given a shot of cocaine “and it doesn’t touch them at all.”

Dr. Crystal and his research team are currently recruiting people for a human clinical trial, which will involve 30 participants. This part of Dr. Crystal’s research is expected to be completed next year. If the first human trial proves successful, it will still be a number of years before a vaccine for cocaine addiction is available on the market.

Is a Vaccination for Cocaine Addiction a Viable Solution?

Without more research, it’s difficult to say whether a vaccination will actually help those with cocaine addiction. In the meantime, those struggling with addiction should reach out for help. If you or a loved one are addicted to cocaine, or another substance, contact a professional at Desert Cove Recovery today.

Cocaine Use by Fathers at Conception May Cause Learning Disabilities in Children

cocaine useThere has been extensive research regarding drug use by pregnant women and the effects on their children before and after birth. However, very little research has been conducted into possible links between a father’s drug use and the effects on the children. Recently, a research team at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania decided to take on the task of determining if there are any health repercussions for babies who were fathered by someone using cocaine at the time of conception.

It turns out that the researchers did find some interesting data regarding the possibility of negatively effecting the health of their children. Although initial research involved rats, the results implicated similar behavior in humans. The study authors found that male babies whose biological fathers used extensive amounts of cocaine were more likely to develop learning disabilities than those whose biological fathers did not consume drugs. Also, it appears that male babies and not female babies are effected by paternal cocaine use, the researchers are not clear as to why this is the case.

In order to come to these conclusions, the researchers studied baby rats that were born to fathers who had been administered cocaine for a substantial length of time and compared the babies behavior to those born to fathers who were not given cocaine. The scientists observed that babies in the first group had more difficulty locating objects or remembering locations of items. They also discovered that these rats had impaired synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for learning.

In this case, the researchers have concluded that the excessive cocaine use causes changes to the genes of the father, which he eventually passes to his son. So, even though the sons were never actually exposed to cocaine, they still felt the negative, and long lasting, effects of the drug. This study is telling in multiple ways, as little research has been done as to how genetics are affected from the start by the introduction of foreign substances such as illegal drugs or prescription drugs. In a time where our society is more drugged than ever with pharmaceuticals, we should continue to investigate the long-term effects.

Opioids and Cocaine Make for a Dangerous Combination

Opioids and CocaineThere was a time when cocaine use was sweeping across the country. The drug took inner cities by storm in the eighties and nineties and claimed many lives in the process. Then, cocaine use generally went down after prescription painkillers and heroin became more popular.

Now experts have noticed that more people are dying from drug overdoses involving cocaine than in subsequent years. In an effort to isolate the reasons why this may be occurring, researchers investigated the most recent string of overdose deaths . They found that it is much more common to mix cocaine with opioids than previously thought. This deadly combination has been identified as the reason for the surging fatalities.

“Opioids, primarily heroin and synthetic opioids, have been driving the recent increase in cocaine-related overdose deaths. This corresponds to the growing supply and use of heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl [a synthetic opioid] in the United States,” explained the researchers.

It was discovered that cocaine and opioid overdoses increased between 2006 and 2015, despite the number of cocaine users declining over that same period of time. This indicates that they are more like additional opioid deaths who also used cocaine, rather than the other way around, as there has also been a long upward trend of poly-drug users. Mixing multiple substances in such a fashion makes overdoses more likely to happen as well.

There have also been reports of cocaine users unknowingly ingesting synthetic opioids that were added to the powder. “In the absence of recent, regular opioid use, someone using cocaine and fentanyl (knowingly or unknowingly) would be highly susceptible to opioid-induced respiratory depression and subsequent overdose,” the authors wrote.

In a day where drug overdose deaths continue to rise, the threat for every single user becomes a very real possibility. There are too many things that can go wrong and synthetic drug additives for any user to really know what they are consuming. If you have a loved one who is addicted to drugs, contact us today to learn more about successful intervention and treatment options.

Hormones May Help Women Overcome Addiction

psychopharmacologyAs researchers discover more information about drugs and their interactions mentally and physically, some powerful data shows that women become addicted to drugs faster than men, but there are more addicts overall who are male. However, the mechanisms that cause this phenomenon can also help women overcome their substance abuse.

Researchers at Davidson College in North Carolina have discovered that hormones likely play a role in this difference between men and women and their susceptibility to misuse drugs. They then wanted to see if these hormones could be used to help reduce subsequent drug use, and their findings were published in the journal Psychopharmacology.

“There are a lot of data to indicate that women transition from that initial use to having a substance-use disorder much more rapidly,” explained Mark Smith, a psychologist at Davidson.

The researchers were able to track drug use in female rats as they went through their menstrual cycles. They found that the hormones, progesterone and estrogen, proved to be factors in significant reduction of drug use. For example, when a rat’s hormone levels were the highest, the amount of heroin that was consumed went down drastically, leading to a direct correlation of reduction of drug use.

This new information points to estrogen and progesterone as possibly being effective supplements for women who are seeking treatment for opiate addiction. However, there are still a lot of questions researchers have to answer before this type of medication becomes available to female addicts. For instance, the researchers are unsure if estrogen, or progesterone or both are responsible for the decrease in the urge to consume opiates. Research trials are being conducted to find out the answer to these questions, and similar studies must be done with humans to better determine the real-life application of this information.

MIT Study Shows Treatment More Cost Effective than Drug War Expense

cocaine userSouth America has long been in the cross hairs of the DEA and other government officials in regards to the illicit drug trade. The continent has been the biggest supplier of cocaine to the United States for decades. In an effort to curb the massive amount of cocaine funneling into the country, the Federal government mounted a significant and expensive attack on coca plant farmers and the drug cartels. Unfortunately, a new look at these measures show that the expectations of this attack do not match the outcome.

Daniel Mejia and Pascual Restrepo, economists at MIT and Colombia’s Universidad de los Andes, respectively, released an analysis that shows that very little positive results were attained from the United States’ $4.3 billion dollar effort from 2000 to 2008.

Plan Colombia was presented to taxpayers as a radical and aggressive way to significantly reduce the amount of cocaine coming into the United States. In order to cut the production of cocaine in Columbia, the United States invested over $4 billion dollars into aerial spraying of crops, interruption of cocaine smuggling and intelligence. However, these efforts have not paid off. In fact, according to the economists, in order to eliminate one kilogram of cocaine, the United States spent $940,000.

If they just wanted to get the drug off the streets, they could literally buy up the cocaine coming in and dispose of it – at a cost of only $30,000 per kilogram.

Mejia and Restrepo included an example of a much more cost effective approach to reducing the cocaine problem in this country. They cited a different analysis that shows that the cost of eliminating one kilogram of cocaine by investing in drug treatment centers would cost the country between $12,500 and $68,705 per year.

“If the U.S. wants to reduce drug consumption, it is better off investing in treatment and prevention programs domestically than subsidizing source country interventions, [such] as Plan Columbia,” explained Jonathon Caulkins, a drug policy expert at Carnegie Mellon University. Caulkins joins many other Americans who have begun to call for more treatment funding rather than punishment for addicts. As more and more people suffer from drug and alcohol addictions, it is becoming vital that the United States invests in reliable and effective treatment options.

Cocaine Cut with Caffeine Found to be More Dangerous

americanjournalonaddictionsAs if cocaine was not dangerous enough, drug dealers have found another way to make it more addictive and potent. By adding caffeine, drug manufacturers in South America have increased the potency and addictiveness of cocaine. This information is important because it helps explain why the drug is still wreaking havoc on millions of people throughout the world.

In addition to the initial high, cocaine users will often experience paranoia, hallucinations and depression, but the drug is so powerful that many people continue to abuse it, often in an attempt to make those unwanted side effects to go away. However, we know that more use of the drug only makes things worse, rapidly.

“Nearly 80 percent of the coca paste samples were adulterated. Most with caffeine,” explained Jose Prieto, a neurochemist at the Biological Research Institute Clemente Stable in Montevideo, Uruguay. This information is important because it highlights the dangers of cocaine and caffeine separately as well as together. It allows researchers to better help future and current addicts.

An experiment was done to see what the differences were between cocaine and cocaine laced with caffeine. The rats that were administered just cocaine would run around and appear to have a lot of energy. The rats that were administered cocaine and caffeine did the same thing, however much more intensely, but it would run out faster. With the increased sensitization to the drug, it’s more potent effect wore off faster, thus driving users back for more in less time compared to cocaine alone.

As with all addiction research, the more that is known and understood about the chemical, biological and behavioral aspects, the more treatments can be developed to help people recover. This research was published in the American Jouranl on Addictions.

Deformities Caused By Excessive Cocaine Use

cocaine useMany cocaine users often do so in binges, meaning periods of abstinence and then heavy abuse for a day or so. There are also those who become addicted to the drug and wind up using it daily. Any amount of cocaine use had the potential of serious health risks.

Since cocaine is a stimulant, it most immediately has a negative impact on the heart and vascular system. While heart attacks seem to be more commonly reported side effects of cocaine use, other problems that can occur include deformities caused by vascular constriction.

When users snort the drug, on problem that has been found is called a Nasal Septal Perforation, which means it creates a hole in the person’s nose between nostrils. A lesser-known and more serious problem is a perforated palate.

Palatal perforation can cause major problems with performing the essential functions of life. Eating, speaking and drinking are all impacted by this deformity. The constricting vessels of the palate cause delicate tissue in the roof of the mouth to erode, thus creating the hole, pictures of which can be seen here.

Although cocaine use seems to be declining in America, it is still one of the most abused illicit drugs in the country as well as around the world. If you or someone you love has a problem with cocaine, contact us today to find out more about how we can help.

Scientists Discover Method of Detecting Cocaine Use from Fingerprints

analystScientists may have discovered a more effective way to detect cocaine use among people. Currently, the most common methods of drug testing are urine analysis (UA) and blood tests. These measure substances by parts per million and are very sensitive, yet UAs can sometimes be unreliable and blood tests are inconvenient and invasive as well.

There are other ways of conducting drug tests, such as breathalyzers for alcohol and even marijuana use, as well as saliva and hair testing. The discovery that drug use, specifically cocaine, can be determined by analyzing the fingerprint may allow for quicker results and a less invasive approach to testing.

“The beauty of this method is that, not only is it non-invasive and more hygienic than testing blood or saliva, it can’t be faked. By the very nature of the test, the identity of the subject is captured within the fingerprint ridge detail itself,” explained Dr. Melanie Bailey, a chemistry professor who worked on the project.

The cocaine fingerprint test works by spraying the individual’s fingerprint with a chemical that reacts with benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine, both are secreted after a person has ingested cocaine. Scientists were able to determine if a person had cocaine in their system because the spray would indicate the presence of the metabolized residue that is secreted. The results of their work were published in the journal Analyst.

There is a definite need for tests that can measure illicit drug use that are portable, accurate and easy to use. The applications include law enforcement use during traffic stops to schools, work, at home and at drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs as well.

Researchers Examine Treatment for Brain Damage Caused by Cocaine

uthealthOne side effect of heavy cocaine usage can be brain damage. An addiction to cocaine is difficult to overcome due to the extreme cravings, but brain damage from the drug makes it even harder for addicts to stay away.

For many years doctors and scientists have been working to help those whose brains have been damaged from cocaine use. Now, doctors at UTHealth Medical School are conducting an experiment using a diabetes drug called Plytieulong. The hope is that the drug will help reverse some of the negative effects cocaine has on the brain.

Scans of people’s brains who have abused cocaine for many years show large white spots. This is where the damage has been done. It was discovered that Plytieulong helped to reverse the damage and now scientists are conducting an experiment to see how extensive the reversal is. They have created two groups. One group of cocaine users are receiving a placebo drug, while the other group is receiving the Plytieulong. Scientists are watching the two groups to see if the drugs are as promising as they hope. In the future, the same drugs may also be used to treat other brain damage, whether caused by addiction or different diseases.

“I think this study is important because of the impact of addiction in general. There are estimates as high as 24 million Americans have a drug use disorder yet only a small percent of them are actually receiving treatment,” explained Dr. Joy Schmitz, one of the doctors conducting the study.

Cocaine abuse is not in the media as much as heroin or prescription drug abuse, however it is just as damaging to addicts and takes an extreme toll on users both mentally and physically. While the study is not complete, the hopes are that people who suffer from an addiction to cocaine will soon be able to receive help in repairing some of the damage they caused to themselves by using the drug.