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routine in addiction recovery

Routine in Addiction Recovery

New Routine in Addiction Recovery

If you’re reading this, you’ve committed to staying sober. By going through drug rehab, you’ve already come a long way. Establishing a routine as quickly as possible will increase your chances of long-term success.

However, there’s a delicate balance between sticking to a schedule and obsessing over it. If you fail to plan, you open the door to relapse. If you’re rigid and inflexible, you open the door to other addictive behaviors.

Keep reading for tips on creating a routine that strikes the perfect balance.

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The Importance of Routine in Addiction Recovery

Kicking a habit once and for all is difficult if you don’t have anything to replace it with. Having idle time on your hands, time that you once filled by drinking or using drugs, can get you into trouble.

The solution is to make sure that your days and nights are reasonably full. Staying clean is easier once you get into a consistent rhythm; your brain soon kicks in to reward you for making positive changes. Even your body performs better when you set fairly consistent times for eating, sleeping and exercising. Whatever routine you design for yourself is reinforced whenever you repeat it. In time, new habits feel comfortable and familiar, and every recovering addict can use that kind of stability.

In the past, substance abuse was your default setting when you were lonely, bored, depressed or anxious. The idea is to create a new, healthier default setting in which life-enhancing habits replace self-destructive ones. If you establish a good routine, your mind, body and spirit will quickly go along with it. You’ll be in control again.

Establishing a Routine

A structured lifestyle has special benefits for recovering addicts.

Poor health and insomnia are common problems for newly sober people. Scheduling long-overdue doctor visits and dental exams will help you bounce back. Healthy meals will replace lost nutrients. Going to bed and waking at the same time each day will regulate your body clock for better sleep.

Planning a routine in addiction recovery will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. You’ll see that every aspect of life is manageable. Scheduling your time leaves little room for procrastination, loneliness and boredom, which are all triggers to relapse.

Here are some ideas for designing your routine:

  • Prioritize recovery. Quickly decide where and how often you will attend meetings or speak with your sponsor.
  • Set a regular bedtime and time to wake up. Allow time for a healthy, unrushed breakfast before work.
  • Set consistent mealtimes. Research nutrition websites for menu-planning.
  • Set realistic and consistent times for exercise. Start slowly, and gradually increase the length of your workouts as you build stamina.
  • Schedule family time or date nights with your spouse.
  • Schedule daily and weekly household tasks such as cleaning, doing laundry and paying bills.
  • Schedule time for entertainment, hobbies and socialization. You might enjoy Monday Night Football, a daily crossword, a weekly movie night or a monthly book club. Get in touch with sober friends you haven’t seen in a while. Volunteer in your community.
  • Make time for quiet, restorative activities like yoga, religious services, journaling or reading inspirational books.

Fill in all the specifics. Take a careful look at the final product, and rethink anything that could become a pitfall.

For example, your bike route shouldn’t take you past the neighborhood bar you used to frequent. You may not be ready to attend the wedding of a friend if a lot of drinking is planned. If you scheduled time for music, change up your playlist to eliminate songs that you associate with drinking or drug use. Gambling, online bidding, viewing pornography, eating junk food and even overexercising are addictive behaviors. Avoid them.

Adjusting for Balance

Try your schedule out for a few days or a couple of weeks. You may have to tweak it for balance. There shouldn’t be large gaps of free time, but you shouldn’t be working 60 hours a week or watching TV all weekend either. Scheduling diverse activities will keep you from getting bored and make you a more well-rounded person.

Remaining Flexible

Becoming fixated on a routine defeats its purpose. You fought hard to break free from addiction, so don’t become a slave to your schedule.

Don’t neglect loved ones just for the sake of ticking off items on your list. Don’t get into a predictable rut where you stagnate. Pencil in plenty of time for classes or new activities that you’ve always wanted to try.

Be flexible. As long as your choices support sobriety, you’re okay. Feel free to skip the garage cleaning on a beautiful day. Take the kids to the park instead.

At Desert Cove Recovery, we’re committed to supporting you through each stage of the journey. If you need help getting started on a routine, call us today to speak with an experienced counselor.

 

holistic addiction treatment

Benefits of Holistic Addiction Treatment

Substance abuse and addiction are serious problems that affect millions of American adults every year. It can be difficult to know the correct plan of action to take when seeking treatment. Everyone is different and handles the process of recovery in a slightly different manner, leaving some confused and overwhelmed. This following information discusses the benefits that come with holistic addiction treatment and the reasons why this manner of addiction treatment is so successful.

What Does the Term Holistic Truly Mean?

Many people do not fully understand the meaning of the word holistic. Therefore, it’s important to define the proper meaning of this type of treatment before we go any further in this discussion. Holistic refers to the concept that various systems of the body are viewed as whole entities rather than separate and unrelated body systems. In the practice of holism, all parts of the body work together as one in order to support the overall health and well-being of the individual. Therefore, when treating a serious condition such as addiction, a holistic approach involves treating all parts of the individual rather than simply addressing bothersome symptoms.

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benefits of holistic addiction treatment infographic

Six Key Benefits of Holistic Addiction Treatment

1. Treating of Mind, Body, and Spirit

A holistic approach to healing centers around the concept that the mind, body, and spirit of an individual must all be healthy in order for that person to have the most successful life that they can possibly experience. Rather than just treating the physical effects of addiction, this method combines every distinct part of an individual and ensures the health of mind, body, and spirit.

2. Effective Traditional Therapies Remain the Foundation of Care

There are many traditional methods that have been used to treat addiction for decades. These tried and true methods still form the basis of a holistic approach to substance abuse. These methods are simply expanded upon to incorporate treatment of all components of the person seeking help.

3. Caring and Compassionate Environment

Treatment professionals who believe in a holistic approach to care generally provide a safe, secure, and compassionate environment that encourages openness and healing. These individuals are trained and experienced in dealing with the difficulties brought about by addiction. They provide these therapeutic interventions in a way that conveys compassion and empathy for the struggles each individual faces.

4. High Rates of Long-Term Success

Holistic methods of treating substance abuse tend to have better long-term outcomes. A greater percentage of individuals experience a complete recovery. In addition, fewer people treated by this approach fall back into their old patterns of substance abuse and addiction.

5. Greater Selection of Diverse Treatment Options

Holistic treatment facilities utilize a wide array of treatment options. While these comforting amenities may be seen as non-essential components to some, a holistic approach recognizes the importance of treating all body systems equally. Therefore, holistic programs often provide nutritional support, massage, fitness programs, meditation, outdoor recreational programs, and so much more.

6. Quality After Care Programs and Follow Up

Holistic treatment programs also recognize that the individual’s treatment doesn’t end the second he leaves the facility. Successful rehabilitation requires a great deal of skilled follow-up and aftercare therapies. These aftercare programs act as an additional means of support to keep each individual from experiencing a devastating relapse.

Why is Holistic Addiction Treatment So Successful?

We are all complex individuals and the reasons we make specific decisions, good or bad, can be very complex as well. Holistic methods of addiction treatment are successful because they look at a person as a whole and make it a point to treat all parts of an individual successfully. Holistic approaches recognize that a person suffering from addiction is so much more than just his substance abuse problem.

The Importance of Seeking Quality Treatment Promptly

Overcoming addiction and substance abuse is a difficult process. It should come as no surprise that the majority of those experiencing these issues require additional professional support to overcome it and bring about positive change in their lives. Seeking help to overcome these problems and regain a peaceful life should be recognized as a sign of courage and strength, not one of weakness.

Desert Cove Recovery is a top quality behavioral treatment center that believes in taking a holistic approach to managing and treating serious issues such as addiction. Located in the heart of Scottsdale, Arizona, Desert Cove Recovery uses the latest in cutting-edge technologies to tailor a treatment program to fit the needs of each individual.

No matter how serious your issues may seem, you don’t have to face them alone. You can recover from your addiction and experience a peaceful life by seeking proper treatment at a quality facility. Contact Desert Cove Recovery today to find out how we can help you get started on the road to recovery.

 

12 step program

Why the 12-Step Program Works

The 12-Step Program Works for Many. Find Out Why…

If you are battling a drug or substance addiction and want to make positive changes so that you can put your problem in the past, you are likely curious about the benefits of the 12-step program. When you realize you need help and decide to seek treatment, the program will help you make it past the most difficult parts of recovery to give you the best odds of reaching your goal.

A trained and caring expert will learn about you and your addiction to put together a treatment plan that’s right for you. Not only will you learn to accept the problem you are facing, but you will also realize how turning your life to God will give you the power to break free. 

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You Will Learn Acceptance

Denial is the worst enemy of addicts because it prevents them from taking the right steps to cure their problem. In simple terms, you need to know that an issue exists before you can have any hope of solving it. Addicts often read self-help books or watch videos online so that they can get rid of their addiction, but those methods rarely work.

The help of a professional, caring support staff and faith in God are the elements that lead to recovery from addiction, but you must accept that you are in trouble before you can find an answer. When you come to our addiction treatment program, we will utilize the 12-steps as a way to help you celebrate the fact that you are powerless to overcome your addiction alone.

You Will Take a Realistic Look at Your Choices

Many people stay trapped in addiction because they refuse to take a realistic look at their choices and how they have impacted others. Looking at the truth can be a painful experience at first but will get easier with time. Taking inventory of the decisions you have made as a result of your addiction can motivate you to make better choices in the future. Desert Cove Recovery’s addiction treatment program will inspire you to forgive yourself for everything that you have done, but we will also encourage you to make things right.

You Will Repair the Damage

When addicts try to fix their lives and repair their relationships, the guilt of their past often haunts them, which can cause further stress and depression. Some people will then return to drug use to combat the negative feelings, allowing the cycle to repeat. We believe that an effective addiction treatment must address all of the problems and emotions caused by the addiction.

Our team will invite you to make a list of each person you harmed because of your addiction and encourage you to reverse the damage. For some people, this means apologizing for past mistakes and promising not to repeat them. For others, making things right can involve repaying money they might have borrowed. Only you can decide what path is right, and you will know in your heart what you must do.

You will Learn That You Are Not Alone

Guilt, shame and feelings of worthlessness are common among addicts who feel as though their addiction is a sign of failure. One of the best ways to overcome negative emotions is to realize that you are not alone in your problem. Knowing that others have faced your battle and made it to the other side will give you the inspiration you need to keep pushing yourself forward.

You will get the chance to speak with people who are going through addiction and to understand that you are not the only person with these thoughts and feelings. The sense of unity that you will get from our program will give you the strength and courage to turn your life around.

You Will Monitor Your Progress

In addition to looking at your past choices and how they have affected others, you will also learn to monitor your progress. Each decision you make will either move you toward your goal or away from it, and keeping that fact at the front of your mind will enhance your odds of success. You will take inventory of your life every day and correct your path when needed, and you will know that you are doing the right thing.

Being Proactive

Each minute that an addiction remains untreated makes it a little harder for the addict to reverse the damage, so you won’t want to waste time. You can reach out to us right away to learn more about our program and what we can do to help. Addiction is a disease that impacts the mind and clouds judgment, but working with caring professionals and putting your life in God’s hands will enable you to escape from the struggle of addiction.

No matter your situation or the length of time for which you have been addicted, our proven system can give you the answer for which you have been searching. Your addiction does not need to define or control you anymore. We are excited to work with you and invite you to pick up the phone and give us a call, as soon as possible.

injection treatment for opioid addiction

Monthly Injection Treatment for Opioid Addiction Approved by FDA

The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) has approved a monthly treatment for addiction that is the first of its kind. The new option can be used for those struggling with substance abuse issues stemming from an addiction to narcotics such as prescription painkillers or heroin.

Sublocade, from Indivior Plc, is buprenorphine given by injection. The drug reduces the sensations of withdrawal symptoms in addiction patients. Administering the drug monthly could help patients comply to the treatment schedule, compared to other versions currently available such as daily oral doses in the form of pills or dissolving strips.

Effort to Reduce Stigmas Around Drugs

Approving the new drug treatment product is part of the Administration’s plan to reduce stigmas surrounding this class of medications. Buprenorphine is a synthetic opioid, and critics have expressed their opposition to medication assisted treatment (MAT). Instead, they favor changing users’ behavior to combat the current opioid crisis.

The FDA and other federal agencies are supporting MAT, which involves administering drugs and providing counseling to those affected. The White House referred to the situation as a “public health emergency” in October.

The FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, released a statement recently that said the FDA is “committed to expanding access to treatments that can help people pursue lives of sobriety.”

New Medication Available Early in 2018

According to reports, Sublocade will be made available to patients early in 2018, according to Indivior. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that in 2016, drug overdoses were responsible for taking the lives of more than 64,000 Americans. This figure includes overdoses caused by prescription drugs, such as fentanyl and OxyContin, and illicit ones like heroin. Clients who receive medication assisted treatment for drug addiction reduce their risk of death from all causes in half, according to the FDA, making this option a valuable one.

Mr Gottlieb stated that the FDA is currently working on guidelines that will get further treatment options for treating opioid addiction into the market more rapidly.

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.

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.

impact of addiction on family

The Impact of Addiction on Family

How Addiction Affects a Family

Addiction affects not only the life of the person struggling with addiction but also the lives of everyone he or she cares about. Families can suffer the effects of addiction emotionally, financially and even physically. In some cases, family members may be inadvertently contributing to an individual’s addictive behaviors. By understanding the impact of addiction on family, you can be prepared to offer your loved one the support he or she needs while protecting yourself and the others you care about.
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How Drug and Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Family Ties

When a person is struggling with addiction, getting the next fix becomes their top priority. The disease of addiction can lead a person to do things that are otherwise out of character, and these behaviors can put a serious strain on family relationships.

In pursuit of feeding their addictions, addicts may:

  • Lie or fail to keep promises
  • Borrow or even steal money from family to pay for the addictive substance
  • Be unreliable and struggle to meet family commitments
  • Forget about important duties or become distracted
  • Engage in illegal behaviors

Addicts may struggle to maintain employment as a result of their addiction, leading to additional financial strain for themselves and their families. Addicts may also suffer mood swings and other uncharacteristic behavior as a result of a substance’s effects or the effects of withdrawal if they cannot get a regular fix.

All of these issues can quickly compound to create a hostile environment at home.

The Impact of Addiction on Children

Addiction has an especially powerful effect on families when the addict is a parent. Children require care and attention, but the disease of addiction can take away a parent’s time and ability to care for his or her family.

Parents struggling with addiction may forget to take care of their own needs and the needs of their children. This may include missing meals, forgetting to pick kids up from school or failing to keep up with laundry and other chores.

Additionally, it may be unsafe for the children to be around the addicted parent. Mood swings and poor judgment can lead to explosive outbursts, and a parent caught up in the effects of drugs or alcohol may not be alert enough to protect children from dangers around the home. Sadly, there is also the risk that the parent may overdose in the presence of their child, putting their child in serious danger as well.

If only one parent is an addict, the other parent may experience significant stress while trying to deal with family responsibilities alone. This can put stress on the marriage, creating domestic turmoil at home that may affect the children as well.

For these reasons and more, children feel the impact of family addiction very strongly. Kids growing up in these conditions are more likely to face drug and alcohol problems of their own later in life.

Getting Help for Addicted Family Members

Most people who struggle with addiction do not want to hurt their families. However, they may be unable to break the habits and behaviors on their own. Similarly, family members are poorly equipped to handle the realities of addiction on their own.

Love is not enough to overcome the power of addiction, and loving family members run the risk of enabling the addiction further by continuing to provide financial support or shouldering the consequences of an addict’s actions. For this reason, it is important to seek the help of qualified professionals outside of the family.

A professional intervention followed by drug treatment can help your loved one get the help he or she needs without putting further stress and risk upon your family. Together, you can work toward healing and recovering from the addiction and its effects on those you love.

SOURCE:

drugabuse.gov

Study Confirms Fentanyl’s Role in Opioid Epidemic

fentanyl opioid epidemicThe fentanyl epidemic in the United States is growing by the day, but because it is a relatively new additive, there is little research to compare the current situation with history. However, a recent study conducted by researchers at Boonshoft School of Medicine Center for Interventions, Treatment, and Addictions Research (CITAR) at Wright State University provides more concrete evidence about the fentanyl problem in this country. This is important because in order to reduce the number of people who ingest this powerful drug, there will need to be evidence of its growth and education about what exactly is fentanyl and how to avoid its use.

Fentanyl is a pharmaceutical drug that is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Most commonly, the drug is prescribed to cancer patients, but is also given in hospital settings to combat major pain issues. Regarding abuse, fentanyl has gained popularity with drug dealers because of increased potency when it is combined with heroin. Due to inadequate testing procedures, many experts believe that a greater number of overdose fatalities involved fentanyl than previously reported.

Heroin dealers are now mixing the drug into the supply in order to create a stronger, more intense high and to increase profits. But, because of this new combination, more and more addicts are suffering from fatal overdoses. Other studies have shown that most opioid users are not even aware that they are ingesting fentanyl, and actively try to stay away from the drug in an effort to avoid these types of overdoses. This goes against the suggestion that addicts will seek out fentanyl in order to get a stronger high. Further research has shown that many drug dealers are getting their hands on fentanyl not from legitimate hospitals or doctors, but from illegal labs that have mimicked the recipe.

“The findings of our study highlight the urgent need to include testing for fentanyl and fentanyl analogs as a part of standard toxicology panels for biological specimens used by substance abuse treatment centers, criminal justice institutions and medical providers. Communities also need to assure that sufficient supplies of naloxone doses are provided to first responders and distributed through community overdose prevention programs to mitigate the effects of opioid overdoses,” explained lead author of the study, Raminta Daniulaityte.

While there are still more long-term studies that need to be conducted on the fentanyl problem, this is a step forward for medical professionals who are looking to educate addicts and the public on the dangers and prevalence of the drug.

The Rising Societal Costs of the Heroin Epidemic

Heroin EpidemicSome may think that drug abuse is a problem with only one victim – the user. However, their family members also suffer as well and society feels the effects in the form of dollars. According to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, taxpayers shelled out more than $51 billion in 2015 to go towards the fall out of the heroin problem.

Incarcerations due to heroin abuse and the sale of the drug, treatment costs, treatment of infectious diseases caused by heroin use, cost of treating infants born addicted to heroin, loss of productivity at work and heroin deaths were all variables used to calculate the astronomical number. This record-breaking amount is like pouring salt in the wound of already having the highest number of overdose deaths.

The researchers went even further and determined how much each heroin user costs society. According to the data, a single heroin user can cost taxpayers as much as $50,799 a year. This is due to the above variables as well as the fact that heroin users are more likely to be unproductive, and have large blocks of time where they are not working or contributing to the economy.

Interestingly, patients with different chronic problems cost society much less. For instance, a person who is suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease costs society about $2,567 a year. And a person who has diabetes generally costs about $11,148 a year.

“The downstream effects of heroin use, such as the spread of infectious diseases and increased incarceration due to actions associated with heroin use, compounded by their associated costs, would continue to increase the societal burden of heroin use disorder,” explained Dr. Simon Pickard, one of the lead authors of the study from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Of course the research is not only to illustrate the burden heroin addiction has on society, it also indicates that effective treatment and prevention efforts are perhaps the only way to get this incredibly high number down. By getting more people the help they need, not only are we saving billions of dollars, but most importantly, we’re saving lives.

Fentanyl More Prevalent in Drug Supply than Previously Suspected

fentanylRecent news that opioid-related overdose deaths rose again keeps the alarm sounding that more has to be done to help save lives. One of the biggest contributors to these fatalities has been the addition of fentanyl.

Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid that is usually reserved for treating chronic and extreme pain, such as in cancer patients and after major surgeries. However, drug manufacturers and distributors have discovered that they can add it to other drugs to increase potency while making their supply last longer.

“What we see across the country is the drug cartels moving away from heroin and moving toward these opioids they’re going to produce themselves. People think they’re buying one thing and they’re actually buying another. The stuff they’re selling is so powerful. Some of the stuff we’re seeing produced is 50 times more potent than heroin, as if heroin wasn’t bad enough,” said Van Ingram, executive director of Kentucky’s Office of Drug Control Policy.

What makes fentanyl-laced heroin so dangerous is that users usually have no idea that they are taking such powerful opioids and so they use the same quantity as they normally would. However, instead of getting the same result, they are ingesting a deadly amount and never make it long enough to receive a dose of naloxone to combat the overdose.

Recently, a safe injection facility in Vancouver, Canada implemented a testing procedure so users could test their drugs for the presence of fentanyl. Their report was shocking, as over 1,000 tests they found an extremely high percentage of the drugs contained fentanyl. This included over 80% of the heroin and even 80% of the methamphetamine and 40% of the cocaine.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has also released reports warning of the increasing presence of fentanyl in street drugs. Since users have no way of knowing what is really in the drugs they’re getting nor how potent they are, there really are only a few viable long-term options to fixing this problem. There has to be a stronger effort to get people into effective treatment programs and there has to be more focus on providing better prevention programs for people of all ages to stop addiction before it starts.