Narconon - Addiction and Recovery http://www.narconon.org/blog Mon, 24 Aug 2015 00:09:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Consumer Reports Knows Opiates are Ineffective for Chronic Pain http://www.narconon.org/blog/prescription-drug-abuse/consumer-reports-knows-opiates-are-ineffective-for-chronic-pain/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/prescription-drug-abuse/consumer-reports-knows-opiates-are-ineffective-for-chronic-pain/#comments Mon, 24 Aug 2015 00:04:25 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3811 Continue reading

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older woman with pillsConsumer Reports magazine tests, reviews and reports on everything from refrigerators to pickup trucks, offering the kind of insight that can be achieved by hiring knowledgeable testers and reviewers. In 2014, they published an article on the dangers of painkillers. As America found itself deep in a massive opiate addiction and overdose problem, Consumer Reports exploded three common misconceptions related to painkillers like OxyContin, Vicodin, Lortab, Percocet and other opiate or opioid (synthetic opiates) drugs.

The first myth they exploded was that opioids work well for chronic pain. They note that 90% of people suffering from chronic pain are prescribed opioid painkillers. This is despite the addictiveness and many side effects that include nausea, constipation, insomnia, sluggishness and fuzzy thinking. As well, a person on these painkillers develops a tolerance, meaning that higher doses are quickly needed to deal with the existing pain.

Making matters even worse, some people who have been taking opioids for pain become more sensitive to pain instead of having the pain relieved. They could experience severe pain of the same type they were being treated for or the pain could come from an entirely different part of the body. A related article on their website notes that many people using them for pain do not even receive the benefit of being pain free.

To form these conclusions, Consumer Reports relies on the knowledge of their own in-house medical advisor, Dr. Marvin Lipman, as well as the advice of Gary Franklin, M.D., research professor at the University of Washington in Seattle and Richard Blondell, M.D., director of the National Center for Addiction Training. Consumer Reports notes that non-addictive pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen may work as well for some people and that exercise, massage, acupuncture and other drugless options can help reduce or relieve chronic pain.

Consumer Reports goes on to expose two other misconceptions about opioid painkillers – that they are not addictive when used to treat pain and that extended-release versions, like the original OxyContin, are safer forms of these drugs.

Why does Consumer Reports know these facts when some doctors don’t seem to?

The Influence of Pharmaceutical Companies on Doctors

In 2007, Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, pleaded guilty to federal charges that they instructed their sales force to urge doctors to prescribe the drug for conditions not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. They also admitted that their sales force was told to assure doctors that the drug was not addictive and was not likely to be abused by patients. These assurances were completely false.

doctor prescribingDoctors accepted these assurances from the Purdue sales force and began prescribing OxyContin for moderate pain problems like low back pain, instead of limiting its use to serious, intolerable situations of pain like cancer or end-of-life pain. Although no one went to jail for the false claims, Purdue and executives were fined $600 million.

And so doctors were not educated on how to prescribe opioids in medical school, but rather by pharmaceutical representatives. It took several more years, even after this case was settled for prescribing practices to begin to change. Now, doctors are somewhat more likely to prescribe fewer pills and are often more cautious about beginning to prescribe opioids at all but the situation created by Purdue reps still exists.

Personal Vigilance is Needed to Stay Safe

It is possible for a family to avoid this path to addiction. It requires constant vigilance on the part of the adults in a household. They must seek other alternatives for pain themselves, ensure that young people people in the home are thoroughly aware of the danger of even one misuse of these drugs and also, must be watchful of the drug use of seniors. Without realizing it, seniors may become dependent on drugs that were prescribed for them and not think about other alternatives they might have. Many people simply do what the doctor tells them and take what he prescribes, without asking questions or seeking alternatives.

It’s important that young people see their parents or caretakers as models of modest drug or alcohol consumption. If they see their parents using a variety of medications to cope with stresses or aches, then they are likely to pick up this same habit.

Prescription drugs have a valuable place in our lives but it is up to the consumer to ensure that they are always used properly and avoided when there is a drug-free choice.

http://mytopcare.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Lee.pdf
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/10/business/11drug-web.html?
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/09/the-dangers-of-painkillers/index.htm
http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2014/01/5-surprising-things-you-need-to-know-about-prescription-painkillers/index.htm

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American Seniors Struggling with Growing Rates of Drug and Alcohol Addiction http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/american-seniors-struggling-with-growing-rates-of-drug-and-alcohol-addiction/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/american-seniors-struggling-with-growing-rates-of-drug-and-alcohol-addiction/#comments Tue, 18 Aug 2015 16:56:09 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3807 Continue reading

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elderly person and pillsWhile most media attention is understandably on the teens and young adults who are struggling with addiction or even losing their lives, seniors constitute another group of Americans who suffer similar problems. In multiple news stories over the last year, it’s seen that seniors are more likely than ever before to have problems with alcohol abuse, marijuana use or addiction to painkillers or other pills.

Those in their 60s up to early 70s were young adults in those years that drug use became far more acceptable – even the norm in some circles. As they age and suffer the loss of friends and loved ones and experience more pain and illness, some have few qualms about turning to addictive substances to ease grief, loss, isolation and boredom. Others simply expect a medical doctor to have their best interests at heart and take prescribed medications without question. But tolerance to painkillers or other drugs can lead them to need more pills to cope, finally resulting in their taking more pills than prescribed.

One rehab professional noted that if he, as a middle-aged man, went to a doctor complaining of back pain, he might be referred to physical therapy or other treatment. But if a senior goes to a doctor with back pain, she is more likely to go home not only with an opiate painkiller but also an anti-anxiety medication as well – a combination that makes the possibility of overdose far more likely.

How Much Have the Numbers Changed?

In 2011, a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration compared the rate of illicit drug abuse by those in their 50s with the rate in 2002. They found that the rate of illicit drug use increased from 2.7% to 6.3% in this age group. Alcohol comes in first, followed by marijuana, prescription drugs used non-medically and then cocaine. Prescription drugs most likely to be abused included anti-anxiety drugs like Klonopin, sleep aids like Ambien and painkillers like OxyContin.

The number of 50-and-older people addicted to these substances is predicted to double between 2002 and 2020, from 2.8 million to 5.7 million.

Older people may process drugs differently than younger people because of age-related or illness-related problems with kidneys, the liver or other organs. So for them, drug abuse is even more dangerous than for the young. The number of seniors arriving in emergency rooms to get help after misusing a prescription drug has increased 50% between 2007 and 2011.

What Needs to be Done?

In fact, seniors should not be treated any differently than younger people when it comes to prescribing pain medication or anti-anxiety drugs. Other alternatives should be looked at first, such as looking for underlying health conditions that can be alleviated or recommending nutritional or exercise changes.

Sons and daughters of seniors should monitor the pill consumption of their parents, even to the point of doing pill counts if it’s needed. If a senior is taking more pills than recommended and her (or his) body is not breaking down and clearing the drugs efficiently, she could become quite confused and less alert and wind up taking more pills than she realizes.

Of course, the other action that is needed is drug rehabilitation for those who have gotten trapped in their reliance on alcohol, pills or marijuana. Unnecessary drug use, overuse of alcohol or use of illicit drugs reduces the quality of life at any age. No one deserves to have the brightness of life taken away by drug or alcohol abuse.

There is no discrimination by age at Narconon centers around the world. From 18 to 75 and up, it’s possible to achieve a bright new future, free from substance abuse, at Narconon centers in the US, Russia, Italy, Taiwan and other countries. For help with a beloved senior family member, call Narconon for help.

http://www.addictionpro.com/article/addiction-seniors-its-epidemic-levels

http://phxux.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/05/20/seniors-addiction-prescription-drugs-painkillers/9277489/

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A Primary Step to Overcoming Addiction http://www.narconon.org/blog/recovery/a-primary-step-to-overcoming-addiction/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/recovery/a-primary-step-to-overcoming-addiction/#comments Thu, 13 Aug 2015 16:51:03 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3798 Continue reading

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desperate dadA writer sent us a message asking for the number one tip for overcoming addiction. This is a very powerful question. While there are many aspects to consider, our years of experience enables us to offer an answer many families have found vital when trying to save an addicted loved one’s life.

Very often, a family trying to help their loved one with an offer of rehab is rebuffed. Why would he (or she) ever refuse the help? Because he’s his own worst enemy, locked into the guilt over the harm he’s done and depression connected with the destruction of his life. Hope can begin to grow if he can glimpse his own true worth once again.

Believing that one’s life is worth saving is a vital step to overcoming an addiction.

How Does Someone Lose Hope?

In most cases, the addicted person has been trapped in this situation for a number of years. The spouse may have left with the children, a number of jobs have come and gone, the family is partly or totally estranged. Valuables have been stolen from friends and family and maybe the person has gone to jail a couple of times. He might be staying with family who are willing to give him another chance or maybe he’s crashing wherever he can.

Many addicts get to the point that they don’t care if they live or die. They know the heartbreak they have caused family and dear friends and it crushes their spirits.

But all that is the addiction talking. Drugs have a deadening effect on the heart, the mind and the soul. It’s possible to feel like you’re worthless and not worth saving when drugs have deadened your feelings. Continuing to use drugs or drink feels like the only way he can survive.

So How Can He and the Family Turn this Situation Around?

By reaching out to him when he is most likely to be reasonably sober, the family can remind him that they know what he is like at heart. They know that he is still the good and loving person they have always cared about. Only the drugs or the drinks have come between them.

dad and daughterWhen he gets help to lift the mental, spiritual and physical burden, he can be that person again, he can once again have the family he cherishes back in his life. His self-respect is not gone forever, it can be restored. He can again have a productive, enjoyable life, no matter how impossible it looks in the dead of night when the needle and the powder or the bottle sit on the table in front of him. He is valuable, he has worth, and he deserves to be saved from that hell.

When he glimpses that truth, many things are possible. He can accept the help the family offers and together, they can select a rehab program to put him back on his feet.

Choosing a Rehab Program

They should be looking for a program of longer than 30 days, because those years or even decades of addiction are seldom overcome in just a month. He should insist on a drug-free program so that he is not chained to a substitute drug that will have its own effects and side effects on his mind and body. If possible, they should look together for a program that offers to help the person rebuild his body with nutritional support so that his damaged health does not sap his spirits. Life skills training is another key factor which will help a person leave addicted habits behind and replace them with healthy sober living skills. For fifty years, the Narconon program has used these principles to help the addicted recover the enjoyable life they lost.

Making your way back to sobriety after addiction is one of life’s great challenges. Thousands have accomplished this and recovery is possible.

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Is Ibogaine the Solution to the Opiate Epidemic in Vermont? http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/is-ibogaine-the-solution-to-the-opiate-epidemic-in-vermont/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/is-ibogaine-the-solution-to-the-opiate-epidemic-in-vermont/#comments Wed, 05 Aug 2015 00:46:37 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3780 Continue reading

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hallucinationThe small and beautiful State of Vermont has been struggling with one of the country’s worst heroin and opiate painkiller epidemics. In 2014, Governor Peter Shumlin dedicated his State of the State Address to the growing problem. He said that in the prior year, nearly twice as many people died of heroin overdoses as the year before. And since 2000, the number of people entering treatment for heroin had increased more than 770%. In a state of 626,500 people, that meant that 4,300 entered treatment.

It’s appropriate for the Governor Shumlin to make heroin prevention and recovery a top priority for the state. But then in April 2015, legislators in Vermont announced a bill to provide state funding for a trial of the hallucinogenic drug ibogaine for the treatment of heroin addiction. Would this be a wise move for the Great State of Vermont?

What is Ibogaine?

Iboga Ibogaine is a substance taken from the bark of the iboga tree. As a hallucinogen, it causes hallucinations like those of LSD or mescaline. Among African tribes, iboga has long been used during spiritual practices. In the last sixty years, ibogaine began to be used to treat those addicted to a variety of drugs, but most specifically opiates. Because its use is not legal in the United States, a person wishing this treatment usually travels to a clinic in Mexico, Canada, South America, some African or European countries, Thailand or Bali.

A person is expected to go through one day of heavy hallucinating followed by several days of introspective feelings in which they may be instructed to analyze their hallucinations. The hallucinations may be terrifying, and most people are exhausted for days. One report stated that 1% of those going through the experience needed medical treatment afterwards, although no other specifics were provided.

Mortality and Effects of Ibogaine

According to one organization supporting the use of ibogaine, the mortality rate of ibogaine is one in 300. How does this compare to drugs that were removed from the market because of their dangers? Vioxx is a pain reliever pulled from the market because it was killing people. The number of deaths from the use of Vioxx were estimated at 165,000. If Vioxx killed at ibogaine’s rate, a quarter million people would have died.

If ibogaine actually began to see widespread use, it could become the most deadly drug to ever hit the market. It is unlikely, then, to ever arrive in the legitimate US drug market, as long as its risks are known.

The further side effects of ibogaine include changes in blood pressure and pulse, nausea, dehydration from vomiting, heart arrhythmias, terror and loss of muscle control.

Why Would it be Unwise for Legislators to Bring Ibogaine into the State?

There are a couple of reasons. The primary one is that there is minimal scientific evidence of its workability. Estimates of its effectiveness are inconsistent. One of the few studies that exists is from the Netherlands. It states that the median length of sobriety achieved by those who went through ibogaine treatment was only six months.

The second is that when something sounds to be too good to be true, it usually isn’t. In this case, the idea that decades of addiction can be overcome by a single administration of a hallucinogen does not line up with the lessons we learn from life.

What Can We Do for the Addicted Instead?

There are many radical methods that have been used as treatment for addiction, including electric shock and use of the psychedelic drug LSD. Many people feel that the only hope for those addicted to heroin or painkillers is to keep them on a drug like methadone or buprenorphine, both addictive opioids and both drugs of abuse. But these are not the only choices.

Fifty years of Narconon program delivery have proven that thorough detoxification plus social education can help a person build new abilities that enable them to live drug-free. Without new life skills, a person may be triggered to crave drugs again by people or places they associate with past drug use or trauma. It takes strengthening of the mind, body and spirit to leave addiction fully behind and this is what the Narconon program focuses on.

When a person arrives at the Narconon program, innovative techniques make withdrawal tolerable – some say the most tolerable withdrawal they’ve ever been through. A deep, sauna-based detoxification follows, providing a fresh new outlook on life once residual drugs stored in the body have been washed away. And then life skills training provides the ability to forge new habits and ways of thinking that go deep. The person who graduates from the Narconon program has new abilities – ones he (or she) may have lacked all his life. Many graduates never refer to themselves as “recovering addicts” again, knowing they have left that phase of life behind completely.

With the Narconon program, it’s possible to achieve stable sobriety because a new way of living is learned. It’s not necessary to be maintained on an addictive drug or participate in questionable, unstudied treatments. It’s only necessary to be willing to learn and truly want a new life of sobriety.

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Why do Addicts Lie and Manipulate? http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/why-do-addicts-lie-and-manipulate/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/why-do-addicts-lie-and-manipulate/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 20:10:19 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3774 Continue reading

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Nearly every family of an addicted person encounters this shocking fact: The addicted lie and manipulate those around them. Even those who have long been close to one’s heart – like one’s children or a spouse – will lie to one’s face, These were people who were loved and trusted, sometimes for decades before addiction came to live in the home.

It’s a brutal reality that it takes some families years to come to grips with. Some families never do come to grips with it. But every day that a family fails to realize that they are being lied to and manipulated, addiction gets to thrive and maintain its of influence.

Why They Do it

Why don’t addicts realize that their families have their best interests at heart and want to help? Why do they lie about their drug or alcohol use and the problems it creates? Why do they make up stories about robberies or lost jobs to get money? Why do they lie about a hundred other things and manipulate families to keep them from stopping drug use or drinking?

drugs shut down analytical abilityThink of it this way: Their need for drugs is making them crazy. When cravings kick in, they are so completely overwhelmed that all other considerations – like love, truth and honor – take a back seat. The need for drugs seems as vital as breathing or having food after starving for a long period. No other thought can even co-exist in their worlds. One woman described her sensation of overwhelming need for drugs as literally making her insane.

But there’s a second reason they lie and it happens as soon as the drugs take effect the very first time. It’s the same reason a person can continue to use drugs after the destruction starts. Drugs immediately begin to shut down the user’s ability to be analytical. As soon as the effects of the drug kick in, the user has a lowered capacity for objective thought and decisions.

So someone smoking marijuana every day can think the mellow feelings that result are desirable while quickly forgetting about educational goals that were so important just a few weeks ago. If those goals do occur to her, it’s easy to make them go away with a little more weed.

A sober alcoholic can be determined to use his money wisely but after a single drink, it looks acceptable to spend all his money on booze. That analytical ability went out like a light with the first drink. In fact, this is also what happens with triggers. The effect of triggers is to lower a person’s ability to be objective and so that devastating decision can be made to have a drink or use drugs again.

Morality and Ethics Soon Depart

Once those analytical, objective capacities are lowered, it’s not a big jump to the loss of morals. When an addicted person is desperate to prevent withdrawal cravings and sickness, criminal acts they never ever would have engaged in begin to look like the only way they can survive. This is how a person who was honest and ethical his whole life can begin assaulting people and robbing them, breaking into houses, stealing valuables from his family or prostituting himself or herself.

Now add guilt to the mix. Guilt acts like concrete laid on top of the analytical shutdown, cravings and crimes. Now the addicted person struggles with a burden that can’t be faced. The person is now locked in that destructive pattern of behavior.

Recovery – a Process of Peeling Off the Layers

For recovery to be lasting, a person must work through all these layers of damage, relieving the guilt and restoring the ability to be objective. This recovery takes time which is why there is no set time limit for the Narconon drug rehab program. Each person works his way through these layers at his own rate.

The first layer of relief on the Narconon program comes from the New Life Detoxification Program – a deep detox utilizing a sauna, moderate exercise and nutritional supplements. This combination enables the body to dislodge drug residues that remain behind even after drug or alcohol use stops. As the residues are flushed out, a person’s outlook brightens and his thinking becomes clearer. Most people say their cravings are greatly reduced. Some even say cravings are gone and that their constant dreams of drug use finally stop. Now a person can begin to think for himself again.

Next, each person must learn how to face the harm that has been done and find relief from the guilt. This major step forward occurs on the Personal Values Course. Here, a person discovers how integrity was lost and learns the procedure for recovering it. Each person has the full support of Narconon staff who understand that this process is difficult to face. Those in recovery may need help working through the harm they have done to those they love. But at the end, many people feel a weight lift as they recover their self-respect and love for others.

weight lifted from my chestOne person completing this life skills course commented, “I feel like a weight has been lifted off my chest and I no longer have to do those things that badly affect my life. I no longer have to slowly destroy my body and my personal property.”

To help someone you love get started on the Narconon drug rehab program, call 1-800-775-8750.

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How Does Love Become Enabling? http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/how-does-love-become-enabling/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/how-does-love-become-enabling/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:38:00 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3771 Continue reading

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Ask any expert in addiction recovery if enabling is wrong and they will all tell you the same thing: It’s the worst thing you can do for an addict.

mom worried about son To make sure we are all talking about the same thing, here’s a definition of enabling:

Enabling consists of actions and behavior that shield the addicted person from the consequences of his or her own actions. They are usually well-meaning efforts to solve problems the addict should be solving. Therefore they allow the addicted person to continue to make choices that are destructive to their own survival and the survival of others who rely on them.

So if a family is told they must stop enabling the addict, it’s terribly confusing if they have not yet grasped the true nature of addiction and how it must be dealt with. After all, up until now, they have been used to something like the following:

For years or decades before the addiction changes things, the family has been close. There were seldom any secrets of any importance. Family members were in touch with each other often, expressed their love for each other, shared plans for the future.

Now the family may be told that they have to discontinue this behavior that has worked so well as the young person was growing up and either nearing adulthood or becoming an adult.

The Arrival of Addiction

When addiction arrives on the scene, everything will start to change. For a while, things seem to be continue running on the same track but it’s different somehow. Small changes show up that don’t quite make sense. Those changes get more significant. Relationships start to become strained as the lies build up. Families are faced with the fact that the love and trust that used to exist has somehow changed in ways they can’t grasp. Not understanding yet what is happening, they still try to trust, hope, pray and love. As they do so, they begin to enable. They take actions that mean that the addicted person does not have to confront or suffer from the consequences of their decisions. For example, they continue:

• Paying their rent or bills
• Bailing them out of jail
• Covering endless legal fees and medical costs
• Loaning out the car or other valuables
• Helping them find a new job
• Listening to excuses about why jobs are lost, why money or valuables are missing or other strange things happen
• Giving them a shoulder to cry on when a relationship breaks up or the kids are taken away
• Letting them crash in the spare bedroom and sleep till noon every day
• Giving them cash in response to a never-ending list of dire emergencies
• Letting them have keys to homes or businesses
• Covering up thefts or other crimes
• Making repeated excuses for them
• Believing that the person is not once again using drugs although their behavior and physical signs would indicate that they are

Some family members never grasp the meaning for these changes and go on, year after year, trying to solve all the problems with more love, trust, prayers and help. If a person is just going through personal growth, this might work. When it’s addiction, it’s the wrong answer.

This is how love becomes enabling.

The family’s heartfelt efforts to help are exploited by the addict to escape the consequences of their decisions. Therefore they can continue to use drugs or drink and avoid that fateful day when they must at last decide that they have no choice but to start the journey back to sobriety.

Families Cry Out for Help

Narconon centers around the world have received many thousands of messages from families struggling with the problems of an addicted loved one. A common thread through many of these messages is that the problem has gone on for years with the legal, medical and personal costs mounting.

It’s heartbreaking when the family finally realizes that all their help failed to resolve the real problem – addiction. By the time they start looking for drug rehab, they may have already put $50,000 to $100,000 or more into solving the never-ending problems and now they are bankrupt.

If the family had just realized what the real problem was in the early days, they could have invested their time and funds in the rehab of their choice and the problem could have been resolved – replaced by lasting sobriety.

family help guide bookletIf you know a family in this situation, send this article to them. Also forward the Family Help Guide to them. This guide can help them identify the drug being used and whether or not if the underlying problem is addiction. If it is, the guide will help them choose a drug rehab. This guide can be found here: http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/addiction-help-guide.html

Above all, encourage them to stop enabling and use every ounce of influence they have to get the addicted person to agree to enter a rehabilitation program now. For help finding the Narconon center nearest them, call 1-800-775-8750 today. Narconon centers also have access to people experienced in doing interventions, should this be needed to help the addicted person make the decision.

Addiction can be overcome. Enabling prevents recovery from ever happening. Stop the enabling and you can start the recovery.

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What is Behind the Changing Trends in Drug Abuse? http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/what-is-behind-changing-trends-in-drug-abuse/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/what-is-behind-changing-trends-in-drug-abuse/#comments Mon, 20 Jul 2015 17:28:11 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3763 Continue reading

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A look back through history shows that patterns of drug abuse in the U.S. never stay the same for long. In the 1950s, tranquilizers like Miltowns and plenty of alcohol were being abused. In the 1960s, it was marijuana, speed and hallucinogens like LSD. In the 1970s, there was lots more marijuana followed by a flourishing cocaine market in the 1980s. In the second half of the 1980s, crack cocaine cut a destructive swath through urban areas.

In the 1990s, while overall drug use numbers had dropped, increasing use of heroin, methamphetamine and club drugs like Ecstasy began to be seen. In the new millennium, the abuse of prescription drugs took off, followed by heroin as easy sources of pills began to be shut down after 2010. Methamphetamine spread from the West Coast through the Midwest. And as marijuana began to be more widely legalized for medical or recreational use, its use began to climb after 2007. The abuse of prescription stimulants such as Adderall or Ritalin also began to grow after many young people who were prescribed these drugs shared them with their schoolmates.

Now, Heroin Ravages the Midwest and Northeast

heroin use in vermontDue to restricted prescribing of opiate painkillers, changes in formulation to abuse-deterrent pills and a much greater availability of heroin, this decade has seen heroin use ravage small towns in the Midwest and Northeast states beyond anything anyone ever expected. States like Ohio, Vermont and Minnesota were unprepared for this onslaught of heroin. In 2014, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin noted that two million dollars worth of heroin arrived in tiny, sparsely-populated Vermont each week. Also that 80 percent of the state’s inmates were there because of drug crimes.

Some medical and rehab professionals call drug addiction is a disease. If it is, why would there be these patterns to drug use? Why would drug abuse begin to dip in the mid 1980s and continue through the first few years of the 1990s?

A New View of the Cause of the Problem

Jill Littrell, Ph.D. and Associate Professor at the Georgia State University offered a different view of the cause of the problem. In an article titled Always a Mystery: Why do Drugs Come and Go?, she suggests that the waxing and waning of drug abuse trends are supplier-driven more than they are symptomatic of consumer demand. She cites the recently-published book Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by former Los Angeles Times reporter Sam Quinones. The book describes the rise of opiate addiction that followed innovative and highly successful marketing tactics used by Purdue Pharma, the manufacturers and sellers of OxyContin. They succeeded in convincing tens of thousands of doctors that OxyContin was not addictive and should be prescribed freely for chronic pain, a use never approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Twenty years later, eighteen billion pills of opiate pain medication are distributed among Americans in one year (2012). Overdoses of these pills kill more than one American per hour. As described in Dreamland, an innovative network of Mexican drug dealers take heroin to the suburbs and as the pills become abuse-resistant and money runs out, heroin offers a more available and cheaper solution.

The Opposite View of the Problem

quote from heroin addictOn the other hand, many people have gone on record to declare that it is the “insatiable” American appetite for drugs that drives drug manufacture and trafficking. Is that the true story?

In the Cape Cod Times, heroin user Katie Honan describes her life as an addict. She said, “I did know before I ever did narcotics that they were bad for me. I knew they could be addictive, but at 15 years old, I had no idea what the hell the word ‘addiction’ meant.” And of course her dealer
didn’t tell her. He (or she) just wanted to sell product.

A plague like the situation we have in this country can be created. And it has been. What must happen now is helping those who are trapped in addiction to recover and preventing drug abuse among young people by educating them openly, thoroughly and honestly on the dangers.

For now, the international Narconon network of drug rehab centers will continue doing what it does best: helping people recover from the destructive effects of addiction and rebuilding the life skills that will help those individuals maintain sobriety for the remainder of their lives.

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Just How Easy is it For Teens to Hide Their Drugs? http://www.narconon.org/blog/teen-alcohol-and-drug-abuse/just-how-easy-is-it-for-teens-to-hide-their-drugs/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/teen-alcohol-and-drug-abuse/just-how-easy-is-it-for-teens-to-hide-their-drugs/#comments Fri, 17 Jul 2015 20:35:04 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3759 Continue reading

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If you’ve ever suspected one of your children of using drugs, you may have tried going through their pockets and their backpacks for pills, weed or other drugs. The sad truth is that any teen who wants to hide drugs has the ability to hide them so well that even a thorough search by a concerned parent won’t find them.

where would you find drugs in this roomHow do they figure out where to put them? If they have the ability to access the internet for research or to buy a book, they have access to detailed instructions on how to hide drugs (or anything else) in places parents are unlikely to ever check.

A quick search of the resources available will give any parent a sinking feeling when they consider trying to confiscate drugs from a child who really wants to keep them hidden. Online forums dedicated to the use of drugs are a fertile place to start looking at the instructions available. Here’s just a few of the hiding places suggested by these sites:

1. Inside a dried-out marker or highlighter. Just cut out the foam and replace with drugs.
2. Behind a plate covering a light switch or electrical outlet.
3. Inside a disposable lighter. Just pull off the plastic cover on the bottom.
4. Above the ceiling, accessed through a bathroom vent.
5. Inside air conditioner ducts.
6. Buried in the back yard.
7. Inside old VHS or cassette cases.
8. Inside electronic devices like computer cases, speakers, game devices.
9. Inside a stick deodorant case, lip balm case or other similar item.
10. Hollow out an old iPod and fill it up.

Specially Purchased Items Enable Easy Concealment

There’s even specially made underwear with a zipper pocket for concealing anything from drugs to cash. One person advised others trying to smuggle drugs into drug-free music festivals that this underwear was his usual solution. Pre-hollowed lighters for drug storage (that will still light a cigarette or joint) can be purchased on Amazon.com, along with hollowed pens, hairbrushes, car cigarette lighters and even brand name water bottles that allow you to hide drugs under the section covered by the label. Just go to Amazon.com and type in “diversion.” You’ll find more than a thousand results for concealment. Some may be specifically designed to hide cash or firearms, but any of them can be used to conceal drugs, often in plain sight.

Something as innocent looking as a metal travel mug could provide a hollow container for concealing enough drugs to get through the day. If this mug is carried into work, no one will even give it a second glance. Fake sprinkler heads could be buried in the yard and never create suspicion, but allow someone to hide a small stash outside the home.

Perhaps the most distressing resource on hiding drugs is a series of videos on YouTube created by a former police officer. These videos provide instruction on how to hide your drugs in your car. This officer spent several years busting people for possession of drugs before deciding to make these videos. He even offers a video on hiding the heat emissions from illegal indoor marijuana grows so a building will never get raided.

So What Are Your Options?

You have a few choices. The first is to become just as adept as your child at hiding drugs. Especially if you have already found your child using or hiding drugs, you may not really have a choice. Do the same research your child may have done, make a list of possible hiding places and then look for the same items in your home, your child’s room or on her person. Try going to any search engine and typing in “where can I hide drugs from my parents.”

This Akron, Ohio newspaper reports on a display offered by a local children’s hospital that teaches professionals in the area to identify hiding places in a child’s room: http://inside.akronchildrens.org/2015/03/11/hidden-in-plain-sight-opioid-epidemic/. The educational display recreates a typical teenager’s bedroom and then invites parents and professionals to find the concealed items. This educational opportunity is often offered by anti-drug coalitions and law enforcement groups around the country. Watch your local newspaper for any such displays in your area.

If you have the means, you can consider hiring a company to screen your home with a drug-sniffing dog from time to time. You can learn more about this activity in this article from National Public Radio: http://www.npr.org/2014/07/15/331362828/drug-sniffing-dogs-ease-parents-minds-or-confirm-their-fears.

A better choice is to help your son or daughter leave drugs behind. This may have to be a gradual process but is the best possible solution. If your child is over 18 years old, Narconon can help. There are Narconon drug rehab centers in several parts of the US and others in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa and South America. For those who are under 18, find a reputable teen program with recommendations from several parents who have sent a child there.

If you have a young teen, start now to teach them how dangerous drugs can be. Be truthful and don’t exaggerate the dangers. If you need some guidance on how to start this conversation, this guide can help and is free to read online: http://www.narconon.org/media/talking-to-kids.swf.

The Narconon Parent Center has many other resources to help you prevent drug abuse by your children. You can find those resources here: http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/parent-center.html.

We understand that keeping children drug-free until they are adults is more challenging today than it ever was in the past. We offer our these resources for your success.

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At Narconon Centers, Independence Day Means More than Barbeques and Fireworks http://www.narconon.org/blog/narconon/narconon-centers-independence-day/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/narconon/narconon-centers-independence-day/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 23:44:46 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3751 Continue reading

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sober celebrationWhen holidays roll around, it’s traditional for the staff at Narconon centers to go to work to provide festivities for clients in rehab. Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s – for many of these clients, it’s the first sober holiday they’ve had in years, perhaps even decades. Holidays mean family events and that’s a painful subject for a person who has lost everything to heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, pills or alcohol.

Now, these individuals have made the decision that the future is going to be very different from the past. At Narconon, these people are learning to build new sober lives so they can enjoy every holiday to come. So this Fourth of July had special meaning to these clients in recovery. And it was appropriate that Narconon staff make it an enjoyable holiday for them.

Celebrations at Narconon Centers Across the Country

At Narconon Arrowhead in Oklahoma, everyone went swimming in Lake Eufaula – after all, it’s only a few steps from the main lodge situated in the Arrowhead State Park. When they returned to the lodge, hamburgers and hot dogs were waiting for them and after dark, of course, there was a spectacular fireworks display.

Narconon Redwood Cliffs 4th of July parade In Northern California, Narconon Redwood Cliffs staff and their families participated in Fourth of July parades in nearby Watsonville and Aptos, just up the coast a few miles. They were shining representatives of the concept that being sober is far more enjoyable than being impaired by drugs or drink. Afterwards, there was the traditional barbecue back at the rehab center perched high in the hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

At Narconon Louisiana in Denham Springs, the barbecue and games came first, and their fireworks display brought out the neighbors who also enjoyed the display.

Learning to Make Sobriety a Lifetime Habit

For people who have spent a long time addicted, it’s vital to live a generally healthy lifestyle that supports their sobriety after they go home. Positive friends, ethical activities, exercise and healthy foods all contribute to that new life without drugs or alcohol. At sober Fourth of July activities like these, those in recovery at Narconon centers learn that they don’t have to bring their old bad habits into their new, sober lives. Now, the Fourth of July can be about enjoying friends, being outdoors and appreciating the freedom they enjoy as Americans. And, now that they are sober, they can return home and contribute to their communities as responsible residents.

All these simple dreams of being able to cherish freedoms and enjoy one’s life are possible when the need for drugs has been conquered. And that dream comes true every day at Narconon rehab centers across America and around the world.

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The Benefits of a Sober Summer and How to Achieve Them http://www.narconon.org/blog/sobriety/the-benefits-of-a-sober-summer-and-how-to-achieve-them/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/sobriety/the-benefits-of-a-sober-summer-and-how-to-achieve-them/#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 20:12:13 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3743 Continue reading

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benefits of a sober summerIn summertime, there’s more barbecues, pool parties and trips to the beach, more outings to night spots and theme parks. There’ll be more coolers filled with beer and quiet moments on the beach or in parks when a private toke might go unnoticed. While this is a great time to enjoy the company of your friends and family, some people who have been trying to stay clean and sober may find too many opportunities to relapse. It may take a little more work than usual to maintain sobriety when presented with temptation every time you turn around.

To offer some encouragement right off the bat, here’s some of the benefits to staying clean and sober this summer.

1. You’ll save money. With mixed drinks or a glass of wine running from $6 to $15 each, a night out could set you back close to a hundred bucks, if you add a little food and tips. Depending on where you live, a single joint could cost you $8. A bag of heroin might cost you $5 or your life, depending on your luck. At any rate, staying clean and sober will leave much more money in your wallet. If a momentary slip were to end up up sliding you back into addiction, then you could lose everything you have. It’s not worth it.

2. You can actually make and keep friends who are not liabilities to you or their communities. Your relationships don’t have to be based on who has money for drugs or alcohol. These are folks who are much more likely to stand by you if there’s a problem.

3. Your family will actually enjoy having you around. You won’t be someone they have to keep an eye on and they won’t have to hide their wallets or other valuables. They don’t have to be worried about the new friends (male or female) you bring around, either.

4. You don’t have to wake up hungover or dopesick. Your first thought doesn’t have to be about whether or not you have the drugs or drinks you will need to get you through the day. You can actually think about positive things all day long, if you want to.

5. Your appearance will be much better sober than not-sober. Drugs and alcohol are very hard on your health and that shows up in your looks. It might not show for a while but it will eventually. Just find some before-and-after sobriety photos and you’ll be reminded.

6. You will have mental and physical energy to devote to whatever interests you most. If you’ve recently stopped drinking or using drugs, you may have to work out what will take the place of your former habits. Maybe it will be education or focusing on your kids or some project you’ve always wanted to take on like restoring a classic car or learning to play guitar or writing a novel. Or maybe now you have the energy to start a business. Whatever it is, as long as you stay clean and sober, you’ll have your full set of faculties available to take it on.

There’s many more. If you need more, just do an internet search to find a sober blogger and he or she will tell you all the ways life is better now that they are clean and sober.

Staying Sober and Drug-free This Summer

So what will it take to maintain your sobriety during these months of increased opportunity and temptation?

1. Anyone who’s been through it will tell you that you need to plan ahead before going to events where there might be temptations. You need to have a plan for the the event you expect and a plan for dealing with the unexpected. Know if there will be alcohol or drugs at an event you’re thinking of attending. If there will, should you even go? If you are early in recovery, you’d be better off skipping it. If you really need to be there – if, for example, it’s a family wedding with plenty of flowing alcohol – then you need to have a plan to stay sober. Find a sober buddy who will stick with you and help you make the right choices. Know how you will answer when offered a drink or if drugs show up suddenly.

2. Spend your time with people you know and trust, with people who know you’re not drinking or using drugs and who support you. If that means your activities are limited this summer, so be it. As you go along, you’ll find other activities your interested in and sober people you can enjoy them with.

canoeing on the river

3. Make your sobriety your absolute top priority. It’s more important than any event you might miss. By being sober, you will skip all the risks to your life, health and freedom.

4. Be honest about the fact that one little drink or hit or snort will matter. It always has and chances are good it always will. Settle that question right now and never budge on it.

5. Whatever practices have helped you to be clean and sober, continue them. Whether they are AA meetings, going to church, hobbies, writing in a journal, getting more fit or taking long walks every morning on the beach, keep them up. They’re important. You’re important. Don’t let up now.

6. If you feel like you’re missing out on events, plan your own sober events and invite your friends who also want to stay sober. Picnics, flying kites and volleyball do not in any way need to be accompanied by alcohol or drugs.

There’s plenty more reasons to stay sober and plenty more tips on maintaining that sobriety. These should help you begin to wrap your wits about your most important job if you are in recovery. Have a great, safe and healthy summer!

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