Narconon - Addiction and Recovery http://www.narconon.org/blog Mon, 20 Apr 2015 23:34:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Universities Focusing on Student Recovery Amid Rising Addiction Concerns http://www.narconon.org/blog/blog/universities-focusing-on-student-recovery-amid-rising-addiction-concerns/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/blog/universities-focusing-on-student-recovery-amid-rising-addiction-concerns/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 23:34:07 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3574 Continue reading

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universityWhen it comes to drug abuse and addiction problems, many individuals agree that programs focused on prevention and recovery are far more effective than punitive measures. To this end, universities across the nation seem to be recognizing the value in providing more student recovery activities and programs, making it more acceptable for students to get the help they really need.

A Center for Recovery in Texas

At the University of Texas, the Center for Students in Recovery is located inside the university’s beautiful athletic facilities and provides a safe, clean, supportive environment in which individuals can be aided in their drug recovery efforts. Rather than some hidden activity that induces shame and embarrassment, the Center for Students in Recovery offers students an opportunity to proudly reach out and take charge of their lives and futures by resolving their problems with drugs and alcohol.

This opportunity for recovery is absolutely invaluable to individuals like Lizette Smith, a young woman and UT student who was born into a well-to-do family and was smart, popular and successful in school, until she found Adderall. Eventually she was abusing everything she could in order to get her fix, and she soon found that she needed a drug for everything – to wake up, to relax, to feel numb, to fall asleep. Drugs essentially ran her life and were the only way she survived.

Through the gentle support offered in the Center, Smith was finally able to open up about her childhood and admit that she was physically and sexually abused, despite having grown up with the outward appearance that everything was fine. Finally, Smith was pushed into recognizing that hiding the truth only deepened the pain. While seriously intoxicated, Smith was raped and while the perpetrator was caught and arrested, Smith was completely devastated. She went to rehab and then enrolled at the University of Texas and immediately joined the Center for Students in Recovery.

Smith says that the Center gives her an environment where it is entirely safe to socialize, to meet new people, and to be honest about her past. Building her self-esteem is the most effective way she has found to strengthen her resolve to maintain her sobriety.

Expanding Student Recovery

The Center for Students in Recovery is largely run by university students themselves, and it has been so highly successful that it’s being expanded to every other campus in the UT system around the entire state. Students in the Center mentor one another, socialize together and watch for various signs of relapse in self and others. A Thursday night “sober check-in” is an opportunity for all students in the Center to come together and check-in on their week and how they are doing.

Another big benefit of the center is the focus on having students reach out to help others. They talk at high schools and drug treatment facilities, sometimes even giving seminars to emergency room doctors. By reaching out into the community, students are being more pro-active about their own recovery and their place as a contributing member of society, further strengthening the need to maintain their sobriety.

Student recovery programs are growing in colleges and universities around the country – with roughly one hundred thirty-five institutions out of roughly forty-five hundred now hosting these programs. This is up from just thirty-five institutions hosting recovery programs two years ago, and only ten institutions hosting recovery programs ten years ago. These programs indicate a shift in attention from shaming and alienating those individuals who struggle with these problems to extending a helping hand so that they too can break through the barriers of drug abuse and addiction and move forward into healthy, happy and productive lives.

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Fentanyl Overdoses Making News Headlines http://www.narconon.org/blog/synthetic-drug-abuse/fentanyl-overdoses-making-news-headlines/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/synthetic-drug-abuse/fentanyl-overdoses-making-news-headlines/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:24:55 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3567 Continue reading

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Acetyl FentanylIn 2015, news media are carrying stories of overdose deaths around the US that involve fentanyl. Fentanyl is a completely synthetic opiate-like drug used medically for relief of intense pain. Because it is synthetic, the manufacture of the drug does not need to involved opium poppies, agriculture, harvesting or any of the other processes needed for a drug like heroin, cocaine or marijuana. When used medically, it is called Actiq, Fentora or Duragesic, among other brand names. Outside of the operating room, it is usually administered in a patch or lollipop form so there is no way of consuming it too quickly and receiving an overdose.

Fentanyl manufactured for medical use is approximately 50 times stronger than morphine. It’s sometimes used to cut heroin and when it is, the presence of much stronger fentanyl results in overdose deaths. Those using this combination without knowing it can easily die from this stronger mixture unless they know what they are getting and adjust their dose appropriately. In 2006, more than a thousand people across the US died from heroin that had been cut with fentanyl, a cheaper substance.

Like heroin and other opioids, fentanyl is highly addictive if it is used on its own.

Now, There’s a New Fentanyl on the Street

diagram of two forms of fentanylFentanyl used to be diverted from medical supplies into the illicit market but now there is a new form of the drug on the street. The Drug Enforcement Administration says the new drug is a minutely different one from the fentanyl used in hospitals. You can see from this diagram how close the two formulas are.

Acetyl fentanyl, despite being so similar to the medical drug, is not used medically anywhere in the world. It’s five times more potent than heroin but it doesn’t last as long. It began to show up in 2014 and began also killing people with overdoses. According to the International Business Times website, more than 80 people have died from heroin laced with this relatively new synthetic. The Global Information Network About Drugs reports that illicit fentanyl labs have been found in the US, Canada and Mexico.

Acetyl Fentanyl Increases the Urgency of Finding Rehab

Anyone using illicit opiates or painkillers is in imminent and constant danger of overdose death. This new wave of fentanyl distribution increases the risks even more. The family of any person using opioids should not wait a single moment to find an effective rehab program for that loved one. Acetyl fentanyl mixed with heroin makes it much harder for a person to prevent an overdose.

Don’t believe that your loved one must “hit bottom” before he or she goes to rehab. If that person does not agree to leave drug use and addiction behind, it’s time to call for an interventionist. Narconon can help you find an experienced interventionist to help in your situation. Please don’t wait. Call today: 1-800-775-8750.

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Help for the Families of Addicts http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/help-for-the-families-of-addicts/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/help-for-the-families-of-addicts/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 04:44:24 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3555 Continue reading

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family help guide bookletAnyone working in addiction recovery knows that families suffer right along with those who are addicted. Parents and siblings suffer the terror that their loved one won’t make it home or worse, have no idea where he is tonight. Children suffer from abuse or neglect of their most basic needs like shelter, food and love. Grandparents and other family may be abused, threatened or stolen from. Families need help, just like the addicted do.

What kind of help can be offered to parents and other family? There are actually many ways to increase your understanding of addiction and the options for finding true recovery for someone you care about.

1. Understand addiction. Narconon has many easy-to-understand articles available to help family understand what’s happening and why the addict can’t just quit when he wants to.

Learn why addiction can get such a tight grip on a person with this multipage article: http://www.narconon.org/drug-addiction/factors-of-drug-addiction.html

Also discover how the cycle of addiction can be ended: http://www.narconon.org/drug-rehab/end-cycle-of-addiction.html

2. Realize you are not alone. You’re not alone because 20 million other families are going through the same agony as you. You should not feel ashamed of your situation but should reach out to get support and help for this very difficult problem. Consider talking to other family members, your minister, social worker or a community organization that fights drug abuse. Perhaps your employer has an Employee Assistance Program. Don’t try to tackle this problem by yourself, especially if you are in a vulnerable position, such as a mother caring for children, or if you are elderly or disabled.

14 Rules you must never break when dealing with addiction3. Find out how to better survive this stressful time. For guidelines, download or read online the Narconon booklet, 14 Rules You Must Never Break When Dealing with Addiction.

4. If you are not sure what drug is being used or whether or not addiction actually exists, use the Family Help Guide. This publication will guide you through the knowledge you need to gain at this time. You’ll learn the common signs of addiction and what drugs your loved one might be consuming, based on those signs. You’ll gain a better understanding of how to proceed to save that person and put an end to the nightmare.

5. More resources.  A special section of the Narconon website is dedicated to parents and other family members and offers plenty of resources that are useful during this time. You can find the Parent Center here: http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/parent-center.html.

relapse factors booklet6. Has your loved one already been to rehab but relapsed after she came home? Learn why this happens and how it can be prevented by reading the Factors of Relapse booklet, a free download here: http://www.narconon.org/drug-rehab/relapse-factors/solutions.html.

7. If you are looking for immediate help for a loved one, you can speak to a Narconon intake counselor at 1-800-775-8750. We know that families need to understand what they are dealing with and how addiction can be overcome. If your situation requires an intervention, we can help you find an experienced interventionist who can come to your home. Your constant stress can finally be relieved when your loved one walks through our doors for our long-term program that succeeds without the use of replacement drugs like methadone or Suboxone.

You can be on your way to leaving this nightmare behind in just a couple of days by calling Narconon today. No one should suffer from addiction and no family should suffer this anguish. Let us help.

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Child Neglect Due to Substance Abuse is On The Rise http://www.narconon.org/blog/blog/child-neglect-due-to-substance-abuse-is-on-the-rise/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/blog/child-neglect-due-to-substance-abuse-is-on-the-rise/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 23:29:36 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3560 Continue reading

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girlAn individual who has turned to drug use has done so because they have encountered something in their life that they feel either unable or unwilling to address and resolve. Drugs provide them with a way to escape their life, temporarily, so that they can experience some sort of relief. An individual may choose to use drugs once a week or once every few weeks – just when things are “getting hard”. However, as time moves on they may discover they are coming up with more and more reasons to use drugs more frequently.

Eventually, the individual grows to tolerate drug substances, and no longer experiences the same escape from life they once did. Additionally, drug use often creates even more problems that the individual can’t address and resolve, which drives them to desire the “relieving” effects of these substances even more. This may cause them to take even larger quantities of drug substances, or even switch to more potent drug substances, in order to stimulate the effects they desire.

There comes a point where the individual’s body will actually alter its normal patterns of functioning in order to accommodate the constant interruptions caused by drug use. This is called drug dependence, and is the point at which the individual no longer has any control over their drug use. They will actually wake in the morning and feel that drugs are necessary in order for them to make it through the day. They may recognize that drugs are controlling their entire life, but they cannot abstain from their use without feeling weak, sick and tired. This is actually the sensation of poor physical health – caused by their continued drug use – but the individual cannot face it or overcome it, and they simply turn back to drugs.

An individual who is drug dependent is usually driven by one thing, and one thing only: getting and using more drugs. They will neglect their relationships and their responsibilities, and give up the very things they once cared most to protect, including their children. Drugs can so steal away and warp their thoughts and emotions that the individual, if given the choice, will likely choose drugs over their children every single chance they get. Unfortunately, this means that there are many innocent children who are being horribly neglected by substance-abusing parents who are hardly fit to even care for themselves.

Substance-Abuse Related Child Neglect On The Rise

In Davidson County, North Carolina, there were more than fourteen hundred investigations of child neglect in the year 2014 alone. According to a report by Kathy Hitchcock and published by Davidson County’s Community Child Protection Team and the Child Fatality Prevention Team, more than fifty percent of these investigations involved substance abuse by the child’s parents. Hitchcock’s report indicates that child neglect due to parental substance abuse is currently on the rise. Hitchcock and her colleagues are especially concerned about the rising use of heroin, and the devastating effects drug use is having on the children of our country.

Hitchcock indicates that there are numerous instances where parents simply don’t get up to take care of their children, as well as parents who pass out in their cars with needles in their arms. Children who suffer this neglect may not only struggle with physical, mental and emotional damages as a result, they may themselves turn to drug use in order to cope. The Department of Social Services is partnering with schools, law enforcement and medical doctors to develop community solutions in order to counter the rising instances of child neglect, but even more action may need to be taken to protect our nation’s children from the rising destruction caused by drug use.

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Should Energy Drinks Be Considered the New Gateway Drug? http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/should-energy-drinks-be-considered-the-new-gateway-drug/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/should-energy-drinks-be-considered-the-new-gateway-drug/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 21:14:30 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3546 Continue reading

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energy drinkThere is no specific path by which all individuals enter into drug use. Normally, an individual moves into casual drug use when they decide that these substances may be able to help them in some way in their life. They have normally encountered some problem that they are either unwilling or unable to face and handle, and drugs can provide for them a way to escape, at least temporarily.

Drugs are chemical substances that produce physiological changes in the user’s body. They do this by interfering with or interrupting the normal functions of the human body. This means that everything from coffee and tobacco products to illicit drugs like heroin and methamphetamine are all equally drug substances, and all have the potential to be highly damaging to the human body.

One very important fact about drug substances is that these substances cannot solve any of the problems for which they are taken. They simply suppress the undesirable symptoms of these problems and stimulate desirable sensations. However, eventually these substances no longer create the same effects in the individual, a condition known as tolerance. It is the experience of tolerance that often drives individuals to move up in their drug use – using increasingly potent and dangerous drug substances.

Energy Drinks as Gateway Drugs

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines a gateway drug as “a drug … whose use is thought to lead to the use of and dependence on a harder drug…” There are several drug substances that are often considered to be gateway drugs – like marijuana and tobacco – substances that can lead into the use of more potent and dangerous drug substances over time.

The Merriam-Webster defines an energy drink as “a usually carbonated beverage that typically contains caffeine and other ingredients … intended to increase the drinker’s energy.” Most energy drinks today are marketed as a means by which individuals can stimulate their mind and body, and they often contain very high doses of caffeine. For example, a twelve ounce can of soda has about seventy-two milligrams of caffeine, an eight-ounce cup of coffee has about one hundred sixty-two milligrams of caffeine, and one popular energy drink has about four hundred twenty-two milligrams of caffeine – in a serving that is less than two ounces.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that adolescents do not consume more than one hundred milligrams of caffeine in a single day, however according to a recent study reported on in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, approximately thirty percent of students surveyed admitted that they consumed energy drinks or caffeine shots. Additionally, caffeine is now being added to a growing number of products that appeal to adolescents, such as chewing gum, jelly beans, oatmeal and waffles, which is raising concern at the Food and Drug Administration. The World Health Organization is likewise concerned that children have access to more and more highly caffeinated products that they are able to buy as often as they desire.

Yet another thing to consider is that the caffeine contained in various products may be greater than is disclosed by manufacturers, due to naturally occurring caffeine in items such as guarana, yerba mate, kola nut and green tea extract. Furthermore, caffeine quantity does not have to be disclosed on energy drinks because it is not a nutrient, and some manufacturers have gotten away with adding greater amounts of caffeine to their products by stating that one container contains multiple servings.

According to the Journal of Addiction Medicine, teenagers who consumed energy drinks were two to three times more likely to try alcohol, tobacco and marijuana products compared to teenagers who did not consume energy drinks. While they may not be in quite the same category as cocaine or methamphetamine, energy drinks clearly can set adolescents on the path of looking for easy solutions through the use of drug substances.

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Six Compelling Reasons to Avoid Xanax Abuse http://www.narconon.org/blog/prescription-drug-abuse/six-compelling-reasons-to-avoid-xanax-abuse/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/prescription-drug-abuse/six-compelling-reasons-to-avoid-xanax-abuse/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 16:58:04 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3539 Continue reading

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reasons to not abuse xanaxXanax and other drugs in this same class (benzodiazepines) have long been popular drugs of abuse. Those seeking to achieve the high of heroin by abusing painkillers found that mixing opioids like Vicodin, Lortab, Percocet or OxyContin with a benzodiazepine intensified the high of the painkillers and gave them a similar euphoric effect. And so was born drug combinations dubbed the “Las Vegas Cocktail” (benzos and opiates) and the “Houston Cocktail” (benzos, opiates and the muscle relaxant Soma).

But with each drug added to this combination, it became more deadly. All three drugs in the Houston Cocktail suppress a person’s breathing. So a combination of all three, just two or even enough of one can suppress one’s breathing until it stops.

Despite this, many people choose to abuse Xanax or one of the other benzodiazepines like Valium, Klonopin, Ativan or Halcion. They may not realize the risk they are taking.

Many celebrity deaths have involved the use of benzos, even if that drug was not determined to be the primary cause of death. Whitney Houston, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Heath Ledger all died under the influence of benzodiazepines, which may have contributed to their deaths to a greater or lesser degree.

With this dangerous drug in so many people’s hands, it’s important to look at the six most compelling reasons that it’s good to avoid abusing it.

1. The side effects.

Benzos are anti-anxiety drugs with a very long list of side effects. “Side effects” just refers to the undesirable effects of the drug, the ones that people put up with because want a drug to have a particular effect on them.

As noted in the Narconon web page on the signs and symptoms,” the side effects of Xanax include:

Headache
Memory problems
Insomnia
Nausea
Vomiting
Confusion
Tremors
Loss of interest in sex

More serious side effects of Xanax include:
Depression
Hallucinations
Seizures
Hostility
Thoughts of harming oneself
Suicidality

This list alone offers important reasons to skip this drug.

2. The addiction.

The FDA-approved instructions on this drug note that patients who receive more than 4 mg per day for 12 weeks are at great risk of dependence on this drug. This means that these individuals are very likely go through withdrawal if they are taken off the drug and could suffer serious problems during this time. But very often, patients are prescribed this drug for long periods of time. Or a person who abuses this drug does so for months or years. It is extremely likely that this lengthy use/abuse will result in addiction for the patient or user.

3. The withdrawal.

When a person is going to come off Xanax, he must be slowly tapered off the drug. According to FDA-approved prescribing instructions, the patient in Xanax withdrawal may suffer muscle cramps and twitches, diarrhea, blurred vision, anxiety, insomnia, impaired concentration, loss of appetite and seizures. Some people had multiple seizures as they came off the drug.

4. The rebound.

Xanax is often prescribed for panic attacks and similar fearful or anxious symptoms. The FDA notes that patients discontinuing this drug may experience a “rebound” of symptoms.” This means that the symptoms don’t just come back, they come back worse than they were before the drug was prescribed. Besides being terrifying for the patient, this phenomenon shows that this drug is not a solution of any kind.

5. The overdose or drug-related death.

It’s difficult but not impossible to overdose on Xanax alone. Xanax is one of the more fast-working benzos so a person can become incapacitated before they know what’s happening. If they don’t die from the drug itself, they could die from actions they take while they are rapidly becoming less aware of their surroundings, such as getting into a bathtub or trying to drive.

6. The danger of combining with other drugs.

As noted after the death of Whitney Houston, alcohol and Xanax are a deadly combination. She had both drugs in her body when she was found submerged under water in her bath. Both substances suppress breathing. Add opiates or muscle relaxants, as discussed earlier in this article, and the risks intensify. It’s not surprising that some people die from abusing this combination, it’s more surprising that so many people survive.

Some people may be out partying, take a few Xanax and then proceed to drink alcohol. By the time the Xanax has kicked in, they could have finished a couple of drinks. This combination could put them in danger of dying when all they were doing was trying to have a good time.

So these are six significant reasons to skip this abusing this drug. If you would like to learn more about Xanax and the problem that can occur from its abuse and how addiction to Xanax can be overcome, visit www.narconon.org.

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Symptoms of Drug Withdrawal http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/withdrawal-symptoms/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/withdrawal-symptoms/#comments Wed, 01 Apr 2015 16:50:44 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3533 Continue reading

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drug withdrawalThe symptoms of drug withdrawal are perhaps the biggest curse of addiction. The certainty that one will become desperately ill if he stops using drugs is a big reason a person stays trapped in addiction. Heroin addicts talk about “getting sick” when they start suffering withdrawal symptoms because they feel so miserable and may vomit and suffer diarrhea, muscle spasms and chills. They talk about “getting well” when they can get their hands on more heroin or other opiate.

With each type of drug, the withdrawal symptoms vary – sometimes greatly. What most people are familiar with is withdrawal from opiates like heroin or painkillers or the withdrawal from alcohol, with the possibility of seizures, fever and delirium. Withdrawal from other drugs is not always accompanied by such miserable sickness but has its own unique challenges.

It may not be much of a comfort for a person going through withdrawal, but it is usually a fairly short process. Also, there are ways a person can be made more comfortable that don’t involve the use of more drugs, and these methods can ease a person’s re-entry into sobriety. And when a person finally experiences the relief of being on the other side of withdrawal, he can then embark on the healing and recovery process.

What Withdrawal is Like

In each of these descriptions, we are talking about a worst-case scenario, where the addicted person goes through a cold-turkey withdrawal. Unfortunately, many people have burnt themselves out while using drugs and that physical depletion makes withdrawal more unpleasant and difficult.

Opiates: Some people withdrawing from opiates describe it as the worst flu you ever experienced, one that feels like it will kill you (but doesn’t). Fever, chills, muscle spasms and aches, deep bone pain, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, insomnia, even suicidal thoughts.

Cocaine: There are those who have said that cocaine is not addictive because it does not have the same intense withdrawal symptoms as an opiate. But there are definitely withdrawal symptoms associated with cocaine addiction. They include intense cravings, tiredness, anxiety, restlessness, agitation and depression are part of cocaine withdrawal. A person may feel suicidal and be unable to feel pleasure.

Marijuana: Physical tension, insomnia, depression, anxiety, mood swings, lack of appetite.

Methamphetamine: Depression, irritability, weakness, anxiety, paranoia, unusual hunger, headache, nausea, overwhelming fatigue, abnormal heartbeat.

Ecstasy: Panic attacks, anxiety, paranoia, delusions, tension, insomnia or poor sleep quality,

Alcohol: If a person has been drinking heavily, he (or she) may need around-the-clock medical support to ensure his safety. This is referred to as a medical (or med) detox. The only purpose of a med detox is to get a person off the drug he was using. A med detox does not eliminate the need for drug rehab.

An alcoholic going through withdrawal may suffer profuse sweating, may vomit and have diarrhea. He will probably have headaches, tremors, sensitivity to light and sound and difficulty concentrating. He may be agitated, anxious, disoriented and irritable. In the severe forms of withdrawal, a person can suffer from high fevers that trigger seizures that can be fatal, which is why med detox is needed for very high daily volumes of alcohol consumption.

Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium and others): This is another type of drug that often requires medical detox as the first step to recovery. A rehab center will have medical staff who can make this determination. Withdrawal from benzos usually results in stomach cramps and pain, diarrhea, aching joints, agitation, hyperactivity, irrational rage, burning, electric shocks, strange fears, panic attacks, and a feeling that one does not exist or that one is detached from one’s body. Suicidal thoughts, apathy and depression are likely.

The Reason for Withdrawal Symptoms

When drugs are continuously consumed, the body adjusts to their presence. It will discontinue the production of certain beneficial hormones. Basically, the entire chemistry of the body skews away from normal as the drugs or alcohol are poured in. As toxic as they are, the body adapts to their presence in a highly abnormal manner. When the drugs are eliminated, the body must make its way back to normal. This is a very uncomfortable process as the body tries to throw out the toxins and return to its normal way of functioning.

When a person has also run his health right into the ground during his addiction (which is typical), he will be in a severely depleted physical state. The body probably has not had the nutrients it’s needed for months or even years. It’s no wonder that weakness, agitation, depression and overall sickness result.

Withdrawal symptoms
When these deficiencies are remedied with good-quality nutritional supplements, a person can start rebuilding gradually, gently, from his first day. This is why a person arriving at a Narconon rehab center gets his first supply of nutritional supplements within hours of arriving. They have been shown to help ease the cramps and mental distress and support better energy and positive mood. The formulas used during withdrawal at Narconon have shown over a forty-year period to provide an easier and more tolerable withdrawal. And that makes for a positive start to one’s return to sobriety.

For more information on the methods used during the Narconon program to ease a person’s withdrawal sickness, visit http://www.narconon.org/drug-rehab/withdrawal.html.

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Most Americans Aren’t Aware Their Painkillers Contain Opioids http://www.narconon.org/blog/narconon/most-americans-arent-aware-their-painkillers-contain-opioids/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/narconon/most-americans-arent-aware-their-painkillers-contain-opioids/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 23:58:35 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3530 Continue reading

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painkillerOpioids are a group of drug substances that are highly potent, highly addictive and highly dangerous. Opioid drugs are derived from the resin in the seed pod of the Asian poppy plant, and include opium, morphine, heroin and methadone. What few Americans know is that many prescription painkillers are also opioid drug substances.

About Opioid Drugs

Opioid drugs move quickly into the bloodstream and brain when they are ingested, and once there they work by blocking the opioid receptors that are involved in the communication of physical pain as well as the processes of pleasure and reward. It is because these drug substances enter the brain so rapidly and produce such marked effects that they are highly addictive in nature. An individual who has consumed opioid drug substances often feels that these substances are necessary to their ability to continue functioning normally, and they may also experience a series of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, including intense cravings, if they fail to keep a sufficient quantity of opioids in their system.

Individuals who are prescribed opioid painkillers by their medical doctor rarely understand how dangerous these substances actually are. In fact, some individuals will illegally share their opioid painkillers with others, or request that friends and family members illegally share their opioid painkillers with them, without realizing the potentially deadly side effects of these actions.

According to a recent survey by the National Safety Council, ninety percent of opioid painkiller users indicated that they were not concerned about the possibility of addiction. This was despite the fact that many of these individuals were actually at risk of developing substance abuse problems based on their current drug use patterns. The council’s medical advisor, Dr. Teater, expressed his concern about the fact that most Americans tend to underestimate the risk that is associated with prescription opioid use.

The Health Department reports that in 2009 in Oklahoma state alone, unintentional drug poisoning deaths exceeded motor vehicle deaths as the leading cause for unintentional injury deaths in the state. In fact, unintentional drug poisoning deaths across America have more than doubled between 1999 and 2012 and quadrupled in Oklahoma state. According to the Health Department, Oklahoma has the fifth highest rate of unintentional drug poisoning deaths in the nation. And yet despite this, many individuals don’t truly comprehend the danger of consuming opioid painkillers or sharing them with others.

Legal and Health Dangers of Sharing Opioid Painkillers

According to the National Safety Council survey, almost seventy percent of Americans surveyed admitted that they didn’t know that is considered a felony in most states to share prescription painkillers with others – including family members and friends. Forty-two percent of adults surveyed admitted that they believed sharing prescription painkillers was appropriate or harmless. Furthermore, while most opioid painkiller users admitted that they were not concerned about experiencing any of the adverse side effects of these drugs, nearly sixty percent of individuals surveyed indicated at least one addiction risk factor. These risk factors included twenty-two percent admitting to a personal or family history with alcoholism, twenty-six percent admitting to a personal or family history of depression, sixteen percent admitting to a history of psychiatric medication and sixteen percent admitting to a history of physical, mental or sexual abuse.

Dr. Teater indicates that in most states, the possession of prescription opioids without a valid medical doctor’s prescription is a felony that is punishable by up to three years in prison. Sharing one’s prescription opioids with others is also considered a felony in most states. He indicates that the laws regarding these drugs are rightfully strict because these drugs are so incredibly dangerous. Studies have shown that opioid painkillers don’t actually affect a significant improvement in cases of chronic pain, and Dr. Teater believes it is best just to keep people off them altogether. It is Dr. Teater’s opinion that individuals should carefully examine whether opioid painkillers are even necessary for their condition, and what other alternatives can aid them in resolving their situation so that they may only need to take opioid painkillers for two to three days at most, if at all, rather than for months or years.

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Purple Drank in Today’s Popular Culture http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-use/purple-drank-in-todays-popular-culture/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-use/purple-drank-in-todays-popular-culture/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:38:57 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3520 Continue reading

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glass of purple drank or leanAnyone into Hop Hop music knows what Purple Drank is. It’s a mixture of prescription cough syrup and Mountain Dew or other soda, usually with some Jolly Rancher candies mixed in and dissolved to give it color and flavor. The mixture even has its own preferred type of container – a styrofoam cup. This mixture – intoxicating and addicting – has long been a favorite of musicians in this genre.

But hopefully, anyone who knows about Purple Drank also knows that some prominent Hip Hop musicians have died or ended up in jail as a result of their addictions to this mixture. And also knows about the unpleasant or dangerous symptoms that can show up after this mixture is used. Like loss of balance, loss of coordination, slow, slurred speech, slowed heart rate and addiction. There’s some indications that Purple Drank (also called Lean, Syrup or Sizzurp) is involved in seizures and deaths from heart attack. And if Purple Drank is used along with other drugs like alcohol, the possibility of damage to health or death increases.

Despite the threat from this mixture, Purple Drank seems to be increasingly becoming part of today’s popular culture.

Purple Drank in Marketing

These days, you can find the name Purple Drank applied to a bottle of beer produced in Tampa, Florida. The Coppertail Brewing Company used this name for its new boysenberry-flavored beer. Purple Drank is also part of the name of an electronic dance music song from rapper and music producer Trill08 from North Carolina. The song features the sound effect of an effervescent drink being poured into a cup.

It’s also the name of a company in Virginia that re-tunes Mazdas for high performance. On the social media platform Vine that features six-second videos on any subject, a number of these short videos seem to feature mixtures of Sprite or other soda and cough medicine and the use of this mixture.

There’s even an amateur sports team in Michigan that’s made the questionable choice of naming itself Purple Drank. Not surprisingly, they finished last in their league.

In other words, it’s easy to find references to this addictive substance throughout popular culture. The widespread popularity of the mixture has a lot to do with Lil Wayne and other Hip Hop musicians.

Lil Wayne and his Purple Drank Habit

For years, Lil Wayne admitted to an addiction to Purple Drank, also called Sizzurp. He featured it in his songs and in interviews, talked openly about his reliance on the drink. In any videos of the rapper, you can always hear the raspy, slow voice common to Drank users. But in 2013, he was hospitalized multiple times for serious seizures. Some of those close to him felt that the years of Purple Drank abuse contributed to this new problem. And then in 2014, he admitted that he had quit using it on the advice of his doctor, while he was in treatment for the seizures.

Not surprisingly, the instructions for promethazine, one of the main drugs in the prescription cough medications used in this way, note that convulsions and seizures are possible side effects of the drug.

For all his early years as a leader in Hip Hop music, Lil Wayne may have inspired fans to follow in his tracks despite the danger of using Purple Drank. But in the end, the health problems forced him to quit. Would his fans that followed him into to using it also be able to quit?

The problem with following someone else’s example in using drugs is that the new user never knows risks he’s taking. There’s no warnings of health problems like seizure, overdose, addiction or heart problems. It’s just the chance a person takes when he decides to use the same drug as some public figure he admires. In this case, maybe Lil Wayne’s decision to quit using Purple Drank also influenced his fans to get sober. If you’re using Purple Drank, hopefully, his experience will help you to quit before it’s too late.

http://www.sgna.org/issues/sedationfactsorg/medications/promethazine.aspx

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/mar/23/entertainment/la-et-ms-lil-wayne-sizzurp-codeine-20130321/2http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/18/rapper-lil-wayne-and-his-struggle-with-sizzurp-drank.htmlhttp://www.nme.com/news/lil-wayne/59724

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Why do People Start Taking Drugs? http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/why-do-people-start-taking-drugs/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/why-do-people-start-taking-drugs/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:52:17 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3512 Continue reading

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group of youth smoking marijuanaThere’s a moment in every addict’s life when they reach out for a drug or a drink for the very first time. Whether or not you agree with the concept that addiction is a disease, that first moment of drug use or drinking is a choice that each person makes. And for each person, there’s a reason behind that choice. It doesn’t just happen. Here’s some of the most common reasons that choice is made, as told to us by those who started their drug use young, became addicted and finally recovered at a Narconon rehab center.

1. “Everyone is doing it.”

This is a subtle kind of peer pressure. It may not even be that anyone says anything direct about using drugs. It may just be that a young person is in a room where it seems like everyone else is having a good time. What are they to do? Walk out? Go home? So they join in.

Here’s the explanations given by two people who got started using drugs this way, who later became addicted before completing the Narconon drug rehab program.

“I started smoking pot to fit in with everybody. And it looked like everybody was having a good time. And they told me ‘nobody’s died from smoking pot.'”

“I was 17 or 18 years old, we’d sit around and smoke pot and drink beers in my buddy’s garage.”

2. “It seemed like fun.”

When a teen or young adult doesn’t know how to create fun activities for himself and doesn’t have strong interests in life, smoking pot or drinking with friends can seem more entertaining than sitting around doing nothing. In other words, he (or she) is looking for an escape from boredom. When high or drunk, he doesn’t feel bored. Problems can arise when using drugs or drinking becomes something the young person falls back on again and again. If drug use becomes consistent, it is very easy to slip into addiction without even noticing. Here’s the words of another person who finished the Narconon program, talking about how they got started.

“I had a lot of friends, I was living with in the dorms; they started smoking marijuana and they made it seem like so much fun.”

3. “I could relax.”

Many people use drugs to temporarily relieve the pressures of problems in their lives. With marijuana, one seems to not care about any problems; with opiates, the euphoria overwhelms any concerns. With alcohol, life becomes a party while problems seem far away. Here’s how one person described their first use of marijuana.

“The very first time I started using marijuana, if I was stressed, if I had a bad day or just wanted to relax, I could smoke some marijuana then I could chill out, things didn’t really bother me. I could relax and maybe things weren’t that big of a deal and things could wait till later.”

4. “I could fit in.”

girl lacking social skills to fit in with groupMany young people lack the social skills to feel comfortable in groups of people. They might not know how to make new friends. When trying to find a group to fit into, some people, young or old, decide to reach for drugs or alcohol to make this easier. One young woman put it this way:

“I had moved from Las Vegas to North Carolina, I found new friends and they were already smoking weed and drinking, and they invited me to go. Of course I wanted new friends and to be accepted so it seemed fun enough so I did it.”

5. “My curiosity grew real strong.”

When a young person sees their friends using drugs and seeming to have fun, he can get intensely curious about the whole experience. Even if he does not have a particular need himself, he may want to see what everyone is talking about. If he continues to be intrigued by the experience, it could become a destructive habit, however.

“My best friend started using methamphetamine after her sister started using it. I felt like I was losing my best friend so my curiosity grew like really strong, and I was pretty much determined to use it at that point so I could see what they were doing that seemed like so much fun.”

6. “We would do anything that was bad.”

Using drugs or drinking goes against what most parents teach so some young people still living at home may be attracted to it just because it’s what their parents don’t want them to do. Of course, this could severely backfire on them if they become addicted, like this young man did.

“I got started when I was in junior high. I was already not doing well in school. I was kind of an outcast and started hanging out with an outcast crowd. We would do anything that was considered wrong or bad. So naturally when marijuana came around, we did marijuana.”

7. “Fell in with the wrong crowd.”

reason started taking drugsThat’s a statement many people make but the fall into drug abuse is more accurately explained by not knowing how to make smart choices, not understanding what makes some people good friends and others dangerous influences, and how to keep one’s own integrity intact. Without having these life skills, a person can run into a group of drug-using friends and be swept into that lifestyle.

“I didn’t have a bad childhood, I was raised well, there’s no particular reason I should have gone into the direction that I did. I fell in with the wrong crowd and it made it just that easy to start using drugs.”

One of the basic reasons a person becomes addicted to using drugs or drinking is that these reasons don’t magically go away after a person uses drugs a few times. They may still lack the social skills to be comfortable around other people or may still suffer from stress and problems. They may still be bored or seeking ways to fit in. In other words, there are still reasons to keep using drugs. Drugs or alcohol seem to offer solutions and the more those solutions seem to be needed, the more often a person may indulge.

But as drug use damages relationships, finances or just one’s ability to think clearly, there are more problems and stresses than ever. It may be more essential than ever to numb oneself to life. A wife may demand that a husband spend more time with her and the kids. Parents may want to know why grades are slipping. There may have been a DUI or other drug-related legal problem. A boss may demand better performance on the job. When the individual escapes into drugs or alcohol, these problems are just going to get worse.

This is the spiral that takes people down into addiction. By then, the intense cravings for drugs are calling the shots, not the individual. That’s when thousands of people have come to Narconon to get their lives back. But for recovery to be lasting, these original problems must be resolved. A person must have the personal skills to resolve problems in life. She must know how to communicate to others comfortably and know which people would make good friends and which ones should not be trusted. He must be capable of making smart decisions, especially in challenging situations.

That’s why the Narconon program has such a strong focus on developing life skills. More than half the steps of this long-term program are devoted to helping a person build the skills needed to navigate a sober course.

To learn about the life skills training of the Narconon program, visit http://www.narconon.org/drug-rehab/program-steps.html or call 1-800-775-8750 today.

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