Narconon - Addiction and Recovery Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:38:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How Does Love Become Enabling? Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:38:00 +0000 Continue reading

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:

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? Mon, 20 Jul 2015 17:28:11 +0000 Continue reading

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? Fri, 17 Jul 2015 20:35:04 +0000 Continue reading

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, 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 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: 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:

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:

The Narconon Parent Center has many other resources to help you prevent drug abuse by your children. You can find those resources here:

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 Wed, 08 Jul 2015 23:44:46 +0000 Continue reading

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 Mon, 06 Jul 2015 20:12:13 +0000 Continue reading

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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Parents and Media Reveal Drug Overdose Losses to Save Other Young People Wed, 01 Jul 2015 02:36:57 +0000 Continue reading

When America’s children are in middle school, high school or college, this is when parents’ hearts should be swelling with pride. This is when these young citizens should be gaining the education that will prepare them for life and for contributions to their communities and country. Instead, too many of our families are dealing with the addictions of their beloved children or, worse yet, their deaths due to overdose or drug-related accident.

upset teenWhile this situation has existed for quite some time, it’s just now coming to broad public view. For years, obituaries of teens and young adults who died from drug-related causes simply stated that the young person died at home, died suddenly or died of heart failure. Now, parents are making their children’s problems known and young adults in recovery are telling their stories. As more people are exposed to these experiences, the dangers to students of any age become better known and understood.

The Media and Parents Work Together to Reveal the Truth

In the last year, there’s been an increase in the number of people and organizations willing to turn the light on these problems. In June 2015, Sports Illustrated (SI) published a remarkable article titled “How painkillers are turning young athletes into heroin addicts.” This article reveals the slippery path taken by many high school and college athletes from pain pills for sports injuries to heroin and overdose deaths. SI noted the lack of reliable statistics and so used interviews from students who survived and the histories of students who didn’t survive. There’s enough stories to paint a convincing picture of the dangers to young athletes.

And in Alberta, Canada, the parents of a 19-year-old who overdosed early this year decided not to keep the cause of his death a secret. In a televised interview, his mother, Marie Agioritis, said, “We decided to be open about this because we want to do anything we can to spare other families from going through this too.” Marie and her husband were blindsided by their son’s death, not even realizing that he was having a problem with drug use.

Science Contributes More Facts Related to Drugs Used in Schools

The scientific community also provides facts and figures that can help tip off parents to possible problem areas. Dan Burgard is an associate professor of chemistry at the University of Puget Sound. He has made several analyses of the wastewater (sewage) produced by college campuses as a way of detecting increases in the use of drugs at different times of the school year. Specifically, he was testing for increased use of amphetamine and similar drugs such as Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta and Vyvanse. These drugs may be prescribed for attention problems but they are widely abused – that is, used without a prescription or consumed in greater quantities than prescribed – as many students believe they may provide a competitive edge for a student trying to maintain high grades.

In one such study, Burgard found that residues from amphetamine-type drugs increased nearly eight-fold between the first week of classes and finals week of the second semester. This increase points out the pervasive abuse of these drugs by some college students.

These stimulants are addictive and have harmful side effects such as dangerously high blood pressure, uneven heartbeats, confusion, hallucinations and severe headaches.

Parents Must be on the Alert

With these stories now becoming widely available, it’s hoped that all parents will take these warnings to heart. Drug abuse and addiction can sneak into any household. It doesn’t matter what neighborhood the family lives in, what religion or race they are or even how careful the parents have been to set a good example.

Signs of drug abuse or addiction aren’t easy to distinguish from the manifestations some adolescents go through as they try to adjust to greater freedom and responsibilities in their teens. This is how parents can miss the real problem that’s making their teen moody, secretive, argumentative and tired.

It’s not an easy job to keep kids free of drugs. To provide help detecting and dealing with drug abuse before it can turn dangerous, Narconon has prepared a variety of guides for parents. A list of these resources follows.

Fight Back Against Heroin Abuse bookletSigns and symptoms of most commonly abused drugs

Family Help Guide for identifying drugs being used and dealing with addiction:

Fight Back Against Heroin Abuse

Information and resources on marijuana use

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Athletes Abusing Stimulants Warned of Summer Overheating Dangers Wed, 24 Jun 2015 14:42:13 +0000 Continue reading

One of the classes of drugs popular among teens is stimulants. While this class includes illicit stimulants like synthetic cannabis (referred to as Spice, K2 or many other nicknames), it can also include drugs prescribed for what doctors call attention problems. Drugs like Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta and Vyvanse are sought illicitly by some students who think it may give them an edge in their studies. Other teens or young adults who aren’t concerned about studies may want them for an increased ability to party into the night.

Ritalin and Concerta are similar chemically to cocaine and Adderall is combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Vyvanse is another form of amphetamine called lisdexemfetamine.

overheated football playerWhile these drugs may be favorites of those seeking academic success or late night fun, they may also be sought by young athletes who think they may give them an edge during athletic competition. Dr. Sharon Orrange of the University of Southern California Medical Center points out that these stimulants provide greater acceleration, longer time to exhaustion and more strength during some tests of exertion.

But they also have the dangerous effect of clouding one’s perception of heat stress. In other words, a person may be suffering from increased stress from a hot day combined with their own exertion and not even be aware of it. A young person engaged in sports in a warm climate probably has no idea that he (or she) is increasing his risk of heat-related death by abusing these drugs. And when he is abusing them – that is, using them without a prescription – he is unlikely to notify his coach or other athletic staff of this risk factor.

The American Journal of Preventative Medicine noted that heat-related injuries among athletes increased 133% between 1997 and 2006. Football players are at the greatest risk. Between 1995 and 2014, 40 high school students and 8 college football players died from heatstroke suffered during practices or games.

Dr. Orrange further warns that athletic trainers and coaches need to know which students are taking drugs of this class so they can watch them carefully for heat-related injuries. But since students abusing these drugs are unlikely to admit it, how can the risk of heat-related injury be reduced?

Parents who learn about this risk need to talk to their kids about the effects of abusing these stimulants and the increased heat injury risk that accompanies their use. This is especially true of someone who is engaged in athletics over the summertime.

Even if your teen or young adult is not abusing these drugs, he might know someone who is and he should be encouraged to pass this warning along to others. By making this information known, it’s entirely possible that young lives could be saved.

Read more about the increased use of stimulants amongst young people.

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According to the Oklahoma Department of Education, Drug Abuse is a Factor in the Rising Number of Homeless Children Wed, 24 Jun 2015 03:54:30 +0000 Continue reading

homelessAccording to data collected by school districts and reported to the state, thousands of Oklahoma children fall asleep each night on the couches or beds of friends or relatives, hundreds more stay in a hotel or motel, and some even sleep in a shelter or on the streets. Obviously, this surge in homeless students is a great cause for concern among school officials, lawmakers and child advocates, who seek to find answers. According to recent information, it seems that drug abuse and addiction problems may partly be to blame.

Homeless Students in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Department of Education has collected information from school districts across the state and uncovered the fact that the number of homeless students rose forty-three percent in just two years – from over seventeen thousand five hundred homeless students in the 2011-2012 school year to over twenty-five thousand homeless students in the 2013-2014 school year. While they have not yet compiled the figures for the 2014-2015 school year, early estimates by education officials indicate that they may exceed last year’s total.

Aliah Morales, a sophomore in Tulsa Public Schools, knows firsthand that homelessness can have traumatic impacts on children and their families. One fifth of her entire life has been spent homeless; she has been in three foster homes, six homeless shelters, and even a mental health facility. She was moved around to nine different schools during her freshman year. Now, Morales is staying with her mother at a Catholic Charities transitional apartment. She admits that the instability caused by her homeless condition has affected her in many different ways, including her ability to effectively complete her schooling. After all, how can one be expected to keep their grades up when they are constantly moving and shifting in their personal life – and attending nine different schools in a single school year? These individuals may be far more concerned about where they will sleep that night – or how they will get their next meal – than about their test at school.

The alarming rise of homeless students across the state has caused state Senator Kate Floyd to author a bill requiring the gathering of more precise data on homeless children. The idea is to use this information to shape future state policies regarding child homelessness. Currently, the reasons for this alarming problem are not entirely clear, but many experts indicate that poverty, teen pregnancy, incarceration, mental illness and drug abuse are all possible factors.

Drug Abuse and Homelessness

Drug abuse may only be one of the possible reasons a child can wind up homeless, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. When a child has parents that suffer from drug abuse and addiction problems, they are often also suffering extensively. Drug abusing parents may neglect their child, and worry more about obtaining and using drug substances than they worry about maintaining a stable home or supporting and caring for their child. They may feel embarrassed or ashamed about their condition, and they may hide it from others who would be able to assist them and their child in stabilizing their lives. As a result, their children wind up in some form of homelessness, and their ability to participate in and complete their full schooling is threatened, which can then affect the rest of their lives.

The rising numbers of homeless children in the state of Oklahoma is just one more reason why the war against drug use, abuse and addiction is so critical, and why drug education and prevention measures are so vital.

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Are There Dangerous Side Effects Connected with Use of Suboxone? Mon, 22 Jun 2015 23:33:53 +0000 Continue reading

quote from Suboxone userIf you’re not familiar with it, Suboxone is the brand name of a drug that is used in the treatment of opiate addiction. It was recently in the news because the young man who shot and killed several people in South Carolina had been recently arrested for possessing Suboxone that wasn’t prescribed for him. Could Suboxone have been involved in mental problems that contributed to his shooting these people? To determine this possibility, it’s necessary to take a closer look at this drug and its side effects.

What’s in Suboxone?

The primary drug in this formula is buprenorphine, a synthetic opioid (meaning “similar to opiate”). This drug prevents an opiate-addicted person from going into withdrawal but does not create as much euphoria as heroin or painkillers. So it is broadly used in the treatment of opiate addiction, enabling people to stop using heroin or painkillers without the sickness that would normally result. One report estimated that three million Americans have been treated with Suboxone.

Despite the high not being as potent as that of heroin, it’s still a popular drug of abuse, with many drug dealers offering their customers their choice of heroin or Suboxone. If there are any hazardous mental side effects to using or abusing Suboxone, all those people illicitly using this drug will not have the support of a doctor to cope with those effects.

Suboxone Side Effects

The website for the manufacturer, Reckitt Benckiser of the UK, notes these side effects of the drug: Nausea, vomiting, headache, numb mouth, constipation, intoxication, disturbance in attention, irregular heartbeat, decrease in sleep, back pain, fainting, and dizziness.

Pharmaceutical company Reckitt Benckiser lists no mental effects of this drug. Their website only states that there are “nervous system” effects such as: Anxiety, depression, dizziness, nervousness and insomnia.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration notes this side effect: Dysphoria, defined as a state of depression, restlessness, or unpleasant dissatisfaction with life.

But What Do Actual Users Say about Suboxone?

Some recent news reports have ventured into online forums that permit drug users to discuss the effects of the drugs to find out what these actual users say about side effects. While these are not authoritative sites by any means, it might be useful in this circumstance to sample their comments.

In 2011, a woman described her experience using buprenorphine in a patch as prescribed for pain:
“I became extremely angry and irritable. I was having other problems with it and wound up taking the patch off. When I put a new one on last night, the same thing happened. Ten minutes and tears just started pouring. I couldn’t stop it! Half an hour after that I was high as a kite, not happy but talkative. Twenty minutes later I felt the need to punch someone in the face, and I’ve been irritable and bitchy ever since. I feel like gruesomely and meticulously dismembering every other person I come across, just because.”

This person stopped using Suboxone while he was taking 6 milligrams per day: “On the fourth day I wanted to kill myself. Whoever says Suboxone is easy to come off is a better person then I am.”

In 2013, a fellow who was trying to get clean after using 2 mg Suboxone for six months said: “I set a new world’s record, at least my personal best, 27 days with no sleep! On a 2 a.m. walk at night 26 I was seriously ready to jump out into traffic, I was hallucinating and could barely walk, and once you think you’re getting better, it comes back and kicks you in the ***!”

In 2014, a person who had been taking Suboxone for two years and then went off it said: “The INSANE anxiety has settled in to stay. I make myself sick obsessing over what I need to be doing and what is about to go wrong and how in the world I am going to make it through. I sit and think and in the middle of everything I do, chores, driving, watching TV, suddenly my heart sinks as I sit and entertain one of my negative thoughts in my head.”

A man with the forum name of “Dan Steely” described the effect of taking one to two mg of buprenorphine a day for eight months: “It took me months to figure out I had turned into a zombie. Like I said I could function pretty well but my life had become very flat. I no longer enjoyed or looked forward to the things that made my life fun.”

A person with the forum name “Shanellie” mentioned in 2012: “Subs are just not for everyone. I tried that route and basically spent an entire year feeling weird, sick and miserable.”

There’s no drug in the world that works for every single person which is why it’s vital for a patient to stay in touch with a doctor when starting treatment. When a person is abusing this drug or does not have a trusting relationship with his doctor, it’s possible for things to go very wrong, as these people have noted.

Was Suboxone Abuse Related to this Recent Tragedy?

This is a question that doctors and other qualified experts will need to answer. What does seem clear is that Suboxone and buprenorphine don’t work for every patient and have some serious mental side effects for some. When these drugs are being used without medical supervision, there’s no telling what could happen.

When a person is trying to get clean after drug addiction, it is possible to get completely sober so that one does not have to rely on methadone, buprenorphine or any other drug. The Narconon drug rehabilitation program uses no drugs as part of its treatment. Each person is helped through withdrawal from any drugs they are taking with the use of generous doses of nutritional supplements and continuous one-on-one work with trained staff. Gentle physical techniques help with physical aches and relaxing mental procedures help ease anxiety.

Withdrawal is followed by a thorough sauna-based detoxification and an education in the life skills that will be needed to stay sober in the future.

The result is full sobriety. For the first time in decades for some people, they can enjoy life without any drugs or alcohol in their systems. They find themselves capable of truly feeling the joys of life for the first time. There’s nothing like it.

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DEA Struggles As Production of Street Drug “Moon Rocks” Soars Tue, 16 Jun 2015 14:51:38 +0000 Continue reading

deaWhen considering the extensive and difficult war on drugs, one thing that has always proven to be a challenge for drug enforcement officials is staying abreast of new developments in the manufacture of drug substances. There are, of course, naturally-derived drug substances like heroin, cocaine and marijuana, but there are also a wide variety of synthetic drug substances, like methamphetamine, that must be combated in order to bring about a healthier society. But what happens when the drug manufacturers constantly make subtle shifts to their formulas in order to stay ahead of drug enforcement efforts?

Moon Rocks

Moon Rocks, which is also known as Spice, K2, Skunk or synthetic marijuana, is a laboratory-produced, dangerous, mind-altering drug substance that has exploded in popularity over the last ten years. Thanks to constant formula changes and clever marketing, it is always just one step ahead of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s efforts to arrest its production and sale. Moon Rocks are produced primarily in giant underground laboratories, mainly in China, which are turning out thousands of pounds of this dangerous chemical on a regular basis. Just last week the DEA arrested a man who was running a lab that allegedly was producing the chemicals for roughly seventy percent of all Moon Rocks sold in the United States.

Moon Rocks are often marketed as a safer alternative to traditional marijuana, when actually it is quite a dangerous chemical substance and can prove to be deadly. It looks like herbs in a shiny package, and is often deceptively labeled as “Potpourri” or “Plant food” and “Not intended for human consumption” in an effort to sidestep laws that would prevent its sale. The DEA’s attempts to control the production and sale of this drug depend largely upon their restriction of the sale of certain chemicals used in the manufacture of this drug. However, manufacturers respond to this “challenge” by changing the ingredients so quickly, while producing the drug in such massive quantities, that drug enforcement officials simply cannot keep up.

Some reports indicate that drugs like Moon Rocks, or synthetic marijuana, have been responsible for the deaths of approximately one thousand Americans since 2009. Even more alarming is the fact that many of these individuals were high schoolers.

The Production of Moon Rocks

The production of moon rocks, or synthetic marijuana, begins with the production of powdered chemicals. The drugs are then packed into large bags and shipped to the United States in huge containers that are often labeled as “fertilizer” or “industrial solvent” in order to deceive drug enforcement officials.

Once the drugs arrive in the United States, they are purchased by wholesale buyers. The powdered chemicals are liquified by being dissolved in either acetone or alcohol, and then they are poured over dry plant matter before being packaged in shiny, metallic baggies for sale.   Despite the fact that these baggies are labelled as “Not intended for human consumption”, individuals purchase them with the exact intention of rolling up and smoking the contents.

A Deadly Problem

The American Association of Poison Control Centers has stated that this year alone, poison centers have received reports of over thirty-five hundred exposures to synthetic marijuana products. Experts warn that the label “synthetic marijuana” is a dangerous one, as these drugs can produce very different effects than marijuana, and can be up to one hundred times more potent than natural marijuana. The main psychoactive ingredients in synthetic marijuana bind to the brain’s CB1 receptors, and can cause anything from seizures to psychosis in the user. It is safe to say that this deadly drug is better left alone.

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