Narconon - Drug Addiction & Recovery Blog Latest Information and Trends - Addiction, Abuse and Recovery Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:48:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Why Many People Don’t Seek Treatment for Addiction Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:48:51 +0000 In the United States, more than 23 million people live with addiction. The greatest number of these people are trapped in the abuse of alcohol. And while a smaller number cite drugs as their primary problem, the truth is that with polydrug use (the use of multiple drugs at a time or close together) the norm rather than the exception, the lines are definitely blurred.

The biggest group of people going to rehab are going because of alcohol problems. But look closer. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports on the substances that drove 1.8 million people to treatment in 2012. Of these people, 701,147 people needed help for alcohol. But 45% of these people were struggling with the use of alcohol plus another drug. The remainder listed illicit or prescription drugs as their primary problems.

But of course, the vast majority of people who needed treatment never got it. More than 20 million people damaged their lives, trashed their health, lost their jobs, alienated their families or lost custody of their children due to drugs or alcohol. What’s more, in 2012, about 88,000 people died from alcohol-related causes. Every year, more than 100 people a day die from drug overdoses and more die from injuries or illnesses related to their drug use. These people will never have the chance to go to rehab.

Given the grievous types of damage that result from the use of drugs and alcohol, why wouldn’t those who can’t control their intake ask for help? Why wouldn’t they stop at nothing to arrive at a rehab program that could help them?

people needing treatment

The answer might shock you.

The most overwhelming reason was that these individuals did not see the need for it. Of these 20.2 million people, 96% actually met the criteria for addiction but they didn’t even realize it, despite all the wreckage.

In this chart, you can see that some of the remaining 4.5% made an effort to find rehab (and failed) and a slightly larger number didn’t even try.

The survey providing these numbers – the National Survey on Drug Use and Health – further asked those who didn’t seek treatment when they knew they needed just why it was that they didn’t. The biggest proportion of these people were not ready to stop drinking or using drugs. This might mean that they didn’t have confidence that rehab would work or they didn’t think they could bear life without the use of drugs or drink.

people not seeking treatment

If families are appealing to a loved one to please stop using drugs, to please go to the rehab program that’s been located, these charts explain why these efforts are very often unsuccessful. The advice that many “experts” have in this situation is not helpful at all: “They need to hit rock bottom before they will go to rehab.” This so-called advice is completely untrue. What is true that some of these people will be dead before they hit bottom.

What is also true is that many addicted people need help to make that decision. That’s the job of an effective intake unit of a rehab or an interventionist. At Narconon centers, it’s not uncommon for intake staff to talk to the addicted person (who had previously refused rehab) and generate their agreement to start the program. When this fails, an interventionist should be used. This is a person who understands this kind of situation and the danger this addicted person faces each day. An interventionist knows how to help the addicted person see the urgency and kindle the hope he can recover and actually enjoy a sober life again.

If you have repeatedly tried to get a loved one to rehab and failed, call Narconon at 1-800-775-8750. There is still hope that they can be gotten to rehab and can achieve a lasting sobriety.

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Does the Increasing Potency of Marijuana Have any Connection to the Number of People Going to Rehab for Pot? Mon, 15 Dec 2014 16:38:54 +0000 By now, most people know that marijuana has gotten far more potent over the last few decades. Here is a chart showing the average potency of marijuana between the mid-1990s and 2013. Between the 1970s and the 1990s, the potency rose from about 1.5% to 4% but then the growth really took off. By 2013, average potency was nearly 13%.

marijuana potency statistics

These potency numbers are obtained by testing samples of drugs seized by law enforcement. Note that medical marijuana businesses promote much higher potencies for their products, of-ten in the 25% to 30% range.

Those who feel that marijuana should be legal for everyone to use will tell you that smokers “adjust their dosage” by smoking less. If this were broadly true, then it would seem that as the po-tency went up, the number of people going to rehab would remain about the same.

That doesn’t turn out to be true. The correct answer is very evident on this next chart. Admis-sions to treatment rocket up along with potency, while the number of users only increases modestly.

Marijuana potency rehab admissions

Why Has the Potency Grown so Fast?

More potent marijuana has always been a popular items in sales and has commanded a higher price. In the early 1990s, Canadian drug growers developed a higher-potency strain called BC Bud. It quickly made its way into major US drug markets. Seizures of this drug began to raise the average potency of all samples seized, and both domestic and Mexican cannabis growers began to adopt the same practices that made BC Bud so strong. They would have to follow suit just to stat competitive. Now, potency is a major factor in the sales of marijuana. In the U.S., po-tency has high as 36% has been found. That’s nearly three times the average.

Surely, there will be some limit to the amount of THC (the primary intoxicating ingredient in mari-juana) but so far, it has not been found. A report from Australia describes potency levels of 40% from seized marijuana. This is a fearsome potency that could have disastrous effects on users both in Australia and if it makes its way to the U.S. We could see even more people arriving at rehab, asking for help, as well as more people needing emergency room, doctor or mental health care help for the severe adverse effects possible from this highly potent drug.


Source of treatment admissions chart:

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Narconon Arrowhead ‘Decking the Halls’ for Christmas Fri, 12 Dec 2014 18:43:45 +0000 christmas decorationsPeople who spend their holidays in rehab may feel like they’re going to be missing out on the festivities, but those who are are Narconon Arrowhead this year don’t have to have that problem. The staff and students of the Narconon center in Oklahoma are kicking off the holiday season with a “Deck the Halls” party early in December. It’s a yearly tradition, and everyone works together to decorate the building for the Christmas holiday, including a beautiful tree in the lobby. Decorating the center is not all that the people at Narconon Arrowhead do, and indeed the holiday season sees a flurry of activities to celebrate the occasion, spread the spirit of the holiday, and to have fun while doing it.

Some of the other things that Narconon Arrowhead students get to take part in during Christmastime include:

Holiday Parades

The city of McAlester, and the town of Eufaula, both located nearby the Narconon Arrowhead center, both host holiday parades, and the Narconon team has made it a custom to decorate and run a float in these parades. Narconon Arrowhead is known as a positive force in the community, and the holiday parade float is one of the ways that they get their name out there, with a design centered around spreading messages of drug-free living.

Talent Show

At the center, staff and students are welcomed to take to the stage during the annual holiday talent show. All types of performance are welcome, whether a person wants to play music, sing, perform comedy or a skit, share poetry or any other type of artistic expression to share the cheer.

Food Pantry

Another holiday tradition at Narconon Arrowhead is the food pantry which the center sponsors to collect donations of food and other items which are needed by families who are struggling financially. They do everything from hosting daily bake sales to raise funds, to soliciting donations from the community and calling on supporters of the center throughout the world to contribute to a good cause. The holidays are a time when families that are already struggling to get by will feel the pinch even more, and the Narconon Arrowhead food pantry offers much needed relief to people in this position.

Sponsor a Student

This year marks the second year for the Sponsor a Student program at Narconon Arrowhead. In 2013, the center launched this new program as a way for past graduates of the center to give back and to provide support to those who are currently there doing rehab. Narconon graduates are asked to donate $15 for a Christmas stocking filled with small gifts for someone who is spending the holidays at the Arrowhead center. They also write a letter of encouragement to the current student, Rehab isn’t easy, and it can be difficult to see that one will make it through and achieve stable sobriety. Getting a message from someone else who has been through the same experience and succeeded can make an enormous difference, and the Sponsor a Student program helps to make this happen.

All of these activities help Narconon Arrowhead students to enjoy the holidays and not feel like they are missing out, but they do more than this. Drug or alcohol addiction has a tendency to dull one’s senses, deaden his or her emotions and make one withdrawn socially. Participating in these activities, working with others, and giving back to support those in need help to bring a person back to life. The holiday season is an ideal time to involve recovering addicts in such positive and life-affirming projects, and Narconon Arrowhead takes full advantage of this to the benefit of their students.

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Is it Okay if Your Child Drinks a Little or Smokes a Little Marijuana? Fri, 12 Dec 2014 16:36:47 +0000 teens smoking marijuanaAs long as he (or she) is not overdoing it, are you okay with a little drug use by your kids? Does it not worry you if your child drinks as long as they do it at home or the home of someone you know? And how about marijuana? Is this fairly harmless, as far as you’re concerned? And if they smoke, is it just not worth arguing about? Just as long as they don’t move on to “hard drugs” like heroin or cocaine.

Maybe these ideas horrify you. Maybe they don’t. For many parents, they are acceptable. Should they be?

Vital Information for All Parents on the Effects of these Drugs

There’s a number of reasons why it’s a very bad idea to condone use of these drugs. The primary one centers on the fact that tobacco, alcohol and marijuana act as gateway drugs to more serious drugs like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and synthetics. It’s not us saying that, it’s the National Center on Addiction and Drug Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) that says it.

In their report CIGARETTES, ALCOHOL, MARIJUANA: GATEWAYS TO ILLICIT DRUG USE, they reveal the actual numbers.

gateway drug statistics

Based on an analysis of national drug use surveys, they came up with these relationships between tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and other drugs. They learned that:

• 89% of those individuals who used cocaine had first used all these gateway substances
• 90% of both children and adults who used marijuana started out smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol
• Children 12 – 17 who used marijuana were 85 times more likely to later use cocaine
• Children who drank were 50 times more likely to later use cocaine
• Children who smoked were 19 times more likely to later use cocaine
• Children who used all three gateway drugs were 266 times more likely to later use cocaine compared to children who never used these gateway drugs

This study also found that the younger a child was when he started using these gateway drugs and the more he used them, the more likely it was that he would move on to other illegal drugs.

Fortunately, CASA also found that if a young person avoided the use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs until he was 21, he was virtually certain to never have a problem with these substances.

What You Can Do About it

Narconon has created dozens of booklets and guides to help you in this task. Many of these resources are available to you in the Parent Center on the Narconon website. There, you will find guides to preventing the use of cocaine, synthetic drugs, heroin and other substances.

On this page, you’ll find many resources to help you prevent alcohol abuse.

And here, you’ll find resources to prevent the use of marijuana.

We know the job of preventing drug use, drug dependence and addiction is difficult but we have been helping kids and adults either maintain sober lives or recover from addiction for nearly 50 years. Our help is available to you.

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Annual Thanksgiving Dinner For Patients & Families Held at Narconon Arrowhead Facility Thu, 11 Dec 2014 18:43:05 +0000 thanksgiving dinnerMany people who are considering getting into rehab so that they can finally quit abusing drugs or alcohol hesitate to do so during the holidays. They don’t want to miss out on everything, or maybe they are concerned about letting their loved ones down by not being there for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Likewise, the family of an addict might sometimes encourage him or her to put rehab off until after the holidays, not wanting to be apart and thinking maybe that the spirit of the season will somehow help to provide a buffer against the problems that come with substance abuse. Fortunately, it doesn’t always have to be an either/or choice. Those who choose Narconon Arrowhead for their rehab program get to spend the holidays with their loved ones, while also making progress on their recovery from addiction during the holidays.

This year, the center opened its doors to the loved ones of as many as 210 students for Thanksgiving dinner, and they enjoyed a traditional feast including turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and more. It gave families a chance to reunite and to celebrate the fact that their loved one was no longer drinking or using drugs and was on the way to recovering from addiction.

Reasons to Get Into Rehab During the Holidays

The fact is that putting rehab off until after the holidays will often prove to be a bad idea. If things have gotten bad enough that you know it’s time to get into treatment, there should not be any delay in doing so. When it’s a question of handling addiction, every day matters, since you never know when the person might get arrested for a drug related crime, be injured in an accident or even suffer an overdose. There is in fact an increased risk of any of these things happening during the holidays. Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve are some of the booziest nights of the year, and they see a sharp increase in car accidents caused by drunk or drugged drivers. The holiday season brings on a host of factors that can push someone with a substance abuse problem to the edge:

  • Money problems become exacerbated by the expectations of buying presents, decorating the house, preparing feasts, hosting guests and more
  • Family gatherings, office holiday parties and other events make many people feel pressured to spend time in the company of people they are not comfortable with or who make them feel uncomfortable
  • As a milestone on the calendar, the holidays serve as a reminder that another year has gone by without quitting and that things have in all likelihood gotten worse
  • The media creates expectations of the “perfect holidays,” while in reality few people will actually be able to pull this off, but that does not mean that many do not feel defeated for failing to do so
  • For too many people, the holidays bring painful reminders of how alone they are, whether their loved ones live in other areas of the country, if they are departed, or if they live in the same town but are estranged by addiction

With all of these factors combined, many people who are already addicted end up hitting the bottle harder or using more drugs during the holidays. Putting rehab off until January may not be a safe bet. Even if he or she survives the holidays without any serious incident, there is also the risk — even the likelihood — that the person will end up relapsing, falling away from the decision to quit. It becomes something that the person will do later, and the moment has passed. Who knows when it might come again? Don’t wait until after the holidays to get into rehab; Narconon Arrowhead is ready to help, and thanks to their willingness to welcome in family during the holidays, it is not necessary to choose between recovery and celebrating with those you love.

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Keeping Up with the New Synthetic Drugs on the Market Thu, 11 Dec 2014 16:33:59 +0000 synthetic drug packagingFor many decades, changes in the illicit drug market occurred very slowly. In the 1960s, a number of new psychedelics arrived in the US and other major markets and stayed. Cocaine began to show up in volume in the US in the 1980s and was soon followed by a new way of processing the drug – crack cocaine. In the 1990s, the number of painkillers on the market increased and the volume of prescriptions in circulation skyrocketed.

But these changes are nothing compared to the tsunami of new drugs we have seen in the last several years. To give you an idea of the volume, a European drug monitoring agency reported identifying more than 350 “new psychoactive substances” on the market (this is their name for these new synthetics). In 2013 alone, 81 new substances were added to this list.

Why Are the Number of Synthetic Drugs Increasing So Fast?

Is it baffling why there are so many different synthetics being sold? Here’s why that’s happening.

Around the world, government bodies are trying to keep these harmful drugs off the market. To do so, the specific substance in question must be illegal for sale. There’s a loophole right here. If one of these products is sold as “plant fertilizer,” “glass cleaner” or “incense,” then the laws regulating its use are different than if it is sold as a drug. So the individuals manufacturing these drugs simply label the packages “not for human consumption.” In the US, state laws must ban that specific drug for police to be able to seize it and arrest sellers. In other countries, the problem is similar – national lawmakers must ban the drug.

bath saltsSo let’s say that a drug like MDMA (Ecstasy) or the chemicals found in Spice or bath salts are banned by law in New York.  The chemists producing this drug simply turn to another similar chemical and start manufacturing it. It’s not yet included in any New York laws so the police can’t get it off the street. The new drug might be Bromo-DragonFLY, so called because a drawing of the molecule looks somewhat like a dragonfly.

Now, let’s say that the legislators in New York catch up and ban Bromo-DragonFLY. The chemists now just switch to another drug in the same category, 2C-B-Fly. The changeover to the new drug simply involves a tiny shift in the molecules. But the tiny chemical change can mean death to the users of this new drug. There’s certainly no testing for safety, no purity checks and no conscience in this industry.

Warnings from Law Enforcement

In recent weeks, law enforcement agencies and news media have been spreading the word about 25-i-NBOMe. It’s usually referred to as N-Bomb or N-BOMe. The drug had been seen outside the US but now it’s taking lives and endangering the sanity of our neighbors.

In Florida, this recent news report provides a warning to local families. And here’s another article about this drug from 2014.

One of the sinister characteristics about this drug is the tiny amount of the drug needed to cause a dangerous or even fatal effect. In one teaspoon of the drug, 10,000 doses can be manufactured, to be sold for $5 to $10 each. It’s not hard to understand the motivation for criminals to get into this industry.

You can learn about these synthetic drugs simply by downloading and reading our guide to dealing with synthetic drugs, available here. We instruct you on the major classes of these drugs, their nicknames and their effects. We even provide you with an outline on how to approach this subject with children.

If you’re thinking of using this drug, you might want look at your decision more closely.  If you have kids, you need to know more than they are going to hear from their friends. Please feel free to use our information and share it with others.

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Finding Rehab During the Holiday Season Mon, 08 Dec 2014 19:39:15 +0000 person needing drug rehabEach year as the holidays approach, families may postpone their efforts to get a loved one to rehab. It may be that that families are so desperate to see a loved one who was lost to addiction that they don’t even want to think about sending him (or her) away. After all, it may be the only time they see this person this year. Moms and dads may want to have just a few moments of family togetherness with this person they’re worrying about night and day.

This feeling is completely understandable.  Of course they want to have a nice holiday celebration with everyone together again.

Comments from several addicted people who did show up for their holiday dinners after being away shows that no one got what they wanted from these celebrations.

We’ve heard stories like these:

“I doped off during dinner.”
“My mom cried the whole time I was home.”
“I sneaked off to smoke heroin during dinner.”
“My mom took me in the bedroom and begged me to quit using drugs.”

These holidays usually wind up being miserable and unpleasant for everyone. The addicted very often just decide to stay away in the future.

Then they are really out of reach of the family’s help.

A Better Way to Help

getting help after drug overdoseIt may go against the grain, but a much better way to proceed is to locate an effective rehab service before the holidays. If you foresee needing an interventionist (because you know the person will reject the idea of recovery) then line this person up as well. It’s not the perfect time to spring the idea of rehab on an addicted person when he arrives for the holiday but this may be the only time you see him (or her). Therefore, it may be your only chance to save his life.

One woman told the story of arriving at rehab just before Christmas and being sad about not being able to give her teenage children gifts that year. She called her kids to apologize. “That’s okay, mom,” one of her kids replied. “Your being there is the best present you could give us.”

An addicted person may go on for years, finding and using drugs. Or it could all end tonight with a potent bag of heroin, a synthetic drug that kills after one hit or an arrest for dealing drugs or some other crime. The right time to help an addict find rehab is now, today. There might be another chance and there might not. The best way to avoid tragedy is to get the per-son into the best drug rehab program you can find, right now.

If you need help, call Narconon at 1-800-775-8750. We can help you work out the best way to get this person to arrive. Do it now. So everyone can have a safer and healthier holiday.

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How Do We Really Fight Drug Abuse? Thu, 04 Dec 2014 17:25:04 +0000 teens smoking marijuanaIt’s not hard to find controversial opinions about America’s war on drugs. The dialogue on the subject gets passionate, argumentative and even downright combative at time. Some people argue that we need a highly militarized solution to the trafficking of drugs. Other people say that drugs should be legalized, that this will somehow cure the problem.

Neither one of these seem like solutions. We do know one thing, however: the most vital war on drugs is fought at home. Parents fight this war to protect their children.

Outside the home, most children of twelve and older will see some kids their age and older using drugs or drinking. While they are in single digits, they may hear from another child how cool it is to find spray cans or cleaning supplies around the home and inhale the fumes. The chance that they will someday walk into a home where there are drunk or stoned young people is about 100%.

In 23 US states, they probably see marijuana dispensaries in their home towns. In two states (with more coming soon) they may walk past people smoking pot on the street. There have been hundreds of movies and television shows produced about people drinking and using drugs and there’s going to be more.

Hardly a week goes by that I don’t see another story about a teen who lost his life to pills, inhalants, heroin, alcohol or synthetics. In one recent story, nineteen-year-old Connor Eckhardt went into a coma and later died after one hit of Spice – referred to as synthetic marijuana. That’s the kind of danger our kids and young adults are facing.

Fighting the Drug War in the Home

The most important place for this drug war to be fought is in the home and the most important players in this war are mom, dad, grandparents and other family members.

Many parents think that the schools are going to handle all the drug prevention needed for their children. But school drug education, no matter how good, must be supported by an anti-drug message in the home.

One of the most important messages in this war is the example set by parents and other adults in or around the home. Prescription drugs must never be used unnecessarily, illicit drugs must be completely absent and alcohol must be used in moderation. It should be made clear to all young people that the expectation is that they will never touch a drug or alcohol through age 21. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, if they make it to 21 without using drugs or alcohol, they are virtually certain to never have a problem with one of these substances.

Parents need to know more than their children about drugs. That’s why we have hundreds of educational articles on drugs on our website. We know how hard it is to keep up with all the drugs making the rounds out there. Your knowing the dangers of each and explaining them to your children will go a long way toward protecting them. At the end of this article you’ll find links to some of these resources.

Someone recently said that protecting kids from drugs is not “one and done.” In other words, it’s not one conversation about drugs and that’s all that’s needed. The conversations and the education needs to continue.

Helping Young People Take it All In

It’s not the easiest thing to present all these ideas so that young people will accept them. Most kids need your advice and instruction more than they will let on. You may have to provide them with this education and not necessarily look for agreement or a promise to comply. Especially at younger ages, keep things light. At older ages, you’re going to have to be frank about the possibility of death for them or those close to them who might indulge. Start young and continue to educate and support sober decisions until they are 21 years of age.

Even honor students take a single misstep that can result in the loss of dreams of even life. Even productive young people who are close to their parents can fall into this trap. College students leaving home for the first time are seldom prepared for the drug and alcohol using atmosphere that exists in many universities – and that includes the so-called “study drugs” like Ritalin and Adderall. Don’t ever take your child’s ability to make the right decision for granted.

The government will not be able to seize all the drugs coming in the country. Your child’s school will not be able to provide enough drug education to guarantee their safety. Lawmakers and police will not be able to arrest enough drug dealers to keep your city completely safe. That means it is first, last and always about the family.

Grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents, older siblings, cousins – ensure they are sober if they are going to be around the home. Ensure they are fully on board with this message. The life you save could be that of someone you hold very dear indeed.

In the Narconon Parent Center, you can find many of our booklets and articles to help you in this essential task.

On this page, you can find specific articles about the effects of or signs of use of more than 40 drugs.

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Narconon Arrowhead Provides Alcohol Prevention for Thanksgiving Thu, 04 Dec 2014 02:52:55 +0000 thanksgivingIf you ask most people what they are thankful for this Thanksgiving, you will hear many say that what they most value is their family and friends. They are thankful for the time they get to spend together, and for the fact that they can look forward to many more years of happiness with their loved ones. In this spirit, Narconon Arrowhead is sharing alcohol abuse prevention tips this Thanksgiving to help people across the country to keep those they care about safe from the dangers of binge drinking and alcoholism during the holidays. The staff of Narconon Arrowhead know from their experience working with recovering addicts, a background which many of them share personally, that the holidays often bring a greater risk of heavy drinking than the rest of the year. 

People feel more stressed out about keeping up with everyday life in addition to the demands placed on them by family gatherings, work parties and all of the expectations to have the “perfect holidays.” There is also the fact that for many people, alcohol is available at every turn during the holidays; Thanksgiving dinner often sees guests drinking heavily before, during and after the meal, and then the alcohol keeps flowing at parties, through Christmas and up to New Year’s Eve. All of this translates into a greater risk that a person will get arrested for drinking and driving, will get into an accident or suffer an overdose, or will transition from a heavy drinker to an alcoholic. To safeguard your loved ones’ health and happiness over the holiday season, here are several tips from Narconon Arrowhead:

  • Serve plenty of non-alcoholic beverages at Thanksgiving dinner. If possible, don’t offer any alcohol at all. But if you feel compelled to serve some wine or other drinks, make sure that they are only available in limited quantities and are in the company of sparkling cider, juice, coffee, tea and anything else you want to offer which does not have alcohol.
  • Don’t leave the drinks out in the open. If your guests can refill their glasses at an impromptu bar on the kitchen countertop or at the table, those who have a tendency to drink too much will. Put the bottles somewhere that’s not overly convenient to access, or where it will be obvious if someone keeps coming back for more. You might even put someone in charge of the drinks, since this person can cut anyone off from having too much to drink or can start serving watered down drinks if necessary.
  • Fill your guests up with food rather than drink. Make sure that there is a variety and abundance of delicious food available to entertain their palates and fill their stomachs. The more they eat, the less they will have room to drink, and the more that the food will soak up the alcohol that they do consume, slowing down its effects on the body.
  • Start winding down the party before it’s time to send everybody home. Serve only so much alcohol that you can expect to run out well before the evening is over, or put the bottles away with enough time that your guests will be able to sober up before leaving.
  • If anyone seems to be too drunk to drive, don’t worry about being socially awkward by stopping them from leaving on their own. Make sure that they get a ride with a sober guest, or find a way to pay for a taxi to drive them home. If necessary, offer a bed on the couch or in a guest room so that your friend or family member can stay the night and avoid the dangers of getting arrested or injured in an accident while driving drunk.

Narconon Arrowhead Wishes a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving

The holidays can be a stressful time of year, and this stress opens the door to more alcohol abuse and all of the hazards that come with this. The people at Narconon Arrowhead want to help you and your loved ones enjoy a happy and safe time at Thanksgiving and through the rest of the holidays, and they hope that with the tips above you can keep alcohol from ruining anyone’s time.

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The Truth About Marijuana Potency Claims Mon, 01 Dec 2014 17:17:30 +0000 Average marijuana potency 2013In Canada, a former corrections officer and pro-drug-legalization advocate objected to warnings that the potency of marijuana was tripling and quadrupling, resulting in a dangerously potent drug. John Anderson responded to this news by saying, “If you look at the difference between one and four percent, that’s 300 percent so I suppose they have an argument there.” He was was quoted by Day6 of Canadian radio station CBC.

Let’s look at the truth or accuracy of his statement.

Marijuana’s Potency

It’s not exactly correct to say that pot’s potency has increased 300%. It’s also inaccurate to scoff about marijuana potency increasing from one percent to four percent. The situation we have is truly far more serious.

The correct percentage of increase all depends on the which year you choose for comparison with today’s pot. It also depends on which cannabis product you use – regular marijuana or sinsemilla (leaves from unfertilized, seedless female plants).

For some reason, many news sources often choose to start their comparisons with a date in the early 1990s when the potency was running between three and four percent.

If you want to really see the progression of potency of marijuana, then let’s go back to the earliest available figures from the Mississippi Monitoring Project, the national authority on these numbers.

Here’s a chart showing the increasing content of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the main intoxicating ingredient) of seized samples of marijuana between 1972 and 2008. The dark green line shows the increasing potency of regular marijuana and the bright green line shows the potency of sinsemilla.

Pot potency chart

It’s very hard to find the exact same chart starting in 1972 and carrying through 2013. A separate chart published by the Jefferson County Marijuana Task Force shows the increase the average THC found in seized samples between 1995 and 2013. We’ll pick up the continued increase of potency from their numbers.

Average marijuana potency 2013

Not Exactly an Increase from 1% to 4%

Put these two charts together and you can see that the average THC content has increased from 1.23% in 1972 (and 1973 was even lower at .83%) to nearly 13% in 2013. This is an increase of 1020%.

Mr. Anderson commented on a 300% increase from 1% to 4%. The numbers he chose paint a vastly different picture that the one painted by the true potencies. The effects of smoking weed at 1%, 4% or 13% potency is very, very different.

The high figure above, 12.55% in 2013, is still far from the highest sample ever tested.The highest THC content measured as of March 15, 2009 was 37.2% THC. It is common for medical marijuana dispensaries to state potencies of 20% to 25%.

The moral of the tale is that sometimes it pays to look closely at what you are told by someone who is claiming that marijuana is a virtually harmless drug.

After describing these increases in potency, the National Institute on Drug Abuse stated: “So what does this actually mean? For a new user, it may mean exposure to higher concentrations of THC, with a greater chance of an adverse or unpredictable reaction. In fact, increases in potency may account for the rise in emergency department visits involving marijuana use. For experienced users, it may mean a greater risk for addiction if they are exposing themselves to high doses on a regular basis.”

Not at all harmless.

Jefferson County Marijuana Task Force, report to the Board of County Commissioners, Jefferson County, Colorado, Sept 8, 2014

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