Narconon - Drug Addiction & Recovery Blog http://www.narconon.org/blog Latest Information and Trends - Addiction, Abuse and Recovery Sat, 28 Feb 2015 00:18:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How to Have Fun during Spring Break without Drugs or Alcohol http://www.narconon.org/blog/sobriety/how-to-have-fun-spring-break-without-drugs-alcohol/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/sobriety/how-to-have-fun-spring-break-without-drugs-alcohol/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 00:01:07 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3374 drug free spring breakPlanning to go to Spring Break this year? Maybe your destination is South Padre Island or Panama City or Fort Lauderdale. Or maybe you’ll catch a flight to Cancun or Jamaica. You and hundreds of thousands of other young people will be welcomed at any of these Spring Break destinations.

While many people might be headed to these places with the idea of heavy drinking and drugs, wild nights and promiscuity, what about getting a group of friends and doing something that is truly fun and adventurous?   Who says it always has to be about getting drunk or high?

It make take a little creativity, but there are many things you can do on spring break that can be just as exciting without all the misery that comes from a week long binge.  For the more adventurous, you might even want to try some extreme sports such as skydiving and rock climbing.

Here are just a few ideas for drug and alcohol-free activities in some prime Spring Break destinations that will create memories you can enjoy for years.  Instead of hazy memories of upsets, tears, hangovers and fights – or worse.

Spring Break Adventures

scuba divingCancun: Take an ATV tour of the jungle canopy near Cancun, followed by ziplining through the trees or into a water-filled crater in the middle of the jungle. If you prefer, swim with dolphins or tour some of Cancun’s coral reefs.

Fort Lauderdale: Scuba, free dive or snorkel along coral reefs or investigate underwater wrecks like the 325-foot Copenhagen. Just about any watersport you can think of is available, such as paddleboards, waverunners, kayaks or jetpack rides. Or take one of those cool airboats through the Everglades.

horseback riding beachJamaica: Your favorite activity here might be just chilling on the white sand beaches or soaking in the turquoise waters. But there’s much more to do than that: Ziplining, paddleboarding, jungle tours or tubing down a river are all available at Montego Bay in Jamaica. Or go horseback riding on the beach or IN the surf.

Panama City: It’s all about the water so look for waverunners, parasailing over the surf, snorkeling or dolphin encounters. Or check out those amazing flyboards – stand on a small platform with water jets pointing downward that send you soaring into the air.

Go sober this year and have the time of your life. You’ll be able to come back with plenty of stories to and some vivid memories of your 2015 Spring Break adventures.

Behind the Scenes at Spring Break Destinations

If you’re sold on the idea but need some help convincing others, here’s a look at what’s occurs each year at these spring break destinations:

1) Drug dealers in these areas are stockpiling hundreds of kilos of cocaine, Molly, marijuana and synthetics that they want to get into your hands and into your body.

2) Bars and party venues are printing out posters and working up offers that will result in the maximum amount of alcohol consumed in the shortest amount of time.

3) Emergency medical technicians and emergency rooms are making sure their ambulances are fully stocked with all the supplies they will need to bring you back from a Molly, alcohol or other overdose or a drug-related injury such as a fall off a hotel balcony.

4) Social services and law enforcement are preparing themselves to deal with injuries, heavily intoxicated people, overdoses, rapes, assaults and other Spring Break related problems.

When you look at that picture, the traditional spring break looks more like marketing opportunity for alcohol companies and drug dealers who have virtually no concern for your welfare.    Why not invest your time and money in something that supports your well being instead of their bank accounts?

So go ahead, get a group of friends and create a real adventure that you are sure to remember for years to come.    When you come back, tell the rest of your friends about your wonderful adventures seeing things you would never have seen back home or from the inside of a night club. Maybe they’ll travel with you next year and see how great a drug-free and alcohol-free Spring Break can be.

]]>
http://www.narconon.org/blog/sobriety/how-to-have-fun-spring-break-without-drugs-alcohol/feed/ 0
How to Get an Addict to Seek Help http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-rehabilitation/get-addict-seek-help/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-rehabilitation/get-addict-seek-help/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 05:56:31 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3355 helping an addictThe family members of an addicted person often watch in horror as everything valuable to the addict is lost. Relationships are destroyed as the addicted person steals and lies repeatedly. It’s common for a spouse to leave and take children away for their protection.

But this doesn’t mean that the family just sat idly by while all this destruction took place. In most cases, they have made repeated appeals to the addicted person to please quit using drugs or drinking. When it became obvious that the problem was not going to go away, they usually began to look for a rehab program. Where things stalled was in trying to get the addicted person into the program.

The bitter truth of addiction is that the condition itself prevents its own resolution. A rehab program can be prepared to accept the person but he (or she) very often disappears instead of starting the program that could save his life. To get this person into rehab, the first thing a family needs to do is understand why this happens.

Inside the World of an Addicted Person

Once a person has been addicted for awhile, he has lost the concept of enjoying life sober. He feels he needs the drug he is addicted just to function, just to feel normal, just to prevent the sickness of withdrawal. Most addicts are not really getting high any more, they are just maintaining the addiction, especially when jobs and money and anything else of value have been lost. But if the drug is withdrawn, the cravings will make him crazy enough to do whatever it takes to get more of the drug. It’s as vital as air, water or food.

he knows he has broken heartsHe has done many things he is terribly ashamed of. He may have sold drugs and some of the people he sold them to may have overdosed. He could have had someone die right in front of him. Many addicts steal from family and friends or may commit burglary or muggings to get money for drugs. Both males and females may have prostituted themselves just to have a place to stay or to get drugs. He could have been arrested and felt even further disgraced. He also knows he has broken the hearts of those who love him.

But this person is not a criminal at heart. So she is ashamed. At some level, she cares and remembers it wasn’t always this way. If she faces her family, she will be vividly reminded of how it used to be.

Drugs of all kinds drown out pain and worry. They lower awareness. When under the influence of drugs or drinks, it’s possible for the addicted person to put the destruction out of her mind. Most of the time, she can ignore the physical deterioration and the mental and spiritual devastation.

If she considers getting sober, all this destruction, pain, sickness, guilt and depression threatens to overwhelm her. It’s no wonder that she runs.

How to Approach the Person About Rehab

In many cases, this is best done by an experienced interventionist because the family is normally so distraught and emotionally involved, it’s hard to make a calm appeal to the addict. But it can be done if the family is strong and determined enough.

The addicted person will need to be approached at a time of day that he is normally the most sober.

This is usually when he first gets up from sleeping. The individual chosen to talk to him must be the most calm, disciplined and authoritative person in the family, hopefully one that commands some respect from the addict.

It’s useless to make any accusation or criticism.

The only thing that will work is to make the addicted person feel safe by talking calmly. Get him to talk about the current problem, engage him in looking at the situation being created for himself by the drug use.

He will often accuse others of causing him to be this way, he will find fault and shift blame. This is just part of the personality created by drug use. Gently explain to him how life could be if he got sober. Ask him to remember what life was life back before drug use started – always gently, patiently.

Be alert for any comment on how he’s tired of using drugs or wishes he could stop.

If this comment comes up, don’t pounce on it. Just encourage the person gently and offer help. Remember that in his heart, he wishes to get off drugs, he wishes he could go back to the way he was before.  This is true no matter what words come out of his mouth.  It just does’t seem possible at the time.

If he finally makes a definite statement about wanting to be done with drugs or drink, tell him about the rehab you have found for him. Yes, you need to line this up before this conversation so that when this moment comes, you can basically just pack his bags and take him to the rehab center. Make that transition as fast as possible because when withdrawal begins to kick in, it is best if he is among people who can support him and have the knowledge and experience to make the process as tolerable as possible. If he is still home while trying to get through withdrawal, the urge to use is so strong he will take off to get more drugs and you will have to start all over again.

If you take every step described here and it doesn’t work, all is not lost. Now is the time to call a professional interventionist. This will greatly increase the chances of success.

The Narconon network of rehabilitation centers knows the value of expert intervention and maintains relationships with successful interventionists in many parts of the world. Call and speak to one our counselors  at 1-800-775-8750 who can help arrange this for you.

Once your loved one arrives at rehab, he needs a program that gives him the time to undo this damage and find relief from his overwhelming guilt. He will need to rebuild his sober living skills in order to stay sober after he leaves. For nearly fifty years, Narconon drug rehab centers have offered just this kind of help to those addicted to all kinds of drugs or alcohol. To understand how the Narconon program can help your loved one recover from this damage and come back to life, call us at 1-800-775-8750.

]]>
http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-rehabilitation/get-addict-seek-help/feed/ 0
What Does the 49th Anniversary of Narconon Mean to Us? http://www.narconon.org/blog/narconon/49th-anniversary-of-narconon/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/narconon/49th-anniversary-of-narconon/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 19:55:50 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3340 narconon-49-year-anniversaryOn February 19th, the Narconon network celebrates its 49th birthday. On this day in 1966, William Benitez made the decision to found a rehab program to be called Narconon. He was in prison in Arizona at the time and he wanted to first help other inmates who were in jail because they could not stop using drugs. It took several months for him to convince prison officials to let him run the country’s first inside-the-prison rehab program but he finally was able to gather other inmates who wanted to get sober and teach them about the personal abilities he had been able to rebuild by studying the works of humanitarian and author L. Ron Hubbard. After he was released from prison, he established the first Narconon center in Los Angeles, teaching the same principles.

Now, almost 50 years later, there are Narconon rehab and prevention organizations and groups around the world. More than 38,000 individuals have graduated from this rehab program and that doesn’t even count those who graduated in the early years, before we started keeping official records.

Likewise, we’ll never exactly know how many people have been reached with our drug prevention curriculum. In Russia, one of our drug educators reached more than 250,000 people in six years. In Southern California, one drug ed team reached 100,000 young people last year. And in Nepal, the center in Kathmandu has reached out to more than 650,000 people in person and via radio and television, to educate them on the dangers of drug use.

narconon drug educator with students

Tony and his team of drug educators from Narconon Fresh Start spoke with over 100,000 kids last year.

So what does it mean to us to be entering our 50th year of providing new, sober lives?

It means that when we read the news and see stories of young lives lost to heroin, alcohol or other drugs, our resolve to continue to fight drug abuse and do an even better job is strengthened.

narconon graduate

Narconon graduate reunited with his family

It means that when we talk to someone whose son, daughter, sibling or other loved one is struggling with addiction, we have a solution to offer them.

It means that we are proud to be part of the national and international community of professionals and committed individuals who are determined to overcome this destructive force.

It means that we are sworn to never give up, never back down, never sit quietly by while teens are fooled into thinking that a beer or two or a few joints or pills are harmless and will never lead to a dangerous addiction.

It means that we will keep our doors open to those who need rehabilitation and continue to send drug educators out in to the community.

As we enter our 50th year, we try to extend our thoughts to the time when we will be entering our 100th year. What will drug abuse be like at that time? Will there be fewer people being harmed by drugs or more people?

If we have anything to do with it, there will be far fewer people addicted to drugs and if drug abuse still exists in our world, we’ll be there to provide a road out. One that doesn’t use substitute drugs, but provides true rehabilitation.  Where a person can be free from the struggle to stay sober and enables them  to move on and create a healthy, happy drug-free life.

Here’s to another 50 years of sober and drug-free lives.

49 years of Narconon graduates

 

]]>
http://www.narconon.org/blog/narconon/49th-anniversary-of-narconon/feed/ 0
One of the Best Ways to Keep Kids Off Drugs http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-prevention/best-way-keep-kids-off-drugs/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-prevention/best-way-keep-kids-off-drugs/#comments Sat, 14 Feb 2015 00:16:39 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3329 Parents these days have their work cut out for them. Drug distribution channels criss cross the country and heroin has worked its way out of the inner cities and into the suburbs. More than twenty states have legalized medical marijuana and four have made recreational marijuana use legal, increasing the amount of the drug in circulation. Of course, there’s alcohol in every city and town. Can parents still keep their kids drug-free till adulthood?

teen thinkingMany youth state that their parents do have conversations with them about marijuana and alcohol but those parents may not be familiar with all the other drugs available to youth. They may not think their children have access to painkillers, Ecstasy or any other many dangerous synthetic drugs on the market. It’s hard for parents to stay up-to-date on every drug their children might be exposed to.

But you can do something effective even beyond educating yourself and your kids about drugs . When parents work with their children to set and achieve goals, this is one major way they can help keep their kids drug-free. Working toward these goals, they have a purpose and life becomes a more of a game.

Self-image, Self-esteem and Accomplishment

When young people have goals and get some encouragement and help to achieve them, positive effects occur in a chain reaction. Let’s look at a few of these:

  • They are immediately focused on the future.
  • They are contemplating, planning and conversing about something that they choose for themselves.
  • They have an activity of their own choosing to work on when they are not occupied with school or chores (something way better than video games).
  • This goal will very often enhance a child’s self-image, for example, if a child wishes to learn to dance, play music or even skateboard or snowboard expertly, he (or she) has an image of himself in that role of an expert.
  • As one accomplishes this enhanced self-image, it does wonders for one’s self-esteem.

So is it enough to just sit down with a child and ask what goal they want to achieve and then be done with it? No. Many children will answer that they don’t know. Possibly at a young age they had an idea of what they wanted to be or do, but they somehow got the idea it was not possible or not a worthwhile pursuit. It might take interacting with a child for some months and seeing what they like to do and then encouraging them to pursue that skill or activity.

girl playing guitarSuppose a child has no idea what goal he might want to achieve but he brightens up every time he’s on the soccer field. Or she has no answer for this question but she loves to sing along to Beyoncé. A parent can help the child follow that purpose that’s already being manifested. If a different interest comes along in a few months, there’s nothing lost in helping the child gain abilities in that first interest.

Gaining Ability is Part of Recovery as Well as Prevention

Benitez quoteYou might be interested to know that the successful Narconon drug rehabilitation program is based on the concept of raising abilities in a person who lost them to drug abuse. This was the discovery of the founder of Narconon, William Benitez, who used the works of American author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard to rehabilitate his own ability to live a productive, honest life. Willie then turned around and used the same works to rehabilitate the lives of others who were addicted to drugs like he had been.

In order to achieve a goal, a young person also must persevere, must confront life, must be responsible and so on. If this helps a person recover from addiction, it certainly stands to reason that they can also help one avoid falling into the trap of drug use and addiction.

]]>
http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-prevention/best-way-keep-kids-off-drugs/feed/ 0
Two Signs You May be Addicted to Alcohol http://www.narconon.org/blog/alcohol-addiction/signs-you-may-be-addicted-alcohol/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/alcohol-addiction/signs-you-may-be-addicted-alcohol/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 02:13:15 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3311 vital signs of addiction to alcoholAlcoholism can be a tricky problem to diagnose. That’s partly because alcohol is usually slow to addict – for some people, it can take years for them to become full-blown alcoholics. So alcoholism may creep up on one so very gradually, it’s unnoticeable.

It can be deceptive, too. Some people who drink almost every day may comment that because they can go a day or even two without drinking, they are not alcoholics.

So how can one judge whether or not alcoholism exists?

What really counts when you are judging alcoholism are these two important factors:

1. Can the person control his (or her) drinking? Can he make a decision to reduce his consumption or quit? Or can he not?

2. Is he dependent on the use of this drug? This could be psychological or could be physical.

To help you answer these questions, here’s a fairly simple definition of addiction:

Addiction is a condition characterized by repeated, compulsive seeking and use of drugs, alcohol or other similar substances despite adverse social, mental and physical consequences. It is usually accompanied by psychological and physical dependence on the abused substance and the appearance of withdrawal symptoms when the addictive substance is rapidly decreased or terminated. When addiction exists, the drug use controls the individual rather than the individual controlling the usage.

You can see this definition includes the two factors we just mentioned. Alcohol use will be compulsive. The person will not be in control. The psychological and physical dependence will drive further consumption. And he or she will usually (but not always) suffer withdrawal symptoms if alcohol consumption stops or is cut back quickly.

Tests for alcohol usually have long list of signs to check for. But really, those test questions all boil down to these two characteristics. Let’s take a more detailed look at how those two characteristics can be manifested.

Example A. A young man goes away to college and isn’t prepared for the alcohol-consuming culture he encounters. He starts drinking every weekend, which progresses to drinking almost every day. He doesn’t think of himself as an alcoholic but he is unable to go to a party or sports event without having a beer in his hand. He can’t socialize or be with a woman unless he is thoroughly buzzed. He relaxes after tests by drinking to blackout. He finally realizes his grades are slipping and decides he better cut back. But despite the intention to drink less, nothing changes.

man drinking alcohol

He’s not in control. If there’s alcohol around, he’s drinking. When he notices his life is changing for the worse, he’s still drinking. Even if there are days he doesn’t drink, the compulsion to do so drives him back to alcohol at the next opportunity.

Example B. A woman drinks at home most of the time, finishing a couple of bottles of wine almost every night. When she loses her job, she’s short on money and decides to stop buying wine until she starts working again. The first night she skips the wine, she finds herself unbearably depressed and anxious. At midnight, she runs out to the store for wine.

Both these people have lost the ability to control their drinking. The cause could be psychological or it could be physical, but the truth is, it’s probably a mixture of both.

Physiological Impact of Alcohol

The use of any drug causes physiological changes. There are toxins stored in the body as an aftereffect of the liver and other organs trying to break down and neutralize these substances. That’s because not every trace of the drugs or drink can be washed away and some residues remain behind.

There is a change to the chemistry of the entire body as it adjusts to the frequent presence of these foreign chemicals. Sudden withdrawal of this foreign substance can cause a serious breakdown of the body’s function.

organs affected by alcoholThe liver, heart, pancreas, stomach, kidneys, lungs and brain all take a beating during heavy and prolonged alcohol consumption. Continued drinking conceals the damage but if alcohol is withdrawn, the discomfort will start showing up. The drinker is going to feel lousy. His depleted condition will probably cause him to emotionally feel very low and tired which could be diagnosed as depression. No wonder a chronic drinker will reach for another drink – he wants to cover up these symptoms.

For a more complete review of the health risks of drinking, visit this page: http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/alcohol/health-risk.html.

Severe Drinking Causes Severe Damage

Most people know about the seizures and delirium tremens (DTs) that can hit the heavy alcoholic. A person who has drunk heavily enough and long enough can suffer a high fever during withdrawal, high enough to cause his death if it is not controlled with medication. This is an extreme case and is not present in every person who withdraws from alcohol.

Serious brain damage is also possible in cases of extreme and prolonged drinking, enough to cause aggression, difficulty walking (when not drunk), premature aging and loss of memory and cognitive ability.

The Psychological Impact of Alcohol

Even a young person can quickly develop a psychological dependence on alcohol. Similar to what is described above, a young woman finds that certain social or personal situations are easier if she is impaired by alcohol. It’s easier to hang out with her friends and go to clubs when she’s had a little (or a lot) to drink. She can associate with men more easily and feels like she fits in better and is more popular and attractive when she’s drinking. She begins to look forward to the nights she can get away and drink.

If she goes out with a group that’s not drinking, she’s uncomfortable, so she gravitates back to the drinking group. She is developing a psychological dependence on alcohol.

Recovering from Alcoholism

It could be said that taking a little time away from one’s life, career or education to achieve lasting sobriety may be the best investment one could ever make. It will be very difficult to ever achieve one’s goals or dreams as long as alcohol or drugs control one’s decisions.

In just a few months at a Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, those addicted to alcohol or drugs have found a completely new ability to enjoy sobriety. Being sober doesn’t have to be a grim struggle. It can actually result from the ability to set goals and achieve them, and to manage healthy relationships with family and friends. Those graduating from this drug-free program find themselves more able to think clearly and often say that cravings are gone or far more manageable.

You don’t have to let alcohol run your life. Contact Narconon today at 1-800-775-8750 and learn how this holistic approach to recovery can be your fresh start in life.

 

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2528232/

]]>
http://www.narconon.org/blog/alcohol-addiction/signs-you-may-be-addicted-alcohol/feed/ 0
The Dark Web of Online Drug Sales http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/dark-web-online-drug-sales/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/dark-web-online-drug-sales/#comments Fri, 06 Feb 2015 17:13:18 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3305 The dark world of online drug salesSeveral years ago, about the only way the internet was involved in the sales and use of drugs was through fraudulent internet pharmacies. A large number of these companies sprang up across the US and around the world, selling prescription drugs (often counterfeit) without asking for a prescription from a doctor.

It took awhile, but most of these companies operating in or delivering to the US have been shut down. There are still online pharmacies in existence, but now most of the ones operating in the US are legitimate pharmacies registered with their states and operating within the law.

While that was happening, however, a new online world of drug sales grew to fairly massive proportions. And this world has entirely new and ominous characteristics.

According to a new report from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMDCCA), a new generation of websites offering illicit drugs for sale present a new and growing threat. The Silk Road online drug sales forum is one example of this kind of threat. This website sold both pharmaceutical and illicit drugs to anyone who could pay.
silk road online forum shut down

The Silk Road, which was shut down by the FBI and other agencies in 2014, was invisible to the traditional indexing services offered by Google and similar search engines, as are many similar sites. To gain access, you usually have to receive an invitation, courtesy of someone who is already accepted there. One guide to online drug sales notes that drug-selling sites Agora and Evolution have more than 13,000 listings for drugs.

This hidden world of online drug sales is referred to as the “dark web.” This EMDCCA report notes that there are now 20 of these hidden drug sites in existence. Transactions are usually cloaked in anonymity and are paid with bitcoins, an internet-based form of payment that can also be anonymous.

Another World on Your Phone

Pot finder android appWhile the dark web has spread insidious tentacles around the world, a whole new world of drug-related applications for phones or other electronic devices has arrived. For this article, a search was made for drug-related applications that work on Android devices but apps exist for every major operating system utilized by phones and tablets.

Interested in marijuana? There are more than 180 applications related to pot. For example, finding marijuana dispensaries around you, marijuana slang, growers’ guides, services for finding employment in this field and games like Drug Dealer Bash, which states, “Sell marijuana, cocaine and pills to fiends while avoiding police.”

If you search for heroin, there are not nearly as many apps but you could choose Dope Wars: Illegal Life which lets you “Explore the fully interactive city, make sales, manufacture grams, bag-up, commit burglaries, evade police, manage streets, hire workers & much more.” There’s a Painkiller Calculator that helps you convert dosages from hydrocodone to the far more powerful fentanyl, for example. And there’s Heroin Hero, that invites you to chase a dragon while you inject yourself with heroin. If you catch the dragon, you get more doses.

Search for cocaine-related apps, and you can get one that provides images of lines of cocaine that you can pretend to snort right off your phone’s touchscreen. There are other apps for other illicit drugs as well.

Just to balance the scales, there are also plenty of apps that offer ways to get support while you are in recovery, such as guides to find support groups in your areas, positive advice and motivation for staying sober and apps that will connect you with a drug addiction counselor immediately.

The Online World is, as Always, a Minefield

The internet offers a vast and rich array of resources, but as always, there have been pits any susceptible person can fall into. It’s hard to imagine a person in recovery from cocaine addiction staying sober if they have a cocaine-snorting simulation on their phone. Law enforcement agencies work hard to put drug-selling companies operating on the dark net out of business but it takes time.

There is a way we can all help put these companies out of business and that’s by reducing the demand. Everyone can do their part in keeping young people from ever starting with drugs. Many of our resources to help parents and other adults with this task are available at http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/parent-center.html.

If you know someone who is struggling with addiction, help them find rehab. At Narconon centers around the world, it’s possible to achieve lasting sobriety, no matter how severe the struggle has been or how long it has lasted. Call today to learn more: 1-800-775-8750.

]]>
http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-addiction/dark-web-online-drug-sales/feed/ 0
Dangerous Alcohol-Medication Interactions Putting Americans at Risk http://www.narconon.org/blog/alcohol-rehab/dangerous-alcohol-medication-interactions-putting-americans-risk/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/alcohol-rehab/dangerous-alcohol-medication-interactions-putting-americans-risk/#comments Wed, 04 Feb 2015 19:44:30 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3302 alcohol boozeYou have seen it before; the warning on the label of a bottle of pills or a box of medication, urging the user to not mix the drug with alcohol. You might not have worried too much about it, because you weren’t’t inclined to be drinking alcohol when suffering a cold, the flu or whatever other malady is leading you to need medication. But what if you take prescription drugs on a regular basis, as is the case with nearly half of the American population, according to a report issued last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of the most common prescription drugs carry this warning against using alcohol while taking the medication, but it is not the case that half of American adults avoid alcohol. Only 30% of the adult population abstains entirely from drinking, per data from the National Institutes of Health, so clearly there is a large number of people who “break the rules” by violating the prohibition on the bottle label and drinking alcohol despite also using medication. And indeed that is the case. A recent study, also published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), reports that nearly 42% of American adults who drink admit to also using medications which have been demonstrated to have potentially dangerous interactions with alcohol. This is based on survey data collected from more than 26,000 adults from across the United States.

What Medications Shouldn’t be mixed with Alcohol

The list of common medications which carry warnings on their labels against alcohol consumption includes blood pressure drugs, diabetes medication, muscle relaxers, cholesterol drugs, sleeping pills, painkillers, antipsychotics and antidepressants, and in today’s heavily medicated society it is not hard to find a friend or loved one who is on some type of pharmaceutical drug or another. With so many American adults also drinking alcohol, it is not surprising to learn that nearly half of them are also dangerously mixing drugs. This behavior is even more common among older adults: Alcohol drinkers over the age of 65 report using alcohol-interactive medications at a rate of 78%. Dr. George Koob, the director of the NIH’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, weighed in on the report saying that “combining alcohol with medications often carries the potential for serious health risks.” These can include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Loss of coordination
  • Heart problems
  • Respiratory complications
  • Internal bleeding

Dr. Koob went on to say that, “based on this study, many individuals may be mixing alcohol with interactive medications and they should be aware of the possible harms.”

Rehab to Protect Alcoholics from Prescription Drug Complications

It can certainly be hoped that if more people are aware of the dangers of mixing alcohol and medications, the incidence of complications caused by this can be reduced because fewer people will do it. But simple education about the facts isn’t enough in all cases. The fact is that many of the people who drink while also using alcohol-interactive medications do know better, but don’t really have any choice in the matter, because they are addicted to alcohol. For these, it’s not a matter of learning the facts and then deciding to hold off on drinking. They can’t stop drinking, and even the clearest evidence that they should quit does nothing to make it happen.

For these people, rehab is the answer. Effective addiction treatment can make it possible for an alcoholic to quit drinking, which not only puts an end to the problems directly caused by alcohol but also all the related issues such as the liability of suffering health complications caused by interactions with medications.

]]>
http://www.narconon.org/blog/alcohol-rehab/dangerous-alcohol-medication-interactions-putting-americans-risk/feed/ 0
How to Talk to Your Kids about Drugs http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-prevention/parents-talk-kids-drugs/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-prevention/parents-talk-kids-drugs/#comments Mon, 02 Feb 2015 22:24:03 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3294 Talking to Kids About Drugs bookletAs a child approaches his (or her) teens, he becomes more mobile. There are more sleepovers, more parties, more freedom to leave the home and hang out with friends. The more freedom and time away from home, the more opportunities there are to discover alcohol and drugs.

It’s not even a question of if a child will encounter drug and alcohol use. It’s when. In addition to every other responsibility a parent faces in raising a family, here’s another one: keep all one’s children drug-free until adulthood.

But it can be hard to find a good authority to provide effective guidance on dealing with this part of raising kids. Which is why Narconon reaches out to parents with all kinds of helpful information. We’ve been educating kids for nearly fifty years on the dangers of drugs – and our drug prevention curriculum has been proven to successfully reduce drug abuse numbers. If you’d like to see the study on our program you can find it here: http://www.substanceabusepolicy.com/content/3/1/8

A Wealth of Resources

Over the years, we have created a wealth of resources to help parents effectively educate their children on both drugs and alcohol. We have guides for talking to children and thorough reports on all the new drugs on the market so parents can speak with authority. If a parent does not have better and more complete information than a child will hear from her friends, the parent’s data may be discounted. So we educate you so you can turn to your children and let them know the real facts.

You’ll learn about the physical and mental harms that are possible, and the chances of addiction or overdose. Listed are the many slang terms for drugs or combinations of drugs so if you hear the slang, you’ll know what’s being talked about.

And we’ll help you understand your best courses of action if you find yourself faced with drug or alcohol use or even addiction.

The Parent Center

drug education bookletMany of our very best materials are collected onto one page of our website, the Narconon Parent Center.  Included here is the Talking to Kids About Drugs booklet and our very popular 10 Things Your Friends May Not Know About Drugs booklet, which can be downloaded and shared with others.

At the top, the Family Help Guide is there when you’re not even sure if drugs are being used or which ones. Then if you realize there is an addiction, the Family Help Guide will show you the next steps to take.

A fast and very direct guide to surviving the addiction of a loved one is contained in 14 Rules You Must Never Break When Dealing with Addiction. When these rules are broken, everyone suffers. But now you don’t have to.

There’s two booklets to help you learn the fast facts you might not know about marijuana or prescription drugs. At the bottom of the page there’s an excellent guide with just about everything you need to know to start talking to your kids. You can read it online for free.

Please take your time and get familiar with all our resources. They are there for you. They’re there to help you raise drug-free kids or help someone when they are in desperate need due to their addiction.

]]>
http://www.narconon.org/blog/drug-prevention/parents-talk-kids-drugs/feed/ 0
Why Non-Addicts Often Misunderstand the Concept of Recovery http://www.narconon.org/blog/recovery/non-addicts-often-misunderstand-concept-recovery/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/recovery/non-addicts-often-misunderstand-concept-recovery/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 18:58:32 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3290 confusedA person who is said to have recovered from an illness can be understood to have successfully fought of the bacteria or virus causing the illness and to have regained the level of health which he or she enjoyed prior to that illness. This is the common understanding of the word “recovery,” and based on this most of the general public impute this definition to the word when used in the context of addiction.

A person might refer to himself or herself as a “recovering addict,” but the friends and associates of that person might not actually understand exactly what is meant by the statement. They would, understandably, assume that the person meant that he or she had been “cured” of addiction, and was no longer liable to the cravings and compulsions to drink or use drugs which had characterized his or her life for years before.

This is not likely what the person who refers to himself or herself as a “recovering addict” actually means. As a result, the person may end up lacking much of the emotional, moral and practical support which he or she could sorely use in the effort to stay sober. Friends and family assuming that the person is totally out of the woods might not be as careful or considerate as they could in dealing with the person, and they might not actually be providing the help that they would like to.

The difference between the common definition of “recovery” and the definition being used by a “recovering addict” is essentially one of degree. For many schools of addiction treatment, the 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous being a major example of this, recovery is a process rather than an absolute state or condition. These groups consider that someone who has been addicted to drugs or alcohol will never actually be fully recovered from that dependence, and will instead be left struggling to stay sober and live life one day at a time. Life as a recovering addict means a daily battle to resist the temptation to use, and to reinforce the decision to get and stay sober. In this context, it would be wise for anyone with a family member or friend who is a recovering addict to go out of his or her way to avoid saying or doing anything that might trigger memories of using drugs or alcohol or which would put the person in a situation where he or she might feel tempted or pressured to use. Life as a recovering addict is, to some degree, a matter of walking on eggshells, for the recovering addict and his or her loved ones.

How does Narconon define recovery?

Recovery in the context of Narconon is different from other drug rehab programs. While it would not be accurate to say that Narconon achieves a 100% cure to addiction, it is true that Narconon graduates are not “recovering addicts.” They are not taught to think of themselves that way, and indeed they do not behave that way. Instead, they finish the program and walk back out into the world as normal people, and indeed they usually find that life is now far better in many respects than it was prior to becoming an addict. The Narconon program does not merely teach a person to cope with his or her addiction, but instead it boosts him to a newfound level of stability and happiness where he no longer feels the compulsion to use drugs. In addition to this, the program includes a powerful detoxification system that cleanses the body of the residues left behind by past drug use, residues which have been found to be to blame to a large degree for the cravings experienced by those who have previously been addicts.

To better understand the difference between Narconon and other programs, we can refer to the words of L. Ron Hubbard, the researcher whose works formed the foundation for the program: “As soon as an addict can feel healthier and more competent mentally and physically without drugs than he does on drugs, he ceases to require drugs.” A Narconon graduate has recovered from addiction and is able to fully put that period of his or her life in the past. It is not recovery in the same sense as other addiction treatment programs use the word — it is an entirely different state altogether.

]]>
http://www.narconon.org/blog/recovery/non-addicts-often-misunderstand-concept-recovery/feed/ 0
The Rise in Heroin Use May Be Linked to the Decline in Prescription Drug Abuse http://www.narconon.org/blog/heroin-addiction/rise-heroin-use-may-linked-decline-prescription-drug-abuse/ http://www.narconon.org/blog/heroin-addiction/rise-heroin-use-may-linked-decline-prescription-drug-abuse/#comments Fri, 30 Jan 2015 18:55:10 +0000 http://www.narconon.org/blog/?p=3287 prescription drugsIn the middle of January, an issue of the New England Journal of Medicine featured a report that was heralded as cause for celebration. The report carried news that the rates of prescription painkiller abuse and addiction in the United States were finally starting to decline, after years of alarming increases. Astonishing numbers of Americans had gone from using painkillers medically to abusing their pills, and finally many became addicted. Things got so bad that more than 15,000 people were dying every year, in what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention termed a “deadly epidemic” of painkiller abuse. So with things having gotten as bad as they did, any news that the clouds were parting would of course be welcomed and provide considerable encouragement. But there is another facet to the situation which must not be overlooked before a final verdict is laid down and a decision is made as to whether we are finally on the verge of winning this battle in the war on drugs. That facet is heroin.

Heroin has for many years been a fringe drug, one which did not top the lists of most commonly abused substances. It seemed to have had its heyday in decades past, and to have been a drug most commonly associated with inner cities and sub-cultures. Now, however, heroin is making a major comeback, and it has spread to the suburbs and become common in communities throughout the U.S. and across all socioeconomic strata. The reason for this is tied closely to the news that prescription drug abuse is on the decline. Though they come from very different sources — heroin generally being produced using opium grown in Afghanistan or in Southeast Asia’s “Golden Triangle,’ and prescription painkillers being manufactured by large pharmaceutical drug companies — the two share the fact that they are both derived from opium. Because of this, it is easy for one to serve as a substitute for the other, given that they both have similar effects on the brain and create a similar high. Evidently, much of the decline in rates of prescription painkiller abuse can be attributed, not to fewer people using drugs, but to a shift in the trends of drug abuse. Many of the people who got started abusing their pain pills have transitioned over into using heroin, which has been categorized as being both the most addictive and most harmful drug available.

Why do painkiller addicts switch to heroin?

A major driving factor behind the spread of painkiller addiction lay in the fact that many patients didn’t realize that their medications were dangerous, and the addiction crept up on them unknowingly. Why would so many of them be willing to switch to a drug which is well known to make junkies out of people and is widely recognized as being cripplingly addictive? What seems to be occurring is that as efforts to prevent painkiller abuse have taken effect, many addicts have felt the squeeze and moved to heroin as a substitute when their supply dried up. For example, doctors in most areas of the country are now under greater scrutiny to avoid writing unnecessary prescriptions, and patients are monitored for the frequency with which they seek a refill, with state oversight programs to ensure that pain medications aren’t being passed out through “pill mills” or by “doctor shopping.”

Painkillers are not only becoming harder to obtain, but they are also harder to abuse in many cases. Pharmaceutical companies have taken initiative to prevent painkiller abuse by introducing crush-resistant pills which are more difficult to grind into a powder which can be injected or snorted, and the pills often come in extended release formulations which prevent an immediate rush from taking a dose. Just as firefighters will sometimes successfully halt a blaze in one area of a forest only to see flames spring up elsewhere, the recent success in curbing rates of painkiller abuse have had an unintended consequence by providing a new market for heroin. Rather than playing a game of whack-a-mole in working to stamp out drug abuse in different arenas, we need to address the underlying problems which drive a person to abuse drugs and which encourage drugs as a solution to all life’s problems. Effective education and prevention are the answers to winning the war on drugs.

]]>
http://www.narconon.org/blog/heroin-addiction/rise-heroin-use-may-linked-decline-prescription-drug-abuse/feed/ 0