The Italian city of Lecce is found in the heel of the boot of the Italian peninsula, situated on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. This city of 92,000 people enjoys ideal Mediterranean weather throughout the year, and boasts a history dating back more than two millennia. Originally founded by an ancient people known as the Messapii, it was later conquered in the 3rd century B.C. by the Romans. The city has rich cultural traditions, with many ornately decorated Baroque period buildings that have given rise to a reputation as the “Florence of the South.” More recently, however, Lecce has experienced serious problems with drug abuse. The city is only one of many in Southern Italy to be struggling with drugs. For example, it was reported in 2008 that in Calabria, the region that forms the toe of the heel, 3,500 Italians received treatment for drug addiction, and that nearly 85% of these were hooked on heroin. The fact that drugs are so widespread in the region is not surprising, given the control that the Mafia exerts over the area. In addition to the many people who received treatment in the region, many more continue to struggle through their lives while coping with their addiction. It is in this environment that the Narconon Gabbiano center has been operating since it opened its doors 25 years ago. Continue reading
Narconon Astore Celebrates 19th Anniversary
Since the day it opened its doors in 1994, the Narconon Astore drug rehabilitation program has been providing effective and lasting help to Italians addicted to drugs and alcohol. In celebration of the center’s 19th anniversary, more than 150 people, graduates, staff and family members, gathered for an event in June of this year. The guests enjoyed food, flowers and festive decorations while they socialized and listened to speeches from graduates, families and prominent public figures from throughout the region. Of special interest during the celebration were the 35 success stories that were shared by people who had graduated from this and other Narconon centers in Italy. These stories included reports from some of the speakers of having enjoyed stable sobriety for a full 30 years since they graduated the Narconon program. The emotional impact created by the stories was enormous for most of those in attendance, people who had themselves been on the brink of ruin during their own fight with drug addiction prior to finding Narconon. For family members in the audience the stories carried comparable weight, given that they had nearly lost their loved ones to the devastation of drug use. Continue reading
Over the years several of our clients has asked about the beginnings of Narconon. As a simple story back in 1965, William Benitez was serving a 15-year sentence in an Arizona state prison. It was not the first time that Mr. Benitez had found himself behind bars. On the contrary, the current sentence was the sixth time that the man had been imprisoned by the state. Why had Mr. Benitez spent so much of his adult life behind bars? The reason can be summed by two words: drug addiction. After getting his start on drugs with marijuana at the young age of 13 years, Mr. Benitez tried to force himself to quit by joining the Marine Corps. This solution did not work out, however, and instead he was court martialed and given an undesirable discharge. For 18 years of his life, he suffered from an addiction to heroin, and it was this that led him to the point where he found himself in 1965. During this sixth prison sentence, a fellow inmate gave Mr. Benitez a copy of Fundamentals of Thought, a book by author, humanitarian and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. In the pages of this book, he discovered the solution to his own problems with addiction, and he swiftly realized that he had also found a way to help others to overcome their own addictions.
What Sets Narconon Apart
The decision to name the new drug rehab program “Narconon” was founded upon the fact that Mr. Benitez was taking an approach that was different from the one that so many other rehab treatment programs do. Instead of using drug-replacement therapy and similar medication-based strategies for treating addiction, the new program would enable participants to take on the challenge of fighting their addictions with no drugs; thus “narco-” (drugs) + “non.” Most rehab programs focus on the ways in which the individual is a victim of his or her addiction. This may be manifested by explanations of addiction as a disease. Others assume that the person will not be able to do anything about the addiction and use other drugs to replace the drug of addiction. Even programs that do not use medicated treatment will often require the participant to admit that he or she is powerless to overcome the addiction and to pray for help from outside sources. This is one of the primary differences between Narconon and most other rehab programs, and is also one of the keys to its success. Instead of focusing on remedying disability, Narconon focuses on improving ability. In Mr. Benitez’ own words, “I found that if a person rehabilitated and applied certain abilities, that person could persevere toward goals set, confront life, isolate problems and resolve them, communicate with life, be responsible and set ethical standards, and function within the band of certainty.”
Narconon Earns Recognition
It took a full six months before William Benitez was able to persuade the prison administration to allow him to implement his plans for a new drug rehab treatment program. When they finally did grant permission, the results demonstrated that it was a wise decision. With nothing more than two-hour meetings on Thursday nights, the program was able to help the 18 inmates who participated in the inaugural run to change their lives. Instead of simply continuing with the dreary monotony of prison life, the participants were finding a way to feel better, to become more competent, to help others and receive help and to achieve a greater ability to confront life. Within months, news of the effectiveness of Narconon spread outside the walls of the prison and into the community at large. For example, the local newspaper carried a story on the program shortly following its inception, and only four years later a California newspaper was heralding Narconon for the fact that its graduates had a recidivism rate of only 14 percent, less than a third of the national average of the period. Over the past 40 years since its inception, the program has spread across 6 continents and has helped countless numbers of people to turn their lives around. From its humble beginnings in an Arizona prison cell, Narconon has come to be recognized as among the most effective programs in existence.
For more information on Narconon beginnings and that first Arizona State Prison study go to our Narconon video page today.
If you are looking for a drug rehab treatment program, you don’t have any time to waste. In all likelihood, the fact that you are in search of a program now means that affairs have reached a point where you are in strong need of change and cannot afford to spend the time it would take to shop around all of the different programs. You need results, and you need them now. You also can’t spare the time and expense of trying out different programs. If you need drug rehab for yourself or a loved one, you need a program which you can be confident will get meaningful results in getting you or your family member off of drugs or alcohol, and you need one which will do so with a minimal risk of relapse following completion of the program.
How do you know which one is right for you? How can you choose the one that will work and potentially save you or your loved one from the dwindling spiral of addiction? The most reliable way to tell whether or not a rehab treatment program is capable of delivering the results you need is to look at whether or not it has a proven track record of success in helping people in your situation. Continue reading
Alcohol abuse leads quickly to alcoholism, a condition whereby the user no longer has any control over his drinking habits and urges. It is not easy to determine when one has reached this point, however, as the changes are so gradual that it is not always apparent until it is a full-fledged addiction. The user generally moves through several stages, and one does not have to wait until he has hit rock bottom before getting help. Continue reading
For many years it has been known that addiction to drugs, as well as heavy drinking causes disease and health problems. One of those problems is hypertension.
If you have been diagnosed with hypertension, a condition which is also commonly referred to as high blood pressure, it is important for you to take the time now to learn about the basic actions which you can take to alleviate the symptoms. At least as important is for you to know what steps you can take to actively avoid increasing your blood pressure and thereby exacerbating the condition.
The most important thing to know at this point in time is that hypertension is not something which you can expect to treat and then be cured of. In all likelihood, you will now be managing your blood pressure for the rest of your life, and it is to a large degree in your own hands how well you are able to do this. The next major thing to know is that you cannot simply rely on your medications to handle your blood pressure. There is no magic pill which will treat the condition; you have to make meaningful changes to your lifestyle.
Fortunately, these changes will probably not only help you to reduce your blood pressure, but will also lead to higher overall levels of health and a more enjoyable and longer life for you. Continue reading
High school and college students in the United States are demonstrating less concern about the nonmedical use of Adderall and other stimulant drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to a recent survey conducted and published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The number of students who responded to a survey question regarding their ideas of the perceived risk of Adderall abuse dropped by 6 percent in 2012 as compared with the previous year, representing a noteworthy increase in the general conception of the safety of such drugs.
The findings of this research were the focus of a recent report on Charlotte, North Carolina television news station WBTV. This trend is cause for great concern among parents, educators, health care professionals and law enforcement, given that Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta are all potentially addictive, and the dropping rates of concern in connection with their abuse portends increases in the numbers of young people who will be entering their adult years already addicted to drugs, whether they stay on the ADHD drugs or transition into traditional street drugs.
High school and college students are commonly under enormous amounts of pressure to perform well in school, while also trying to find a way to juggle the demands of social and family life and in some cases working. Between school days that start early in the morning, heavy loads of homework, writing term papers and studying for tests, there often simply is not enough time in the day to get it all done. Students who have a prescription for Adderall or Ritalin often learn quickly that they can stay up longer and focus better by taking more of the drug than they have been directed to by their doctor. Continue reading
Prescription Painkillers Now Serving as “Gateway” Drug
An older street drug is making a market resurgence, thanks in large part to the widespread popularity of a newer drug, according to the Journal Gazette out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The local newspaper in this city of 255,000 recently ran a report which focused on the fact that law enforcement and public health officials in the area are noticing that the rates of heroin trafficking, use and addiction are all on the increase, and they attribute this fact to the explosion in prescription painkiller abuse over the past several years. There have been a number of record-setting drug busts involving heroin in the past few months in Fort Wayne, in addition to many arrests for individual possession or drug dealing. A captain of the local police department is quoted as saying that there has been a steady increase in the rate of heroin seizures, with the total amount of the drug being caught per year reaching 43.2 grams in 2009, 96.4 grams in 2010, 108.1 grams in 2011 and 123.9 grams in 2012.
The growing prevalence of heroin in Fort Wayne and many other parts of the country is recognized as being a result of the massive increase in the rates of painkiller medication prescriptions, as well as the subsequent epidemic of painkiller abuse. Whereas opiate painkillers were formerly reserved almost exclusively for severe cases such as cancer patients and the terminally ill — whose brief life expectancy was considered to outweigh the risks of developing an addiction — they are now being given to people with more routine pain such as back pain or headaches. In fact, Vicodin is now the number-one prescription drug of any type in the country. Astonishing numbers of patients become addicted to painkillers, with 12 million engaging in nonmedical use of painkillers in 2010, and approximately 2 million getting started on the nonmedical use of the drug in that year alone. Painkillers including Vicodin, OxyContin and Opana are now second only to marijuana for the prevalence of drug abuse, and as a result more than 15,000 people now die of painkiller overdose on a yearly basis — a figure which is greater than both cocaine and heroin combined.
Opiate Painkillers And Heroin Are Cousins
In response to such alarming trends, law enforcement agencies, public health officials, doctors, pharmacies and the general public are all becoming more aware of the dangers of opiate painkillers, and many are taking action to cut down on the rates of nonmedical use. This has meant that painkillers are becoming more difficult to obtain, with the result that patients and others who have become addicted are desperately looking for alternatives.
Opiate withdrawals are notorious for being among the worst type of drug withdrawal, so it should not be surprising to see the lengths to which the addicts are going to get their next high. A large number of them are stooping to the level of buying street drugs from drug dealers, with heroin being the most suitable replacement for painkillers. The reason that heroin is a highly sought-after substitute has to do with the common origin of morphine — which is used to make heroin — and codeine — the basis for hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone (Oxycontin). Both are derived from the opium extracted from the poppy flower, and they therefore share many of the same properties.
Narconon says that a painkiller addict often encounters little trouble in finding heroin and will typically discover that it is cheaper. This is a serious problem for the community of Fort Wayne and for towns and cities across the United States, since opiate painkillers are currently being prescribed in massive quantities to people from every strata of society. We have on our hands the potential for an enormous wave of drug addiction, whether the people stay on their painkillers or if — as is increasingly common — they end up turning to heroin.
In the ongoing battle to put an end to drug abuse in our culture, it often appears that as soon as you put out one fire, another one springs up in another place. A recent report in the Petoskey News out of northern Michigan quotes a Detective Lieutenant with the Michigan State Police and director of the local narcotics enforcement unit as saying that the War on Drugs is similar in this respect to the efforts of law enforcement to wipe out drinking and driving. No matter how hard police and sheriff’s departments across the country work, many people continue to break the law by driving under the influence of alcohol.
The fight against DUI and the War on Drugs have in common the fact that they are both waging an uphill battle against the fact that people who drink and drive and who use drugs are commonly addicted, and they are not merely choosing to break the law. Similarly, drug dealers recognize that the widespread prevalence of addiction means that they continue to have a lucrative marketplace where the potential profits outweigh the risk of being arrested and sent to prison. An example of how this issue poses a problem to law enforcement can be seen in how drug abuse trends shift when the police have had success in stamping down on one kind of drug, only to see another become increasingly common in its place.
Michigan and the rest of the United States has seen an enormous explosion over recent years in the rates of prescription drug abuse, a situation which has been described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a “deadly epidemic.” More than 12 million people abused prescription painkillers in 2010, a number which includes 2 million who first began to engage in nonmedical of the drugs that year. Painkillers are now the most widely prescribed type of drug, and they are second only to marijuana in terms of illicit use throughout the country.
The spread of painkiller abuse throughout society is taking a heavy toll, with 15,000 people now dying of overdose every year, a figure which is greater than both heroin and cocaine combined, while for every person who dies there are many others who suffer devastating physical consequences of their drug abuse. In response to such alarming trends, law enforcement agencies have greatly stepped up their efforts at prevention and enforcement and the officials in Michigan are reporting that they believe that there has been considerable success in this endeavor. They point to indicators such as fewer arrests and lower street values of confiscated drugs. At the same time that prescription drug abuse rates are falling, however, there has been an increase in the rates of abuse of heroin and methamphetamine.
Relation Between Painkillers And Heroin
The reason for this can be largely ascribed to the fact that painkiller medications such as Vicodin, Oxycontin and Percocet are all opiates, which means that they are synthetically derived from opium. Heroin is itself manufactured from opium, and it has many of the same effects as the popular painkillers. When taken in sufficient quantities or crushed and snorted or injected, opiate painkillers can produce a high with sensations including euphoria. Another thing they have in common is that the symptoms of withdrawal can be absolutely hellish.
Therefore, as the supply of prescription painkillers dries up as a result of tighter regulation of prescribing doctors and pharmacies as well as drug take-back days and drop-off bins provided by local law enforcement, addicts become desperate to get their next fix and to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal. Some seek help through non-drug based treatment and rehab programs, but all too many others take the easy way out by finding a drug dealer who can sell them heroin and they merely shift their addiction to this similar drug. It is clear to see that while it is important for law enforcement agencies to do their part in keeping drugs off the streets; this is not the final answer to the problem: what is needed is effective solutions for treating the causes of addiction.
For more information contact Narconon now.
People who are socially isolated may be more prone to develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol, according to the results of a study which was recently reported on by The Times of India. Researchers at the College of Natural Sciences in Austin, Texas conducted a behavioral study to examine the differences in how rats who were socially isolated responded as compared to those who were permitted to remain living in a group with their peers.
They used rats because these animals have been demonstrated to have similar mechanisms of addiction to those in humans, and because the animals have far shorter life cycles than humans do, which makes it unnecessary to wait several years to observe similar behavior and physiological changes among humans. The rats were subjected to social isolation for a period of about a month beginning when they reached the age of 21 days, an age which is approximate to the period of early and middle adolescence among humans. The study concluded that rats who experienced social isolation were significantly more at risk of developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol when exposed to the substances than those who were permitted to remain in their social groups during this key period of development. This suggests that the same may be true in human adolescents who have few friends and are generally isolated during their teenage years.
Both groups of rats, those that were isolated and those who were socialized, were given the opportunity to obtain alcohol and amphetamines from a small box which was installed in the cage. While it was possible to cause addiction in the rats who lived in a group setting, it was found that this required far more extensive and repeated exposures than was found to be the case among the isolated rats. In contrast, nearly all of the rats who were living alone became addicted after a single exposure to alcohol or drugs. Further, the rats who were isolated took far more time to recover from their addictions than did the ones living in groups. In fact, the rats who were isolated during adolescence continued to display addictive behaviors which persisted long after they were finally reintroduced to their community. This was observed not only through the rats’ behavior, but also through testing of their neurons to determine how their brain activity was responding to the changes.
Effects Of Socialization On Addiction
Consuming drugs or alcohol generally triggers the release of dopamine, a chemical in the brain which is associated with feelings of well-being, pleasure or even euphoria. It is widely understood that this is a key factor in the development of addiction: As the brain becomes accustomed to experiencing a flood of dopamine when the individual takes drugs, it gradually adapts to the extremes and eventually becomes dependent on the presence of the drug in order to function normally, let alone to get high. What was observed in the study was that the rats who were cut off from their community became more sensitive to the rewards of taking drugs or alcohol, as their brains were more susceptible to experiencing sudden spikes of dopamine.
It can be hypothesized that the rats who were living in a group setting were less sensitive to the drugs as a result of the stimulation and pleasure derived from social interaction. The researchers proposed that similar mechanisms may be at work in other addictions, such as in cases of adolescents becoming addicted to eating as a result of social isolation.
If the study results do apply to human addiction, it becomes clear that teenagers and young adults can benefit greatly from having supportive and interested parents at home as well as a healthy and thriving social life to make their lives richer and to help them resist the temptation to start using drugs or alcohol.
To get more information or read more articles like this one contact Narconon today.