Tuesday, 19 September 2017
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids Joins the Fashion and Music Industries to Help Address Substance Use Disorders
SMART Recovery 2017
Guest Blogger, William L. White
The growth of secular addiction recovery mutual aid groups is an important landmark within the history of addiction recovery in the United States. In recent years, I have helped catalogue (See HERE) the history of groups such as Women for Sobriety, Secular Organizations for Sobriety, LifeRing Secular Recovery, and SMART Recovery, as well as describe the growth of a secular wing of Alcoholics Anonymous (See HERE and HERE). A related involvement has been serving on SMART Recovery’s International Advisory Council. Dr. Joe Gerstein, founding President of SMART Recovery, recently shared the following update with members of the International Advisory Council. This communication highlights both the growth of SMART Recovery and its increasing recognition by addiction professional and recovery support specialists. It is shared here with permission.
30 August 2017
Dear Member of the SMART Recovery International Advisory Council:
Those of us who are deeply involved in the development and expansion of the SMART Recovery Program into a worldwide phenomenon greatly appreciate your willingness to lend your name and reputation to our endeavors!
SMART Recovery has now clearly entered into the mainstream of the self-help/mutual aid recovery movement with more than 2,400 weekly meetings in 21 countries. The SMART Recovery Program has been endorsed by NIDA, NIAAA, SAMHSA, NADCP, Federal Bureau of Prisons, ASAM, EAPA, AAFP, NICE (UK) and NCHCQR (Australia). SMART Recovery received three mentions in the landmark U.S. Surgeon General’s Report Facing Addiction (2016). The SMART program for correctional facilities InsideOut, funded by NIDA, is now used in more than 200 prisons worldwide.
The SMART Recovery Handbook is now in its 3rd Edition and has been published in 11 languages plus a special edition for Australian Aboriginals. Special editions of the Facilitator Handbook for SMART Recovery and the Family & Friends (F&F) program were developed in Australia and the Participant Handbook in the UK. Our F&F program is based on the highly effective Community Reinforcement And Family Training (CRAFT) system. SMART now hosts about 50 F&F group meetings.
A global SMART corporate entity is in formation: SMART Recovery International, which will hold the SMART Recovery trademarks and copyrights, and administer multinational entities being formed, along with national organizations to support local SMART groups. At the outset, the Board seats will be occupied by US, UK and Australia SMART representatives. We hope to add representatives from Ireland (Eire), Denmark and Canada in the near future.
The smartrecovery.org website is approaching 2,000,000 annual visitors and 200,000 registrants. SMART online meetings are in tremendous demand. The SMART Recovery online, interactive facilitator training program is enrolling a monthly cohort of about 300 people, about two-thirds of them professionals.
SMART’s value in reducing crime was proven in a recent study of inmates in the New South Wales Prison System. Authored by Chris Blatch, et al., this study was published as an Invited Article and the Leading Article in the Journal of Forensic Practice in January of 2016. It followed the reoffending [reconviction] rate of 3,000 inmates with addiction histories within two years of release who were exposed to SMART Recovery meetings compared with 3,000 exquisitely matched controls. Those who attended at least 10 SMART Recovery sessions had reoffending rates reduced by 22% overall and an impressive 43% in violent crimes.
This January, Bill White and Rita Chaney generated a SMART Recovery bibliography, which now runs to more than 100 articles and research papers. Additional research is planned and underway, including significant studies that will evaluate SMART’s effectiveness in providing recovery support/mutual aid in detail and over significant periods of time.
John F. Kelly, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Addiction Medicine at Harvard Medical School, has been serving as SMART Recovery’s Volunteer Director of Research since 2011, vetting proposals for research potentially involving SMART Recovery participants. You might be interested in this article, which concerns the ethics of appropriate mutual aid group referrals: “Addiction, 12-Step Programs, and Evidentiary Standards for Ethically and Clinically Sound Treatment Recommendations: What Should Clinicians Do?” available here: http://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/2016/06/sect1-1606.html
If and when you come across a scientific study which you think might have pertinence to the SMART Recovery Program, please do send me the reference so that we may consider its potential utility.
Again, many thanks for your generous support of SMART Recovery.
Joseph Gerstein, MD, FACP
President, SMART Recovery
William L. White is an Emeritus Senior Research Consultant at Chestnut Health Systems / Lighthouse Institute and past-chair of the board of Recovery Communities United. Bill has a Master’s degree in Addiction Studies and has worked full time in the addictions field since 1969 as a streetworker, counselor, clinical director, researcher and well-traveled trainer and consultant. He has authored or co-authored more than 400 articles, monographs, research reports and book chapters and 17 books. His book, Slaying the Dragon – The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America, received the McGovern Family Foundation Award for the best book on addiction recovery. Bill’s sustained contributions to the field have been acknowledged by awards from the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, NAADAC: The Association of Addiction Professionals, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the Native American Wellbriety Movement. Bill’s widely read papers on recovery advocacy have been published by the Johnson Institute in a book entitled Let’s Go Make Some History: Chronicles of the New Addiction Recovery Advocacy Movement.
Monday, 18 September 2017
Thursday, 14 September 2017
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Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Benefits of developing a strong mental image of yourself as a non-drinker
Pete Soderman, author of Powerless No Longer
A few years ago, when I decided to quit smoking following a major heart attack, one of the techniques that made it easier was seeing myself as a nonsmoker. I visualized a person with fresh breath, no little holes in his shirt, no nicotine stains on his fingers, and no pack of smokes in his pocket. A person who could answer the phone, read the paper in the morning, have a cup of coffee, deal with stress, and socialize, all without having a cigarette constantly burning nearby. Not just any person either, it had to be myself in a new role.
To some extent, I used the same technique years before when I quit drinking, but not as consciously as I did with smoking. With drinking, I had to first convince myself that there even was a life without alcohol before I could see myself in it. Once I decided there was, I could imagine myself in all sorts of situations, even attending my daughter’s wedding, without a drink.
Let me make something clear at the beginning. I’m not talking about the “Think and Grow Rich,” “Power of Positive Thinking,” or “The Secret” thing here. What I’m talking about has nothing to do with quantum entanglement, spooky action at a distance, collapsing wave functions, or the “energy field” in the universe. If you’re into that kind of thing, you can find plenty of it elsewhere.
Instead, I’m talking about a way to help you change your way of thinking by making it easier to identify and dispute your irrational beliefs. Let me explain.
First, what do I mean by “visualizing yourself as a non-drinker?” Whether we like it or not, we carry around a mental picture of ourselves most of the time. While we are in the early stages of sobriety, we are still picturing ourselves as that confident person at the cocktail party, pouring out witticisms and engaging in scintillating conversations. That might have been true when we first arrived at the party, but it’s a far cry from the person who stumbled out the door when it was over. I don’t know about you, but the guys in our circle of friends when I was drinking, somewhat resented it when I stopped. You see, I was the guy they pointed to when their wives criticized their behavior. “Yeah, but I wasn’t as bad as Pete,” they would say in their own defense.
How about picturing yourself as that confident person at the cocktail party, but with a soft drink, or a club soda, instead of alcohol? How about picturing yourself as a person that people seek-out at a gathering, rather than someone they avoid like the plague. Picture someone who conducts themselves properly, rather than someone who insults the host, spills drinks on the carpet, and hits on the hostess. Picture yourself going through life as the person you are, rather than the person you became when you were drinking. Picture yourself as a person who works through their problems, and deals with stress, rather than one who avoids, postpones, and makes things worse by retreating into an alcoholic haze.
If you can keep that mental picture before you, it makes it easier to dispute some of your irrational beliefs. If you recall, the three questions we use to challenge our beliefs are:
- Is my belief based upon fact – would a camera recording the scene see it the same way my thoughts reflect it?
- Does my belief help me achieve my short and long-term goals?
- Does my belief help me feel the way I want to feel?
If the answer to any of those questions is no, the belief is probably irrational. Now, look at question #2. Whether or not you realize it, by creating a mental picture of yourself as a non-drinker, you have set a goal – something to shoot for, a person you wish to become. If the belief that you are evaluating is one that produces a feeling that leads you to consider drinking, that belief is contrary to the goal you now have in your mind, reinforced by the mental image you have created.
Staying sober is a mind game. You against your learned habit. Your opponent is composed of strongly encoded neural pathways that you can overcome only by encoding new pathways. A strong mental image of yourself as a non-drinker is another tool you can use to help you encode new, healthier pathways, thereby developing new habits. Drinking or using after a period of abstinence is a choice—always. Questioning our belief systems is about making different and healthier choices.
The forgoing is an excerpt from the book “Powerless No Longer” by Pete Soderman, and is the property of the author.
About The Author: Pete Soderman is a SMART Meeting Facilitator who co-founded a SMART meeting in Wilmington, NC with Mike Werner, and is currently facilitating a SMART meeting in Ajijic, Jalisco Mexico. He is the author of Powerless No Longer , a book about self-empowered addiction recovery. He also publishes a blog with a focus on how to empower your mind to overcome self-defeating behaviors.
Thursday, 7 September 2017
The post Exciting New Opportunities to Help Families appeared first on Partnership for Drug-Free Kids - Where Families Find Answers.
Tuesday, 5 September 2017
By Ted Alston, Volunteer Meeting Facilitator
In 2005, William White and Martin Nicolaus wrote that SMART Recovery and other secular recovery groups “were influenced by the work of Carl Rogers and Albert Ellis”1. Ellis gave us the ABC Model and other tools. The influence of Rogers is less direct. I find the writings of Rogers to be tough reads. However, the following quote is clear and may be of interest to students of SMART2.
“We regard the medical model as an extremely inappropriate model for dealing with psychological disturbances. The model that makes more sense is a growth model or a developmental model. In other words we see people as having a potential for growth and development and that can be released under the right psychological climate. We don’t see them as sick and needing a diagnosis, a prescription and a cure; and that is a very fundamental difference with a good many implications” — Carl Rogers, 1978
SMART has no position on the so-called medical model, and Rogers did not find that model necessary. Furthermore, he cautioned against labels.
At different times, Ellis and Rogers were individually recognized as the Humanist of the Year by the American Humanist Association. From the photos, it is hard to say which psychologist sported the pointiest shirt collar.
1 White W, Nicolaus M. Styles of secular recovery. Counselor 2005;6(4):58-61.
2 The quote is from an interview and was selected by editor David Webb for the preface to Significant Aspects of Client-Centered Therapy, Psychology Classics, Carl Rogers.
Details of the interview are at
Wednesday, 30 August 2017
The post IGA Signs on to Help Support Parents and Families appeared first on Partnership for Drug-Free Kids - Where Families Find Answers.
Tuesday, 29 August 2017
The post Overdose Awareness Day 2017 appeared first on Partnership for Drug-Free Kids - Where Families Find Answers.
Randy Lindel, Facilitator, SMART Recovery Boston
A “lapse” or a “slip” is a brief reengagement with your addictive behavior. Usually, you feel bad about it right afterwards, but weren’t able to successfully avoid it.
Many lapses are triggered by unforeseen events. Some pressure just occurs out of the blue. It’s an important reminder that you can’t control everything – what other people say or do or what happens that you didn’t expect. Strong emotions can result quickly and produce powerful urges.
But, there IS something you can do. And that’s to have a plan for the unexpected.
In SMART Recovery, we have many strategies to use when you know you’re going to be in a social situation. You “play the tape forward,” thinking through the event and develop your plan to deal with what you’re expecting to happen. After being in a few different situations, you refine your plan to a point that it starts to become automatic.
The difference for the unexpected situation is that your plans are in the back of your mind and the current events may make them hard to find and use while you’re in an emotional state. What you need now is help to access your plans. And a great way to have that help ready is to –
Write your Lapse Prevention Plan on an index card that you keep in your wallet, purse or someplace that’s always accessible. What’s on your card can be any strategy that you think can help. At my regular meeting this week, here are some ideas the group came up with for a card:
Whatever your list, just make sure they are approaches you think will be good to deal with strong emotions and urges. With your “plan in your pocket,” you won’t have to worry about making one up when you really need it.
For a list of SMART Recovery meetings near you visit https://www.smartrecovery.org/local/
Tuesday, 22 August 2017
– Carrie Wilkens, Clinical Director of the Center for Motivation and Change
Changing behavior requires self-awareness. Changing a well-worn habit in particular requires that you move it from “automatic” to “conscious” so that you can make other behavioral choices. For example, if you don’t even notice that you are reaching for a cigarette as you get into your car, how are you ever going to decide to resist lighting it up?
Habits are influenced by your environment and are set off by environmental cues, sometimes called triggers. Triggers are the people, situations, locations and emotions associated with any behavior you are trying to change. When it comes to substance use, triggers are the environmental variables that provoke “cravings” or the desire to use or engage in the habit. Neuroscientists have studied the trigger effect in the brain—how an encounter with drug paraphernalia or the smell of a long-frequented pub lights up the part of the brain responsible for emotion and instinct, the “feel good” parts of the brain. As you encounter these cues in your daily life, it’s likely that you are on autopilot and don’t even notice how they are linked to your decision to engage in your habit. Scientists have also found that once these habits are engaged, the brain has a difficult time considering the consequences and risks associated with the behavior. In other words, once you are in your car, smoking the cigarette, it’s not likely that you will have the wherewithal to say “this is really bad for my health, I’m going to throw this cigarette and the rest of the pack away right now.”
If you are wanting to change a habit, it is important to start with identifying the cues/triggers (both internal and external) that lead up to the decision to engage in the behavior.
- What are the usual times of day/night associated with this behavior?
- What are you doing?
- What are you feeling?
- What are you thinking?
- Who are you with?
- Where are you?
The good news is that by understanding these triggers you can go about altering your
environment in order to support change. In addition, when you replace old behaviors with more positive actions, new neural pathways are forged. Thankfully, triggers tend to lose their strength over time as the old pathways power down from disuse.
- Address your environment: You can choose to be one place or another. You can avoid certain places or certain people. You can consciously alter things in your environment to make it safer (remove paraphernalia or any other visual cues to use).
- Be conscious! Much of daily life is out of our control but we can make conscious decisions about some variables and doing so can make a big difference. Who are you spending time with? Where are you hanging out? How are you responding to certain emotional states?
- Pay special attention to the internal triggers (the feelings and the thoughts). Do you need to get specific help with anxiety? How can you go about tending to your loneliness? Fatigue? Anger?
- Be proactive and deliberate. As you try to resist old behaviors, be creative and engage in life-enhancing alternatives so that you don’t feel deprived.
- Ask for help. Changing your relationship to behavioral habits often involves including other people. Let people know what you are trying to do so that they don’t accidentally contribute to your being exposed to your triggers.
Remember, making changes in behavior require new learning. No one is an A student over night. Be patient with yourself as you navigate your day to day and encounter triggers and possibly the desire to engage in your habit. By shifting out of “automatic” and trying to be aware of your triggers you will have a much greater chance of changing your behavior and patterns. Conscious decision making leads to change!
Dr. Wilkens is a Clinical Director of the Center for Motivation and Change in NYC which she co-founded with Dr. Jeffrey Foote. She specializes in motivational treatments and group psychotherapy, and has worked with traumatized populations in both individual and group modalities.
Tuesday, 15 August 2017
Three Minute Refutations by Michael R. Edelstein Ph.D.
SMART is based in part on the rational (REBT) concepts of Albert Ellis. Here, Michael Edelstein outlines his distinctive style of the application of REBT as an aid to recovery.
In my book Three Minute Therapy, I introduced the cognitive practice of the Three Minute Exercise (TME) to challenge your internal demands–your “I musts,” “Others musts,” and “Life musts.” The Three Minute Refutations (TMR) involves a powerful exercise for changing another type of addictive thinking. It targets your rationalizations or excuses, which arise from your demands. For example, if you have set a smoking quit date and find it uncomfortable to follow through, you may tell yourself you “must” avoid that discomfort and smoke anyway. Or if you have the urge to light up in an area where smoking is prohibited, you may think you “must” satisfy this urge and step outside. These “musts” lead to self-defeating behaviors.
Targeting your “musts”
The Three Minute Exercise (TME), which is discussed in Three Minute Therapy, is ideal for targeting your “musts.” Your “musts” may encourage you to make excuses for not quitting on the appointed date or not abstaining from a cigarette during work hours. Some excuses might be: “I have a lot of stress today, I’ll quit tomorrow” or “I’ll have only one drag, then I’ll stop.”
“I absolutely MUST satisfy my urge for a smoke right now. I can’t stand feeling frustrated.”
Excuse or Rationalization
“I’ll have one last cigarette, then I’ll quit.”
Targeting your excuses to attack your smoking addiction
This is where TMRs are useful. They target these excuses and rationalizations. Along with the TMEs, it mounts a two-pronged attack on your smoking addiction. The TMEs target your demands, while the TMRs target your excuses.
TMRs also prove effective for other behavioral difficulties including procrastination, alcohol, drug, and food addictions. They consist of two elements: excuses and refuting the excuses. Let’s focus on excuses first.
Excuses are statements we say to ourselves which make procrastinating, overeating, overdrinking, or smoking seem reasonable, when in reality they’re destructive because they block, interfere with, or sabotage our long-term goals. Refutations put the lie to the excuses and state how they’re false or self-destructive. Here is an example of a completed TMR:
“It’s ok to smoke right now because it’ll be the last time.”
“Refutations put the lie to the excuses and state how they’re false or self-destructive.”
1. I’ve used this excuse hundreds of times. It hasn’t worked before and it won’t work now. It always has led to the next time.
2.This “last time” could mean losing my job and ruining my marriage.
3. How many days of smoking is this “one last time” going to continue?
4. I don’t HAVE TO indulge this “last time.”
5. This “last time” could lead to lung cancer.
6. I’m lying to myself, pure and simple.
7. I can change this statement to: “No more times!” or “Quit smoking right now for good!”
8. I’ll be better off now, better off tomorrow, and better off for the rest of my life with: “No more nicotine.”
9. Since I choose to smoke, I can also choose not to smoke.
10. If I choose not to smoke, the discomfort I’ll feel will be temporary, not forever.
How do you implement TMR? With practice and effort! Here is what I recommend:
1. Write and read these refutations five times daily until you’ve memorized them.
2. Then write them from memory five times daily.
3. Whenever you have the urge to light up, identify the thoughts that make smoking seem reasonable. Then refute these excuses.
4. If the excuses seem to be gaining the upper hand, externalize the debate by writing down the dialogue or saying it out loud.
5. Practice, practice, practice.
If this sounds like a simple concept, it is. But simple does not mean easy. The application is your challenge. But if you follow the five recommendations above, you will be successful in changing your addictive thinking.
About the author:
Dr. Michael R. Edelstein is a clinical psychologist with a phone, Skype, and in-person practice in San Francisco and Marin County. His book, Three Minute Therapy, Change Your Thinking, Change your Life can be found on Amazon. He can be reached at DrEdelstein@ThreeMinuteTherapy.com
Friday, 11 August 2017
Tuesday, 8 August 2017
Addiction Recovery 101, with Reid Hester, Ph.D.
“There are a huge number of digital tools to help people with alcohol and drug problems…..It’s really hard to tell, just on the basis of looking at them, what’s going to help you.”
~ Dr. Reid Hester
CheckUp & Choices is a confidential online program, based on the 4-Point Program® of SMART Recovery, designed to enhance your efforts to achieve and maintain abstinence. It offers modules for alcohol, marijuana, opioids, stimulants, as well as compulsive gambling.
The 5 Things Series contains footage of Recovery Research Institute interviews with international experts in addiction treatment and recovery.
Tuesday, 1 August 2017
Word Choice and Positive Outcomes
The leading barrier to treatment entry by people abusing substances is fear of stigma.
Words matter. Our beliefs about substance abuse and compulsive behavior problems—and the potential for change—are built into the words we use to speak about them. Maybe more importantly in this case is that words are reflective of culture beliefs, and the conveyors of those beliefs and attitudes.
And beliefs inform behavior. One study found that treatment providers who referred to patients as “addicts” had significantly more negative attitudes towards them when compared to treatment providers who referred to patients as having “substance use disorders.”
Words are an attitude, a belief, and have an impact. The leading barrier to treatment entry by people abusing substances is fear of stigma. Stigma is conveyed by word choice. “I’m glad you’re here, Mr. Smith, and it’s important that you’ve recognized you are an alcoholic” Ouch! “I thought I was just drinking too much in the evening! Maybe this isn’t the place for me..maybe they are going to view me a certain way..maybe I’ll do this on my own”. Words matter because they convey meaning and attitude, and they set up barriers and roadblocks.
The fortunate inverse of this is that words are hugely powerful mediators of positive change as well. Some of our most successful treatments (e.g. Motivational Interviewing) are predicated on use of language by the therapist that is non-confrontational, respectful, conveys a sense of collaboration, and demonstrates empathy and understanding of the other person. All with words!
Additionally, this approach places a lot of emphasis on facilitating certain language from the client, called “change talk”, that has been demonstrated to predict positive change. So our language matters, and the language of the person we are trying to help matters.
Source: Center for Motivation and Change blog. Used with permission.
Tuesday, 25 July 2017
Challenges of Addiction Recovery
by: Hank Robb, PhD, ABPP
Though unpleasant feelings come and go
You’re always around to run the show!
Everybody has a voice inside his or her head that sometimes says, “How about doing something stupid?” The “stupid thing” varies from time to time, person to person, and place to place, but that voice is always “just around the corner.” You’re not “powerless” you’re just a living human being with the problem faced by all living human beings: that voice that says, “How about doing something stupid?”
“Getting SMART” means learning to recognize that voice and then refusing to go along with it. Because the bad results from the following the “stupid voice” don’t show up right away, staying “SMART” means keeping your eyes on the prize and moving toward what’s really important to you.
You never loose control of your hands, arms, feet, and mouth (unless you have a stroke or a seizure) — that ‘blah, blah, blah’ inside your head can’t make you do anything. You’re in control of you, even if you are not in control of that ‘blah, blah, blah’. You can always refuse to go along with that sometimes oh, so tempting, stupid voice inside your noggin.
When you do refuse, you may have some unpleasant feelings for awhile. Just remember:
Though unpleasant feelings come and go
You’re always around to run the show!
About the author: Hank Robb, Ph.D., is a Supervisor for the Institute for Rational-Emotive Therapy (New York), board certified in both Counseling Psychology as well as Behavioral Psychology and holds a Certificate of Proficiency in the Treatment of Alcohol and Other Psychoactive Substance Use Disorders from the American Psychological Association’s College of Professional Psychology. He previously served as President of the American Board of Counseling Psychology and is listed as an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Trainer.
Dr. Robb is a founding member of SMART Recovery and continues to write regularly for the SMART New & Views newsletter on topics related to cognitive behavioral (CBT) and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).
Monday, 24 July 2017
Most of the time, the world “alcohol” paints a picture of a person whose life is in complete disarray because of drinking too much. However, not all alcoholics may be categorized into such a stereotype. There is, in fact, another kind of alcoholic known as high-functioning alcoholics.
- High-functioning alcoholics often appear to have everything going smooth sailing.
- They may be drinking copious amounts of alcohol, but they simultaneously excel in their work and academics and also have good relationships with their family and friends.
- Often, their success works against them by making them believe that their drinking is under control.
- However, after a few months or years, the alcoholism can catch up with them.
It may be very challenging to deal with high-functioning alcoholics.Often, they are in deep denial concerning their problems with alcohol. After all, they were able to manage an appearance of success despite their impending addiction. Also, many high-functioning alcoholics have loved ones who act like their accomplices by covering up for the consequences of their habits. These people unconsciously enable or encourage the behavior of their alcoholic friend by allowing him to continuously be destructive.
A high-functioning alcoholic is often educated and middle-aged, possibly married with a good family and has a successful career.Contrary to the stigma of a lonely, desolate and destitute alcoholic, family members and friends may not be able to recognize that a drinking problem even exists. All day these high-functioning alcoholics stay productive by going to work, going to the gym, and then go home and slug two bottles of wine or other liquor in excess. Often, family members consider this as their normal behavior since the person is still keeping up with his obligations. High-functioning alcoholics may not be drinking every single day but they may engage in several episodes of heavy drinking or binging every few days. High-functioning alcoholics may not recognize their drinking problem. It is what leads to a double life separating personal and professional life with drinking life. Although it may seem that this person has his life in order and on the surface does not appear to suffer from alcohol use disorder, high-functioning alcoholics are likely to have developed a tolerance to alcohol. Hence, the need to take in more amount each time just to get drunk.
Other warning signs you should watch out for are:
- The inability to stick to limits on their drinking successfully.
- The need to drink alcohol to relax or relieve stress.
- Frequently jokes about alcoholism or alcohol use.
- Engaging in hazardous behaviors when drinking such as driving under the influence or going for risky sexual encounters.
- Show periods of sobriety with restlessness, mood swings, agitation, and irritability.
- Justifies the drinking as a form of reward.
- Drinking in secret or by oneself.
- Periodic blackouts and memory lapses
The following article High-Functioning Alcoholic: The Issues Will Come Out Eventually is courtesy of detoxofsouthflorida.com
from Best Florida Rehab Centers | Florida Detox Alcohol Centers - Feed https://detoxofsouthflorida.com/high-functioning-alcoholic/
Friday, 21 July 2017
Definition of CocaineCocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that comes from the coca leaves. For centuries, South America people chewed and ingested the coca leaves to get the extra energy needed for farm works. The drug also helps them breathe in thin air in high altitude mountain areas. Currently, the US government labeled cocaine as a Schedule II drug, meaning that the drug contains addictive properties. However, doctors can still use cocaine in their medical procedure as a local anesthesia in surgeries for the eye, ear, and throat. The drug typically sold in the black markets as a fine, white and crystalline powder.
Some of the street names of cocaine include:
History of CocaineThe purified form of cocaine, cocaine hydrochloride was first extracted from the plant more than a century ago. During the early 1900’s, purified cocaine was used as the main ingredient for various elixirs and tonics. These so-called ‘medicinal’ tonics believed to treat several diseases. Cocaine was even the main ingredient in the early recipe of the famous Coca-Cola drink. Before the discovery of local anesthetic, the medical community used cocaine to block pain in some surgical procedures. However, several types of research emerge indicating that the potent stimulant can cause damage in the brain functions and its structures.
How Cocaine is consumedUsers usually snort, smoke and inject cocaine. It is a fast acting drug which can immediately felt within 2 seconds to minutes after the last dose. It usually lasts between five minutes to ninety minutes. This can result in mental effects such as:
- loss of contact with the real world
- the intense feeling of happiness
- fast heart rate
- dilates pupils
In higher doses, the drug can cause:
- high blood pressure
- high body temperature
- sleep disorders
- tremors and muscle twitches
- nausea and vomiting
- rapid and weak pulse
- chest pain
- heart attack
- kidney failure
- brain hemorrhage
What are opiates?Opioids are a group of drugs derived from the Asian poppy plant. They affect the central nervous system and the spinal cord. Experts designed these drugs as chemically similar to interact with opioid receptors in the brain.
Some of the drugs that belong to this class are:
How opioids workOpioids bind the opioid receptors in the brain that controls pain, digestion and other bodily functions. Once these drugs flooded the brain’s receptors they weakened the person’s perception of pain. However, they also affect the reward system of the brain, producing euphoria which the users seek. Some people fall pray into this euphoric feeling and eventually get addicted to opiates. It somehow leads in taking the prescription drug longer and in higher doses as the addiction develops. This put the users at a higher risk of serious health problems, drug overdose even death. The best way to avoid opiate addiction is to follow the strict prescription of doctors and take it only as needed.
Opiates statisticsOpioid addiction is on the rise, and opioid overdose deaths are a common scenario in emergency rooms nowadays. These drugs can repress the breathing process of the user, in an overdose scenario, the heart completely stops beating.
- Around 200,000 people die from prescription drugs like opiates annually.
- About 75% of those people are just teenagers.
Differences of Cocaine and OpiatesTo sum it up and for the information of those who are in drug detox, cocaine does not belong to opiates as it acts as a stimulant. Opiates, on the other hand, bind receptors in the brain to dull pain, in some opiates it acts as a sedative. There are several more differences between the two drugs.
Here are some of them:
- Cocaine contains more addictive properties than any other drugs.
- This drug can kill users through cardiotoxicity, an extreme condition of the heart. Meanwhile, opiates repressed or decrease the breathing process of the user.
- Since cocaine directly affects the heart it can cause immediate death, but opiates like in heroin, some of the effects are reversible using naloxone.
- Cocaine came from the leaves of coca plant while opiates are derived from poppy plants.
- Opiates often regarded as ‘downer’ it slows the user’s movements. Users often feel more relaxes and subdued. These drugs are often used a medical management for moderate to severe pain.
- On the other hand, cocaine gives a stimulating effect referred to as ‘upper’. The drug can produce extreme happiness, elated and overly active.
- Thus cocaine is a stimulant while opiates are depressants.
from Best Florida Rehab Centers | Florida Detox Alcohol Centers - Feed https://detoxofsouthflorida.com/is-cocaine-opiate/
Thursday, 20 July 2017
Growing cocaine elsewhere can be a challenge, but it is possible. Also, cocaine needs a high level of industrialization to be produced. It has been estimated that around 297g of dry coca leaf can yield a gram of cocaine, which explains why its cost is more expensive than most other illicit drugs. By comparison, 297g of dried marijuana can yield the same amount of smokeable marijuana. As such, small-time barons opt to grow pot instead.
- Cocaine is derived from 4 variations of the Erythroxylaceae shrub that hails from the South America.
- Indigenous tribes were known to chew on the leaves of the plant for a long time pre-European settlement.
- By 1855, the German chemist Friedrich Gaedcke isolated benzoylmethylecgonine, its active alkaloid.
- The substance became widely known as an anesthetic in Europe.
Sigmund Freud was known to encourage the use of cocaine in 1884 as a therapeutic tonic.Freud argued in his paper Uber Coca that cocaine has the ability to cure sexual impotence as well as depression. Due to its growing recognition from well-known individuals, the cocaine industry was formed and colonial powers began to scout for regions where they can farm coca. The plants, then, were brought over to Europe, Australia, India, and the rest of Southeast Asia. By 1920, the previously Dutch colony of Jana became the leading manufacturer of coca worldwide, exporting tons of coca leaves to companies in Netherlands. In the year 1925, this ended with the Geneva Convention that banned cocaine use for its addictive nature. However, as the people already knew that coca can grow outside of South America, they later reverted to Australia.
An Asst. Professor at the Texas Tech University in the Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Dr. John C. D'Auria conducted several studies on these plants and later revealed the intricacy of its cultivation.While other illicit plants like marijuana can grow anywhere, coca is not as easy to grow. Dr. D'Auria revealed that the woody plant Erythroxylum coca is unlike the Cannabis sativa that is herbaceous. This difference is due to how they are cultivated. Coca has the capacity to grow 1,650-4,950 ft. in the humid Amazon forest giving its unusual proclivity for low atmospheric pressure and high moisture available in only a number of places outside of Andes. Dr. D'Auria pointed out that growing tens of coca plants can be enough for occasional chewing or for making tea but may not be enough to get the purified form of cocaine from the coca leaves expecting high-yield from illicit sales. He further exclaimed the difficulty of extracting a useful amount of the substance from the leaf of coca revealing that the process takes chemistry knowledge on top of skill. Because of this, Australian drug barons opted to import coke rather than to manufacture it themselves. However, there’s another way that has been overlooked. The Australian cocaine shrub Erythroxylum australe native to the North Territory of Queensland and in the Northern New South Wales, contains 0.8 percent of medetomidine, the alkaloid comparable to cocaine although it is illegal to grow the plant in New South Wales. Detox of South Florida is committed to providing educational articles to help those who are struggling with addiction, to make the change to living an addiction free life. Check out this playlist for more information on Florida Drug Rehab. [button link=“tel:863-623-4923” type=“big” color=“green” newwindow=“yes”] Call Now![/button]
How Much Is A Gram Of Cocaine? is courtesy of Detox of South Florida’s Blog
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Wednesday, 19 July 2017
If used properly following under strict supervision methadone is an effective medication for severe pain. As a long-lasting drug, experts use it for Methadone Maintenance Treatment or MMT. For users who have been addicted to opiates such as heroin, MMT can ease the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms. The medication also helps the user’s chance of recovery in preventing relapses, a common occurrence during rehab. Even during this MMT, health care providers need to meticulously monitor administering the drug to prevent overdose and further withdrawal symptoms. Methadone contains a long-lasting drug life which stays in the system for as long as 56 hours. If another dose is taken too soon, it can lead to a fatal drug overdose.
Quick facts about Methadone
- Between the year 2001 to 2007, methadone abuse drastically increased seven-fold when doctors begun prescribing it as a pain reliever.
- In a report about drug overdose in Florida that spans over five years, methadone ranks as the second cause of death. Cocaine still tops the list for drug overdoses fatalities.
- In the US, methadone overdose fatalities increased about 400% from the year 2001 until 2004.
- The most common effects of methadone are addiction, drug overdose and death.
- Users typically combine methadone with other drugs and alcohol which lead to drug overdose.
- Any substance that contains the following can increase the dangerous effects of methadone, these are:
Methadone Side Effects
- Weight gain
- Intolerance to heat
- Low blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Loss of sexual interest
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty urinating
- Swelling of hands and arms, feet and legs
A separate study conducted in New Zealand added health hazards which include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Dental problems
- Hay fever
Several symptoms of methadone users
- People who abuse methadone suffers from poorer health condition than the other group of population.
- 42% of methadone users also suffer psychological problems like depression.
- Users tend to have the poor diets, skipping meals for days and have cravings for sweet foods.
- Methadone users also have difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep because of nightmares.
Effects of Methadone in PregnancyWhen a woman takes methadone during her pregnancy, her newborn suffers. The baby may suffer withdrawal symptoms that of adults after birth. However, the mother may not suffer from the withdrawal symptoms.
Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:
- weight gain or weight loss
- over activeness
- poor appetite
- trouble sleeping
- Stomach or intestinal spasm
- Small pinpoint pupils
- Blue lips and fingernails
- Muscle twitches
- Limp muscles
- Cold, clammy skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Stopped breathing
- Shallow breathing
- Slow breathing
- Sudden death
- Activated charcoal medication
- Fluids via intravenous
- Breathing tube
- An antidote to reverse the effects of the drug
- A tube inserted through the mouth into the stomach to wash it out (gastric lavage)
- Induced vomiting
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Tuesday, 18 July 2017
FentanylFentanyl belongs to a group of drug called opioids, sometimes referred to as a narcotic. These drugs are derived from the Asian Poppy Plant. Doctors use fentanyl as a part of anesthesia to prevent pain after surgery or other medical procedures. The Food and Drug Administration considered the drug as a Schedule II prescription drug. Fentanyl helps people who suffer from severe pain who otherwise cannot be treated with other drugs. Some people develop tolerance to other opioids, fentanyl serves as their last chance of treatment for pain.
Branded names of Fentanyl include:
- Fentanyl citrate
However, fentanyl goes a lot of names in the street such as:
- China girl
- Drop dead
- Murder 8
- China white
- Serial killer
- oral tablets
- nasal sprays
Fentanyl PatchesFentanyl Patches is a form of fentanyl medication used to treat moderate to severe pain. As a narcotic pain medicine, using the patches may become habit-forming leading to addiction. Doctors commonly prescribe fentanyl transdermal patches for cancer patients suffering from severe chronic pain due to the disease. In such occasions, patients need continuous drug treatment for their pain. The patches adhere to the skin and releases fentanyl constantly for a long period of time. Once applied, fentanyl patches can release chemicals lasting about 48 to 73 hours. Even when removed, fentanyl still has an effect around 13 to 24 hours. Typically, doctors and addiction treatment centers prescribe low dose of fentanyl and gradually increase dosage as needed. The recommended dose is not more than once every three days or not more than once every six days. Slowly increasing dosage or tapering off, ensure the safety of patients. An individual who suffers moderate pain will not be prescribed more than what they need to avoid drug dependence. Slowly tapering off from fentanyl patches will avoid any withdrawal symptoms that users may experience. In opiate drugs, abruptly stopping from medication can result to intense withdrawal period. Doctors need to carefully watch for any dependence, tolerance, and misuse of the drug to prevent addiction.
How fentanyl patches are abuseUsers sometimes choose to obtain patches because of its availability. The patches can still produce ample amounts of fentanyl. Users remove the gel substance, abusing it by:
- eating the gel
- sticking it under the tongue
- smoking it
- snorting the drug
- preparing it for injection
Side effects of Fentanyl PatchesJust like other opiates, fentanyl patch can cause severe and serious breathing problems. The risk increases when patients first started using the drug or in higher doses. It is important to always follow medical prescription when using fentanyl patch. Do not use the drug if:
- when users already develop tolerance to other narcotic pain reliever
- right after surgery
- if the pain is mild, or use as-needed pain relief
- For long-term use.
Fentanyl Side EffectsFentanyl can cause respiratory problems like decreased breathing or slow heart rate. Transdermal patches can produce several skin reactions particularly in the site of application. Redness and swelling may occur which can last for 6 hours after the removing the patch.
Other side effects of fentanyl include:
- dry mouth
- abdominal cramps
- loss of appetite
Other severe effects include:
- respiratory depression
- severe low blood pressure
- slow heart rate
- paralytic ileus
- cardiac arrest
- difficulty in breathing
- death due to drug overdose
Other risks involved when using fentanyl patches:
- Improper disposal of the patches can lead to accidental ingestion or exposure to fentanyl. It can result serious adverse reactions especially in children.
- Exposing fentanyl patches to heat can cause immediate and concentrated release of the drug into the skin. This can cause serious fatal effects including overdose.
- Using fentanyl patches during pregnancy can cause drug dependence of the fetus to the drug. Newborn babies can immediately suffer life-threatening fentanyl withdrawal symptoms once born.
Things to avoid when using fentanyl patchesHeat may trigger rapid release of fentanyl into the skin causing serious adverse effects. It is important to avoid activities and exposure to:
- electric blankets
- heat lamps
- hot tubs
- heated waterbeds
- heating pads
- long hot showers
- other activities that may increase body temperature
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