Thursday, 29 June 2017

 What is Cocaine?

Cocaine came from the leaves of the coca plant or Erythroxylon Coca. For thousands of years, South American People ingested and chewed coca leaves because of the stimulating effect it produces. Cocaine tops the list as one of the most potent drugs in the world. When a person starts to use cocaine, it is almost impossible to break free from its deadly grip. Cocaine contains properties that can affect both the physical and mental aspects of an individual. Cocaine can over-stimulate brain receptors and nerve endings that can create a euphoric feeling or intense ‘high’. Black market dealers call cocaine in names which include:

  • Coke
  • Crack
  • C
  • Snow
  • Powder
  • Blows
Usually, dealers often dilute or ‘cut’ cocaine with other harmless substances to yield more and increase their sales. Cocaine sold in the black market often includes talcum powder, cornstarch, or baking soda. Similarly, dealers may mix other drugs in their cocaine mixture. Cocaine may sometimes mix with other drugs like amphetamine and procaine, a chemical associated as an anesthetic.

Several Uses of Cocaine in the Past

People use cocaine hydrochloride, the refined chemical form for more than a century. In the early 1990s, several tonics and elixirs contain this drug as their main ingredient. These tonics use to treat several diseases. Back in the days, Coca-Cola used to mix cocaine in their famous drink. Physicians use the drug before the discovery of synthetic local anesthetic to block pain for medical procedures. But over time, studies shows that cocaine contains addictive substances that can affect the structures and the function of the brain if used constantly.

Government Controlled Substance

Presently, the United States Food and Drug Administration or FDA labeled cocaine as a Schedule II drug. This means cocaine contains properties that have a high potential for abuse. However, doctors can still use the drug for valid medical reasons like as local anesthesia for ear, throat and eye surgeries. As a recreational drug, cocaine looks like a fine, translucent and crystalline powder.

Types of Cocaine

Users misuse two chemical types of cocaine, the freebase cocaine or water-insoluble cocaine and the water-soluble (hydrochloride salt) type. The drug can also take the form of small white rocks. Users process this type of cocaine using ammonia or baking soda to get rid some of the impurities from the drug referred to as “freebasing”. Then they will let the rest of the mixture to dry to rocks. In the black market, these rocks are sold in small bags and smoked. The term crack refers to the crackling sound when users the mixture is heated and smoked. Crack cocaine contains the same addictive properties and side effects but is less expensive than its powdered counterpart. In its powdered form, users snort or dissolved cocaine and inject it into the bloodstream. When consumed, cocaine in this form can cause euphoria, extreme alertness, and energy. Others mix the drug with a flammable solvent which separates the impurities and inhale the vapors. Some users mix it with heroin, a mixture known as a speedball because of the intense rush high that it gives.

A super expensive habit

Powder cocaine is an expensive habit, people spends billions of dollar worldwide to funds their addiction. A single user can spend thousands of dollars in a short period of time because the drug can cause binges. Along with cocaine abuse, users may also use other substances and even prostitutes as a part of their high-spending lifestyle. Cocaine does not provide a long-lasting effect; in return, users may take it more frequently to get the desired high effect. This often leads to tolerance and users may need higher doses to get the same effect.

One deadly powder

Cocaine abuse can cause several deadly effects such as panic attacks, psychosis, hallucinations, and paranoia. Excessive use of cocaine can lead to death because of stroke, cerebral hemorrhage, heart attack and respiratory failure. Even children of cocaine-addicted mothers suffer addiction when they came into this world. The drug can also cause several birth defects if the mother uses cocaine during pregnancy. However, despite the dangerous effect of cocaine, it still prevalent in most areas.

Facts about Cocaine:

  • A gram of pure cocaine cost around $150 in the United States. This makes the drug one of the most expensive recreational drug in the black market.
  • Cocaine is a popular drug of choice for the upper-class people, which gave its name as the “rich man’s drug”.
  • Scotland tops the list as the highest cocaine use in the world. An estimated 2.4 percent of the total population or 1 in every 40 Scots uses the drug.
  • Cocaine remains as the most potent central nervous system stimulant found in nature.
  • The ancient Inca civilization believed that the drug was a gift from the gods.
  • In1859, the first extract of cocaine from the coca leaves was marketed as coca wine in France.
  • Doctors first use cocaine as a local anesthesia in the eye, nose and throat surgeries in 1880 in the country.
  • On the South Pole exploration, Captain Scott and Ernest Shackleton both took cocaine tablets in their mission.
  • During the early times, chemists use cocaine hydrochloride, the refined chemical from the coca leaves. They use it as the main ingredient for several elixirs and tonics. These tonics said to treat various diseases in the early 1900s.
  • Coca-Cola initially contained about nine milligrams of cocaine per bottle. In 1903, the giant beverage company removed the addictive ingredient from their drink. But the cocaine-free drink still used the coca leaf in their logo.
  • Chronic use of the drug can separate the user’s nose cartilage destroying it permanently.
  • Cocaine can cause dehydration and dry mouth which results in bad breath and tooth decay.
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 from Fort Lauderdale Detox and Rehab for more help.   [button link=“tel:863-623-4923” type=“big” color=“blue” newwindow=“yes”] Call Now![/button]

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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Stopping Drug Addiction without Rehabilitation

A lot of people are saying that stopping addiction or drug addiction is not possible if the person will not undergo rehabilitation.  However, few people still believe about quitting addiction without rehabilitation. Recovery from such challenges is still possible and many succeeded going through this road less traveled. Let’s try to explore on the thought of stopping addiction without going through rehabilitation. One of the main ingredients or components in wanting to stop addiction without going through any drug rehabilitation center is YOU. A lot of health experts and physicians would say that in order for an addict to stop, they must first be willing to stop.  So the key to your rehabilitation without being confined to any rehabilitation facility is yourself. Psychologists would often say that addiction is caused by the person’s inability to cope with different situations in their life, such as depression, stress, anxiety, and problems.  If the key factor to stopping addiction is yourself, you may need to bear the following things in mind:

Your reason to change.  

The hardest and greatest motivator is your reasons to change.  The most successful people are those who are able to discover their deepest WHY? Questions like: Why do I want to stop using drugs? Why do I want to change?  This is a major factor that would determine your success in quitting the addiction. Knowing your deepest why and having that motivation of wanting to do whatever it takes in order to change your life and stop using drugs totally would be the best start to stop addiction without rehabilitation.

Set your goals.  

If you really want to change, you need to set your goals and determined to finish it.  In setting your goals, you have to bear in mind that your goals should be: Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.  Setting your goals would give you a roadmap of how things are going to be.  Goal-setting is essential because this is the blueprint of what you want to happen in your life.  As successful people often say, if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.


Just like in any other goal, you have to focus.  There might have been previous attempts where you failed, previous scenarios when you said you want to quit, but then, when you start doing it, you slide back.  If you focus on your goal of really wanting to quit, no matter how many times you slide back, you would always get back on your feet and try again.

Change your environment.  

One of the things that often let you slide is due to the environment that you have. If you keep living in an environment that lures you into using drugs, then the tendency is that you would go back into using it.  Changing your environment includes changing your friends.  If your friends are the ones influencing you to use drugs, then take them out.  Changing your environment means changing the people you interact with, changing the places that you go to, and totally removing all the stuff that would remind you to go back to use drugs again.

Have a Support Group.

Having a support group is essential if you would want to stop your drug addiction and resolve not to go back into it.  Your support group can be your family, your best friend, or a colleague who has your best interests in mind.  You should let them know of your desire, and keep an open communication with them so that during times when you feel like you want to go back into using drugs, they can provide you the appropriate support that you would need to prevent you from going into a relapse.

Know your triggers.  

In every feeling, scenario, or moments when you wanted to use drugs, there will always be triggers.  The important thing in your journey towards a drug-free life is knowing what triggers you to think of going back into the use of drugs.  Knowing your triggers would allow you to avoid falling into those triggers.  This can be associated with the previous topic where you would need to change your environment.  Knowing what your triggers are would allow you to include this in the things that you need to change in your environment.


Therapy is also one effective solution to stop drug addiction.  Since experts say that addiction is something that is triggered by our mental state, the best way to be able to fight it is through different therapy sessions.  Some psychologists would even recommend going into hypnotherapy just to help a person remove their dependency on drugs.  Some even state that drug addiction is just like an alcohol addiction or smoking addiction.  People tend to use drugs because of some wrong belief or conception which should be changed and the only way to change it is through therapy. There are several other types of treatment that one can explore and find out about.  There is no single treatment applicable for each drug dependent who wants to change and thus, it would be wise for one to explore his options in terms of seeking treatment, whether it be a medical treatment or psychological treatment.  Last, there are several reasons that would want you to stop your addiction and dependency on drugs so just think of the positive impact it can have in your life, such as:
  • Becoming healthier
  • Reducing your risk of death
  • Keeping your job
  • Preserving your relationships
  • Having more money
  • Regaining the ability to be a real person again, having authentic emotions, etc.
  Check out this playlist from Detox of South Florida for more help.   [button link=“tel:863-623-4923” type=“big” color=“red” newwindow=“yes”] Call Now![/button]

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Fred Muench Named President and CEO of Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

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Tuesday, 27 June 2017

How Cocaine Stay in the System

Definition of Cocaine

Cocaine is a strong stimulant mostly used as a recreational drug. It is commonly snorted, inhaled as a smoke, or as a solution injected into a vein. Historically speaking cocaine is being used as a topical anesthetic in eye and nasal surgery. Also as a result of improper use, one of the major disadvantages of the drug can cause vasoconstrictor activity. As well as a threat for a potential for cardiovascular toxicity. To control cravings of cocaine, Western medicine has long since replaced it with synthetic local anesthetics such as:
  •  benzocaine
  •  proparacaine
  •  lidocaine
  •  tetracaine
Apparently, it remains available for use if specified or prescribed by an authorized person. Doctors need the vasoconstriction properties of cocaine for medical procedures. They combine anesthetic with a vasoconstrictor such as phenylephrine or epinephrine. For medical purposes topical cocaine, doctors use a local numbing agent to help with painful procedures in the mouth or nose. Cocaine is a powerful nervous system stimulant. The duration of its effects can last from fifteen or thirty minutes to an hour. Its effects depend on the amount taken and the route of administration. Cocaine takes the form of a fine white powder which bitters to the taste. When inhaled or injected in a person body, it can cause a numbing effect on the body. Cocaine also increases different sensations in the body, which may include:
  • alertness
  • feelings of well-being and euphoria
  • energy
  • motor activity
  • feelings of competence
  • increased sexual desires
It has stimulant effects that are similar to that of amphetamine. However, these effects tend to be much shorter lasting and more prominent. Drug injection refers to the procedure turning the drug or the cocaine into a solution. This provides the highest blood levels of the drug in the shortest amount of time. Subjective effects not commonly shared with other methods of administration may include a ringing in the ears moments. This happens after injection of more than 120 milligrams and lasting 2 to 5 minutes including tinnitus and audio distortion. This is colloquially referred to as a “bell ringer”. An average time to reach peak subjective effects takes about 3.1 minutes after taking the drug. Cocaine contains properties that make it addictive intoxicant. It produces intense stimulating effects that can cause long-term damage to the body and brain.

Duration of Cocaine in our System

Cocaine is a very fast-acting central nervous system stimulant that produces an intense but short-lived euphoric high, lasting for only 15 minutes to an hour. Usually, cocaine levels peak in the blood about 30 minutes after in gestation. However, this depends largely on how it’s taken.
  • Intravenous use: Effects felt within 5 minutes.
  • Snorting: Effects felt within 30 minutes.
  • Smoking: Effects felt within 45 minutes.
  • Oral ingestion: Effects felt within 60 minutes.
Other factors may include the amount taken at once, body chemistry, and how long and heavily the individual uses it. Though it takes time for the levels of the drug to peak, the effects can be felt instantly with:
  •  injection or snorting,
  •  and immediately with smoking.
This initial high is often referred to as a rush. This fades after a short period of time, resulting in an unpleasant crash. The cycle of high, crash, and then seeking more of the drug to counter the crash can easily lead to an increase tolerance and eventually addiction. Cocaine’s half-life is nearly just as short at only an hour and not more than that. This means that it will take about an hour for half of the cocaine consumed to leave the body. However, heavy, long-term use will cause the drug to start to accumulate in body tissues, allowing certain tests to detect the drug in the system for an extended period of time.

What to test in order to obtain if someone has used or using cocaine?

Cocaine can also be detected in the blood and saliva for an average of 12-48 hours after last use. Unlike many other intoxicants, cocaine will stay in a person’s sweat for an extended period of time, up to several weeks. It can also be found in a user’s hair for years after an individual stops taking the drug. However, urine is the most preferred method of testing for most medical facilities and in any legal situations. Anyone who regularly needs to be tested for cocaine is likely to have an addiction disorder. After a single use of cocaine, metabolism creates agents of the drug which are detected in a person’s urine for 2-4 days. However, for some chronic users, or if it follows a heavy binge, cocaine can be detected in urine for up to 12 days. The length that urine tests are effective also depends on the size of the dose and the purity of the substance. Extremely high doses can cause cocaine metabolites to be detectable for up to 3 weeks. If you’re wondering how long after last using cocaine that a drug test will be able to detect the drug in the body, the answer to that will depend on:
  • How long you’ve been abusing cocaine.
  • Your average amount used each time.
  • The functionality of your liver.
  • The type of test used to detect cocaine in your system.
Cocaine and its breakdown products may be detected after last use of the drug in 1 of 5 different ways – each of which has varying detection duration times:
  • Urine = 2-3 days (or 2 weeks, for chronic cocaine users)
  • Blood = 12-48 hours
  • Saliva = 12-48 hours
  • Sweat = several weeks
  • Hair = a few months to years
In non-emergency situations, urine testing is often the most preferred testing method. It has a wider detection window than blood or saliva and also offers a non-invasive testing approach. Blood testing is more commonly used in scenarios of some acute cocaine intoxication. Hair testing has the widest detection window but requires a more advanced detection technique, as there are many factors that can skew hair testing results. The amount of time that you will continue to experience the immediate effects of cocaine on the body varies by the route of administration – in other words, how you used it:
  • Intravenous administration = 15-30 minutes.
  • Inhalation (Smoked) = 15-30 minutes.
  • Intranasal = 1 hour.
  • Gastrointestinal = 3 hours
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. Checkout this playlist for more info   [button link=“tel:863-623-4923” type=“big” color=“green” newwindow=“yes”] Call Now![/button]

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Dopamine and its effect on the brain

The key player in addiction
By Shelly Tichelaar, CEO & Executive Director, Ranch Creek Recovery

Yes, there really can be too much of a good thing. Dopamine is a chemical neurotransmitter in the brain that relays feelings of pleasure to the brain when we engage in an enjoyable behavior or activity. While human beings inherently rely on dopamine to reinforce survival behaviors such as eating and procreating, this brain chemical also happens to be the key player in addiction.

Out of Control Dopamine

Activated by such things as eating certain foods we love or engaging in romance, dopamine signals the brain that a reward is on its way. When we engage in these pleasurable activities, dopamine sends its chemical message to the brain — the association between the stimulus and the reward become hardwired, a process called conditioning. This stimulus and reward pattern allows the human species to survive.

But when it comes to drug or alcohol use, dopamine levels are released at five to ten times the normal level, flooding the mood center of the brain. The user’s brain associates the extreme rush resulting from the spiked dopamine levels with using the drug of choice, reinforcing the desire to repeat using it. Ultimately, the brain requires more and more of the alcohol or drug to achieve any feelings of pleasure at all, resulting in compulsive drug-seeking behaviors.

Dopamine and Addiction

Most drugs target the brain’s reward system, activating a surge of dopamine that overwhelms the brain. In response, the brain produces lower levels of dopamine and reduces the number of brain receptors.

Ongoing drug or alcohol use will eventually impact the brain circuits and neurons, potentially causing permanent damage in the brain. The user will attempt to achieve feelings of pleasure at any cost, ramping up dosage levels and frequency of use, further cementing the drug dependency. The increased tolerance to the drug and the elevated level of addiction can become life threatening.

Overcoming Addiction and Healing the Brain

Thankfully, the plasticity of the brain enables it to change and rewire itself. Just as addiction produces unhealthy brain pathways through the dopamine-driven reward system, new neural road maps can be developed using holistic methods such as mindfulness training and meditation, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Basically, retraining the brain to respond differently to thoughts or triggers can, in time, change brain chemistry.

Changing ingrained neural pathways takes effort and patience. New behaviors have to be practiced and learned. New thought processes take time to become routine. Learning how to be present and utilize new relaxation tools takes practice. Over time, the pathways that were once active during addiction will wither up as new pathways are formed.

SMART Recovery meetings can teach you self-empowering tools and techniques that will help you to maintain the motivation to make the changes you choose in your life, while you also learn how you can control your urges.

Brain health can be improved concurrently with therapy by embracing a healthy diet that feeds brain cells. A strong association exists between nutrition and brain health, including cognitive functioning and mental health. Centering the diet around lean proteins like fish and turkey, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and pasta, nuts, and seeds will help restore brain health at the cellular level.

About the author: With 35 years of experience working in the behavioral health field, Shelly Tichelaar understands the needs of her clients. Shelly is the C.E.O. and Executive Director at Ranch Creek Recovery, a non-12-step, residential addiction recovery program in California. She provides high-quality treatment by keeping client caseload low, offering holistic and experiential therapies, and working closely with a highly experienced treatment team.



Monday, 26 June 2017

How to Prevent Relapse | Okeechobee

Drug Relapse: Ways on Preventing It

Relapse is one of the common challenges people who want to stop their drug addiction habit. Wanting to stop drug addiction takes time, patience, and practice. Often than not, people who have undergone drug rehabilitation slide back and go back to their drug addiction. Relapse though does not mean that the rehabilitation failed or that their stint did not work. Relapse is sure to happen when the same triggers of addiction re-appear. Relapse does not happen automatically and people who want to stop addiction should understand that prior to relapse, they undergo several stages. There are three (3) stages of drug relapse, namely:
  •    Emotional
  •    Mental
  •    Physical
The hardest struggle in terms of relapse is the emotional stage or state. Here are symptoms and signs of a possible emotional relapse.
  •    Anxiety
  •    Intolerance
  •    Anger
  •    Defensiveness
  •    mood swings
  •    isolation
  •    not asking for help
  •    not going to meetings
  •    poor eating habits
  •    poor sleeping habits
The practice of self-care is one of the best ways of avoiding the symptoms of an emotional relapse. You should bear in mind that you resorted to drugs to escape, relax, or reward yourself and thus, not taking care of yourself may lead you to go back into such addiction. When you have, poor sleeping habits or poor eating habits, chances of you feeling exhausted would be greater and once you feel exhausted, you might feel the urge of going back into drug use again because you would turn to the mentality that using drugs allows you to escape from exhaustion. When you continue to hold on to your resentments and fears, these will start to build to a point where you feel uncomfortable, and when you continue to allow these emotions to grow, you start to isolate yourself. You start to have that feeling of being uncomfortable and that you would again try to find a way to release yourself from this feeling. Changing your friends would also help you avoid going into a relapse. If after your rehabilitation, you would keep on hanging with the same people that influenced you to try and use drugs, then it would just be a vicious cycle and you would end up going back to the addiction. It often helps being in the company of people who live active lives, engages into sports, and other activities in order to shun away from stress, and other emotional factors that may lead you to relapse. Have an active life and try to engage yourself in different sports activities. What people often don’t know is that having an active life and engaging into sports are ways for one to get the stress out of their body. Having an exercise routine, and going to the gym are also very effective ways of removing stress or de-stressing yourself, removing the anger that you feel and venting it out, and thus, one of the ways to avoid any possible relapse. Mental stage of relapse is also something that we need to watch out for. When you think of wanting to use and go back into the use of drugs, you simply should remember the reasons that led you to the use and to your addiction to drugs. Once you are aware of the reasons, try to find a way on how you can program your mind not to be lead into that same scenario. Always remember that having the mentality that no one would find out that you’ve relapsed is a bad mentality and it is something that you should not tell yourself or even make yourself believe in. Once you go back to using drugs, and once you get addicted to it again, there will always be signs and symptoms that would allow others determine that you have gone to a relapse. Seeking the help of an expert would also be handy and useful for you to be properly guided and avoid going into a relapse. If an expert would not be readily available, you can talk to your friend who would always ensure that you would not go into a relapse. They say that sharing how and what you feel is one of the best ways to prevent a relapse from happening. Having someone to talk to would alleviate that feeling that you’re alone and that no one is there to listen to your problems, frustrations, and disappointments. Take things one day at a time. You don’t need to be worried about abstaining from the use of drugs or be overwhelmed by the negative thought that you might fall into a relapse. These are some thoughts that may creep into your mind when you’re idle and alone. These are thoughts that you can avoid if you have someone that you can talk to and relate to regarding what you’re going through in life. We should always remember that once you’ve gone out from the rehabilitation center; there will always be the possibility for you to go on relapse. Nobody is perfect and the only way for one to avoid going into a relapse is by being aware of ourselves. Knowing ourselves gives us an edge above all and being a step ahead by means of prevention, being more active in our lives, having a different set of friends, and ensuring that we don’t fall back into the same trap is the only key to be totally cured from our addiction to drugs. Avoid drug relapse. Seek help from this area. Check out this playlist from Detox of South Florida   [button link=“tel:863-623-4923” type=“big” color=“red” newwindow=“yes”] Call Now![/button]

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Sunday, 25 June 2017

How Long Methamphetamine Stay in your System

Methamphetamine or popularly known as meth is a powerful synthetic central nervous system stimulant. It can generate short but rapid euphoric high, causing the user to seek more because of the sudden crash. The drug contains extreme addictive properties and deadly effects on the body. For this reason, the Food and Drug Administration classified meth as Schedule II substance under the US regulations for drugs. Possessing and selling of the drug makes it highly illegal in the country.

How users take Meth

Users usually smoke meth in a small glass pipe or prepare it for intravenous injection. Even though the two methods are different from each other, it can both reach the brain very quickly. Compare to smoking meth, injecting it directly into the bloodstream is the fastest way to get high, as it reaches the brain more rapidly. When the drug rushes to the brain quickly it immediately causes euphoria. Along with this intense ecstasy sensation, users will often show signs of active energy. Some of the health effects of Meth abuse are as follows:
  •    Feelings of euphoria
  •    Excessive talking
  •    Increased energy
  •    Mood changes
  •    Disordered thought
  •    Sweating
  •    Loss of appetite
  •    Teeth grinding or bruxism
  •    Itching.
  •    Dry mouth often accompanied with bad breath
  •    Nausea
  •    Vomiting
  •    Diarrhea

Long-term abuse of meth can cause:

  •    Heart disease
  •    Communicable diseases
  •    Probable neurotoxicity
  •    Cognitive problems (like poor memory, impede processing of thoughts, and motor incoordination problems)
  •    Methamphetamine-induce psychosis   (such as hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions)
  •    Psychomotor retardation and anhedonia (unable to feel pleasure)
However, when long time users suddenly stopped or decreased their meth intake, it can lead to withdrawal symptoms. This can lead to intense cravings, where users need to take more of the drug, suffer ‘crash’ and do the cycle again. Sign and symptoms of withdrawal include:
  •    Aggression
  •    Irritability
  •    Fatigue
  •    Increased appetite
  •    Anxiety
  •    Depression
  •    Unable to feel pleasure (anhedonia)
  •    Anger
  •    Lethargy
  •    Dizziness
  •    Inability to concentrate
  •    Paranoia
  •    Muscle weakness
  •    Sweating
  •    Headaches
  •    Fever
  •    Delusions
  •    Psychosis
  •    Suicidal thoughts

Factors that affect the Length of Time for Detecting Meth

There are several factors that play a vital role in detecting meth in the system. Usually, it takes about 2-10 days for the body to excrete all traces of the drug. However, these several factors can determine how fast the body can flushed meth or how long the meth stays in the system.
  •    How often you use methamphetamine
  •    The dosage you usually take
  •    How healthy your kidneys and liver functions
  •    The type of test used to detect meth

How the body Metabolize Meth

One of the most important factors for detecting meth is how the body metabolizes the drug. When users take meth, the body immediately starts to metabolize the drug. Here are the stages on how the body metabolizes meth:
  •    The time meth reaches the bloodstream, the body makes it first initial process converting some of the drugs into amphetamine.
  •    After a few hours from the last dose, the body starts to process the amphetamine and the remaining methamphetamine circulating in the system.
  •    These substances passed through the liver and the kidneys. Users will then excrete the drugs in the urine shortly after.
  •    However, 50% of a meth can flush out from the body exactly as it came in. Meaning, the body does not metabolize or processed the drug. Users did not experience any stimulating effects from that specific fraction of meth.

Meth and Various Drug Tests

Meth, a fast-acting stimulant does not linger in the system for very long. Depending on the dosage of the drug, it can last for about 8-24 hours. The user’s body chemistry can also affect the duration of meth in the system. The drug has a plasma half-life of 12-34 hours. This means that it usually takes 12-34 hours for the body to process meth by half in the user’s blood.

Urine Test

Urine test typically detects meth up to 72 hours from the last drug intake. But for heavy, long-term meth users can still linger in the system and the test can detect the drug up to a week. When users ingest the drug, the liver and kidney can immediately process it. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, up to 54% of the drug passes out of the body unchanged.

Saliva Test

A saliva swab can detect meth from 1 to 4 days after the user’s last dose.

Hair Test

Synthetic drugs including meth can stay in the user’s hair for a longer period of time. The test can turn out positive for meth up to 90 days from the last use. In summary, drug tests can detect meth in different ways which include:
  •    Blood Test = 12-34 hours
  •    Saliva Test = 1 to 4 days
  •    Hair Test = 90 days from the last use
  •    Urine Test = up to 72 hours
  •    Time to leave the body = 2-10 days but chronic heavy use makes it longer to leave the body
  •    Effects of meth use = 8-24 hours
Experts consider methamphetamine as one of the most dangerous recreational drugs. Any suspected addiction of your loved one to this drug should be treated immediately. Recovering from meth addiction is not an easy journey, but still possible.   This playlist from Detox of South Florida will provide more information. Check it out.     [button link=“tel:863-623-4923” type=“big” color=“green” newwindow=“yes”] Call Now![/button]

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Thursday, 22 June 2017

How does Addiction Affect the Brain

It is a known fact that the brain serves as the most dynamic and complex organ in the body. Weighing about three pounds, the brain consists of gray and white matter that oversees all bodily function.  The proper functioning of the brain ensures our very survival. In summary, the proper functioning of the brain ensures our very survival. It interprets and responds to everything that we experience, it shapes our emotions, thoughts and even behavior.  When our brains function well, we are constantly adapting to our environment. Ironically, the adaptive ability of the brain contributed to the development of addiction. Addiction can cause four fundamental modifications to the brain. This includes:

  1. Addiction changes the brain’s natural balance.
  2. Addiction changes the brain’s chemistry.
  3. Addiction changes the brain’s communication pathways.
  4. Addiction Changes the structures in the brain

# 1 Addiction changes the brain’s natural balance.

Addictive behavior hampers in the biological process of the brain called homeostasis. Scientists and experts consider the human body as a biological system. For them, all biological systems attempt to maintain a normal balance as part of its functioning. The brain functions as the main overseer of this balance.  It makes countless adjustments to maintain a balanced, well-functioning, biological system. The brain individually determined each person’s normal balance. Drug abuse and addictive behavior can lead to changes in this so called normal balance. Addiction can over stimulate and interferes with the balance of the brain. The brain makes a quick adjustment to maintain the balance, creating a new balance set-point. The creation of the new balance referred to as “allostasis”. The brain’s adaptive behavior triggers changes in the brain’s normal function. These changes account for many behaviors associated with addiction such as:
  • Intense cravings to get drugs.
  • Persistent behavior to seek the drug despite its negative effects.
  • Difficulty or unsuccessful trials quitting the addiction.
  • The obsessive nature of addictions that see little else in life matters.
The new behavior causes the brain’s balance to accommodate the addiction. Once changed, the brain adapts the addictive behavior to maintain the new homeostatic balance.

#2 Addiction Changes The Brain’s Chemistry

Good communication is absolutely important, functioning as the major key to coordinate with family members or people from work. Our bodies are no different. Neuron systems deliver messages back and forth within the structures of the spinal cord, nerves and the brain. These complex networks regulate and interpret everything that we feel, see, think and do. To understand the effect of addiction on the brain system, one must understand how communication works. Communication systems consist of five senses, namely:
  • sight
  • sound
  • taste
  • touch
  • smell
These five senses collect and analyze information around us; the brain processes all these. As a complex organ, the brain receives a massive amount of information. It may sound complex but the brain works on a simple electrochemical process. The communication system works allowing the brain to interact with the other body parts. Billions of neurons passed the information to the brain. Human brains contain billions of these neurons connections. The massive network builds an electrochemical communication system. Some neurotransmitters can affect other neurons (excitatory). They can affect other neurons and produce reactions. Here are some of the neurons found in the brain.
  •    Inhibitory neurons - prevents the next neuron from sending another reaction.
  •    Glutamate - the most common excitatory neurotransmitter found in the brain.
  •    Gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA - the most common inhibitory. This plays an important role in addiction.
Neuropeptides that are relevant to addiction are:
  •    natural opiates  present in the brain (called endorphins)
  •    stress hormones
  •    peptides (associated with feeding and anxiety)
These molecules have their own specific types of receptors.  Some neurotransmitters react to specific drugs. All drugs can affect this system to varying degrees more so in the dopamine system. Here are some of the illicit substance and its effect on the system. Drugs and  its affected brain system Cocaine and Methamphetamine - Alters the dopamine system Opiates (heroin, codeine, Oxycontin®, Vicodin®, and hydrocodone) - Cause changes in the dopamine, opiate (endorphin), and GABA systems. Alcohol- Changes the dopamine, glutamate, and GABA systems Marijuana- activates dopamine and in the brain’s own cannabinoid system. Nicotine found in cigarettes- Changes in the acetylcholine system Ecstasy- Affects both dopamine and serotonin systems.

# 3 Addiction Changes The Brain’s Communication Pathways

New neural pathways are formed as an addiction develops. This is because addiction chemically altered the brain’s communication system. When you take that drug away, the brain must again form new neural pathways. Just as when we had to forge a new trail in the woods. The experience is initially uncomfortable.  Successful recovery cases can press on through this brief, uncomfortable period. Remember, it was difficult and uncomfortable to forge a new pathway around a fallen tree. The same is true for the initial period of recovery. It can be difficult and uncomfortable while these new neural pathways are forming. It is important for the recovering person to persevere and does not give up. Particularly in this initial stage of discomfort, new neural pathways will form for recovery. These new pathways will become more established and better developed over time. As they do, recovery becomes easier and more comfortable. Unfortunately, because the brain can adapt easily, it also serves as the root of addiction. The brain adapts to the strong effects of addictive drugs and activities. Changes that occur in the brain regions associated with the following:
  • reward
  • memory and emotion
  • decision-making
  • stress regulation
These changes to our brain make the repeated use of addictive substances or activities very compelling. Luckily, the neuroplasticity of the brain permits the person to these changes. Therefore, although addiction leads to structural changes in the brain, we are capable of learning new coping skills. The brain’s plasticity allows these new coping skills to be imprinted.

# 4 Addiction Changes the structures in the brain

The brain is composed of many different regions and structures. The communication of the brain system allows these different regions to manage their activities. Each of these different structures has its own purposes. Addictions can alter these regions and structures and how the brain functions. It affects some regions and structures of the brain, such as:
  • Decision-making
  • Drug-seeking behavior and craving
  • Withdrawal effects, and relapse triggers
  • Stress regulation and withdrawal.
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Helping Someone with Drug Addiction and Depression | West Palm Beach

One of the common fears that people and loved ones of a drug addict face are the questions. How do I help them avoid addiction and depression? Depression is a common scenario for all human beings. At one point or the other, we find certain events of our lives depressing, either because things did not turn out how we wanted it to be, expectations were not met. Any traumatic event in our lives can trigger our depression and lead to addiction. We find drugs as a means of escape and there are several drugs that have been introduced to allow one to have a temporal escape from their reality. Your loved one may turn to drugs for comfort, but depression could strike anyway. There is always that danger that a person may not get the chance to process, understand or cope up with the traumatic event in their life which was the root cause of why they opted to turn to drugs in the first place. It is normal for us to empathize with a loved one who is suffering depression and living with them may even be more challenging. Helping someone with drug addiction and depression needs one to be able to support that person which can be done in several ways, such as:

Listening and learning

Lending an ear is one of the idiomatic expressions that would completely describe and explain this. Listening to a person suffering from depression is very hard because sometimes the stories and tales are just the same.

Set boundaries.

If your loved one is living under the same roof, you should set rules and regulations that would help them recover from their addiction. This means that if you do not feel comfortable with drugs or alcohol in your house, you establish that rule and stick to it. It also might involve financial and other household boundaries.

Organize an intervention.

Having a third-party intervention would also be trying to seek the help of professional. A trained psychologist or psychiatrist can handle sensitive situations better. You can turn to professional interventionist not because you refuse to help your loved ones. But rather you want to provide the best possible help you can provide. Sometimes, having an intervention can be proved a powerful factor to change the person.

Be supportive and encouraging.

Provide all support that you can give to your loved one with an addiction. This means that you support them in their decision to change. When your loved one suffering from addiction decided to change, half of the battle has been won. Their decision to change serves as one of the key factors to help a person recover from addiction and depression. But bear in mind that that the person involved with addiction and depression is still in charge of their own recovery. No matter hoe supportive or how much encouragement you provide, they are the ones making the decision. It’s important to show continued to support and to have an open heart. Let them know that your concern comes from a place of love. Make them feel the best encouragement and support you can give the person. You should understand that depression and drug addiction acts similarly. As mentioned earlier, a depressed person would have a bigger chance of turning into drug use since one of the misconceptions and believe in taking drugs is that it alleviates you and makes you forget your problem or whatever is causing your depression. Knowing this should give us the edge in conquering and fighting the huge problem of drug addiction. If your loved one approaches you and asks for your help regarding his drug addiction problem, the first thing that you must do is to convince them to get an evaluation from a doctor. Having themselves evaluated by a physician or doctor would allow you to determine how deep their addiction problem is. You may also try to convince them to seek the help of a psychologist or psychiatrist who would walk them through their journey and help them conquer the roadblocks in the life that led them to their addiction in the first place. There are a lot of organizations and clinics that offer treatment for drug addiction and depression but you should remember that each treatment program is tailored to the person or patient’s need. Therefore, you would need to encourage your friend or loved one to seek professional help. If they are afraid of what others would think of them, just sell to them the good points of having a drug-free life. It takes a lot of courage to seek help from a drug problem and if your friend or a loved one has trusted you with this problem, we must do all our best to understand, and extend a hand to them. There are several drug rehabilitation centers that provide medication to the patient which helps alleviate their depression. It is expected though that every person who has been using drugs and is heavily addicted to it will exhibit withdrawal symptoms within a few days or sometimes, even longer. Along with the drugs that they take to alleviate their depression, they are also being given a nutritional diet, and exercise that would eliminate all traces of drugs in the patient’s body. Aside from medicines, a nutritional diet, and exercise, patients are also provided with mental assistance or therapy. Once a person becomes aware that the cause of their drug addiction is depression and other traumatic experiences in their life, they would soon realize that addiction is something that can be stopped and the only thing that would hinder them from stopping is themselves. Detox of South Florida works to provide educational articles to help those who are suffering with addiction, to make the change to living an addiction free life. Find help from this area and overcome drug addiction. Check out this West Palm Beach Playlist [button link=“tel:863-623-4923” type=“big” color=“green” newwindow=“yes”] Call Now![/button]

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Good Alcoholic Drinks: A Big NO! For Recovering Alcoholics, Ever

If you think that quitting on alcohol is like a sprint, it is not; it is like a marathon. After a long time of sobriety, it could appear as if you can begin drinking alcohol socially once more. It may not seem like a problem to have a beer or a couple more with your friends; however, if you have been an alcoholic before, a single drink can be equivalent to losing all the years of progress you have been making to maintain a sober life.

Should an alcoholic be drinking again after they have gained sobriety?

NO, regardless of whether it is good alcoholic drinks or not. Remember that it took you a very long time to recover from alcoholism and it is only wise to completely avoid alcohol.

Studies show that a single drink may lead you back to the path of more and more drinking, once again.

It could be quite tempting to drink alcohol as you see others successfully able to drink alcohol in moderation. Then you think to yourself that since you have proven that you can quit drinking, then a single drink cannot possibly do you any harm, right? Unfortunately, those who have a history of alcoholism cannot and should not have the liberty to drink, even in moderation.

When can recovering alcoholics drink after getting treatment?

A lot of recovering alcoholics often think about, why are medical professionals advising them to avoid alcohol completely? It is not that gulping a single drink with alcohol can hurt you, but that a single drink more often than not leads to a second, then a third. Before you know it, you have already fallen into the alcoholism trap once more. It will be easier to drink once again; however, this is completely opposite of what you have been trying to work hard for - your sobriety - so, it is not worth taking the risk at all. Research also reveals that abstinence from alcohol may be the best thing to do to avoid falling into a relapse. Although you should not be ashamed if you relapse as it happens to a lot of individuals, you should do best to avoid that from happening to you. The chances of you suffering a relapse are close to zero if you do not indulge at all.

Should a recovering alcoholic be allowed to drink once more?

Some people oppose the idea of not permitting recovering alcoholics to drink again. They believe that the approach to abstinence is not realistic; instead, it becomes a punishment to those suffering from the disease. Such people claim that abstinence can create a stigma on the recovering alcoholic as most will stand out at social events. There is a certain truth in the claim as it could be very difficult to explain your situation to others and why you are not drinking; however, when you think of your sobriety being at stake, you will be able to overcome those challenges. You can relapse to problem drinking any time you take in one or two drinks socially that’s likely to become 8 or 9. When you finally realize that you really can’t moderate your drinking, your old habits may have sunk in already. Again your social, work and personal relationships suffer and you experience the negative impact of alcohol on your health. Once more, you will have to restart your path to recovery. Check out this video from Detox of South Florida for more information and resources.   [button link=“tel:863-623-4923” type=“big” color=“green” newwindow=“yes”] Call Now![/button]

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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

How Cocaine is Made | Okeechobee

Cocaine tops the list as the most commonly abused illegal drug in the United States, after marijuana and heroin, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  Overdose from cocaine consists of about 10% of the total admission in public-funded abuse treatment programs. However, in a study which the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime conducted, cocaine is one of the most expensive illegal drugs in the black market. In a 2015 Global Drug Survey, a gram of cocaine cost about 80 USD. This will make you wonder what cocaine is made of and how it is made to yield this kind of amount in the market. Before delving yourself in this kind of information, you must first know what cocaine is.


Cocaine is primarily made of extract from coca leaves, native to South America. But it can also contain several ingredients like cornstarch, talcum powder, powdered milk and other substances once it is diluted or “cut.” This drug can over stimulate the central nervous system and contains anesthetic properties.  For hundreds of years, South American people use the coca leaves whenever they need an energy boost. The cocaine plant is relatively harmless but once chemically synthesized it can produce short- and long-term dangerous effects.  Street names of cocaine include Crack, Rock, Coke, Snow, Candy, Blow, Flake and Charlie.

How is Cocaine Made?

After marijuana, cocaine is the most widespread drug in the US but few people understand where it comes from. To make just a kilo of cocaine, coca farmers need to hand pick 1,000 kilos of coca leaves. After harvesting the leaves, they laid it out under the sun. Famers will let the leaves dry in the sun for about half to full day. The leaves will somewhat dry out and ready for the next step. There are two ways to extract cocaine from the basic coca leaf plant, using solvents or using acid-based chemicals.

Cocaine extraction using solvents

Once the leaves are dried out, it is finely chopped and dusted with lime or carbonate salt along with a small amount of water. Some manufacturers will use a weed-whacker to complete this process. Some people may just do it by hand. After the leaves have been cut, makers will sprinkle a small amount of cement powder.  Then ammonia and lime are added to the leaves. Next, they will spray diesel or kerosene over the leaves and strongly stirred up for three days. The process will remove the cocaine from the leaves and into the liquid mixture. The makers may use a washing machine or cement mixer while some poor manufacturers will just do it by hand. The ingredients will help separate cocaine from the leaves.  Manufacturers will heat the liquid to eliminate any wax from the coca leaves. The mixture will then be filtered to separate cocaine from the leafy concoctions.  Initially, the mixture will look like a large amount of liquid mixture. Makers will then add sulfuric acid and re-mix it again. This will transform the cocaine free base to cocaine sulfate. Manufacturers or makers will let the mixture sit for some time. During this process, cocaine sulfate will separate from the mixture. After the separation process, makers will then add lime or caustic soda. This will neutralize the sulfuric acid; the by-product of the chemical is a sticky yellow solid mixture. Again, this paste is dried then package and shipped to another location for additional handling and extraction.

Cocaine paste extraction using acid

Another procedure to make cocaine is using acid-based chemicals to extract the drug.  Makers pour the leaves of the coca plant in a container with dilutes sulfuric acid. Makers need to work exuberantly to soften the mixture which usually lasts for about 2 hours. The acid in the container will transform the leaves to cocaine sulfate. To remove unnecessary waxy deposit, makers will drain the chemical and then heated. The rest of the mixture will undergo filtration process to remove any remaining plant residues. Lime or carbonated chemicals are added to the mixture, makers stirred the ingredients vigorously. The result of the concoction is called coca paste. Makers will then add kerosene and re-filter the concoction for further sulfuric acid treatment.

From ‘paste’ to Street Cocaine

After the coca extraction process, it needs further processing to change the mixture from chemical concoction to an ingestible substance. The mixture will undergo purification process, in which it is dissolved in a small amount of diluted sulfuric acid. Next, an exact measurement of potassium permanganate is added to the mixture. As a potent oxidizing agent, it removes the impurities in the coca paste. It even changes the color of the paste from a brown-yellowish color to an almost translucent white color.  The translucent, acidic solution by-product is then filtered and treated with the chemical ammonia to neutralize the acid. Before it reaches the black market, the ‘raw’ cocaine is further dried to transform it into cocaine hydrochloride. The final result is the street product that circulated the black market with crystal-like properties that produce a numbing effect. In order for the users to inject cocaine, it must be water soluble. If not, the drug will just form in clumps and can lead to cardiac arrest. As a salt, users can both inject and snort cocaine which the body can easily absorb.

Changing Cocaine to Crack Cocaine

Considered as the most powerful form of cocaine, crack cocaine produces a very powerful high. With regular abuse, it is often associated with intense energy, hyperactivity, aggression, and even paranoia. Most people convert hydrochloride into a solid substance of freebase cocaine. To produced crack cocaine, makers will add sodium bicarbonate or ammonia. In this form, users commonly heat the drug and smoke it using glass pipe and inhaling the smoke or vapor. 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. Get help from the nearest rehab and detox center in Okeechobee. Check out this playlist for more help.   [button link=“tel:863-623-4923” type=“big” color=“green” newwindow=“yes”] Call Now![/button]

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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Addiction Solutions Campaign Forms Against Backdrop of Healthcare Policy Debates, National Opioid Epidemic

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Famous People who have Overcome Drug Addiction | Miami FL

Drug addiction can affect anybody, and almost everyone knows that Hollywood celebrities tend to do drugs. While some succumbed into the deadly habit, most recovered it all and gone to better days. Here are some of the Celebrities who battled addiction and successfully overcome it.

Drew Barrymore

Growing up in the Hollywood spotlight as a child actor exposes her to the same path that most child actors went through. She also had to deal with family problems while growing up. At a very young age, she was exposed to nightclubs, drug use, cigarettes, and alcohol. By the time she was 14 years old; Drew changed her lifestyle and remained sober to this day.

Britney Spears

One of the most popular and sensationalized addiction problems that the country saw was Britney Spears. She went into a total meltdown because of her drug and alcohol addiction. When she had enough, Britney check herself into a rehab facility and battled her addiction. Presently, she fully regains her celebrity status and continues to build her career in the music industry.

Robert Downey Jr.

Before he was cast as Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr., suffered from addiction. It was the most publicized and at the same time the most inspiring addiction recovery cases in Hollywood. Robert suffering from different kinds of addiction like heroin, cocaine and other illegal substance there is lost his career as an actor. During his addiction, Hollywood deliberately outcast the actor and lost many acting roles. He just simply had enough of his struggles and check into a rehab center. When he got off from the treatment program he was able to live a sober life. Robert Downey Jr. became one of the highest Hollywood A-list actors today.

Matt Damon

The movie industry knew Matt Damon as a longtime chain smoker, but it all changed when he saw a particular picture. Matt saw himself smoking and realized how terrible he looked. He then began his healthy living which resulted to quit his habit. He was so sure that quitting is the right choice that he even convinced his best friend, Ben Affleck to quit smoking as well.

Ben Affleck

Beating addiction actually skyrocketed his career even more. Ben’s problems with gambling and alcoholism almost ended his Hollywood career. In 2001, realizing that it is his addiction is causing damage to his health and career, he voluntarily went into rehab. After the program, he turned to some of his friends for support and was drug-free ever since.  Ben reportedly visited Lindsey Lohan when the Hollywood actress also went to rehab. He hoped that he can help the young actress in maintaining sobriety after the rehab program.

Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie, the daughter of the famous singer, Lionel Richie also fell into the addiction trap. She was addicted to pills, marijuana, and heroin. In 20017, authorities arrested Nicole for illegal possession of heroin and for being under the influence of marijuana and Vicodin. After rehab therapy, Nicole gained her vitality and is now married with two kids.

Steven Tyler

The lead singer of the well-renowned rock band, Aerosmith battled addiction ever since he was in high school. In one of his interview, Steven admitted that his addiction led to poor relationships and difficulty following lessons in class. His band mates intervene with Steve’s addiction and finally convinced the singer to check into rehab in 1986.


Eminem publicly admitted that he once used drugs and other painkillers. His friends intervene with his addiction problem and he was convinced to go to rehab. During his treatment, Elton John befriended the rapper and convinced him to seek additional treatment to maintain a sober life.

Demi Lovato

Demi’s career was at its peak when the actress suffered alcohol and drug addiction. In 2010, she entered a rehab facility to get treatment. Until now the singer and actress maintain a drug-free lifestyle as well as building her successful career in the industry.

Catherine Zeta-Jones

Catherine never denied that she used to smoke as a teenager. However, she continued to light cigarettes until her adulthood. But one momentous event changed everything for her.  Paparazzi took a picture of her smoking while pregnant. The image disgusted the actress that she decided to end the habit for good. Also, not wanting her children to grow up smoking, she quit the habit for good.

Daniel Radcliffe

Not many people knew that behind the success of the Harry Potter series, Daniel suffered alcoholism privately. He was addicted to alcohol during the filming of the popular wizard movie series. He then realized that his behavior was causing him his life and his successful career. The young actor went through alcohol treatment and has lived a sober life ever since.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah serves as one of the inspiration all over the globe. She was a role model for children who wants to be successful in life despite all challenges. However, she also battled one difficult ordeal of crack cocaine addiction during the 80s. Nobody knows exactly how long she suffered from addiction. Oprah gave up the habit ages ago and is now trying to help people overcome the same battle she won.

Kelly Osborne

Kelly Osborne journey to recovery was not an easy one. The daughter of Ozzy Osborne battled with addiction and numerous relapses along the way. In 2009, she went to rehab four times because of drugs and painkillers before learning the way of sobriety.


The Black Eyes Peas singer also suffered from drug abuse during her career. The addiction was so worse that it caused her to leave the group and get help from a rehab facility. After the treatment, she created several songs about the addiction and it was a hit. She was now married to Josh Duhamel. 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 the nearest drug and rehab center in Miami FL. Check out this Miami Detox playlist.   [button link=“tel:863-623-4923” type=“big” color=“blue” newwindow=“yes”] Call Now![/button]

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Recovery Advocacy is Not a Recovery Program

Words of wisdom for those in the New Recovery Advocacy Movement
Guest Blogger: William L. White

Of all the experiences I have had as a recovery advocate, none have been more heart-rending than receiving news that a person prominently involved in recovery advocacy efforts has died of a drug overdose. It reminds me once again that personal health and recovery are the foundation of all larger efforts to educate, advocate, and counsel within the alcohol and other drug problems arena.

This is not a new lesson. Consider, for example, the following stories. John Gough got sober in the Washingtonian revival of the early 1840s, but relapsed three times in the early period of his long career as America’s most charismatic temperance reformer. The lawyer Edward Uniac always stated that he was more vulnerable to the call of alcohol during extended periods of rest than when he was moving from town to town giving his temperance lectures. But Uniac suffered repeated drinking episodes and died in 1869 of an overdose of whiskey and opium while on a temperance lecture tour in Massachusetts. Luther Benson tried to use his own personal struggles with alcohol in the temperance lectures he gave across the country. His tales of continued binge drinking while on the lecture circuit were penned while he was residing in the Indiana Asylum for the Insane. His 1896 autobiography was entitled, Fifteen Years in Hell. Benson truly believed that throwing himself into temperance work could quell his own appetite for alcohol. In retrospect, he was forced to admit the following:

“I learned too late that this was the very worst thing I could have done. I was all the time expending the very strength I so much needed for the restoration of my shattered system.”

The stories of Gough, Uniac, and Benson are not unique. Similar tales were told by others who sought to cure themselves on the temperance lecture circuit. However, recovering people did achieve and maintain stable recovery working in the 19th century temperance movement and within treatment institutions of that era. An important lesson emerged out of the 19th century recovery movements: service activity, by itself, does not constitute a solid program for continued sobriety. This lesson was relearned throughout the 20th century, particularly within the modern rise of addiction counseling as a distinct profession.

A New Recovery Advocacy Movement is spreading across America and beyond, leaving in its wake new grassroots recovery advocacy organizations and a fresh generation of recovering people and their families seeking new ways to carry a message of hope to those still suffering. To prepare themselves, this new generation would do well to review the stories of old. The enduring message in all of these stories is clear: Working as an addictions educator, advocate, or counselor does not constitute a program of personal recovery. Those who forget that lesson court injury to themselves and to the very movements to which they claim allegiance. The key to effective recovery advocacy is first and foremost the primacy of personal recovery.

Source: The William L. White Papers blog. (Used with permission.)

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.

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