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Friday, September 8, 2017

National Recovery Month: Sharing Your Story

National Recovery Month
Every September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) partners with addiction and mental health experts observing National Recovery Month. Throughout the month addiction and recovery related events will be held to celebrate the millions of Americans working programs of recovery.

While the act of getting clean and sober is a monumental feat, most people in recovery try hard to keep their pride and ego in check. Recovery being the difference between choosing life or a death, it is important to remember that the road to relapse is often paved with hubris. However, that does not mean that people in recovery cannot exercise gratitude for their achievements. Nor should recovering alcoholics and addicts discount the leaps and bounds they’ve made.

If you are in recovery, you know firsthand pain and heartache. You know that the disease brought you to your knees and was poised to kill you had there not been an intervention. Once in recovery, you realized quickly that you would have to fight to hold on to your program. And it would not be a fight using traditional weapons, you learned you’d have to wield total, uncompromising honesty if you were to keep what you have. There are no free rides in recovery, after all.


You Have a Voice In Recovery

We all found ourselves in the program by a different road, but everyone’s experience is remarkably similar. The embodiment of desperation. Like active addiction, our stories of active recovery are often homogeneous. There may be small variations from one person to the next, but at the end of the day we all practice the principles of recovery guided by the Steps. This requires a daily commitment to not do or behave in certain ways that might precipitate a relapse, and a return to our disease.

Those of you working a program also know that if you intend on keeping your recovery, you must give it away. Which usually takes the shape of spreading the message that recovery is possible, which can take many different forms. Sponsorship being the most common. By helping others find what you’ve found, you strengthen your own program.

As was mentioned earlier, National Recovery Month is time to honor the brave men and women who have taken certain steps. And, in an effort to encourage more people to embrace recovery, SAMHSA is asking those who are willing to share their story of recovery. After all, you never know the impact you might have on another. Just a few words might be lead another to seek help and find recovery. If you are interested in sharing your story via text or YouTube video, please click here. Below you will find an example of spreading the message of recovery:

If you are having trouble viewing the video, please click here.


Addiction Recovery is Possible

If you or a loved one is still battling with the demons of addiction, please contact Whiteside Manor. We understand how hard it is to turn one’s back on their disease and seek treatment. But, it is a decision that will ultimately save your life. Let National Recovery Month be your new beginning.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Addiction Treatment for Pregnant Women

addiction treatment
Women struggling with addiction encounter many of the same problems as men. The threat of losing friends and family, employment and home is very real for anyone in the grips of alcohol or substance abuse disorders. Women, like men, who are unable to get the assistance they need are also at risk of getting arrested. When it comes to certain narcotics both men and women are eligible for an overdose. A potentially fatal one at that.

Addiction, without a doubt, is a debilitating illness for anyone no matter where they come from. Yet, there are concerns that are specific to women that are not to males. Specifically, pregnancy and having children. Women are not only the people who carry a fetus to term, they are also (usually) the primary caregiver to said child. Naturally, a serious use disorder can put both fetuses and children in harm's way. As is evident by the growing number of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) cases in recent years. Also, state child welfare services being bogged down by a serious flux in the number of children needing foster care. Their parents being deemed unable to care for them anymore.


Pregnant Women With Addiction

Opioid addicted females who find out they are pregnant have some hard decisions to make. They may not seem hard to the average American, but then again, the average American hasn't experienced opioid withdrawal before, without the assistance of certain medications. 24 states and the District of Columbia view drug use during pregnancy as child abuse, The Washington Post reports. Given that some of the drugs used to detox opioid patients are habit-forming themselves, many doctors are opposed to prescribing drugs like buprenorphine to pregnant women. This can present a real problem.

“Oftentimes what I see is that we treat pregnant women even worse than we treat the general population with opioid use disorder,” said Stephen Patrick, a neonatologist and assistant professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville. “We should be offering them more compassion.”

A survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) showed that less than one-fourth of addiction treatment centers offer programs with pregnancy in mind. And, only a small percentage of those offer drugs to pregnant women that will ease the pain and cravings of withdrawal. Without access to such drugs, unnecessary stress can be placed on the child and the likelihood of relapse is quite high.


Addiction Treatment for Pregnant Women

Preventing relapse in early recovery is paramount. Without recovery, pregnant women are at risk of losing their child to the state. It can be extremely difficult to regain custody. If pregnant women are unable to access effective methods of detox and treatment, they are likely to choose not to go altogether. Thus, using throughout the entire pregnancy, putting the baby at great risk. It is vital that states adopt a more humanitarian approach to pregnant women with drug addiction.

If you are a women in need of treatment for opioid addiction, and are also pregnant, please contact Whiteside Manor. Our treatment center staff understands that certain women with addiction have specific needs, and we are committed to helping them experience the miracles of recovery.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Addiction Treatment: Answer to The Opioid Epidemic

addiction treatment
One of the problems with tackling the American opioid addiction epidemic is its unprecedented nature. Sure, we have faced drug addiction crises in the past, but nothing as severe nor as deadly. Coupled with the fact that the opioids being abused are coming from several different fronts. On the one hand, we have opioid painkillers prescribed by doctors—in many cases over-prescribed. Then there is the problem of heroin and even more deadly fentanyl coming from Mexico. However, and more importantly: Where these dangerous drugs are originating is not as salient as what is to be done about the millions of Americans already in the grips of an opioid use disorder.

You have seen the headlines, whether you are in the field of addiction or not, you know that the problem we face is catastrophic. You have heard of various pieces of legislation crafted to combat the epidemic, right? Perhaps you thought that it would have a significant impact on lowering the death toll? Unfortunately, that has not been the case, showing once again that this crisis will not dissipate without putting up a fight.

This week, the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis released a preliminary report citing data which estimates the daily overdose death toll at 142 Americans, the Associated Press reports. Yes, 142 mothers, daughters, fathers and sons' lives cut short by a mental illness which can be effectively treated. And yet, the clear majority of the over 2 million people with an opioid use disorder have not been benefited by addiction treatment services.


Addiction Treatment Has Always Been The Solution

Lawmakers can make it harder to acquire prescription opioids. Doctors can utilize prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP) to identify risky patients. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can mandate the use of abuse-deterrent painkiller formulas. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) can double their efforts at the border to mitigate the number of drugs making it across. The aforementioned efforts are sure to help, potentially saving many lives.

The reality, though, must be faced. Right now, prescription opioids are the most effective method of pain management. Doctors will continue to prescribe them to patients exhibiting the need. PDMP’s can make doctor shopping harder, but many prescription opioids can be acquired on the black market. Addicts are notorious for finding ways to circumvent abuse deterrent drug properties. The cartels will find new ways to get around the DEA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

If people are living with untreated addiction, they will find a way to get their hands on the drugs they seek. If there is demand, supply is sure to follow. Just as the “war on drugs’ proved to be an unwinnable fight, targeting the opioid supply will not have the desired effect. Conversely, placing greater focus on the demand, is the best option.

This is accomplished by providing greater access to treatment, emphasizing recovery over punishment. A fact that has not been lost on the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, who has asked the President to declare a national emergency regarding the epidemic. The commission states that such a declaration would “force Congress to focus on funding” and to “awaken every American to this simple fact: if this scourge has not found you or your family yet, without bold action by everyone, it soon will.”


Addiction Treatment Can Save Your Life

If you, or someone you love, suffers from an opioid use disorder—treatment is perhaps the only thing that can prevent catastrophe. The likelihood of an overdose is extremely high, a question of “when” not “if.” Please do not hesitate, contact us at Whiteside Manor. We can help break the cycle of addiction and show you how living a life in recovery is possible.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Dark Web Banning Fentanyl

The Internet can be an amazing tool, or a destructive resource. It depends on who you are talking to about the subject. One can use the world-wide web to find information on, well… anything. Which is great, most of the time. In other situations, however, the Internet can be used to acquire deadly, illegal goods such as drugs. We have written in the past about the “Dark Web.” What started with the Silk Road has morphed into a sprawling marketplace, with several websites that operate anonymously. Providing a forum for people to buy and sell anything from passports to heroin.

We will not take time to get into the minutiae regarding the ins and outs of the Dark Web. For that you can easily refer to some of our previous articles on the subject. Today’s post has more to do with opioids, as the drugs are one of the number one killers of Americans, today. One can easily get their hands on anything from OxyContin to heroin, anonymously (most of the time). Two drugs that have been involved in thousands of premature deaths over the last 15+ years.

While the FBI was able to close down the Silk Road, several more sites filled its place providing illicit services. It is clear that the agency can’t get them all, so maybe it is more important to impress upon such websites the ethics of what they are doing, or allowing to be sold.

Fentanyl On The Dark Web

In the U.S., we have seen a dramatic uptick in opioid overdose deaths linked to the powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl. A drug that is extremely deadly, being 100 times stronger than morphine. If you have been following the news, or our blog, then you know it's quite common for fentanyl to mixed with heroin to increase potency. Users are usually unaware, so they do not adjust their dosage. Overdose, and death often come next.

As you can imagine, fentanyl or drugs laced with it have surfaced on the dark web. And even though illegal marketplace operators have seemingly never presented themselves having and ethical code, fentanyl may be where they draw the line. Hansa Market, one of the largest Dark Web marketplaces, banned the sale of the synthetic opioid, The New York Times reports. However, the move may have less to do with ethics, and more to do with preservation.

The largest dark web marketplace, AlphaBay, was shuttered recently in the wake of a coordinated law enforcement action, according to the article. Potentially, due to the large number of AlphaBay retailers selling fentanyl and similar analogs. Whatever, the reasons are not as important as saving lives, which banning fentanyl sales will likely do.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Opioid addiction is a serious problem in the United States, to be sure. Which is why it is so vital that people with an opioid use disorder be encouraged to seek treatment before they encounter drugs like fentanyl. The potential for overdose death is so high. Addiction treatment is one of the best weapons in fighting this epidemic. Recovery is possible. If you are struggling with opioids, please contact Whiteside Manor. We can help.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Methamphetamine Back With A Vengeance

Remember methamphetamine? For those of you actively abusing drugs, or in recovery from narcotics addiction—the answer is probably yes. Much of the general public, however, associates meth with the award winning television show Breaking Bad. Short of that, the drug is probably as unnoticed as it is deadly, today. But before the country realized that it was already in the beginning stages of a full blown opioid crisis in America, talk of drug epidemics was tied to methamphetamine.

In the late 1990’s into the early 2000’s, meth devastated individuals and families across the country. During that time the drug was easily manufactured with over the counter cold medicine and crude chemicals in clandestine laboratories. A cheaper, stronger alternative to cocaine. In a number of communities meth use was at epidemic proportions. In response, the government passed the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2006, which made it far more difficult to acquire the necessary ingredients to produce the drug easily in America.

The result was promising, federal data indicated a significant drop in meth production, use, hospitalization, arrests and prosecutions. Seeing an opportunity, Mexican drug cartels managed to fill in the void, and then some. Creating massive super labs to create far more pure batches of the drug, which could be sold for cheaper than ever in the United States, NBC News reports. In the shadow of the American opioid addiction epidemic, over the last decade the price of meth continued to drop while the purity got better.

A New Meth Epidemic

While meth addiction is not getting anywhere near the amount of attention that opioid use disorder receives, meth use in Wisconsin has increased an estimated 250 percent since 2011, according to the article. Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel commissioned a study which determined those shocking numbers, and he believes that meth use could overtake heroin at this rate.

"All of a sudden, it's everywhere again," said Schimel. "We are entering another full-blown epidemic with meth.”

The problem is not isolated to Wisconsin. Meth use is on the rise in rural areas of states across the country, including:
  • Iowa
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
Meth seizures at the border in San Diego County jumped from 3,585 kilograms in 2012 to 8,706 kilograms in 2016, according to the deputy U.S. Attorney in Southern California—Mark Conover. He says: "We're seeing it pour across the border in bigger quantities. It used to be that loads of 20, 30, 40 pounds were big for us. Now we have 200-pound loads."


Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment

The tackling of the first meth scourge in America, followed by efforts to address the opioid epidemic, underscores the unintended consequences of making something harder to get versus focusing on treating addiction, instead. Making it harder to manufacture meth in America led to the rise of Mexican super labs and increased use. Efforts to curb prescription opioid addiction by making it harder to acquire drugs like OxyContin resulted in a boom of heroin use. Once again, Mexico cartels step in to sate American demand. Rather than expanding access to addiction treatment, the government focused on cutting the supply. Essentially doing the cartels a great service.

In reality, the best way to curb demand, thus removing the need, for supply is to treat addiction. If you, or a loved one is battling meth and/or opioid addiction, please contact Whiteside Manor. We can help.