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Thursday, April 17, 2014

DOES DECREASE IN CRIME MEAN LEGALIZATION IS RIGHT?

A recent, first quarter 2014 report based on data from the Denver Police Department shows a decrease in violent and property crime rates, just three months after legalizing the sale of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use on January 1st.

This piece of information has pro-legalization groups clamoring. Added tax revenue for the state. Less harm and dependence than alcohol. Less crime... wait, less crime? In that case, why not legalize it everywhere?

Perhaps we're a little blinded by all of the green smoke. Legalization advocates point to Colorado's $2 million in tax revenue in the first month of legal recreational pot sales. They claim that marijuana isn't addictive. And so far, warnings of increased violent and property crimes have been unfounded.

So are they right? Should the country head towards legalization of marijuana and reap the fruits of a new sellable drug?

Although some news headlines depict a smooth and harmless transition for marijuana into legal sales, there are negative effects to consider. It's way too early to call this a success. It's too early to call this a victory for the pro-legalization groups.

What's not making the headlines are the multimillion-dollar private investing groups which are emerging, poised to become, “Big Marijuana.” Many fail to acknowledge its potential effect on America's youth - surely our teens will be bombarded with promotional messages from a new marijuana industry seeking lifelong customers. And that's only what is within the law for those to capitalize on the legalization of the drug.

According to a recent article in the Washington Times, "a popular website is boldly discussing safe routes for smugglers to bring marijuana into neighboring states; and a marijuana-store owner proudly proclaimed that Colorado would soon be the destination of choice for 18- to 21-year-olds, even though for them marijuana is still supposed to be illegal."

Do we really want our country to head down this path? Afterall, heavy marijuana use has been significantly linked to an 8-point reduction in IQ and is strongly connected to mental illness. Is this how we want to foster our youth - to cultivate a nation of unmotivated, less intelligent individuals?

Surely criminal organizations will adapt to the market. Those outside the legal age limit to buy will be the target of "black market" dealers. And what about alternative, illegal ways to make up for their lost sales? This opens the doors for the illegal sales of other drugs, or worse - the profiting of other sources, such as human trafficking and prostitution.

Haven't we learned from history? The costs outweigh the benefits. The $2 million in tax revenue realized in the first month is a pittance compared to the state's overall budget and we know social costs for the state ensuing from increased drug use will greatly outweigh this. Tobacco and alcohol cost society roughly $10 for every $1 gained in taxes.

And let's examine the validity of the "non-addictive argument."

The American Medical Association (AMA) has come out strongly against the legal sales of marijuana, citing public health concerns. In fact, the AMA’s opinion is consistent with most major medical associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and American Society of Addiction Medicine. Because today’s marijuana is at least five to six times stronger than the marijuana smoked by most of today’s parents, we are often shocked to hear that, according to the National Institutes of Health, one in six 16-year-olds who try marijuana will become addicted. (Washington Times)

Reports of increased tax revenue and decrease in crime offer the false promise of positive benefits from the legalization of marijuana. And while legalization advocates will accuse their skeptics as being right-winged proponents of "reefer-madness" - type propaganda, perhaps they should open their eyes and look beyond the results of a few months of legalization.

It is wise to be skeptical. Saying with confidence, the legalization of marijuana is a good thing for society is an extraordinary claim, and as Carl Sagan once said, "Extraordinary claims, require extraordinary evidence."

Evidence from more than one quarter of one year. For now, let's be careful ... and skeptical.

Take the First Step. Call Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat 866.273.0868 or visit our website. Hemet Valley Recovery Center Retreat offers a full continuum of care including: Acute Medical Detoxification, Rehabilitation, Residential, Partial Hospitalization and Recovery Residences.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lindsay Giving the Recovery Process a Bad Name? Let's Reconsider

Lindsay Lohan admitted to having a glass of wine this week on her own reality TV show, "Lindsay." Her Life Coach, A.J. Johnson, quit, after other allegations that she had fallen off the wagon following a recent trip to L.A.

Here we go again. Right?

The headlines in tabloids such as US Weekly are often ferocious and always sensational. If you glean those you might assume that Lohan, who has been in and out of rehab six times over the years, is a wild child who will never learn. She contributes to the stigma of addiction and sullies the name of the 12 Step recovery process.

However, if you read a little further you might find that although Lohan did relapse, she owned it and courageously admitted it. She also seems to understand that facing it, rather than denying it, is part of the healing process. She confessed: leaving her most recent Summer 2013 inpatient stay to go back to L.A. was challenging.

"Being in recovery and leaving a place where you're in this little bubble and everything is safe around you, it's really hard. I jumped right into a relationship where we weren't on the same page," she explained. "I wasn't considering the fact that the person I was seeing does drink, and I had a glass of wine."

Those in recovery know that environment plays a factor. Being around those who drink can be difficult. Environment can make it seem easy and acceptable to take one drink. Those in recovery also understand that the healing process is not a one-shot deal. Much like anything that requires commitment, it takes time, diligence and support. Relapse is around every corner, but relapse does not mean the end of your recovery. It also does not mean you have to start over. Lindsay's words suggest that she too, understands this.

"I just had so much guilt," she added. "It took me a bit to, like, finally just be, like, 'Why am I holding this in? Yeah. F--k it. I screwed up. I screwed up, and that's okay, but now what can I do so that it doesn't happen again?' That's part of the process."
 


"Yes, of course it's jarring when you've relapsed and you're trying to stay sober," she continued. "That's a scary thing."

The tabloids aren't snapping photos and writing headlines about celebrities who are grounded and secure in recovery. You'll never read, "DOWNEY JR LEAVES SET GOES HOME TO FAMILY AS OTHERS GO TO BAR." It isn't sexy. But let's recall that for Robert Downey, Jr., who is now several years in recovery - relapse was continuously a part of his process. It's never easy and we shouldn't be so quick to judge.

Instead of writing Lindsay Lohan off, let's root for her.Let's give her a little credit for her courage. When we make mistakes, they don't appear on TMZ or the covers of supermarket line tabloids.

Take the First Step. Call Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat 866.273.0868 or visit our website. Hemet Valley Recovery Center Retreat offers a full continuum of care including: Acute Medical Detoxification, Rehabilitation, Residential, Partial Hospitalization and Recovery Residences.
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Last Thing the Country Needs is Zohydro

The FDA's recent approval of Zohydro, a powerful new opioid have many people wondering why. Why would the agency tapped with safeguarding the American public from misusing dangerous narcotics introduce a new poisonous player in the cast of deadly high-dose drugs that will contribute to a national epidemic?

There is no mistaking. This drug is potent and it can kill people. According to experts, Zohydro is so strong that someone new to opioids could die of an overdose from just two pills, and a child could die from ingesting just one capsule.
Americanlivewire.com

According to the FDA's web site, its best-known job is "to evaluate new drugs before they can be sold...to prevent quackery... and also provide doctors and patients the information they need to use medicines wisely. The center ensures that drugs... benefits outweigh their risks."

Quackery. Seems like just the word to describe the FDA's approval of Zohydro when applied to their own aforementioned guidelines. It seems that sometimes insular entities - some governmental agencies, operate within a vacuum. With the approval of Zohydro, said to be 5 to 10 times the power of Vicodin, this may be one of those instances.

Do they realize we are in the throes of an addiction epidemic? Have they not read what we've read, recently in a Forbes article - that the US has seen a jump in deaths - 415 percent in women and 265 percent in men, since 1999 from opiate painkillers? And these aren't young people illegally obtaining the drugs. 60 percent of the deaths are from FDA-approved prescription medications and many of the victims are middle-aged men and women legitimately prescribed for chronic pain. Do they not recognize that the release of a stronger, higher-dose drug such as Zohydro can increase these nefarious numbers?

 Mostly everyone but the FDA and the drug maker understands the danger.

In a strongly worded letter that could be titled "Just Say No to Zohydro" more than 40 experts urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reconsider its approval of Zohydro ER, a potent extended release formulation of straight-up hydrocodone, citing its potential to add the growing epidemic of painkiller addiction (Forbes). Andrew Kolodny, president of the advocacy group Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing: "It's a whopping dose of hydrocodone packed in an easy-to-crush capsule. It will kill people as soon as it's released."

The clamoring rings from more than one advocacy group. A coalition of Congressional representatives and state Attorney Generals has also urged the FDA to listen to its own advisory panel, which voted 11 to 2 against approving Zohydro.

Deval Patrick - Republican File Photo
One state even decided to place its own ban on distributing the new drug. Declaring a public health emergency, Massachusettts Gov. Deval Patrick last Thursday decided to place an immediate ban on Zohydro. Other states may soon follow suit.

With so many in disagreement and the obvious dangers of releasing yet another tiny pill of plunder, the only thing left to ask to the FDA is... Why?

Hemet Valley Recovery Center's Chronic Pain and Addiction Treatment Program is for those individuals who have relied on narcotic analgesics as their primary strategy in the treatment of chronic pain and have experienced side effects or other untoward consequences that may warrant a change. For many, abnormally high tolerance interferes with therapeutic relief from pain, and for others the side effects of sedation and depression interferes with daily functioning. If you and your treating physician agree that trying an alternative to narcotic analgesics is appropriate, then the Hemet Valley Recovery Center is a good place to start.

Take the First Step. Call Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat 866.273.0868 or visit our website. Hemet Valley Recovery Center Retreat offers a full continuum of care including: Acute Medical Detoxification, Rehabilitation, Residential, Partial Hospitalization and Recovery Residences.
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

HVRC to Host Panel Discussion at San Diego Conference

("Merging the Team: Integration of Interventionist & Treatment Team" Headlines Monday's Agenda at Innovations in Recovery Conference)

Monday, March 31st, 2014 (SAN DIEGO, CA) - Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat is sponsoring "Merging the Team: Integration of Intervention & Treatment Team," a panel discussion consisting of six experts. The discussion will begin as a presentation, which details the stages of helping those in need - from the early steps of Intervention through the continual care process. The presentation will be followed with an audience question and answer session.

The panel will be held as part of the 2014 Innovations in Recovery Conference, in San Diego, CA, March 32st - April 3 at the Hotel Del Coranado. "Merging the Team" will be led by moderator Gordon Scheible, MDiv, CADC-II, ICADC. The experts and subtopics are as follows: Ed Storti, BA, CADC-II, BRI-II, "Intervention: Gathering the information and preparing the family", Nancy Waite-O'Brien, Ph.D, "Coordination of the information, assessment and developing the treatment plan", Louise Stanger, ED.D, LCSW, BRI-II, "Family: Communication liaison and keeping the family supportive of the plan", Ed Spatola, "Extended Care: Importance of long term treatment to achieve the best outcome", and Jerry McDonald, "12 Step and continual care: The tread runs through it."

The panel discussion takes place on Monday, March 31st, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. in Empress Hall of the Hotel Del Cornado. To register for the event visit the conference web site

Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat offers a full continuum of care including: Acute Medical Detoxification, Rehabilitation, Residential, Partial Hospitalization and Recovery Residences.

Call Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat 866.273.0868 or visit our website.


Innovations in Recovery Conference
Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego, CA | March 31, 2014 – April 3, 2014

The face of treatment and recovery is always changing—we learn more each day about the strength and resilience of the human spirit in the wake of behavioral health challenges. It has become more important than ever for professionals in the treatment community to stay up-to-date on effective therapeutic methods that are increasing the threshold of change and providing opportunities for long-term rehabilitation from substance use conditions and mental health issues.
“Innovations in Recovery” is a new behavioral health conference designed to keep treatment professionals on the leading edge of unique approaches and essential therapeutic skill sets. Hosted by Foundations Recovery Network, a proactive leader in integrated treatment education, “Innovations in Recovery” focuses on breaking down barriers, tackling tough issues and defining specific approaches for specialty populations.    

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

NFL's Indianapolis Colts' Owner, Jim Irsay Arrested for DUI, Possession

Sports figures regularly appear in the news for things other than what occurs on the field or in the front office. Sometimes it makes sense - young athletes, barely out of high school, become overnight millionaires. Fame and fortune often conspire against their best interests. It can make for a toxic stew.

Jim Irsay, Owner of the Indianapolis Colts (courtesy of cbssports.com)
The latest news story involving a sports figure in trouble isn't a young athlete, though. Actually, he's not young or an athlete.  Jim Irsay – the often irascible 54-year-old owner of the Indianapolis Colts -- was arrested on DUI and possession charges early Monday morning. According to Forbes, Irsay is worth an estimated $1.6 billion. He has A LOT OF MONEY. (So much money it requires caps lock for emphasis.) He owns a successful sports franchise. He's a very powerful man in every sense. But, as so many in recovery have discovered before him, Irsay needs to finally admit that even he is powerless to addiction.

Irsay was arrested around 3:00 AM Monday morning in Carmel, Ind., after driving unusually slow and making a turn without signaling. After failing several field sobriety tests, and the subsequent discovery of Schedule IV prescription pills, he now faces felony charges.
A man with $1.6 billion and the most popular sports team in the state doesn't face the same type of logistical trouble as the average citizen. He can post bail many times over. He can hire a driver.
But he can't buy his way to saving his life. That's up to him now. The price can’t be paid in cash.
According to Bob Kravitz, longtime sports journalist with the Indianapolis Star, Colts insiders knew “Irsay was struggling with drugs. For years they fought to get him into rehabilitation."
Kravitz, who has covered the Colts and Irsay for years, admitted that he and others who have spent regular time around the owner have suspected drug-abuse for a very long time.
Many people struggling with addiction refuse to be helped before hitting rock bottom. Irsay may fit into that category - or perhaps his position in the world makes him difficult to approach, even by loved ones. We don't know if his friends and family have tried to help. We don't know if they've attempted an intervention. We do know this: Jim Irsay is lucky. His rock bottom involved an arrest - one which he can monetarily afford. What he cannot afford is to ignore the signs to change his life. His rock bottom could have been fatal. It has been for so many others.
Your loved ones don't have to hit rock bottom. If you are concerned, reach out to them. Take the first step for them. Call Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat 866.273.0868 or visit our website.
Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage  Retreat offers a full continuum of care including: Acute Medical Detoxification, Rehabilitation, Residential, Partial Hospitalization and Recovery Residences. 
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Sunday, February 9, 2014

US Journal Training Institute on Behavioral Health and Addictive Disorders

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Video of the Week-Interview w/ Sylvia Dobrow


If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Ms Dobrow is just one of our amazing counselors here to treat and help patients. 

Sylvia Dobrow has a Bachelor of Science and Masters Degree is Public Health from the University of California, Berkley. As a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California Sacramento Center for Public Administration, she received her ABD in Health Science Administration and Human Resources in 1993. Sylvia worked for over 30 years in the field of Hospital Management and Staff Education. As a master educator, she has provided consultation and workshops on conflict management, change, stress and management skills. In 2010, at 75 years old, Sylvia returned to school to earn her certificate in Alcohol and Drug Studies from the University of the Pacific, Stockton CA. She served her Drug Counselors internship at Hemet Valley Recovery Center and presently, is an employee of HVRC as a Chemical Dependency Counselor, specializing in Chemical Dependency of Older Adults. Her future goals are to obtain her CADAC certification.

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