Thursday, August 17, 2017

Addiction Recovery In College

addiction recovery
The summer is quickly coming to a close. Which means that a number of young adults in recovery are preparing to head back to college. If you are among such people, we commend you for furthering your education whilst working a program of addiction recovery. It is not an easy task and should never be discounted. Staying clean and sober under average circumstances can be a real challenge. Addiction is always jumping at the bit for you to slip up, thus inviting the disease back into your life.

The disease of addiction thrives best when individuals are stressed out or overworked. Two things that go hand in hand with modern college class loads. In the ever-modernizing world, students must go far above and beyond to get ahead in this world. Demanding that students take difficult classes and participate in extracurricular activities. Given that young people in recovery have a most important mission outside of school, already, it can be hard to juggle all that is expected of young collegians today.

However, it is possible to navigate the rigors of college life and not fall back into the cycle of addiction. If you have completed an addiction treatment program, have a sponsor and go to meetings several days a week—you have already acquired many of the necessary coping skills for dealing with stress in recovery. So, when you head off to school, if you can utilize what you have learned, you should be able to get through the semester without incident.


Protecting Addiction Recovery In College

Many young people in recovery attend college outside of their home town, or the area they first got clean and sober. Which means that you will be away from you inner-recovery support circle and sponsor. If that is the case for you, it is absolutely paramount that you get plugged into a recovery community where you go to school. Many students in recovery actually get a second sponsor to work with while they are away. An extra line of defense to protect one’s sobriety.

It is vital that you develop connections with other young people in recovery who are attending the same college as you. People who you can both socialize with in your down time, and turn to when you are having a hard time. A number of colleges even offer sober housing services, which can be super beneficial. When you are living with other people who share your common goal, who are also navigating the stress of college, you will not feel like you are alone. The power of recovery depends on fellowship.

It practically goes without saying that being unable to connect with a recovery community when away at school can be disastrous. It could precipitate spending time with people who are partying or using. In turn, leading to a relapse. Making recovery one’s first priority will help prevent such an occurrence. Please keep in mind that without your recovery, the likelihood of being successful in college is quite slim.


Taking A Semester Off

Some of you reading this may still be in the throes of active addiction, but are still plan to go back to school. Or are heading into your freshman year. If that is the case, you may want to consider holding off on college until after treatment and getting established in a program of recovery. Doing so will not only protect you from the dangers of active addiction, it will help you achieve your maximum potential when working towards your future.

Our young adult addiction treatment program is specifically designed to meet the various needs of young people. Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat today, being the first step in the lifesaving journey of addiction recovery.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Opioid Misuse Among Older Adults

addictionEarlier this summer we wrote about an alarming trend of overdose deaths involving older Americans. Overdose is quite common among opioid users, but people over the age of 50 are far more likely to be on several other medications. Compared to younger adults, that is. The mixture of opioids and other medication can have a synergistic effect, heightening the risk of an overdose. Opioid abuse hospitalizations involving people over 65 quintupled over the past two decades.

“The high rates of [multiple] illnesses in older populations and the potential for drug interactions has profound implications for the health and well-being of older adults who continue to misuse opioids,” Dr. Kimberly Johnson, Director for the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, said in a news release.

When following the various developments of the opioid addiction epidemic, the news is usually concerning. Earlier this week, the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis issued its first report. Key findings included that around 142 Americans die of an overdose every day in the United States, The Washington Post reports. The report included several recommendations that could help combat the epidemic, starting with the President declaring the opioid epidemic a national emergency. The commission believes that by doing so, it will “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.”


Older Adult Opioid Abuse

One of the takeaways of a 20-year-long epidemic is that addiction does not discriminate. The quote from above could not be more apt. A poignant reality that will hopefully sway more lawmakers to tackle the addiction epidemic with compassion, rather than punishment. Nobody is safe from the long reach of opioid addiction.

While there have been some positive strides made regarding the epidemic, there is still a staggering amount of work to do yet. A new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that opioid misuse among younger has decreased (11.5 percent to 8 percent) from 2002 to 2014, HealthDay reports. Unfortunately, opioid misuse involving heroin and painkillers with adults over 50 rose from 1 percent to 2 percent in the same time frame.

Five strategies for addressing the epidemic have been put forth by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
  • Improving access to addiction treatment and recovery services.
  • Promoting targeted availability and distribution of naloxone.
  • Better reporting of public health data on the opioid epidemic.
  • Increasing support for research on pain and addiction.
  • Utilizing safer pain management methods.


Addiction Treatment Is The Solution

The recommendations from the HHS could do a lot of good, but it could easily be argued that expanding access to addiction treatment services will be most effective. Simply making it harder to get certain drugs only addresses a symptom of the much greater problem of addiction.

If you are an older adult struggling with prescription opioids and/or heroin, it is strongly advised that you seek help. Sooner, rather than later. The longer one puts off treatment, the greater the likelihood of premature death. Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat to learn more about our Older Adult Addiction Treatment Program. This is addiction treatment specifically tailored to meet the needs of people over 50 years of age.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Cannabis States Rights Advocates Push Back

cannabis use disorder
We know that marijuana is not a safe drug. However, it is a lot less dangerous than most other drugs, including alcohol. That is not to say that is should be illegal, leading to the imprisonment of thousands of nonviolent drug offenders. But, rather common sense policies should be put in place to ensure that the drug use be minimized especially by teenagers and young adults.

The American marijuana experiment, medical cannabis and legalization, has not been without it’s downsides. As with anything new, there are bound to be some hiccups. A veritable learning curve, to be sure. Although, lightened stances on marijuana has not led to storm of problems in the states that have passed friendly legislation. One could easily argue that ending marijuana prohibition has led to some good, especially with regard to criminal justice.

On the flip side, there is evidence to suggest that more Americans are seeking addiction treatment for cannabis use disorder, voluntarily. Although, It is not a certainty that the cause for the uptick is due to legalization. It has been suggested that because fewer people are being ordered to treatment by the state for cannabis offenses, more people are now seeking help on their own terms. Which is great. Cannabis use disorder is a real condition, not to minimized because it is safer than other drugs. There is a significant number of people in recovery from marijuana addiction.


Federal Government Against Legalization

Despite the fact that the Pew Research Institute has found 57 percent of U.S. adults are in favor of legalization in 2016, the Attorney General has expressed interest in a federal crackdown. A more recent poll has shown that 59 percent of American voters are in favor of legalization and 71 percent say the federal government should not prosecute in marijuana-friendly states, The New York Times reports. As you can imagine, states that have passed medical marijuana and legalization are not thrilled about the prospect of the Attorney General’s intentions. Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey said a Federal cannabis crackdown “will not make our communities safer or reduce the use of illegal drugs.”

“Instead, they will worsen an already broken system,” he said, noting that marijuana-related arrests are disproportionately high for black Americans. 

In an attempt to stymie the Federal Government's efforts, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, including from Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, to Sen. Booker — are dead set on defending states’ rights, according to the article. A group of senators reintroduced legislation that would protect marijuana patients in states where it is legal, without fear of federal prosecution.

“Federal marijuana policy has long overstepped the boundaries of common sense, fiscal prudence, and compassion,” Senator Cory Booker said in a statement about the The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act.


Cannabis Use Disorder Treatment

California is one of the states with both medical and legalized marijuana. There is a significant number of people living across the states that have an unhealthy relationship with the drug. While incarcerating marijuana addicts is not the answer, encouraging people to seek help if their life becomes unmanageable is. If you are struggling with cannabis, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Binge Drinking Can Lead to Alcohol Use Disorder

binge drinking
Binge drinking is a practice that is quite common among teenagers and young adults. The behavior is most often defined as having four drinks for women and five for men, in a two-hour period. Young people often don’t realize the true consequences of their actions early in life, partly because they can bounce back quickly after a night of heavy drinking. They may hear about the risk of alcohol poisoning or making reckless decisions from being inebriated. But, a significant number of binge drinkers don’t realize that they are at risk of developing an alcohol use disorder (AUD).

That is not to say that binge drinking means that alcoholism will develop, research supports that fact. Most binge drinkers in young adulthood do not go on to be alcoholics. However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that binge drinking during one’s formative years can be a slippery slope to AUD.


The Road to AUD

Alcohol by nature, is the farthest thing from healthy. The list of alcohol related health problems, aside from alcoholism, is long. Many of the conditions that can arise from heavy drinking over a long duration can be deadly. These include cancer, cardiovascular disease and cirrhosis of the liver to name a few. People living with an AUD are at increased risk of developing such problems, so avoiding the condition is of the utmost importance.

Unfortunately, convincing young adults to drink only in moderation and infrequently is difficult to achieve. And while there is no such thing as healthy alcohol consumption, drinking rarely and in limited amounts mitigates the risk of eventually developing a problem. One way to enlighten young people about the risks of binge drinking may be to constantly bombard them with the facts.

A new study published recently, again supports the claim that binge drinking in one’s younger years increases the risk of AUD, The Research Society on Alcoholism reports. However, it is unclear (currently) if intermittent versus regular drinking has an impact on the development of an alcohol use disorder. The findings were published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

AUD Treatment

Preventing young people from engaging in dangerous drinking patterns is paramount. But, equally important is encouraging people who have an AUD to seek treatment for their condition. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center and Sage Retreat. We have helped a significant number of young people break the cycle of addiction and learn how to a live life, on life’s terms in recovery.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Opioid Addiction Among Older Americans

opioid addiction
The “golden years” of one’s life ideally would be typified by spending time with grandchildren and spending time on the links. After all, you have earned it after decades working towards a comfortable retirement. Unfortunately, older Americans are often set back by chronic pain, the lingering symptoms of an injury or just the byproduct of weathering life’s many storms. Back injuries and arthritis is particularly common among people in their 60’s and beyond.

Our interest in the trend of chronic pain among older Americans, as you can probably easily deduce, lies with how pain is managed in America—more times than not the solution rests with opioid painkillers. Given that much of the talk about the opioid epidemic in the United States is focused on young adults overdosing in record numbers, it can become easy to lose sight of the true scale and scope of the epidemic. It is important to understand that people from both ends of the adult spectrum have been touched by both opioid use disorder and opioid overdose death.


Eligible For An Overdose

Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that nearly 14,000 (42 percent of the annual total) people who died from an opioid overdose were over the age of 45. The fact that older Americans are becoming addicted and dying from overdose made up nearly half of the death toll that year is certainly troubling, but what’s just as concerning is that that has not gained much attention.

"The deaths of older people are an untold part of it," Jeremiah Gardner tells AARP, public affairs manager of the Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy. 

The reality is that everyone is eligible for developing a dependence to a narcotic - old or young, rich or poor, white or black. Just because someone is experiencing regular symptoms of pain does not mean that the answer is always opioid painkillers. But, in the same year mentioned earlier, almost one-third of all Medicare patients (around 12 million people) received a prescription for opioids like OxyContin (oxycodone), according to AARP. In 2015, 2.7 million Americans over 50 painkillers were used in unintended ways, and in the past 20 years opioid abuse related hospitalizations of people over 65 quintupled.

Please take a moment to watch a video about older Americans affected by opioids narcotics:

If you are having troubling watching, please click here.


We Know How We Got Here, Now What?

The causes of the American prescription opioid addiction epidemic are aplenty. One of the major contributing factors is our over reliance of this class of drugs for practically all severities of pain. Researchers have yet to offer a viable, non-addictive alternative to date—which means prescribing trends will probably remain stable, at least among older Americans, whose health problems are objectively visible. However, what is done when opioid use disorder is identified will make all the difference in the fight to save lives.

Those who seek help in addiction treatment facilities, especially centers with specialty tracks like our own, greatly increase their chance of not becoming a statistic of the morbid side of this epidemic. At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we understand that our older clients have specific needs that must be addressed, if successful outcomes are to be achieved. Our 30 day Older Adult Addiction Treatment Program is tailored to meet those needs, providing an intimate setting where clients are surrounded by a non-confrontational group of peers all working towards the goal of long-term recovery.

Please contact us today to begin the lifesaving journey of addiction recovery.