Thursday, February 23, 2017

Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative

Last summer, we wrote at length about the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative (PAARI). Since that time, we are pleased to report that versions of the program have been adopted all over the country. In case you were not able to read the article about PAARI, otherwise known as the “Angel Program;” it is an initiative which encourages addicts to surrender their narcotics to local authorities and, in return, they will be linked with a substance use disorder treatment center. The program, thus far, has been hailed as a great success. On Tuesday, the PAARI Facebook page posted:

“In just 19 months, over 200 police departments in 28 states have become entry points into treatment for people suffering with the disease of opioid and heroin addiction. Together with our law enforcement partners, we've placed an estimated 10,000 people into treatment.”

Addicts Exercise Blind Faith

The idea that the same people (police), whose job it was to arrest those in possession of illegal drugs, were now addicts' saving grace can be somewhat hard to wrap your head around. Nevertheless, the program has proved to be one of the most effective measures against the scourge of opioid addiction in the United States. It is a sign that addiction is no longer being viewed as a problem that we can arrest away. And it highlights the valuable role police officers can have in providing a great public service of impacting active addiction rates.

Historically, police officers were considered to be enemy “numero uno” by drug addicts, not dissimilar from how lawmakers labeled drug use in order to justify decades of imprisoning nonviolent drug offenders. However, the present situation has required both addicts and law enforcement to exercise some blind faith when it comes to one another. Rather than enemies, both addicts and cops can be allies in putting an end to the epidemic.

PAARI Saves Lives

Programs like PAARI are prime example of the paradigm shift in thinking occurring in America when it comes to addiction. If we can all agree that the disease is not a moral failing, but rather a legitimate mental health disorder, then society can come together to better address the epidemic of addiction. Through continued efforts to chip away at the stigma of mental illness, addicts will not only be “re-humanized,” they will get the help they so desperately require.

At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we would like to commend the efforts of the various law enforcement agencies and their affiliate addiction treatment centers. The value of helping thousands of people find recovery should not be underestimated. Substance use disorder treatment was, is and will continue to be the best resource available for addicts. If you or a loved one is active in their addiction, please contact us today.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Cocaine Reappears As A Deadly Concern

The use of cocaine has been in the shadow of opioid narcotics for well over a decade. One could even argue that cocaine is hardly a concern any more, when compared to the deadly nature of opioid addiction, prescription opioids and/or heroin. It was not that long ago when crack cocaine was the primary target of police departments and federal agencies charged with addressing drug use. Today, however, you really have to search to find anything about cocaine in the era of opioids.

Cocaine use and cocaine overdoses had been on steady decline for a number of years. What's more, cocaine on its own isn't often associated with overdose deaths. With prescription opioids and heroin abuse stealing the headlines across the country, cocaine use came to be of seemingly little import. However, there is significant data to support a dramatic rise of overdose deaths involving cocaine in recent years.

Speedballing Towards Overdose 

The 2016 Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Drug Threat Assessment found that cocaine availability and abuse are showing the first signs of a possible increase in the United States since 2007. The U.S. News analysis of mortality data showed a significant increase in cocaine-related overdose deaths in recent years, according to the U.S. News & World Report. The rise in cocaine related deaths is the likely result of more and more addicts mixing cocaine and heroin together, a practice commonly referred to as “speedballing.”

“When there are no opioids involved in cocaine-overdose deaths you see an overall decline in recent years,” says Christopher M. Jones, an acting associate deputy assistant secretary with the Department of Health and Human Services. “But when you look at cocaine and opioids together, we see a more than doubling in the number of overdoses since 2010, with heroin and synthetic opioids increasingly involved in these deaths." 

Using heroin or prescription opioids can easily result in an overdose death, especially when the synthetic opioid fentanyl is involved. As was mentioned earlier, cocaine on its own doesn’t typically result in an overdose. But when you mix opioids and cocaine together… The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research database (WONDER) compiles information from death certificates, the article reports. After subtracting opioids from overdose data involving cocaine, researchers found that overdose deaths from cocaine stalled out. The real danger lies in the admixture.

Treating Opioid and Cocaine Addiction 

While opioids may be more dangerous than cocaine, both drugs are highly addictive and have the power to both ruin and take lives. If you are battling with addiction of any kind, the risk of overdose is very real. In today’s illegal drug market, it is extremely difficult to determine one white powder from another. Heroin and fentanyl are commonly mixed together unbeknownst to the addict. It is also possible that cocaine is being mixed with fentanyl as well.

At the end of the day, addressing one’s addiction is the best course to take to ensure that you have a future. Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat to begin the journey of addiction recovery.