photo of young girl petting her dog

Animals: Your Best Ally for Addiction

A commonly expressed idiom is that a dog is a man’s best friend. This statement rings even truer when it comes to addiction recovery and even includes cats, horses and other animals. A person recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction is at one of his or her lowest points. In many cases, friends and family members have been alienated, his or her financial situation is in tatters and overall health is diminished. But a dog, horse or any other animal has no idea about what you’ve done in the past, who you’ve hurt or how low you’ve sunken. All they want is your unconditional love and attention, which is often what people in recovery want as well. Animal-based therapy has been in use for many years and has been proven effective in many different circumstances. Anyone who has ever felt the warm embrace of a dog or the gentle welcoming [...]

photo of a young possessed looking young adult male lifting weights superimposed over a supernatural background

Florida Murder and Face Eating Possibly Linked to Synthetic Drugs

Just when it seemed that the flow of synthetic drugs into the U.S. had been stemmed, a new, horrifying incident in Florida may suggest otherwise. On August 16, 2016 a 19-year-old Florida State University student and fraternity brother allegedly stabbed a married couple to death at their home and then attempted to eat one victim’s face. Initial reports linked the double murder and subsequent cannibalism to flakka,[1] a synthetic cathinone, though new evidence potentially suggests a different type of synthetic drug. A toxicology report is currently pending. The suspected assailant, Austin Harrouff, was out to dinner with his parents at 8:30 PM on the night of the alleged murder before he became upset about the slow service and stormed out. This prompted his fraternity brothers to look for him in the neighborhood. Harrouff happened upon the victims as they sat in their open garage, something they had been known to regularly [...]

photo of a patient receiving a neck massage during physical therapy

Do Drug-Free Pain Treatments Actually Work?

It seems that every week there’s a new report highlighting America’s overwhelming dependency on prescription painkillers. Whether discussing the alarming opioid overdose rates, the disturbing trend of moving from prescription drugs to heroin or the massive number of prescriptions written by doctors, it’s very clear that an opioid abuse and addiction epidemic is gripping the United States. With over 100 million Americans reportedly suffering from chronic pain every year,[1] and doctors having limited time to see each patient, prescriptions are often the most convenient remedies. However, the fact that they are convenient and often fast-acting does not necessarily make them the best choice for long-term pain relief. Prescription opioids are incredibly effective at treating the acute pain that follows major surgeries, car accidents, end-stage cancer and other conditions, but they can be problematic for chronic pain due to the threat of tolerance, addiction and overdose. Is there another way? Several drug-free [...]

photo of a group of young people gong to the beach carrying a large cooler filled with alcohol

Strategies for Staying Sober this Summer

Summer is in full swing, and most days, it’s hot outside. At your next pool party or backyard barbeque, a friend is very likely to offer you an ice-cold beer or a frozen margarita. For many people, it’s no big deal. The beverage is both refreshing and welcomed. However, for a recovering alcoholic, it can lead to an unwanted slip in sobriety. With the temperatures rising, an alcoholic drink can appear like an ideal way to quench your thirst. However, for an individual recovering from an alcohol addiction, consuming even a single beverage is not in his/her best interest. For those in recovery the temptation to drink at summer parties is often as great as during the holidays. Recovery is a long and difficult road with temptations often lurking at every crossroad. While you can possibly imagine yourself enjoying a beer with your hot dog as you sit behind the dugout [...]

photo collage of every type of person from every race

Prince’s Death Proves Addiction Doesn’t Discriminate

The world collectively grieved at the passing of musical legend and icon, Prince. At the age of just 57, it seemed that the singer’s time had come too soon. Prince Rogers Nelson died of an accidental fentanyl overdose on April 21, 2016. While much of the attention surrounding the aftermath of his passing will focus on why and how he got fentanyl, it’s also time to remember that addiction doesn’t care if you’re rich, poor, famous or an average Joe. Wealth and recognition can be enabling factors as much as they are preventative.In many cases, fame and fortune are viewed as things that can prevent a person from traveling too far down the wrong paths. But as we’ve seen from the cases of Prince, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and others, wealth and recognition can be enabling factors as much as they are preventative. Often, the stigma of addiction and the shame [...]

photo of singer Demi Lovato singing the national anthem before the start of a ballgame

Demi Lovato Celebrates Four Years of Sobriety

OVERCOMING ADDICTIONS Singer, songwriter and actress, Demi Lovato, is celebrating her accomplishment of achieving four years of sobriety.  In today’s society, many of Hollywood’s A-listers are admired for their fast lifestyles and overindulgence with drinking and drug abuse habits. Many celebrities are viewed as role models, and it is critical for them to use their platforms to warn others of the dangers of substance abuse. Fame and celebrity can be additional stressors, triggering individuals to abuse a substance. Approximately 27 million Americans age 12 and over are current illicit substance abusers. [1] This is extremely concerning with the recently booming drug epidemics not only in the United States, but around the world. Fame and celebrity can be additional stressors, triggering individuals to abuse a substance – this can occur at any age. THE LIVES OF THE RICH AND THE FAMOUS Demi has been acting since the age of 10, starring in shows such as “Barney [...]

photo of a politician being interview on the campaign trail

Shift in Political Rhetoric Marks Shift in Addiction Stigma

Political Candidates Embracing Rehabilitation Strategy Whether you’re following the Democrats or the Republicans, there’s no denying that politicians speak differently about substance abuse and addiction than they did in decades past. This is especially true in the Republican Party, where former presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon started, continued and escalated the war on drugs during the 1970s and 1980s. An increasing number of politicians are promoting rehabilitation over incarceration. Former Republican presidential candidates Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie have all gone into great detail about personal experiences of friends or family members struggling with addiction. Many other politicians have seen the destruction caused by addiction in their home states and have begun rethinking their prevention strategies. [1] From Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Marco Rubio, the political discussions about drug addiction in America have increased significantly during this 2016 presidential campaign race. Be it because of record [...]

photo of wood dice with letters that spell out the word QUALITY

Quality of Care Can Correlate with Recovery Success Rates

A PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS With drug overdoses being the leading causes of accidental deaths in the United States, thousands of concerned citizens, physicians and researchers are tirelessly probing into how the addiction epidemic can be curbed. If this issue isn’t addressed and remedied, the health, economic and societal welfare of every country in the world will be dramatically affected. For decades, the United States has been waging war against substance abuse and its rampant destruction of countless communities and lives. Although there is a wide range of substances that have been deemed by the medical community as illicit and addictive, opioids have come to the forefront as some of the most widely abused substances in the world. [1] Recently, researchers concluded that quality of care at an addiction facility can be directly correlated with success rates of recovery and number of deaths post rehab, when dealing with opioid abuse. [2] A new study, [...]

photo of a sad woman crying and holding her hands to her mouth

Intervening When Your Loved One Is An Addict

A POWERFUL ADDICTION Drug addiction is an unforgiving disease that causes an individual’s life to spiral out of control. No one is immune to its destructive grasp; this includes high-ranking politicians, wealthy lawyers, executives and countless others who may find their stressful careers, or a wide range of other factors, at the epicenter of their drug addiction. Family members and friends can be put into a precarious situation if their suspicions are confirmed that their loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol. In this case, an intervention is the most advisable strategy to successfully, yet carefully, confront an addict and address the group’s concerns while using discretion. Confronting anyone about a substance abuse habit can be a daunting task. Depending upon the addicted individual’s career or personality, they may be used to being in charge and delegating, not receiving instruction or demands from others, especially about their substance abuse. Allow an interventionist [...]

illustration of several heroin needles floating over a sea of read

Addiction’s Ripple Effect

Heroin’s crippling grasp has spread nationwide, effecting every city and suburb in the United States. Approximately 125 Americans every day die from heroin overdoses. [1] Statistics such as these have prompted a rapid inquiry by researchers, physicians and countless others into learning more about heroin’s ripple effect and why so many individuals are succumbing to its powerful clutch. They have also sparked conversations and discussions on how a variety of factors have led to such widespread, chronic usage of the drug. Over 125 Americans every day die from heroin overdosesThe New York Times recently published an article discussing how and why the heroin epidemic continues to spread so rapidly. The article states that in 2014, over 47,000 deaths were attributed to the lethal substance. Specifically, over the past five years, what was a drug once primarily relegated to large metropolitan areas has now spread to rural communities as well. Researchers [...]