Very often, when we think about the growing addiction epidemic in the United States, we tend to look at it as something abstract; as numbers on a spreadsheet; a taking point in an argument or debate over some kind of macro solution. Even those of us who have seen, or directly experienced, the perils of […]
Friday will mark exactly one year since the supernaturally talented pop icon Prince was found dead in his compound just outside Minneapolis due to an apparent painkiller overdose. As more and more time passes, old wounds are once again being opened in the form of new court documents that illustrating the scope and severity of […]
Narcan saves lives and that’s really all there is too it…or is it? It’s true that the widely used anti-overdose drug has saved thousands of lives since its introduction into the opioid and heroin treatment landscape. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Narcan kits used by civilians (non-law enforcement and emergency responders) […]
A Lifelong Healing Resource: Examining the Ways Music Therapy Promotes Positive Mental Health throughout our Lives
Recovery Unplugged has established its entire treatment philosophy based on the inherent healing properties of music therapy. We have seen first-hand how our patients are able to pull themselves out of a life of active substance abuse through music-based therapy; however, this art form has healing capabilities beyond addiction treatment. It can have a positive […]
Although the American workforce has experienced dramatic change over the past few decades, we still live in a country in which roughly half of all employers require their applicants to pass a drug test to successfully qualify for employment. In a cluster of states known as the “Rust Belt” (Western New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, […]
As the sitting governor of a state beset by out-of-control opioid and heroin addiction, Chris Christie has come to gain a special understanding of the threat that overdose poses to the entire country. He is now collaborating with President Trump, his former political rival and ally, to take steps toward solving the problem. The President […]
The buzz on capital hill and, throughout the rest of the country this week, has been the inability of the republican majority to push through a healthcare reform bill that faced harsh criticism from both sides of the aisle. In the end, President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan found themselves having to appeal to […]
A team of researchers at Indiana’s Purdue University is working toward curbing opioid addiction at one of its primary sources: the doctor’s office. In response to the high number of patients that develop addiction to prescription painkillers, and later often heroin, as a result of a legitimate prescription administered by their doctors, the team has […]
When Ben Affleck recently disclosed that he had completed treatment for alcohol abuse, it was not anything that the public hadn’t heard before. The actor, writer and director has experienced a long and documented battle with alcohol, going back to a previous stint in treatment in 2001. Perhaps the most impactful part of his announcement is the reinforcement that recovery truly is a lifelong endeavor, and that even after years of continued sobriety, addicts may need a little more assistance to help them stay on track, or get back there after a relapse; many of us have experienced this cycle in our own lives.
Today marks this year’s Saint Patrick’s Day celebration, a day in which Irish communities all across the globe revere and celebrate the memory of Ireland’s most beloved patron saint. Over the years and decades, Saint Patrick’s Day has managed to transcend cultural lines, to the point at which it is now celebrated by many different ethnic communities in the United States; the role that drinking has played in this proliferation, however, should not be ignored, particularly by the recovery community. While it has proud roots in Irish culture and spirituality, Saint Patrick’s Day’s association with alcohol may warrant a little extra caution from those in recovery for alcoholism and other types of substance abuse.
After weeks of promising a plan that would successfully replace the Affordable Care Act and bring quality health insurance options to every American, the republican-led legislature finally unveiled their vision for the future of healthcare in the form of the American Healthcare Act of 2017. Since its roll out, there has been rampant bipartisan criticism of the legislation; some from those who say it doesn’t go far enough to reverse the course of Obamacare and some from those who say it jeopardizes insurance accessibility for tens of millions of people. For those who have benefitted from the increased access to addiction and mental health treatment under the ACA, it’s hard to say that this law offers a happy ending.
America’s closest Middle Eastern ally took a bold and decisive step during its weekly cabinet meeting this past Sunday: the decriminalization of marijuana. In a bipartisan measure that that it hopes will have a positive impact on both public health and the legal system, Israel voted definitively to take marijuana-related offenses out of its criminal court…for the most part. The new policy calls for a $250 fine for fist-time offenders caught using marijuana in public. Second-time offenders will receive a $500 penalty and a third offense may require offenders to seek rehab. It’s not until the fourth offense that violators may be subject to prosecution and a possible jail term. Money recouped from violations will go toward funding drug rehab and education in the country.
A recent study published by researchers at Canada’s McGill University set out to examine the commonality between music, sex, food and recreational drug use in eliciting feelings of pleasure in the brain: they’ve done it. The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports on February 8th and could have transformative implications for how we examine the role of music in mental health. The study’s findings essentially assert that the brain releases natural opioids when listening to music, an identical chemical reaction to when the brain experiences pleasure from sex, food and drug consumption. Researchers set out to better understand the neurochemical basis of musical experience and release their findings.
In a move that could have a significant positive impact right here in the United States, China has announced plans to ban the sale and manufacture of four popular and powerful types of the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Earlier this month, the country that has been the primary foreign source for devastating and addictive fentanyl-based drugs disclosed plans to outlaw carfentanil, furanyl fentanyl, acrylfentanyl and valeryl fentanyl. US officials are optimistic that the effects of this ban will resonate in communities all across America, where fentanyl claims an average of 700 individuals each year and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.
One of the fundamental tenets of recovery is that it ultimately has to be the addict’s decision. Conventional wisdom indicates that an addict can’t get clean for anyone else but themselves and they have to truly want to enter treatment. This assertion is of little comfort, however, to the millions of families that have been ripped apart by drug and alcohol abuse. At some point, every loved one of an addict has wished they could force them to get help, but with relapse rates among recovering addicts being as high as they are, is that really the answer? Certain members of the Pennsylvania State Legislature are thinking it might be.
It’s Presidents Day and regardless of how one may view the current occupant of the Oval Office, the Presidency is still among the most powerful, prestigious and revered institutions in the world. The bottom line is that when the President opens their mouth, the entire country and a majority of the world listens, including those affected by drug and alcohol addiction and their families. While the approach to addiction treatment in the US is experiencing constant innovation and refinement amid continuous research and clinical exploration, it has undergone an especially noticeable evolution over the past 30 years, both philosophically and practically. As America observes another Presidents’ Day, and 46 years after President Nixon declared war on drugs, it’s also worth observing what role our past few Chief Executives have had in this evolution.
Venezuela and the United States have, for a long time, had a difficult and contentious relationship. Going back decades, even before the inflammatory back-and-forth between the Bush and Chavez Administrations, these two fundamentally different political powers have had a hard time seeing eye-to-eye on nearly every major issue. This week, the relationship got worse when the US Treasury Department blacklisted one of Venezuela’s top leaders, Vice President Tareck El Aissami. The move comes amid claims that El Aissami oversaw narcotics shipments of more than 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds) from Venezuela, some of which ended up in Mexico and the US.
Officials in Louisville. Kentucky recently reported a significant spike in opioid-related drug overdoses, citing 52 incidents in a 32-hour period, a considerable increase from the average of 22 per day that Louisville’s Metro Emergency Services handled last year. Although the state of Kentucky has been front and center in the fight against prescription painkiller addiction, these numbers are of great concern even to those most familiar with the problem. Officials at local and regional hospitals have accepted this rampant addiction as a new reality. There were 695 overdose cases through the first month of 2017, a 33 percent increase from last year.
Although the link between substance abuse and mental illness has been well documented, many fail to recognize the presence of a dual-diagnosis disorder in themselves or a loved one. Whether they’re unable to see that their substance abuse and mood disorders are related or they’re unwilling to admit that a problem exists at all, millions struggle with addiction and co-occurring mental illness each year without getting the help they need. The National Association of Mental Illness estimates that of the roughly 20 million Americans suffering from addiction, 53 percent suffer from at least one serious mental illness. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Mental Health reports that nearly eight million people suffer from some sort of dual-diagnosis disorder.
It’s no stretch to say that the future of American healthcare is uncertain. With the Affordable Care Act apparently destined for some sort of drastic change, whether it’s repeal, replace, repair or anything else, the fact is that millions of people are wondering what their health insurance is going to look like in the next few months. A large, and often ignored, contingent of this group is the thousands of people to whom drug and alcohol treatment access was expanded under the ACA and who now stand to lose an invaluable lifeline to recovery and freedom from addiction. The merits and drawbacks of the ACA have been the subject of hot and contentious dispute since even before its arrival in American law; however, concrete numbers are often left out of the conversation on both sides. What, then, is the potential human cost of an ACA rollback to vulnerable addicts across the country? Just how many people stand to lose access to treatment?