New Bill Aims to Secure Addiction Treatment and Recovery
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdoses now surpass automobile accidents as the leading cause of injury-related deaths for Americans between ages 25 and 64. Approximately 100 Americans die each day from opioid overdoses, and about 75 percent of opioid addiction disease patients switch to heroin as a cheaper opioid source, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s 2014 Facts and Figures.
Opioids and heroin use are fueling the addiction landscape, and the problem is accelerating at lightning speed. Although heroin users were once associated with young men from low-income neighborhoods, this is no longer the case. Such users now come in all shapes and sizes with far-reaching demographics.
The problem has reached such epidemic proportions that senators are introducing legislation to combat the problem. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2014 is aimed to address this epidemic by helping to secure treatment for individuals – especially young adults – in the throes of addiction.
It has become clear that ignoring the problem or wishing it away isn’t the answer. Educating the medical community is another part of the solution. Many doctors just don’t have the necessary education when it comes to opioid addiction – or even addiction in general. The majority of doctors intend to be of service to their patients, but many of them don’t have sufficient knowledge about opioid addiction. Opioids should not be the first resort in dealing with pain management. This is especially important because people who become dependent on opioids often turn to heroin as a cheaper alternative.
Here at The Meadows we have physicians sit in on our lectures all the time and when we speak about opioid addiction, we’ll hear some of them say, “I do that all the time. I’ve been handing out prescriptions much too readily.”
Fortunately, addiction is a treatable disease, but studies reveal that only a small fraction of those who need treatment receive it. The most successful outcomes are realized through in-patient residential programs such as The Meadows who also offer patients solid after-care strategies.
The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2014 – introduced by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) and Senator Rob Portman (D-Ohio) – would make up to $80 million available to states and local governments to expand drug treatment, prevention, and recovery. More specifically, the Act would:
According to Patrick Kennedy, a former congressman from Rhode Island who himself suffered from drug and alcohol addiction. “The bill represents a significant step forward in how we understand and address addiction. The bottom line is that addiction and other mental illnesses are treatable, and recovery is real.”
If you or a loved one is addicted to opioids or heroin – or anything else – The Meadows is here to help. We’re the most trusted name in addiction and trauma treatment, so feel free to call The Meadows Intake Team at 800.244.4949 or visit us here.
By Amy Sohler, MPA, MA, LMHC, CDP, MHP
Current research in the field of sex addiction is revealing with utmost certainty that sexual addiction is just like any other addiction. It involves the dopamine response just like alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, shopping addiction, and any other process addiction. Such addictions all reside in the same part of the brain, so should be treated as such. What’s difficult and most challenging about sex addiction is that many people don’t see it as a “legitimate” addiction. Therefore, it has a stigma attached to it when in reality it’s no different than more “publicized” addictions.
Tis’ the season of reflection and gratitude through the spirit of service work and experiencing fun in sobriety at Dawn at The Meadows. Patients and staff kicked off the holiday season with a rigorous game of Dawn’s annual “Turkey Bowl Competition” on Thanksgiving, using frozen turkeys as bowling balls in the spirit of light heartedness at a local park. Upon nightfall, the young adult community gathered around a campfire with smores and offered meaningful reflections on gratitude and their newfound sense of “a new freedom and a new happiness” gained through the recovery process. In addition, patients have embraced their call to service work this Christmas season and have been busy wrapping presents for children in need and will be personally delivering gifts with the help of the Cops Who Care organization. Stay tuned for updates as the young adult community embarks on more adventures in the new year!
As any parent will tell you, raising a confident, caring child in today’s world is incredibly difficult. But when drugs and alcohol are added to the equation, families can become the opposite of what we would hope them to be. It’s hard to overstate the corrosive effects that a family member’s addiction can have on a child. Instead of love, support and security, families afflicted by addiction often flood a child’s life with fear, guilt, sadness, anger and confusion.
Children of addiction feel a tremendous sense of isolation. When no one cares enough to talk to them honestly about what is happening, they believe it is their fault – that they’ve done something wrong, and their lives are not important.
It’s no wonder then that children of addiction are at the highest risk to 1) become addicts themselves, 2) form relationships as adults with other addicts, and 3) need help from mental health and family service agencies. They are more likely to be physically, sexually, verbally and emotionally abused. These children tend to lose hope; their sense of optimism dims, and they have a hard time learning how to love and trust another person, because they haven’t felt those emotions themselves.
Addiction is an epidemic on the rise in our country, yet children of addiction are left to their own devices to cope. The family is too impaired to help, and society typically doesn’t respond until a child ends up in the juvenile justice or mental health systems.
But in different areas of our country, community members are rising to the need of this staggering number of young people. On November 16th, The Meadows sponsored a table at a celebrity dinner and fundraising auction on behalf of Pitch4Kidz.org here in the Phoenix area. PITCH 4 KIDZ offers an educational and support program for children ages 6 – 12 who grow up in families struggling with addiction. Stacey Beck, wife of former Major League Baseball Pitcher Rod Beck, founded PITCH 4 KIDZ to help children affected by their parent’s substance abuse. After losing Rod to addiction in 2007, Stacey’s 12-year-old daughter, who had experienced a five-day children’s program at the age of 8, told her mother they needed to make meaning from her father’s life and death. Stacey then pursued a mental health degree becoming a family counselor and uniting with Bobby McGinley, another local Scottsdale therapist, creating this incredible organization. Jim Sharpe, a local, well-known radio host, co-hosted the event. Music laced the background and comedian Lawyer Johnson brought the audience to great laughter and then tears as he spoke eloquently about his own childhood struggles and the need to know what you stand for. Multiple current and retired professional baseball and football players and coaches were in attendance, with sports items being the most predominant items up for auction. Our Sr. Fellow Claudia Black offered a poignant thirty minute keynote discussing the impact of addiction on children and the underlying impact of trauma, reinforcing the need for resources for young children and how we can all individually and collectively make a difference in their lives. The Meadows is proud to support this organization and recognizes that together we can all make a difference in the lives of youngsters struggling with addiction and trauma.
Pictured are Dr. Claudia Black (center) and Stacy Beck (far left), founder of PITCH 4 KIDZ, along with The Meadows staff who attended the fundraiser.
For more than 35 years, The Meadows has explored the underlying issues of patient trauma. Clinicians and professionals trust us more than any other treatment program because of our impeccable reputation for quality, integrity and long-term recovery. Every year, the Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey measures drug, alcohol, and tobacco use and related attitudes among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders. ASAP, the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program, summarizes the MTF survey each year for parents and professionals:
Illicit drug use among teenagers remains high, largely due to increasing popularity of marijuana. Marijuana use by adolescents declined from the late 1990s until the mid-to-late 2000s, but has been on the increase since then. In 2013, 7.0 percent of 8th graders, 18.0 percent of 10th graders, and 22.7 percent of 12th graders used marijuana in the past month, up from 5.8 percent, 13.8 percent, and 19.4 percent in 2008. Daily use has also increased; 6.5 percent of 12th graders now use marijuana every day, compared to 5 percent in the mid-2000s.
Rising marijuana use reflects changing perceptions and attitudes. Historically, as perception of risks goes down, use goes up (and vice versa). Young people are showing less disapproval of marijuana use and decreased perception that marijuana is dangerous. The growing perception of marijuana as a safe drug may reflect recent public discussions over “medical marijuana” and movements to legalize the drug for adult recreational use in some states.
New synthetic drugs are a cause for concern, but their use is not increasing. Synthetic marijuana (also known as Spice or K2)—referring to herbal mixtures laced with synthetic chemicals similar to THC, the main active ingredient in marijuana—was added to the MTF survey in 2011, when 11.4 percent of high school seniors reported using it in the past year; in 2013, it had dropped to 7.9 percent. These mixtures could be obtained legally until 2012 and are still wrongly perceived as a safe alternative to marijuana. The synthetic stimulants known as “bath salts” were added to the survey in 2012; in 2013, just 0.9 percent of seniors had used these drugs in the past year.
Nonmedical use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines remains a significant part of the teen drug problem. In 2013, 15.0 percent of high school seniors used a prescription drug non-medically in the past year. The survey shows continued abuse of Adderall, commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, with 7.4 percent of seniors reporting taking it for non-medical reasons in the past year. However, only 2.3 percent of seniors report abuse of Ritalin, another ADHD medication. Abuse of the opioid pain reliever Vicodin has shown a marked decrease in the last 10 years, now measured at 5.3 percent for high school seniors, compared to 10.5 percent in 2003. In addition, 5 percent of seniors report abuse of cough products containing dextromethorphan, down from 6.9 percent in 2006, the first year it was measured by the survey.
Positive trends in the past several years include reduced use of inhalants and less use of cocaine, especially crack cocaine. Past-year inhalant use by younger teens continued a downward trend in 2013, with 5.2 percent of 8th graders and 3.5 percent of 10th graders reporting use. Five-year trends of past-year cocaine use across all grades showed a drop as well. Other drugs, such as heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy (MDMA) and hallucinogens, are holding fairly steady.
Alcohol use among teens remains at historically low levels. In 2013, 3.5 percent of 8th graders, 12.8 percent of 10th graders, and 26 percent of 12th graders reported getting drunk in the past month, continuing a downward trend from previous years. Significant declines include sharp drops from previous years in daily alcohol use by 10th and 12th graders (0.9 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively, in 2013). In 2013, 22.1 percent of high school seniors reported binge drinking (defined as 5 or more drinks in a row in the past 2 weeks)—a drop of almost one-third since the late 1990s.
Fewer teens smoke cigarettes than smoke marijuana. Cigarette smoking by high school students peaked in 1996–1997 and has declined continuously since then. In 2013, 16.3 percent of 12th-grade students surveyed by MTF were current (past-month) cigarette smokers—the lowest teen smoking has been in the history of the survey. By comparison, 22.7 percent were current marijuana smokers.
Other forms of smoked tobacco are becoming popular, however. The use of hookah water pipes and small cigars has raised public health concerns and has recently been added to the MTF survey. In 2013, 21.4 percent of 12th graders had smoked a hookah at some point in the past year, an increase from 18.3 percent in 2012, and 20.4 percent had smoked a small cigar.
Complete MTF survey results are available at www.monitoringthefuture.org
The treatment program at The Meadows can help you create a life of recovery, peace and healing. We have helped over 45,000 clients to date, through workshops and inpatient treatment programs. To learn more about our treatment programs, call us at 800-244-4949 or contact us here.
To learn more about Dawn at The Meadows our groundbreaking, intensive, experientially-based, inpatient treatment program for emerging adults ages 18-26 who struggle with emotional trauma, addiction, or dual diagnosis concerns, please click here or call us at 855-333-6075.