Why Accreditation is Key
When searching for a drug rehab, one of the first recommendations one may hear is to find a program that is accredited. Accreditation is key to finding the right rehab treatment facility. Being accredited doesn’t always ensure quality care, but it most often does.
In addition to getting licensed by the state, some addiction treatment programs choose to get accredited by a third party. In the U.S., drug rehab centers are most commonly further accredited by CARF (The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) and/or The Joint Commission. When a rehab meets the CARF or Joint Commission standards, they demonstrate that they are committed to being the best in every way. They meet high standards of quality and are committed to individualized treatment and client satisfaction.
When searching for a drug rehab facility, it’s imperative that different places and avenues of rehab are researched. Accreditation can’t guarantee a successful outcome, but it is one of the best indicators of quality. By choosing an accredited program and asking detailed questions about the program staff, services and reputation, there will be more confidence in the drug rehab center that is chosen.
Are Cigarettes the Real “Gateway Drug?”
American kids often have a misguided concept of cigarettes because they are legal and used so casually and widely by so many. Tobacco advertising shows very respectable people smoking cigarettes, which may lead kids to perceive that they aren’t dangerous. Marijuana has often been dubbed “the gateway drug” implying that marijuana use leads to use of other dangerous drugs. However, not all kids have been exposed to marijuana, but kids have seen normal everyday people engaged in nicotine addiction with cigarettes.
Cigarette are much more accessible to many kids than other drugs, and its much more likely that a parent or adult figure in a kid’s life smokes cigarettes as opposed to marijuana. These kids are misguided by watching those they may love or respect smoke cigarettes and thinking that cigarettes are not as harmful/deadly as illegal drugs. However, nicotine will kill more people in a year then all of the hard drugs combined. And, the nicotine in cigarettes is highly addictive and results in withdrawal symptoms when a person tries to stop smoking. Naively, parents may feel relieved to find out that their kids are “only” smoking cigarettes and not using drugs or alcohol, but the reality is that tobacco is commonly the first step towards drug addiction.
Nicotine addiction is a serious matter that affects millions of people worldwide. To downplay the fact that smoking cigarettes is addicting will harm our kids and society. Although marijuana and other drugs are very dangerous, smoking cigarettes truly can be seen as the gateway drug to extremely dangerous illegal drug use in the future.
Ecstasy use continues to rise among certain groups and populations in the US. Ecstasy, otherwise known as both Molly and MDMA, can be taken orally as a capsule or a tablet. Ecstasy is a chemical stimulant that is popular among young adults in the nightclub scene. The effects of ecstasy often include: changes in person’s mood, aggression, sexual activity, sleep, and sensitivity to pain.
Ecstasy is very dangerous and can lead to fatal increases in blood pressure and heart rate due to the chemical effects of the drug. Further, ecstasy can generate confusion, depression, anxiety and drug cravings that can take effect immediately or possibly even weeks after ingestion. Some celebrities have admitted to taking the drug and have also chronicled the difficulties of fighting their addiction including: Eminem, Brittney Spears, Miley Cyrus, and Jack Black.
Disturbingly, when ecstasy is taken in high doses, it can interfere with body temperature regulation, leading to liver, kidney, or cardiovascular system failure or death. Many don’t realize that ecstasy can be lethal even in its first use. Individuals who find themselves addicted to ecstasy are at a high risk for depression and anxiety as well as concentration issues and memory loss even after breaking free from their addiction. For this and other reasons, it is imperative that those addicted to ecstasy seek help in overcoming their addiction. Contact Turning Point Centers for help.
Illegal drugs in the workplace on the rise
A recent report in regards to the rise in drug use in the workplace shows a definite increase among workers. In fact, according to Medical News Today, the proportion of workers testing positive for illegal drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine, is fast approaching about 5%. The results came from a huge data-base that tested drugs in the workplace using urine analysis and other means (hair drug testing and oral fluid drug testing).
It was reported by the director of Quest Diagnostics, Barry Sample, that, “American workers are increasingly testing positive for workforce drug use across almost all workforce categories and drug test specimen types.” Quest Diagnostics is a drug testing company.
Further, Markus MacGill of Medical News Today reports that, “Data released by (Quest Diagnostics) shows that among about 6.6 million urine drug tests performed in the general US workforce, 4.7% showed positive in 2014 – up on the 4.3% proportion measured in 2013, which itself had seen the first annual rise in figures since 2003.”
The Quest director noted that they have seen prescription drug use on the rise in the past, but find it interesting that illegal drug use is also increasing now. Also interesting is that marijuana is the most commonly detected drug which is noteworthy if it means that workers are becoming more accepting of the drug since it’s legality has been passed by some states. Further, cocaine use has risen and amphetamine use has risen so high when illegal drugs were tested in the workplace that its now at its highest level on record.
These findings have many implications for the workplace. Workers may be less attentive, more impaired, and less capable of making clear decisions or acting under pressure among other things if drug use in the workplace continues to rise.
Saint George, Utah Hot Drug: Spice
Ask high school kids in Saint George, Utah what drug they hear about most at school and they will unanimously say “spice” or “weed.” “I could get it anywhere, anytime, if I just ask the right people. And it’s not hard to find those people, “ said one high school freshman who is a “clean-cut” 4.0 student. Marijuana use continues to rise in parts of the country. Due in part, some believe, to the confusion of teens about the legality of the drug.
Further, many teens believe that even if weed or spice is illegal, it can’t do damage – it’s not that “crazy” of a drug. However, this myth proves to be false by studies that show brain impairment due to marijuana use by teens that can follow them into adulthood. There are many negative side effects of marijuana that teens either are ignorant of or choose not to believe since they don’t hear of as many dangerous outcomes of the use of spice.
A recent drug bust in Saint George uncovered a major spice distribution operation. They found that a large majority of the spice came in from China, was manufactured in Saint George and then pushed out to 15 states. The finished product was allegedly packaged and sold in retail stores and online under names like “Gods of Spice” and “Blue Heaven.” The operation in Saint George distributed about 2,652 pounds of spice in 2 years.
Also, many teens in Southern Utah still believe that spice is legal marijuana. This fallacy is leading some to experiment with the drug. Their friends tell them weed or marijuana is illegal, but spice is the legal “ok” version of the drug.
Saint George (and all) parents would be wise to talk with their kids of the dangers of all marijuana drugs – spice included– and point out that all are illegal and can have very harmful effects.
Fingerprint technology used in drug testing
A team of researchers from the Netherlands and England at the University of Surrey recently found that fingerprint technology can be used in drug testing. Drug testing is generally an uncomfortable experience, using hair, blood, or urine. But with this new technology, drug testing can be accomplished using nothing more than a person’s fingerprints.
Researchers believe that the applications for this test could be far-reaching. For instance, the University of Surrey reports that, “drug testing is used routinely by probation services, prisons, courts and other law enforcement agencies. However, traditional testing methods have limitations. For example, blood testing requires trained staff and there are privacy concerns about urine testing. Where bodily fluids are tested, there can be biological hazards and often a requirement for particular storage and disposal methods. Often these tests also require analysis off-site.”
However, as the researchers point out, “The beauty of this method is that, not only is it non-invasive and more hygienic than testing blood or saliva, it can’t be faked. By the very nature of the test, the identity of the subject is captured within the fingerprint ridge detail itself.”
This breakthrough will be make police officers jobs much easier. Often, an officer would like to test a driver for drug use, but it’s pretty impractical. With the fingerprint technology, testing for drugs can eventually be done even out on the road. The University reports that, “this technology could see the introduction of portable drug testing for law enforcement agencies to use within the next decade.”
Although fingerprint technology drug testing is not yet available to the public, it is exciting that the researchers propose that the technology will be ready for public distribution and use within the decade.
“N-bomb” or “Smiles” drug not bringing happiness to users
A new powerful designer drug called NBOMe “Smiles,” “N-bomb,” or “25i” is being marketed to teens and is gaining in popularity. It is being marketed as “legal LSD” – causing many teens to believe that it is safe.
Recently in Massachusetts, police put out a warning after finding it in their city and last month, a woman was indicted in federal court after selling the drug to a teenager who overdosed. The mother of the teen discussed how after just one hit of “smiles” her 14-year-old daughter, Emily, died. She said she had, “not heard of it until two or three days after we were in the hospital. But Emily had and it was easy for her to get.” (boston.cbslocal.com) Emily bought the drug from an even younger teen at a playground just by their house.
Cbs.com reports that “smiles” is just one of an ever growing number of synthetic drugs marketed to teenagers. It comes in small tabs with cartoons or colorful pictures on them and, even more dangerous, it sells for less than $5 per hit.
ER doctors are seeing deadly results of the drug.
This lethal drug is still legal in Massachusetts and other states, which again makes teens think it is “ok” to try. Many are fighting to quickly put smiles’ legality to an end and hopefully that will occur soon where it remains legal.
Heavy.com cites 10 important things to know about N-bomb:
- N-bomb could be the deadliest drug to date
- It’s derived from Mescaline- according to Yahoo! News: its “derived from mescaline, which occurs naturally in peyote cactus. The technical name of the substance is phenethylamine. The substance isn’t technically illegal because it is made from two banned parent drugs.”
- It is administered just like LSD
- It was discovered in 2003 and emerged in 2010 online as a designer drug
- It has other street names: “Smiles” and “25i”
- It can have similar effects to bath salts: confusion, difficulties, communicating, paranoia, seizures, and death
- Deaths have been reported in North Dakota, Virginia, Louisiana, Arizona, and Massachusetts
- N-Bomb can cause long term damage-kidney disorders and long term psychiatric/mental disorders
- Some states have classified N-bomb as a schedule 1 controlled substance
- Federal agents have taken notice of the drug.
Sources: Yahoo! news, boston.cbslocal.com, heavy.com
Babies Born Dependent on Drugs on the Rise
Throughout the country, there has been a recent increase of the number of babies being born addicted to drugs. This tragic, harsh reality is prompting some hospitals to hire volunteers to hold and attempt to comfort the babies during the time they are experiencing withdrawal. Because the baby’s central nervous systems are affected by the drug dependency, they are very irritable and unhappy after birth. Many hospitals have found that these babies are comforted by swaddling and being held as well as sucking on pacifiers. Babies born dependent on drugs also need to be fed more often because they cannot tolerate a lot of food at a time.
USAtoday.com reports that Tennessee has recently seen an increase in babies born dependent on drugs. They indicate, “When newborn babies begin to withdraw from powerful drugs, they shriek at a high, telltale pitch. Cut off from the substances they ingested through their mothers, they convulse, projectile vomit or writhe from skin-scorching diarrhea. Their tiny bodies shudder violently. They cannot be consoled. The urge to help is overwhelming. But the debate over how to help has consumed Tennessee doctors, researchers and politicians alike — and has led them to wildly different conclusions in their efforts to speak up for these infants. That’s because drug-dependent babies are both heart wrenching and expensive to care for. Meanwhile, state laws are divergent — and contradictory — in addressing the crisis.”
This tragic truth is playing out in many states and is a complicated matter: should mothers be treated and their parental rights protected? Or should these drug-addicted mothers be separated from their babies and serve time in prison?
USAtoday reports that in Tennessee, “The average cost to deliver a drug-dependent baby is $62,000, compared with $4,700 for a healthy child. Taxpayers bear the brunt of this cost — most of these babies and their mothers are on TennCare, the state’s health insurance program for the poor.” This financial burden is overwhelming and tragic and adds to the already desperate situation for the increase in babies being born dependent on drugs.
Most athletic kids with potential would jump at the chance to perform even better at their favorite sport. But what if that meant taking or injecting dangerous steroids? Research shows a troubling increase in the amount of young athletes doing just that: injecting steroids to increase muscle tone and mass and perform better at whatever sport they are participating in. What these young athletes do not realize, however, is the consequences that come from steroid use – especially at such a young age.
Most young athletes become hooked on steroids before they even know what is happening. Not only are they psychologically hooked, because their appearance changes into a pumped up muscly look, they are also putting their hearts and livers at risk, along with their mental state, according to researchers. Doctors have indicated that steroids can cause powerful psychological dependency for young people obsessed with body image and recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a new policy statement condemning the use of steroids among children and adolescents. The doctors’ group called on parents and coaches to take a stand against performance-enhancing drugs and “win-at-all costs” thinking.
With the pumped-up muscles and unshakable confidence, anabolic steroid use comes with damage to the heart and liver, stunting to bone development and extreme mood swings, acne and weight gain, researchers say. Even more dangerous is coming off them. Research shows that many young athletes feel huge amounts of depression for weeks to months after stopping steroid use. In fact, some suicides have been linked to the discontinuation of steroid use. Further, many young athletes don’t realize the danger of quitting “cold turkey” and throw their bodies into even more shock by not weaning off steroids properly. In cases where teens may need to take a drug test, or are trying to hide steroid use from family, friends, or coaches and they stop steroid use abruptly, dangerous consequences can follow. In all, young athletes should not use steroids unless under strict medical supervision.
Father Speaks Up about Daughter’s Fatal Heroin Overdose
A recent article posted by Fox13 Salt Lake City discussed how one father’s honest obituary concerning his daughter’s heroin overdose has prompted other parents of addicted children to continue to be “as supportive as possible” in helping recovery happen.
Tom Parks, of Manchester, New Hampshire, candidly wrote on Facebook about his daughter’s fight against her heroin addiction. He said, “I’m not looking for sympathy but I want people to know that our lives are made up of the choices we make and for some death is a matter of choice too. My daughter Molly Parks made many good choices in her too short life and she made some bad choices. She tried to fight addiction in her own way and last night her fight came to an end in a bathroom of a restaurant with a needle of heroin. Her whole family tried to help her win the battle but we couldn’t show her a way that could cure her addiction. We will always love her and miss her. If you have a friend or a relative who is fighting the fight against addiction please do everything you can to be supportive. Maybe for your loved one it’ll help. Sadly for ours it didn’t. I hope my daughter can now find the peace that she looked for here on earth.”
Molly had recently finished drug rehab for the third time and was working as a pizza delivery driver in Manchester at the time of her overdose. He family believed that she was doing well and had improved significantly. Her obituary states, “Molly graduated from Old Orchard Beach High School in 2009 and attended one year at SMCC until her addiction took over. Most recently, she was employed as a delivery driver for Portland Pie Co. in Manchester, NH…Along Molly’s journey through life, she made a lot of bad decisions including experimenting with drugs. She fought her addiction to heroin for at least five years and had experienced a near fatal overdose before. Molly’s family truly loved her and tried to be as supportive as possible as she struggled with the heroin epidemic that has been so destructive to individuals and families in her age bracket…If you have any loved one’s who are fighting addiction, Molly’s family asks that you do everything possible to be supportive, and guide them to rehabilitation before it is too late.”
The obituary highlights this father’s sincere love for his daughter and the touching way in which he pleads for others to understand their loved one’s addictions is very moving. Loving individuals through addiction recovery can be extremely discouraging and challenging. However, as Tom Parks emphasizes, it is so important to continue to support your loved ones through heroin addiction recovery or any other type of addiction recovery and get them the help they need.