US Drug Abuse by Region

drugtrendsbyregionUS Drug Abuse by Region

Drug abuse is a problem everywhere in society- from types of drugs used, to amounts of drugs used, to ages and other demographics of those using drugs. In examining different regions, several factors show up. A recent study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2011) showed many interesting factors.

For instance, illicit drugs are popular on the West coast, in Colorado and in the Northeast. The South has the most smokers and the Midwest has the most binge drinkers. Vermont has the most drug use, with Colorado next in line, and Utah has the least amount of drug use.

As far as marijuana is concerned, Vermont leads the pack and also leads in the amount of teens that have smoked marijuana in the past month at 14.04%. Interestingly, the states where smoking marijuana is the most prevalent seem to think that smoking weed is not risky, but half of the people surveyed in Mississippi think it is risky.

Cocaine use is the highest in the nation’s capital, Washington D.C. with other users coming from the West, Northeast, and Colorado. And, illegal pain pill use was shown to be even more widespread than cocaine use – Oregon reported 6.37%, while Iowa was lowest at 3.62%.

As far as alcohol is concerned, Massachusetts takes the cake with 63% consuming alcohol in the last month. Not surprisingly, Utah is ranked the lowest in alcohol use. Binge drinking is very common in North and South Dakota as well as in Montana. Ironically, that region of the US indicated that they do not think binge drinking is very risky.

Tobacco/cigarette use is the most common in the South with West Virginia reported 38.46% of their residents using in the past month. However, the country as a whole is very aware of the risks associated with smoking-with California being the most aware and informed.

The Western half of the country is more addicted to alcohol, with the exception of Utah, and drug addiction is also more prevalent in the West vs. the East– although Vermont also ranks high. And teen drug addiction is fairly low overall: most states rank between just 2-3.6% minus a few.



What is Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder?

ocdWhat is Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder?

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCD) is characterized by a pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and control at the expense of flexibility, directness, and productivity. Steve Bressert, PhD, indicates in an article on titled Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder Symptoms that OCD usually begins in early adulthood and manifests in “4 (or more) of the following:

  • Is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost
  • Shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because his or her own overly strict standards are not met)
  • Is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships (not accounted for by obvious economic necessity)
  • Is over-conscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values (not accounted for by cultural or religious identification)
  • Is unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value
  • Is reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things
  • Adopts a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes
  • Shows significant rigidity and stubbornness” (Bressert,

Most often, OCD is diagnosed in adulthood and not during childhood or adolescence when development and maturation are occurring. Also interesting about the diagnosing of OCD is the fact that OCD is diagnosed in males twice as much as in females and is prevalent in about 4.5% of the population. Further, OCD symptoms and tendencies decrease with age, with most individuals experiencing less of the more extreme symptoms by their 40s and 50s.


Don’t Fear Detox

detoxDon’t Fear Detox

Often, people hear more of the negative things about detox than the positive. For this and other reasons, detox is often feared or avoided when in fact, the reality is, detox can be life threatening or life saving, depending on how it’s approached.

For instance, in extreme withdrawal cases without supervision or medical attention, detox can be a life threatening process that should be feared. But with professional treatment, detox can be empowering and healing in so many ways. Of course, the severity of the withdrawal symptoms are linked to the type of drug and the frequency of use. Further, it’s important for longtime and frequent drug and alcohol abusers to seek professional detox treatment in order to ensure safety. Also, highly addictive drugs such as prescription painkillers can cause the body to become physically and mentally dependent; stopping cold turkey is dangerous and unsafe.

The detox process is unique to each substance and it’s unique to each individual, which is why medical supervision is highly recommended. Finding a facility that is trustworthy and has a good record is key in feeling safe during detox and avoiding anxiety or fear.



Are You a Binge Drinker?

Binge DrinkerAre You a Binge Drinker?

Recent research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham estimates that 1,825 college students ages 18-24 die each year from alcohol-related injuries like car accidents, about 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder, and 1 in 4 college students report academic consequences from drinking. So binge drinking is a college kid problem right? Everybody grows out of it right? Research says, “not so.” Although most people associate binge drinking with college age individuals, it isn’t exclusive to young adults.   In fact, a recent CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) report suggests that over 38 million adults binge drink an average of four times a month. The report also indicated that those who make more than $75,000 and those over 65 years of age are more apt to binge drink (not your typical college kid). If you’re wondering if you or someone you love is caught in a dangerous cycle of binge drinking, look for the following 6 signs:

  1. Overall, the individual takes more risks than they use to
  2. Larger quantities of alcohol are consumed more often than before
  3. They can’t to stop drinking at a “predecided limit”
  4. They black out after drinking
  5. They’ve becoming more negligent or lazy recently
  6. Their close friends and/or family are concerned

W-18: A New Dangerous and Addicting Street Drug

M-18 Street DrugW-18: A New Dangerous and Addicting Street Drug

Health officials are growing concerned about the recent emergence of a drug called W-18, a synthetic opiate like fentanyl that produces a heroin-like high, but is 100 times as potent and powerful as heroin and 10,000 times more powerful than morphine. W-18 is making it’s way into North America. Although it was developed in Canada as an alternative painkiller, it wasn’t manufactured and sold until a Chinese chemist discovered the formula.

Most likely, W-18 is being produced in labs in China then is being shipped to North America through services such as FedEx. Being sold as a quick high for users, W-18 has made its way first in Canada, and then slowly into the United States. The circulation of this drug is very concerning for many reasons – mostly because there are so many unknowns. The effects of this drug is unknown because there were no formal tests or trials conducted. It is also undetectable in in urine and/or blood and therefore a physician would not be able to tell if a patient is overdosing from this specific drug. After some instances where W-18 was involved in overdosing in Florida, a local Florida epidemiologist was reported to say, “This is the most deadly drug trend I’ve seen in 31 years.”

Recently, reports indicate that W-18 is moving up the coast from Florida into cities such as Philadelphia. Another huge concern with W-18 is that there are rumors that W-18 is being mixed with or cut-in with other drugs, such as heroin, making them even more potent and deadly.

ADHD and Video Game Addiction Connected

videogamesaddictionADHD and Video Game Addiction Connected

A recent study found that individuals with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are very likely to develop video game addiction due to using video games to escape from the effects of ADHD. The study, which was conducted at the University of Bergen in Norway, was published in the Journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, of the American Psychological Association.

Each of the 20,000 participants in the study answered questions about their video game behaviors and use.  In order to determine if video game addiction was present, 7 factors were evaluated. These measures included:

  1. You think about playing the game all day long
  2. You play games to forget about real life
  3. Others have unsuccessfully tried to reduce your game use
  4.  You feel bad when you are unable to play
  5. You have fights with others over your time spent on games
  6. You neglect other important activities to play games
  7. You spend increasing amounts of time on games

The researchers based their findings off the assumption that if an individual related to at east 4 of the 7 criteria, they were likely to have a video game connection.

Further, the study evaluated the participants for ADHD and found that those with ADHD and other psychiatric disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression were more likely to be addicted to video games. The researchers indicate that the video games function as an escape mechanism from the behavioral disorders and can develop into an addiction.

New Building in the Works

Turning Point Centers is currently under construction on a new, 16 bed residential facility scheduled to open October 1st, 2016. The new center will be located in Sandy, adjacent to our Bell Canyon facility on Turning Point Circle.  Both centers will be operated independently to retain the warm, home-like environment that truly insures our clients receive an individualized experience. The new facility will be Joint Commission accredited and licensed for both mental health and substance abuse.

As an organization we pride ourselves on our non 12-step, true dual diagnosis approach and adhering to the highest standards of patient safety and care. We are both humbled and honored to be a part of the thriving recovery movement.  It is a privilege to serve this industry, community, individuals and families that choose Turning Point Centers.

Other exciting changes are in the works to enhance and expand our program, please check back as updates are available!

Links between Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse

eatingdisordersubstanceabuseLinks between Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse

A recent study published by CASA (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse) has shown a strong link between substance abuse and eating disorders in women. Other studies show that at least half of women with eating disorders also abuse alcohol or drugs compared with only 9% of the general population (Columbia University, 2003). Further, both those with eating disorders and those struggling with substance abuse share risk factors and personality characteristics.

The study reports that the common risk factors include:

• occurrence in times of transition or stress

• common brain chemistry

• common family history

• low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, or impulsivity

• history of sexual or physical abuse

• unhealthy parental behaviors and low monitoring of children’s activities

• unhealthy peer norms and social pressures

• susceptibility to messages from advertising and entertainment media

The study reports that the common shared characteristics include:

• obsessive preoccupation, craving, compulsive behavior, secretiveness, and rituals

• experience mood-altering effects, social isolation

• linked to other psychiatric disorders or suicide

• difficult to treat, life threatening

• require intensive therapy

• chronic diseases with high relapse rates

Another overlap is that eating disorders and substance abuse often both begin with experimentation.  Often individuals engaged in these behaviors are attempting to distract or protect themselves from underlying problems by means of excessive drinking, drug use, eating, or dieting. While these behaviors are intended to shield, they become self-destructive by consequence. Struggling with both substance abuse and eating disorders is overwhelming and most often needs the help of a trained professional to overcome.

Sources:, National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse [CASA] at Columbia University, 2003.

Prescription Drug Abuse and Chronic Pain

chronicPainPrescriptionDrugsPrescription Drug Abuse and Chronic Pain

Many individuals have chronic pain issues and are abusing prescription drugs-whether prescribed to them or not-as a means to alleviate this pain.  A recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, confirms this is the case.  The study was conducted at Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center where researchers screened 25,000 patients in primary care for abuse of prescription drugs and illegal drug use. Those participants who tested positive for having drugs in their system -589 individuals- were asked to answer questions about substance abuse and chronic pain. Interestingly, 87% who tested positive for having prescription drugs in their systems admitted to struggling with chronic pain that the majority rated as being severe pain. Half of those that tested positive for illegal drugs such as opioids or marijuana also claimed they were ingesting the drugs to lessen the physical chronic pain they were experiencing.

Further, many individuals participating in the study were shown to be abusing medications that were not prescribed to them. In fact, eighty percent of those using drugs without a prescription were actually misusing the prescription medications.  Abusing prescription medications, whether or not they were prescribed, can be very dangerous.

It is important that all individuals with chronic pain have their pain treated properly while recovering from their addictions.  The study suggested that current counseling focused only on informing patients about the negative outcomes of drug abuse may overlook an important aspect of why people are abusing these substances.  Co-author Daniel Alford, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine and assistant dean of Continuing Medical Education and director of the Safe and Competent Opioid Prescribing Education (SCOPE of Pain) program at BUSM, and director of BMC’s Clinical Addiction Research and Education Unit indicated that, “Pain should be treated as part of the long-term strategy for recovery. If drugs are being used to self-medicate pain, patients may be reluctant to decrease, stop, or remain abstinent if their pain symptoms are not adequately managed with other treatments including non-medication-based treatments.”

Kids and Alcohol ads

Kids and Alcohol ads

A recent study published by the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs examined the exposure of kids to alcohol ads. They looked at the different types of advertising, the ads that were most often viewed and, the characteristics of the kids who were exposed most often to alcohol related ads.

The results were interesting. It was discovered that most of the ads viewed by the kids were outdoor advertisements, with television advertisements a close second. Further, the researchers found that African American and Hispanic youth were exposed to an average of 4.1 and 3.4 advertisements per day, respectively, nearly two times as many as non-Hispanic White youth, who were exposed to 2.0 advertisements per day. Another interesting finding was that girls were exposed to 30% more alcohol related ads than boys.

Previous research shows that exposure to alcohol ads is very common among middle school–age kids and could place these kids at risk for earlier or more frequent underage drinking. Thus, this study concluded that more restrictions on alcohol advertising – both outdoors and on television – should be considered and should center primarily on reducing exposure among minority kids.

Source: Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 77(3), 384–392 (2016).