Close-up portrait of a masculine guyAppearances and Drugs and Alcohol

Although many people believe that taking drugs and/or drinking alcohol will only have an impact on the inside of their body, these substances greatly affect one’s outward appearance as well. Alcohol and drugs most certainly affect internal organs, but drinking excessively or taking drugs too often or in higher quantities can take a toll on one’s skin, teeth, hair, and weight.

First off, alcohol is filled with calories. In fact, just one can of beer or one glass of wine is equivalent to eating a buttered dinner roll. Interestingly, studies show that having too much to drink can lead to an increase in caloric intake. Surveys show that binge drinking caused people to eat about 6,000 extra calories. Everyone has heard the expression “beer belly” and it comes from eating and drinking all of these extra calories. Further, alcohol can affect your outward appearance in that it can cause broken capillaries in one’s eyes due to dilating blood vessels, and dry skin from dehydration. The effects on appearance of dehydration from alcohol intake don’t stop there: dehydration from alcohol can leave you with brittle hair and nails and cause premature aging to your skin.

Another substance that causes weight gain is marijuana since it makes people feel hungry. When individuals feel hunger, they tend to eat, and even overeat when they would not be feeling hungry if they had not ingested marijuana. Alternatively, heroin suppresses one’s appetite, leading, in some cases, to grossly extreme weight loss. Also, heroin can cause visible track marks, sores, acne, premature aging, and blue skin and nails due to low blood pressure from taking the drug.

Similar to heroin, cocaine can also leave visible sores. In fact, symptoms such as a sunken face or a collapsed nose from snorting the drug show that cocaine is a substance that can have a very drastic impact on one’s appearance.

Last, but definitely not least, is meth. Meth ravages one’s appearance in many ways. It can cause weight loss, tooth decay, sores and premature aging.

Drugs and alcohol never leave the user feeling better or more beautiful than before, which is another reason to avoid them all together.


drugrehabdenvercoloradoMaybe Colorado Springs officers are right?

Although marijuana has been legal in Colorado Springs for a while, there are still those who are fighting against the legalization. Just recently, three sheriffs contested the legality and came under heavy fire from many Colorado residents. However, others are continuing to point out the harmful effects of marijuana on the brain and other areas of our bodies.

For example, a new study published last week in the journal Hippocampus finds that young adults who smoked cannabis frequently as teens performed 18 percent worse on memory tests than young adults who did not smoke. Further, the researchers discovered that the former smokers’ hippocampi were abnormally shaped.

The study looked at patients in their early 20s who smoked cannabis everyday for 2-3 years while they were ages 16 and 17. At the time of the hippocampus study, they had been off the drug for at least 2 years. All patients indicated previous to testing that had only used marijuana and did not abuse any other type of drugs.

Memory tests were performed on the subjects involving listening to a few stories for one minute. After a 20-30 minute period, the participants were asked to recall as much of the content of the stories as possible. Results showed that the participants who were habitual smokers scored lower than those who did not smoke marijuana.

Further, brain-mapping tools allowed the researchers to study the shape of each of the participant’s brains. Those individuals who smoked marijuana had abnormally shaped hippocampi, which interestingly, is the part of the brain that controls memory. Although the abnormality was sometimes small, it was still there when the participants had smoked marijuana.

The study indicates that the abnormality in the hippocampi could be linked to the poor memory in the administered tests. Research has been done on memory and the hippocampus separately, but this study by Hippocampus is one of the first studies that link the two.

Although more studies will need to be done to further confirm the link between marijuana, hippocampus shape, and memory, the three Colorado Springs sheriffs, along with many others, are relying upon evidence such as this to reverse the legalization of marijuana in Colorado.

Sources: gazette.com, Hippocampus


lovingspousethroughrecoveryLoving your Spouse through Recovery

One of the lowest points in a marriage may come when a spouse is battling an addiction of any kind. Challenges arise throughout the process of addiction recovery, from the feelings of hopelessness of a spouse while their partner is actively involved in their addiction, to the optimism (as well as anger) that can arise when a spouse begins recovery. With the persistent threat of relapse lingering, the emotional roller coaster in marriage during recovery can continue for many years.

Recovery is never easy for an addict or their spouse but getting support and giving love and support are two ways to overcome difficulties and keep your marriage intact.

An important key to loving your spouse through recovery is to first take care of yourself. Self-care, or meeting your own needs and wants, is key to being supportive to your spouse. Your spouse’s addiction most likely has had a devastating impact on you personally. Through self-care as well as educational workshops, family therapy sessions and family visits, spouses learn new skills right alongside their loved one and can practice those skills to strengthen themselves and the marriage. Recovery programs often recommend resources in the local community as well, including therapy and Al-Anon, S-Anon, or other meetings.

When you’re living with a spouse who is addicted to something harmful, you’ve likely grown accustomed to dysfunction in your marriage. You may have alternated between being the spouse who tries to fix all of the addict’s mistakes to the disengaged spouse who just wants some peace. Without intending to, you may have assumed some unhealthy roles, such as an enabler or codependency. Through therapy and counseling, you can identify unhealthy patterns and learn more positive ways to get your needs met that will ultimately help your spouse as well.

Loving and supporting your spouse during the first months – during early recovery – can prove to be the most challenging and difficult. Many significant life changes happen in the first year of sobriety. During that time, addicts in recovery need to be somewhat “selfish,” focusing on themselves in order to maintain sobriety and rebuild their lives. This can leave some spouses feeling neglected and resentful.

What a recovering spouse needs more than anything is the support and love from their partner.

You can be there for your spouse – and help preserve your marriage – by doing the following: educating yourself, taking care of yourself, keeping communication lines between you open, being patient, avoiding blame, working toward forgiveness, and preparing for setbacks. It’s also important to understand that your relationship may change; in fact, it may end all together. Your spouse’s progress may be slow, or it may be surprisingly quick. They may meet new friends, excel at work and perhaps even outshine you. Allowing your spouse some freedom to explore who they are without their addiction, can bring a positive shift in responsibilities and dynamics to your home.

For most couples with a spouse in addiction recovery, life won’t miraculously fall into place without a lot of hard work by both partners. Recovery can deepen and strengthen the bonds of marriage, but taking care of yourself and each other is key. Loving your spouse through recovery is difficult and draining, but the rewards and benefits are often worth the effort.



Source: crchealth.com

drugsinmilitaryDrug abuse in the military

How serious is the problem of drug abuse in the military? For a couple of decades, drug use in the military seemed to be on the decline. But, recently, new research shows that the problem is climbing again. In fact, some research shows that while some individuals are entering the military to “shape up” and turn their lives around and “get clean”, many of these young people are bringing their drug habits with them into military service.

Recent reports cite statistics such as:

  • over 17,000 people have been discharged from the U.S. military due to drug abuse since 1999
  • The Navy has discharged more individuals (3,400) because of drug use during the time since 1999 than any of the other branches of the armed services
  • Since 1999, failed drug tests in the U.S. Air Force have increased by 82%, and in the U.S. Army by 37% as well

Drug abuse in the U.S. military can threaten our national security simply because being under the influence of drugs will lower the readiness of our troops. Drugs undermine military authority and the strict order that prevails in military society. And, most importantly, drugs damage human lives – in this case, the lives of the brave military men and women who risk their lives to fight for our freedoms.

As far as identifying which drugs are used most prevalently in the U.S. military, there are some drugs to which soldiers seem to drift toward more than others: marijuana, cocaine, and opiates. Marijuana is undoubtedly the most used drug in the military mostly because it is relatively easy for soldiers to obtain. Marijuana is often used to escape the stressors provided by the wartime environment temporarily. Cocaine and other stimulants are used by soldiers to stay alert throughout the course of long stretches of duty. However, the subsequent “crash” after using cocaine or other stimulants can be very dangerous since it leaves soldiers in a weakened state during what could be times of emergency. Further, opiates, such as Vicodin and OxyContin are becoming more widespread in the military because of the euphoric effects they have on individuals. Many soldiers will, in fact, have opiates shipped in from home, or brought over with incoming military personnel. Opiates can provide escape and self-medication against the horrors of war that soldiers regularly encounter.

The reasons for the increase use of drugs in the military are many. Because soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are constantly under fire from the enemy insurgents, coping with this strain on a day-to-day basis in the military field has forced many to turn to drugs as a means of self-medication and a coping mechanism. Also, although the “zero tolerance” policy has been in place in the military for several years, soldiers have greater access to drugs than ever before. Sadly, family members and friends sometimes ship the drugs overseas via courier, or soldiers returning to duty may bring them back from the U.S. as well. Another reason for drug abuse is the long periods of inactivity, which occur after the intense action. Long stretches of time where there is little to do can allow for experimentation with and or escape from the boredom by using drugs. Lastly, many soldier use the drugs to become more alert or aware during patrols or late night/nighttime duties.

Drug abuse in the military has several negative effects. Soldiers are risking their own personal safety with slowed reaction times and confusion, they are putting the lives of other soldiers in jeopardy by impairing their own judgment, and they are creating an environment which is not stable and controlled – completely opposite from the structured regimented atmosphere the military thrives on.




Officers in Utah seize possible KrokodilZombie” drug

A recent Utah Weber/Morgan Narcotic strike force drug bust found almost 20 pounds of methamphetamine and the “zombie drug” also known as “krokodil” in a man’s home in West Valley City. Although the substance believed to be krokodil has not officially been proven as such, if it is in fact the “zombie drug,” it will be of “great concern that such a large supply is available right here in Utah” according to Utah agencies.

Officials first started seeing the flesh-eating “zombie drug” in Utah back in 2013. Health officials in the state indicate that there have been two cases in Utah they believe are tied to the drug. CNN reports that “this extremely addictive injectable opioid is called krokodil (pronounced like crocodile) or desomorphine.” Doctors around the country are seeing more effects from the zombie drug; including Dr. Abhin Singla. Recently, Singla reported that he treated a woman who was suffering from krokodil addiction. The woman lost a significant portion of her legs due to the drug he said. “It’s a zombie drug — it literally kills you from the inside out,” Singla said. “If you want way to die, this is a way to die.”

Krokodil causes serious damage to the veins and soft tissue infections, rapidly followed by gangrene and necrosis. The soft tissue damage mostly happens around the injection site. The drug also seems to clump in the veins as it fails to dissolve completely in the blood. The clumps make their way to distant places in the body and begin to damage tissue.

Although it’s not clear how widely used the drug is in the US, reports show that the use is rising, and the fact that it could be hitting closer to home in Utah is especially of concern. The fact that krokodil is cheaper than heroin and can be easily cooked up in someone’s home much like meth makes it easier to create than some other drugs. Also, people making krokodil sometimes combine the painkiller codeine with easily available chemicals. They can use iodine; strong alkalies such as Mr. Muscle, a kitchen and bathroom cleaner; hydrochloric acid; red phosphorous from matches; and/or organic solvents such as gasoline or paint thinner, according to recent studies. Further, mortality rates are high among users. Medical help is often only sought after users are in the late stages of their addiction and end up with severe mutilations, rotting gums, bone infections, decayed structure of the jaw and facial bones, sores and ulcers on the forehead and skull as well as rotting ears, noses and lips and liver and kidney problems.

Often the “zombie” drug is believed to be heroin; individuals don’t know how dangerous what they are purchasing really is. “I think it’s the tip of the iceberg; I think it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better,” said Dr. Singla, the addiction specialist. “I think if it (krokodil) stays on the market long enough, you’re going to have people who are desperate addicts that can’t support their heroin habit but can utilize this drug, not really caring about the consequences, and get the same high for a third of the price.”

Sources: Fox News Utah, CNN

The short half-life of the drug means a user’s attention is narrowed to the “process of acquiring and preparing and administering the drug, leaving little time for matters other than avoiding withdrawal and chasing (the) high,” according to one medical study, hence its reputation for creating “zombies.”

Binges on the drug reportedly last over several days. During the binge, a user can show irrational behavior and experience sleep deprivation and exhaustion, memory loss and speech problems.

According to the Joliet hospital, the five people brought in who may have used krokodil said they thought they were buying heroin.


meowmeowMeow Meow

Meow Meow, a new synthetic drug, has emerged, and individuals need to be warned about the potential dangers of using it. Meow Meow, the common name for mephedrone, is a synthetic psychoactive drug, a type of designer amphetamine that produces effects similar to those of both MDMA and cocaine.

Rolling Stone Magazine recently reported, “The popular dance magazine Mixmag published a reader survey in 2009 identifying Meow Meow as the fourth most popular drug (after weed, molly and cocaine), and in 2010, another survey from the publication reported that 75 percent of its readers had used the drug since the ban in the UK in 2010.”

Individuals take this drug to feel a sense of euphoria. Created to make users fully sense everything around them and increase their mood, Meow Meow is extremely addictive and carries with it serious side effects. The drug causes poor concentration, erratic behavior, and hallucinations. Further, it has been found to cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which can be very dangerous.

However, the largest and most prominent side effect of Meow Meow is a loss of memory. Researchers who have studied Meow Meow have found that the drug has a massive impact on the brain. Through experimentation on mice, they have found that regular use of the drug can cause both large amounts of memory loss and overall poor concentration. Frighteningly, users can forget things that have happened to them in the past or while using the drug.

While it first grew in popularity in the UK and Australia, the drug is slowly making its way into the United States. Authorities are aware of this drug and are doing what they can to keep Meow Meow from entering the country and off the streets.

ExerciseAndDrugUseNew Study: Even Occasional Exercise Helps Reduce Meth Use

Many studies related to both addiction and recovery have shown a correlation between exercise and improved recovery. However, past results of studies of this nature indicated that exercise must be regular and consistent to obtain significant recovery. A new study (11/2014) by the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) found that even brief workouts can reduce the risk of relapse in rats withdrawing from methamphetamine. The researchers concluded that even short-term exercise produces positive treatment results.

An Associate Professor at TSRI, Chitra Mandyam, also senior author of the new study, published in the journal Brain Structure and Function indicates that, “There was no correlation between length of workout and risk of relapse—it’s the mere involvement in the activity of physical fitness, rather than how much time you can put in.” She further indicates, “that’s really important if we are going to translate this to humans.”

In San Diego County alone, the rise in the number of methamphetamine users has recently had dire consequences, with the county reporting a 55-percent increase in meth-related deaths since 2008. Many other parts of the US have been similarly affected. The Scripps study was aimed at finding recovery solutions for the rising meth problem the United States is facing.

In the Scripps study, researchers used a lab experiment with rats to determine the beneficial effects of just brief or sporadic exercise on methamphetamine-using behavior. Previously, these researchers had determined that regular access to exercise over a six-week period of time substantially reduced the rate of cocaine intake in another group of rats. However, in the current study, the researchers trained a group of rats to self-administer doses of methamphetamine, and gave them access to the drug afterwards. This time, instead of allowing the rats to exercise for weeks prior to receiving drug access, they only let them exercise for a set number of hours. The researchers concluded that, when the rats involved in the experiment only had the opportunity to exercise briefly prior to receiving access to methamphetamine, their use of the drug still decreased substantially in comparison to times when no opportunity to exercise was made available. This was different from previous studies, where the rats were exercising regularly and also had results.

Interestingly, Mandyam indicated that, “Right now, there is no FDA-approved medicine for methamphetamine addiction. Discovering novel pathways in the brain that could be associated specifically with the withdrawal and relapse stage may lead to new avenues for therapeutics.”

The findings of this new study may indicate that methamphetamine users who occasionally exercise during recovery may still experience significant recovery from meth. In addition, they believe that the benefits of exercise may manifest quickly as opposed to appearing only after extended periods of time. Hopefully, these findings will hold true and occasional exercise can be an effective tool for helping recovering meth addicts achieve their goals


“There are 23 million people in America who are addicted, and yet it’s a problem that we don’t talk about” – David Sheff, Author and Journalist

methAbstinenceGood News: Abstinence from Meth can Produce Recovery in Brain Functions

Recently, a study was conducted that indicates that it takes at least one year for brain functions to improve in meth users, but it is possible. These findings bring hope to recovering meth abusers and their families and help them understand that it can take a while for the user’s brain to regain impulse control.

The study was conducted by Ruth Salo, a UC Davis assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and lead author of the study. She indicates that, “Recovery from meth abuse does not happen overnight. It may take a year—or even longer—for cognitive processes such as impulse control and attentional focus to improve. Treatment programs need to consider this when monitoring recovering addicts’ progress during their early periods of abstinence.”

These findings indicate that recovering meth users and their families can find hope in the fact that the brain can recover but individuals may also struggle with the fact that recovery does take some time. Salo indicates further that meth addiction is difficult to treat because there are prolonged, intense cravings associated with meth. She has worked with hundreds of meth addicts and specializes in the behavioral, neuropsychiatric, and cognitive outcomes of meth addiction. She knows that people in recovery (whether inpatient or outpatient) need confidence that they can succeed in order to continue their fight against their meth addiction.

In the report, Salo indicates that “All of them (recovering meth addicts) want to know if there is hope.” She says, “We used to think most, if not all, effects of meth addiction were permanent. This study adds to the growing evidence that this assumption is not true. I can confidently tell patients that the longer they stay in a structured rehabilitation program (inpatient or outpatient) and remain drug free, the more likely it is that they will recover some important brain functions.”

Salo also performed studies in relation to meth recovery in 2005 and in combining the results of the recent study with the past study she finds more confidence and hope that meth users can regain their brain functions. This good news is critical since meth use is becoming a worldwide pandemic. In understanding the long term consequences of continuing meth use and the long term consequences of abstinence from meth use, Salo hopes to continue to inspire the latter and give confidence to those who are fighting back against this addiction.

SurgeinOlderAdultDrugAbuseSurge in Older Adult Drug Abuse

Much attention has recently been focused on the rise of prescription drug abuse by those in their later years. Interestingly, the baby boomer generation is playing a big role in this surge as it adds to the trend the use of marijuana. A recent government study indicated that more than 4 million adults over the age of 50 are smoking marijuana and abusing prescription drugs. The study further describes how the rates of abuse among the 50+ age group almost doubled between 2002 and 2007. Even more troubling is that the government report says that over the next two decades, with the baby boomer generation aging more, the number of older adults using drugs will increase even more. This dramatic increase will demand more treatment services for this generation and the demand is only continuing to rise.

The report, based on data collected during 2006-2008 from almost 20,000 U.S. adults born between 1946 and 1964, found that marijuana use was more prevalent among those aged 50 to 59, while prescription drug abuse was more common in those 65 and older, as indicated by Madeline Ellis of Health News. Further, the new report shows that more men than women (8.5 percent vs. 3.9 percent) aged 50 to 54 indicated using marijuana in the previous year. However, less than 1 percent of older adults said they had used drugs other than marijuana or prescription medications. This is an interesting finding in that heroin, meth, and other substance abuse is on the rise, but the baby boomer generation prefers marijuana and prescriptions.

It’s becoming apparent that many of the baby boomers who picked up drug habits in their teens never stopped and matured into adulthood while continuing to use drugs.   Quoting Dr. Ihsan M Salloum, chief of the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse: Treatment and Research at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, “This is becoming more and more apparent in practice. You have both prescription drugs being used that people can become addicted to and also people who have had a pattern of use from before.”

So, for many baby boomer and older adults, this pattern of drug abuse is proving difficult to break. Many of these individuals were used to smoking a joint to calm them down to sleep when they were younger. Now, they’ve simply just switched to sleeping pills to help with this and other pills to help deal with other things in their lives. It is obvious that both drug treatment centers and medical facilities need to be ready for this surge of older adults continuing to use drugs.   Finding solutions for this age group may prove challenging since the addictions of these individuals will be so long term in comparison to the new addictions many treatment centers are used to treating people for.


© 2022 Turning Point Centers | All Rights Reserved