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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

There is often a fine line between treatment of addiction and exacerbation of addiction when legal pharmaceuticals intended to alleviate addiction in turn become abused by non-prescribed users. In the case of using opioids (medications to relieve pain such as legal pharmaceuticals Vicodin, OxyContin and hydrocodone, and also the illegal drug heroin) an ongoing use of it causes brain abnormalities to develop that restructure, or rewire, the brain to become dependent or addicted to opioid. Pharmaceuticals have been proven to be effective in treating brain abnormalities underlying addiction, but there is an ever-rising concern that these very medications invite new addictions thereby giving the effect of giving with one hand and taking away with the other, thus compromising the entire goal of treating addiction and potentially increasing the American drug epidemic.

Did you know that over three million Americans have been prescribed Suboxone (pharmaceutical name is buprenorphine) for the treatment of opioid addiction, including heroin. But in 2010 alone, approximately seven million Americans unlawfully used prescription medications for non-medical purposes. And while suboxone and methadone have achieved successful results such as diminishing withdrawal symptoms and lessening the cravings for drugs there are certain concerns for both. With suboxone one of the most compelling concerns surrounding opioid treatment is the manufacture of the opioids themselves which results in the availability of these drugs to the public. For instance, incidents of emergency room visits due to Suboxone complications rose tenfold from 2005 to 2010, with 3,161 and 30,135 hospital intakes respectively. And while research surveys show that Suboxone is rarely deadly, deaths resulting from methadone are alarmingly on the rise. From 1999 to 2005, methadone-poisoning deaths increased by 486 percent compared to a 66-percent increase in all deaths due to overall poisoning.

Highlighted by additional statistics and infographics, the article goes into great detail about the following:

- The difference between opiods, opiates and opium

- Safeguards that can be implemented to curb the dangers of Suboxone such as developing drug-testing apparatuses that are sensitive to Suboxone detection


Posted by on in Drug Addiction

The problem of dual diagnosis & diseases of addiction have a comorbidity rate of 53% and climbing each year. One newer study suggests the rate of this comorbidity of both illnesses is actually closer to 2/3rds of people with depression who also have substance abuse/addiction problems.  The connection between those who have addiction and are depressed is so strong and an unavoidable problem when it comes to treatment, that people are quick to believe and perceive that it is the addiction which is causing the depression. The newest evidence has shown that quite the opposite happens in many instances.  It's like the old what came fist the chicken or the egg theory; And with addiction & depression/mental illness, it is not that simple a question to answer, but there are some answers that help doctors every day to diagnose and decide which is the primary illness and which is the secondary or if they co-exist.  

There are 3 types of groups which are studied under the Mental Health & Drug Abuse Coalition. The 1st, is people who have depression or other mental illness, may seek help but find what they are given is not working, so they begin to experiment with other ways to alleviate their symptoms, such as alcohol and drugs, leading quickly to an addiction once the patient feels the substance has "cured" their symptoms. It is the very well-known phrase of "self-medicating" which was actually a term and theory first coined by a few doctors which included the author of many books on the subject of "self-medicating" with opiates, alcohol, cocaine & other drugs, Doctor Edward Khantzian, a psychiatrist from Haverhill Massachusetts, and a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard University, who first published this hypothesis of self-medicating with heroin for depression in a 1985 paper, which expanded until it was accepted as a true theory and still used today to explain diagnosis & treatment.  In this case it is shown that a person had an onset FIRST of mental illness, and then the drug addiction came next. 

The 2nd group is those who are people who are chronic drug abusers, ie: addicts. They use their drug of choice daily and over time, they begin to develop mental illness symptoms, causing them to then increase their use and making it very difficult to stop. This group of people are difficult to convince to access treatment or professional help, because they are usually so afraid of trying to seek treatment for the depression, for the sole purpose of being scared that their addiction will be be discovered. Certain drugs, almost all of them, including ecstasy, alcohol, opiates, methamphetamine, cocaine & more, have been shown in advanced clinical research, including brain scans of addicts, with results showing that their drug use has directly caused malfunctions in major centers of the brain where a person's impulse control, emotion regularity, reasoning, cognitive ability and many more areas are damaged by the chronic drug use.  So this group usually begins with trying different illicit or pharmaceutical drugs. finding one they like, and after chronic, daily use, their brains are actually being damaged on many levels, in many areas by the very drug they use.  So first the drug addiction starts, and then sets in the mental illness symptoms, like depression & anxiety, bipolar and many others. 

The 3rd group of people are those who have co-occurring conditions that are ongoing and increase in severity. The drugs do not alleviate the depression, anxiety, or other mental illness symptoms quite well enough to consider themselves in good mental health, but the substance abuse has already caused further damage to their brains in many areas, making it that they are the hardest group of patients to treat. They are however, the people who are most likely TO seek treatment for both illnesses, knowing very well they both exist at all times and are aware of it daily.  The usually might begin by asserting or believing that their depression, low mood, anxiety, panic attacks, loneliness, bouts of crying for no apparent reason, mania, hypomania, isolation, etc are all directly the result of being forced to stop their drug of choice or attempt to stop on their own.  They attribute these mental and mood changes to withdrawal, but they aren't; in fact it is that they DO now have a very clear diagnosable mental illness caused by the changes in their brains from the chronic drug use and since they have stopped using these drugs, the symptoms are now more present and bothersome than ever before. So this group already had mental illness but was made much worse by chronic long-term drug use. 

When patients with dual-diagnosis are treated they have a fairly good rate of recovery IF they adhere to taking medications and make serious changes in their lifestyles. When you have such chronic drug abuse and depression it is hard for doctors to decipher which symptoms are causing the other so dual diagnosis treatment first is used to detoxify the patient from the drugs and stabilize them so they are not in pain. Once this is done they can begin to introduce therapeutic programs as well as medications for bipolar, depression, anxiety or any other mental illness, as is indicated. They are monitored closely throughout every 24 hour period, their vitals checked for stability, dosages changed daily if that needs to be done, and the patient upon release is given very specific and easy to follow directions for returning home. This typically includes an intake for an intensive outpatient program (IOP), meeting schedules, individual therapy set-up, follow up appointments with doctors and if needed, an appointment with a clinic for continued use of subutex or suboxone. 

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Posted by on in Recommended Reading

health disorders.


Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became effective March 2010, with Obamacare open enrollment launching October of last year, one of the most pertinent questions often associated with the ACA is can Obamacare change the face of addiction treatment? Its a burning question as prior to the ACA being signed, US citizens who had faced addiction struggled to pay for the services they needed to recover. Did you know that 38.2% of Americans living with addiction couldn't get care because they lacked health care coverage? The US Department of Health and Services believe the ACA can make a tremendous impact, giving 27 million people with no insurance covered through the ACA. But with this cloud of potential circling the ACA and its bright future towards addiction reform is it merely just a smoke screen? 


To help better understand this divisive topic FRN with their partner Michael’s House, a nationally recognized drug and rehab center in the US, have created a website detailing the potential effect Obamacare will have towards treatment. Detailed with charts and info graphics, the website goes into detail about the following:

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Overcoming an addiction is more than just stopping the use of drugs and alcohol  . It means starting over completely – changing every aspect of one’s life to eradicate old, destructive behaviors and thought processes that lead to them and replacing these with more positive choices. 

It can be a long, lonely process and many find that what sabotages their progress is not a craving for drugs and alcohol but the deep desire to reconnect with their old life and all the people in it, even if it means putting their life in danger with a return to drug and alcohol use. 

Beating this loneliness can be the key to a successful recovery. Here are five tips to help you or your loved one in early recovery find the support they need to stay true to their goal of long-term sobriety:

1. Go to 12-step meetings. Alcoholics Anonymous (,Narcotics Anonymous , and a host of other 12-step meetings provide an instant community of people who are not only understanding of what you’ve been through but also attempting to accomplish the same task. Though you may not connect personally with anyone immediately, it’s a quick fix to remind you that you are not alone in your journey. 

2. Meet with a therapist regularly. Regularly seeing someone who can help you sift through your feelings, isolate underlying issues, and hold you accountable in recovery can help you to feel grounded and focused on progress rather than emptiness.

3. Rebuild old relationships that were damaged by addiction. Not all relationships that were damaged by addiction will be able to be repaired in recovery – and not all of them should be. But relationships with positive people can be rebuilt to be a good influence in your new life in recovery. Patience is required, however, as it can take time to learn how to communicate effectively, get needs met, and rebuild trust.

4. Make new connections in recovery. Making new positive connections and friendships is one of the gifts of recovery. It’s important, however, to take it slow and get to know people before investing too heavily in a new friendship. You want to make sure that you are making a positive connection that will help you both continue moving forward toward your personal goals. NOTE: Early recovery is not the time to connect with new people romantically. Romantic relationships can take the focus off your progress in recovery and trigger a relapse if things go awry or the relationship ends.

5. Become your own best friend. “Alone” doesn’t have to mean “lonely” if you fill your life with positive people and work on building your own self-esteem and confidence in yourself and your abilities. When you’re by yourself, you can indulge in your hobbies, work toward goals in your education or your career, or take care of yourself by eating well and working out. When you prioritize your health and wellness first, you increase your ability to connect with others positively and move forward in recovery too.

Learn more about how you can overcome the obstacles that face addicts and alcoholics   in early recovery when you reach out to us at Futures at the number above today.

Learn more about extended case here:

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

During the summer months, rates of drug and alcohol abuse increase significantly, especially among teens  and young adults who are out of school and spend time unsupervised. MemorialDay   through LaborDay   is the time for barbecuesbeach parties and BYOB get-togethers, and as a result, more people celebrate using recreational drugs and alcohol. This, in turn, usually translates into higher rates of drugged driving accidents, #emergency   room visits, and arrests related to substance abuse.

In fact, the (  reports that 5,800 teens will smoke marijuana for the first time every day between May and August; an estimated 40 percent of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 report that their first use of the drug was during this period. Also, the organization Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD) (  report that more teenagers die in car accidents between June and September than other times of the year – and this doesn’t include the number of people who lost their lives when they met up with these and other young people under the influence on the road. 

How can you protect yourself and your family this summer?

Protecting Yourself

There are a number of different ways that you can protect yourself – both from harming yourself and others by your own substance abuse or from becoming a victim of someone else’s poor choices. 

First, monitor your own drinking and drug intake. Don’t drink more than one alcoholic beverage every couple of hours, and if you’re out in the sun, make sure to be liberal with the sunscreen. Of course, if you are drinking, make sure that you have a designated driver.

If someone you care about is prone to erratic behavior when under the influence you can:

• Pay attention to how much they drink or if they abuse any substances and put some space between the two of you if he or she seems intoxicated.
• Ask someone else to drive you home if that person has your keys.
• If you feel that you are in danger in any way, ask for help.

Another option is to offer your loved one help in dealing with substance abuse if it’s a chronic problem. Some families find it useful to take pictures of them – or short videos – when they are under the influence in order to show them later exactly how they change. Many people don’t realize how out of control they are when they are drinking until they see the evidence. 

Protecting Your Family

When kids are unsupervised during the summer, they may be more likely to find ways to amuse themselves that include substance abuse. You can help your kids make better choices by:

• Enrolling them in supervised activities during the summer
• Helping them find a summer job
• Knowing where they are at all times and checking in frequently
• Knowing whom your kids are spending time with
• Making it clear that you do not approve of or tolerate drug use of any kind
• Talking to your kids about how they can gracefully and safely exit situations where they are confronted with drugs and alcohol

If someone in your family is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you can help them overcome the problem by enrolling them in a treatment program. Contact us at Futures now to find out more about our comprehensive evaluation and diagnostic process that can set up your loved one for success in recovery.

Click here for further reading: 

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Life is different after #addiction   in so many ways. The line between those who drink and get high and those who don’t can appear like a dividing wall in some situations. Here are just a few things that only sober people can understand – and "  #Norms" never will. 

1. People often act like it’s a shocking thing that you don’t drink. Pretty frequently, maybe half the time, people respond to your assertion that you don’t drink with genuine #shock and awe. Maybe they really mean that they couldn’t possibly do it or maybe they can’t understand why anyone would want to. Either way, it happens.

2. People tend to spend a lot more money on drinks than they realize. Alcohol costs money, and under the influence people tend to spend more than they would otherwise on other things as well. Sober people can sit back and watch the bill pile up and quickly.

3.  #Dating is that much harder when your date drinks heavily. As if getting to know someone or going on a blind date weren’t hard enough – when that person wants to get a beer before dinner or chugs through half a bottle of wine over appetizers, it can be disconcerting. On the other hand, it’s never been easier to immediately identify an incompatible match when this happens. 

4. People just assume you’ll be the #designated driver. Just because you don’t plan on drinking, it doesn’t mean that you want to chauffeur a bunch of drunk people around town – but most of the time, that’s the assumption. 

5. There are no non-alcoholic alternatives at toasts. It may seem like a small thing, but it can make you feel awkward when everyone else lifts a glass of champagne at the wedding and you have to either lift a glass of water, only pretend to take a drink after, or lift nothing at all.

6. Sometimes it’s easier to lie. Rather than deal with questions or awkwardness, sometimes it’s just easier to say that you don’t feel like drinking than it is to explain that you’re sober.

7. People will push alcohol on you. Your choice not to drink  is one that you have to make every day and is sometimes harder than others. It’s not helpful or funny or cute when people attempt to coerce you into having “just one.”

8. Sometimes you lose friends because you’re sober and it's tough. Some people don’t want to be around someone who doesn’t drink or get high even if that person has been a longtime friend and is making a far larger concession to continue hanging out with them. It can hurt, and that kind of rejection can make you stronger, or it can tear down your ability to stay #sober   Either way, it’s no small thing.

What are some things that you now understand in #sobriety that you might not have when you were drinking or using drugs? Leave a comment below. 

For further reading on getting and staying sober, please read here: 

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Synthetic Drug Overdose Rates Rising


Synthetic drugs like K2 and spice are not just a flash-in-the-pan trend – nor are they harmless. The rate of overdose caused by the use and abuse of synthetic substances is on the rise, and it’s a problem that doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. 


According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), synthetic drugs were first identified in the US in 2008; only two different kinds were identified in 2009. In 2012, however, 51 new versions of synthetic cannabinoids and 31 new types of synthetic cathinones were identified. Additionally, another 76 versions of synthetic substances were seized on the black market in 2012, bringing the total number of new types of the drug to 158. 


Posted by on in Gambling Addiction

Hello And Happy Memorial Weekend Recovery Friends!



Some days living life in recovery can be a bit of a challenge. What I mean is, no matter how much recovery time one gets under their belt, we still may have a day when something from our “Wicked Past Addiction” just might come back and ‘Bitch Slap’ us in the face of our present.
It’s why it’s important to ALWAYS have a plan. And especially for long holiday weekends like this one, *Memorial Weekend*…



Even when that “Slap” comes around, we need to have a safe plan to deal with Life on Life’s terms. I mean, our higher power never said recovery was going to be an easy journey right? Here is what happened to me a while back. When we moved from So. Oregon, to here in Glendale, Arizona,…it was a very traumatic move for me in many ways. I had to adopt out my 2 baby kitties, actually my good friend who has a mini 3 acre ranch took them for us, but it was traumatic for me. Also the 3 day ride in the car was also a traumatic event for me, and had to stay a wee bit extra medicated with my psych meds for the long trip, as I suffer from Bipolar depression, mild PTSD, and Agoraphobia with panic, so need I say more? When we finally got her to AZ we were living with my husbands siblings until we could move back to Oregon. Well, there was SO much DRAMA and arguing that I was having 5 panic attacks a Week!!

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction


“But the thing about remembering is that you don’t forget.”

― Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried

While addiction is viewed in most corners of the treatment and recovery communities (including the American Society of Addiction Medicine)  as a chronic and relapsing brain disease,  as I have pointed out in previous posts, this is usually a  difficult idea for families and friend of addicts to accept.  It is particularly hard when relapse occurs after a long period of sobriety.  Loved ones wonder how   a loss of control can  occur when life has been normal and predictable   for an extended period of time.  It seems as though the addict made a terrible choice, with no thought at all about the impact such an eventful decision would have on everyone else.  Is that the case?   Yet another complicated question, but it is important to understand that, even after extended periods of sobriety and stability,  brain structure and brain chemistry still matter. (Please continue reading)

Animal studies and imaging studies of the human brain have taught us that all natural reinforcerssuch as food and sex, and all psychoactive drugs  increase the production of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, which is a structure in the basal forebrain sometimes referred to as the brain’s“pleasure center”.  When this part of the brain receives  a massive  hit of dopamine from the ingestion of a drug, the user feels high, and the experience of this huge reward constitutes  a powerful learning experience. Repeated experiences of intense reward eventually make other parts of life far less interesting and important to the brain than the pursuit and use of addictive substances and activities. Moreover  and very importantly, the flow of dopamine to the nucleus accumbens  increases not only when the addict is using a drug, but when the addict’s brain anticipates receiving it because it is coming into contact with cues that are associated with use.  This is why 12-step programs remind people in recovery to avoid “slippery people places and things”. Those slippery entities are paving the way to relapse by priming the brain with a dopamine rush.


Posted by on in Other Addictions


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