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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Current hurdles to providing individualized addiction treatment:

According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 142 Americans die every single day from drug overdose. These people need saved, and it has to happen on an individual basis. As of now, there just is no other way to do it. Some may argue a broader approach by doing things like reducing access to opioids. Though this could help some, the problem is actually more complex. As access is limited, people are increasingly turning to street opioids, heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, a mixture of each, or other dangerous and illegal drugs. The real problem is that despite all our efforts, only 10 percent of the almost 21 million Americans addicted to drugs receive any level of treatment. Lack of access to health care and the fear of stigma contribute to this epidemic.

This video explains the need for individualized addiction treatment in more detail:

Also, more information can be found here.

The statistic mentioned above are from the Commission Interim Report

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

What is Drug Abuse?


Almost every person who is addicted to drugs first began by abusing drugs. Abusing drugs is defined as “intentional misuse, overuse, or habitual taking of legal or illegal drugs.” With illegal drug abuse often occurs fairly fast. As the user begins to use more their tolerance increases and they require more of the substance to get ‘high’. The drug abuse may begin as a once a week occurrence and escalate to a few times a week, then becoming a daily habit. In the case of legal drugs, such as alcohol and prescription medications, the drug usage often begins moderate and may stay that way for long periods of time before reaching the abuse stage. Alcohol abuse occurs when the person starts drinking more than a mild amount, drinking to intoxication and drinking more often than usual. The CDC defines alcohol abuse as “the misuse of alcohol; drinking over 5 drinks per day.” People usually fall into prescription pill abuse through a valid prescription from the doctor. The drug abuse begins when the person begins taking the pills more frequently than prescribed or taking more pills than prescribed. When this occurs, the person often goes to get more prescriptions, extra refills, or buys the pills off the streets. All of the forms of drug abuse described have a common theme, it involves an intentional misuse or overuse of a substance to bring about intoxication or get high. People abusing drugs may even require detox or medication to come off of the drugs.

What is Drug Addiction?


Psychologists define drug addiction as a physical dependency and/or a mental obsession towards using a certain substance. In earlier posts I have defined how people with addiction become addicted to drugs; through the dopamine reward pathways and pleasure center of the brain. Basically, the brain becomes used to the chemicals and actions that the drugs have on the brain. Eventually, with chronic use, the brain starts to become dependent on the drugs and stop producing its own natural chemicals. That is why when the addicted person stops they go into withdrawals, since their brain is not producing the chemicals naturally. Most people with addiction also have a mental obsession towards the drug. This means that they spend large amounts of time and energy a.) thinking about using the drug b.) finding or obtaining the drug c.) using and intoxicated by the drug. When forced to go long periods without the drug, the addicted person often becomes irritable and thinks about the next time they will get to use.

So What’s the Difference?



Posted by on in Drug Addiction

In addiction treatment, inhalant abuse and addiction is largely overlooked in lieu of the more prevalent drugs such as alcohol, opiates, meth, etc. While inhalant abuse may not be as common as some other substances, the effects and devastation brought on by inhalant abuse can be equal, if not more severe than other drugs. In Orlando the death of a prominent attorney  due to inhalant abuse has compelled me to write about the dark world of inhalant abuse. With inhalant abuse, as with all substance abuses, awareness is the greatest tool in preventing abuse and getting people help. In this post, I will explain exactly what is inhalant abuse as well as the signs and symptoms of someone abusing inhalants.

What is Inhalant Abuse?

Inhalant abuse, in street slang, is usually called ‘huffing’ or ‘sniffing’. National Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC) defines inhalant abuse as “the intentional misuse, via inhalation, of common household, school and workplace products and chemicals to “get high.” The most commonly abused inhalants are all legal household products; such as computer duster, paint thinners, aerosol cleaners, butane liquid, and gasoline. Other inhalants can be purchased at smoke shops or head shops and include whipped cream aerosols, ‘whippets’, and nitrites, or the slang term ‘poppers’. Different forms of inhalants contain various chemicals and solvents that produce the high people experience when abusing them. The action brought about by these chemicals are all very similar, they deprive the brain of oxygen and blood flow. When the brain experiences a lack of blood or oxygen, similar to the feeling of being light headed, the person experiences a feeling of dissociation that can result in dizziness, unconsciousness, and even death.  Aerosols and dusters also have the danger of freezing the users lungs, instantly causing death. The pressurized air could drop below freezing temperatures and damage or actually freeze the lungs. Almost a 1/3rdof deaths from inhalants happen during the users first experience, but could happen to even seasoned inhalant abusers. When the brain undergoes a sudden lack of oxygen, the person experiences a sense of euphoria. What the inhalant abuser does not realize is the euphoria is a result of a near death experience, the brain being deprived of oxygen is releasing neurotransmitters in response. This high is fast-acting and addictive. The cost and accessibility of inhalants make it an attractive drug for young adults and even children.  The NIPC reported over 300 inhalant related deaths alone in 2014.

Signs & Symptoms of Abuse

The signs of someone who is abusing inhalants is almost as wide-ranging as the types of inhalants available. Here is a simple list of common signs…

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

College is a difficult time in a young person's life. It is usually the first time that a student has ever been on their own and the first time that a student can ever meaningfully lose out on educational opportunities due to bad scholastic performance. Students need to juggle their studies, their social engagements, and mundane responsibilities like laundry, food, and sleep. This requires time management skills that most students have never learned.


Faced with overwhelming demands on their time, many students find themselves overwhelmed by stress. In fact, as many as 40% of students feel stressed often and as many as 20% feel stressed nearly all the time. In many students, this stress is a factor in depression, causing 10% of college students to suffer depression. Faced with nearly impossible time demands, high levels of stress, and possibly depression, 20% of college students abuse prescription stimulants in order to cope or self medicate.



Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Every year 12,000 deaths occur in the US because of prescription drug abuse. This number has seen a staggering increase over the last couple of decades. The recreational use of prescription drugs is a serious problem with teens and young adults. National studies show that a teen is more likely to have abused a prescription drug than an illegal street drug.

Many consider prescription drugs safer because they are prescribed by a doctor, but that is just not true. Imbibing these medicines to get high, or using them to self-medicate can be dangerous.

Prescription drugs have serious health risks; this is exactly why they are taken under the instructions of a doctor. Despite being taken under medical guidance these drugs still present a high risk of addiction.

Fatalities occur everyday when people take a pill that they think looks like some other pill. The most important thing to understand is that everyone's body chemistry is different, and that different drugs affect people differently. A drug that would be okay for some could be fatal for others.
Types of Prescription Drugs Abused:


These drugs are central nervous system depressants and slow down the function of the brain. These include sedatives and tranquilizers which make a person calm and drowsy.

These drugs are intended to reduce tension and anxiety in patients. They are also called downers and come in the form of multicolored tablets, capsules or as a liquid.

Some examples are Zyprexa, Seroquel and Haldol. They are known as antipsychotics and are supposed to reduce symptoms of mental illness. Depressants such as Xanax, Klonoping, Halcion and Librium are often referred to as "benzos". Barbiturates such as Amytal, Numbutal and Seconal, used as sedatives and sleeping pills, are also often abused.

Higher doses of these drugs can cause memory loss, impaired judgement and a lack of coordination. They have also been found to cause irritability, paranoia and suicidal thoughts. Many people experience the opposite effect, like agitation or aggression, than the one intended.

Using depressants with other substances, especially alcohol, can slow breathing and heart rate and can even lead to death.


These drugs are painkillers and usually contain opium or opium-like substances, used to treat patients experiencing chronic pain. These drugs cause drowsiness, slowed breathing, constipation, unconsciousness, nausea, and in extreme cases even send a patient into coma.

Continued abuse of opioids can cause physical dependence and addiction. The body gets used to the presence of the drug and withdrawal symptoms can be observed if the use is reduced or stopped.

Withdrawal symptoms sometimes drive an addict towards abuse with renewed vigor. These symptoms can be restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting and cold flashes with goose bumps. Increased tolerance in users can mean increased doses, which can cause greater damage to the body.


These types of drugs are used to increase energy and alertness and also increase blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. These drugs are also called uppers -- cocaine and amphetamines are some examples of the same. These drugs can come in the form of tablets or capsules. Addicts usually swallow these pills or inject them in liquid form or crush and snort them.

These drugs can cause exhaustion, apathy and depression, and the down that follows the up provided by these drugs is usually quite severe. The immediate exhaustion after the high leads the user to want the drug again. Soon enough he forgets the high from the drug and all he tries to achieve is a feeling of normalcy.

Stimulants are dangerously addictive and repeated doses over short periods can lead to feelings of hostility and paranoia. They can also cause high body temperature and arrhythmia. Some examples are Ritalin, Concerta, Biphetamine and Dexedrine. Street names for these drugs can be Kibbles and bits, speed, truck drivers or black beauties.


These are usually psychiatric drugs that handle depression. These drugs include Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, Effexor and Remeron. They come as multicolored tablets or capsules. These drugs can cause nervousness, anxiety, irritability, violent thoughts, tremors and hostility among others. Some studies have also found a high correlation with aggression and criminal behavior.

A study found that 14% of young people taking antidepressants become aggressive and in some cases even violent. These drugs can also cause extreme and irrational behavior. Individuals with no history of violence begin to show aggressive and self-harming behavior. Withdrawal symptoms of this drug are also quite severe and can include anxiety, depression, weeping spells, insomnia, dizziness, vomiting, headaches and tremors.

Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse:

Opioids – Abusers of these types of drugs will usually experience constipation, depression and low blood pressure. They will also find their breathing shallower than that of non-addicts, and will often experience confusion, sweating and poor coordination.

Antidepressants – Drowsiness, confusion and an unsteady gait are among the prime symptoms experienced by an antidepressant abuser. They often experience poor judgement, involuntary movement of the eyeballs and dizziness.

Stimulants – Those abusing stimulants will see rapid weight loss, increased agitation, irritability and high blood pressure. They will have trouble sleeping, have an irregular heartbeat, restlessness and be victims of impulsive behavior.

Those addicted to prescription medication will often resort to stealing, forging and selling prescriptions to get a fix. Those taking higher doses than prescribed can also be noted as addicts. They will have regular mood swings and more often than not be hostile. They will have erratic sleep cycles and often have impaired decision making skills. Prescription drug abusers often pretend to lose prescriptions and use that as an excuse to get more written. They also tend to visit more than one doctor for a prescription.

Prescription drug abuse is a disease. If you are facing abuse by such an addict get in touch with a dangerous drugs lawyer in Raleigh for a free initial counsel. Those taking more than the medically advised dosage of prescription drugs may not be able to claim damages from the drug manufacturer in case of adverse side-effects.

Self-medicating can be a dangerous habit, so make sure that you follow your doctor's instructions when taking prescription medicines. Keep an eye on the prescription drugs you keep in your house and inform the young adults in your care about their side-effects. Drugs, while beneficial in the hands of a doctor, can be dangerous in the hands of someone just looking for a kick.

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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 Gambling Addiction

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and Welcome New Friends,




Todays recovery message is to “Just Get Your Wiggle Butt” in gear and don’t be afraid to dig in and do the work needed to start, stay, and have a CATTASTIC RECOVERY LIFE!!
Many know I am a cat lover, and sadly when we had to relocate from beautiful So. Oregon to hot, dusty Arizona, I had to leave my 2 kids, ( Kitty Cats) Buttons & Callie behind with a good friend of ours until will get back to Oregon. My hubby works for a large grocery store chain and is starting meat-cutters school for them soon. The closest training school was here in Arizona, or the ones back East, and I wasn’t going there! No Way!…LOL.


Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Inhalant Abuse and Prevention Update:  The Alliance for Consumer Education has put together a site where you can go and make a pledge to talk to your child about the dangers of inhalant use, as Children are 50% less likely to try an inhalant if an adult role model talks to them about the dangers of inhalant abuse.  I have attached the following link for those who might be interested.

They also have public service announcements related to inhalant abuse from those affected, family members from children who have passed away, as well as former users, like myself.  I did a public service announcement with my mother and sister some years back for the Alliance for Consumer Education and the results of their effectiveness are amazing. also offers an Inhalant Abuse Prevention Kit, quiz, and lesson plans for anyone looking.



Posted by on in Drug Addiction

I'm sure that many of you can relate to coincidences like when you learn about a new word, you find that you hear it more, but when in reality it's just something new that has come into your awareness, it was really there all along.  This is of course something that happens to me often, but has certainly been my experience since I have been writing this blog, as it is now always in my awareness to look for opportunities for what to discuss next and they just keep popping into my life!

Working in the addiction field, and the job I have in particular, keeps me very focused but also very isolated.  Working in addiction also creates a sort of bubble, being that my clients are all trying to get out of their active addiction, my co-workers are all in recovery, and the doctors are addictionologists.  I had been in California for four or five years and didn’t realize that I was protecting myself in a way, by not branching out of my comfort zone.  So it wasn’t until about two years ago, that I started to go out to new places and interact with new people that have never struggled with an addiction.  (People that experience temporary stress instead of chronic anxiety are still a wonder to me!)

The benefit, however, of the bubble realization was that all of that prep work that I had been doing (working with a sponsor, doing the steps, going to multiple types of therapy to figure out the core issues as to why I was using inhalants, then working on those core issues) was in preparation for returning to the real world and all its challenges and this time having a more positive impact, on myself and on those around me, and it was time to use them!  The tools I have learned (especially emotional regulation, coping skills, and trigger identification) and the resources I have developed have been crucial in my relapse prevention, because life sure does throw me some curveballs and when I did come out of hiding, I found that some of my wreckage from my past was still there waiting for me.  I am definitely grateful that I was given the opportunity to have a second chance, to get to be the same person, but a better version.  By doing the footwork, it allows me to look at the same situations but have different reactions and therefore different outcomes than I would have in the past.

I feel that in order to be effective in communicating with people who are also struggling and/or looking for solutions or education, I need to write about things that truly affect me emotionally, because if what I'm writing doesn't induce some sort of feelings for me, how could it in someone else?  So full disclosure in the hopes that someone can relate and hopefully allowing me to be of service.

The reason that the ability to have different reactions that produce different and better outcomes is on my mind is due to some events that occurred in my week.  I felt discouraged this week for two reasons, and I feel like they have happened while I have volunteered to write this blog for a reason.  I am a person that falls victim to a certain type of mental trap, where your brain immediately jumps into negative thinking or disaster mode when you hear certain things that are not ideal.  In the treatment facilities I work with, we refer to it as addict brain.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Did you ever consider if your job made you prone to drug and alcohol abuse? With 77% of illegal drug users working full or part-time jobs, you have to wonder what kind of effect it has on their work habits. Many drug users admit that high stress, low job satisfaction, long or irregular hours and isolation at work contributed to their substance abuse problem.

In fact, 3.1% of employed adults actually used illicit drugs before reporting to work or during work hours at least once.

This motion graphic will highlight which work places are causing people to stumble into substance abuse a little harder or more often than some others. It will also look at the different areas of drugs that are being used and how much money is spent on them.


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