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Get Involved In International Overdose Awareness Day

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 18, 2016 4:04:23 PM / by RU Texas posted in Drug and Alcohol Addiction, Overdose, Recovery

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August 31 will mark the 15th annual International Overdose Awareness Day. The event was established to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. It also acknowledges the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have met with death or permanent injury as a result of drug overdose. International Overdose Awareness Day gives all interested participants an opportunity to connect with one another and combat the spread of overdose deaths around the world. It’s also a reminder to those who have suffered the unthinkable impact of losing a loved one to overdose know that they are not alone.

The primary aims of the event include:

  • Providing an opportunity for people to publicly mourn for loved ones, some for the first time, without feeling guilt or shame
  • Including the greatest number of people in Overdose Awareness Day events, and encourage non-denominational involvement
  • Giving community members information about the issue of fatal and non-fatal overdose
  • Sending a strong message to current and former drug users that they are valued
  • Spark discussion about overdose prevention and drug policy
  • Providing basic information on the range of support services that exists in the local community
  • Preventing and reduce drug-related harm by supporting evidence-based policy and practice
  • Reminding all of the risks of overdose

How Can I Get Involved?

Interested participants can get involved in International Overdose Awareness day through a number of ways, including organizing their own even through our registration team, using the hashtag #OverdoseAware2016 to help build momentum for the day, host a Twitter chat, promote your event through Facebook, donations and more. In 2014, 28.647 Americans died from drug overdose. You can do your part today to start reversing this trend. We are all in this together.

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Is Vivitrol Right for Me?

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 16, 2016 5:50:15 PM / by RU Texas posted in Drug and Alcohol Addiction, Vivitrol

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Vivitrol has proven to be an effective resource in helping sufferers of opioid and alcohol dependency manage their cravings and overcome their withdrawal symptoms. The medication is used as part of an overall treatment program, and is not meant to replace any aspect of care. Vivitrol works by blocking the pleasurable effects associated with alcohol and opioid use, greatly diminishing cravings and, theoretically, making long-term abstinence easier. While it is a decidedly valuable tool in the fight against continued opioid and alcohol abuse, the drug is only for eligible patients who fit a standardized, multi-level criteria under established professional guidelines.

Who Can Take Vivitrol?

To begin with, those who are still using or are in the early stages of withdrawal should not take Vivitrol. The drug is also not for patients who are allergic to naltrexone or any other ingredient in Vivitrol. Vivitrol is administered via monthly injections from a qualified physician, and should be taken as part of a larger overall treatment program. The drug is meant to be administered in conjunction with detox and rehab. Treatment can last a year or more and should be monitored by an experienced and qualified physician. Some of the side effects of Vivitrol can include: 

  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Decreased Appetite
  • Joint and Muscle Pain
  • Cold and Flu-Like Symptoms
  • Fatigue and Headache

A successful Vivitrol regimen depends largely on patient-physician communication. It is important that the regimen be closely monitored to assess progress and eventually wean patients off the drug.

To best assess your eligibility for Vivitrol, speak to your treatment provider about starting a course of therapy after detox. Recovery Unplugged is ready to answer any questions you may have prior to starting your Vivitrol treatment or any other course of medication-assisted therapy (MAT). There is a great deal of speculation regarding the efficacy of MAT in addiction care. The best approach is to find out for yourself from your current treatment center.

 

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DEA Says "No" to Looser Federal Marijuana Restrictions

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 11, 2016 10:15:13 AM / by RU Texas posted in Drug and Alcohol Addiction, Marijuana abuse

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The latest chapter of the long and complicated story of marijuana has concluded with advocates for looser federal restrictions on the losing end. The Obama administration has rejected pleas by Democrat governors to take a look at how marijuana offenses are treated under federal law. Pointing to the Food and Drug Administration’s longstanding claims that there are no currently accepted medical uses for marijuana treatment in the United States, Drug Enforcement Administration chief Chuck Rosenberg roundly denied the request for further examination. The decision has left many who have been impacted by low-level marijuana offenses feeling defeated.

 

The Debate Continues

The ruling also brings, front and center, a decades-long debate over whether or not marijuana’s continued criminalization is just or statistically warranted. Currently, marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act, putting it alongside decidedly more dangerous drugs like heroin and other types of hallucinogens. This means that even the lowest-level offenders are subject to severe penalties for even possessing a drug with zero documented deaths. Meanwhile other drugs which kill thousands each year, like methamphetamine and prescription opioids are regulated under Schedule 2 of the federal code. Proponents of looser restrictions have been decrying this distinction for years, and will apparently continue to do so.

 

“No Medical Value” Claim is a Tough Pill to Swallow for Many

While marijuana is certainly not without its share of dangers, varieties with lower concentrations of THC have actually been found to yield numerous medical benefits. Rosenberg claims his rejection of the request was not a rejection of marijuana’s uses and potential when properly regulated; he merely said that determining the medical legitimacy of the drug is the purview of the FDA, and that he largely deferred to them in making his decision. The ruling is a bit of a surprise in an age when marijuana is becoming incrementally more accepted in medical and scientific research, and when the United States has a viable third-party candidate for President lobbying for its legalization.

 

The Cost of the Status Quo

All but eight states in the Union have legalized some measure of medical marijuana use. While the issue over total legalization is one that warrants considerably more discussion, many are arguing that such tight restrictions ruin the lives of those who are using a drug no more dangerous than what physicians are often quick to dispense on a daily basis. Federal regulators have, however, recently facilitated clinical examination of marijuana’s effectiveness in the treatment of epilepsy.



 

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5 Important Music Therapy Facts

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 8, 2016 10:34:02 AM / by RU Texas posted in Drug and Alcohol Addiction

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When people hear about music-based addiction therapy, they’re immediately compelled to ask numerous questions, not the least significant of which include “Does it really work?” and “How does it work?” The reality is that music has been a viable therapeutic resource for thousands of years. Whether it’s the repetitive beating of a drum or listening to your favorite songs on the radio, music truly does have charms to heal. It has also become a more commonly utilized supplemental therapy in the treatment of addiction and substance abuse, although recovery unplugged is the first to offer such a music-intense program. For those with questions about the practice and efficacy of music therapy, here are some facts that may surprise you:

  • The United States Code lists music therapy as a disease prevention and health promotion service and as a supportive service.
  • The Joint Commission and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) recognize music therapists as qualified individuals who may provide services within accredited facilities.
  • Music therapy has been found to reduce muscle tension, improve self-image, decrease anxiety, increase verbalization, increase motivation
  • Music therapy has been shown to have a significant effect on a patient’s perceived effectiveness of treatment, self-reports of pain reduction, relaxation, respiration rate, anxiety levels, and patient choice of anesthesia and amount of analgesic medication.
  • Music-based activities can represent a valid and without side effects intervention for reducing psychological and behavioral disturbances related to neurological disorders and also for promoting the functional recovery. 

It’s important to remember that no musical background is required to reap the full benefits of this proven and effective therapy. Music has universal healing benefits and is open to patients with varying levels of musical interest. When combined with other treatment mechanisms, like detox and withdrawal management, music-based addiction therapy can awaken the emotional strength and confidence we need to overcome addiction sustain long-term recovery. It helps us access our internal voice and achieve a deep level of catharsis.

 



 

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The Faceless Nature of American Addiction

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 27, 2016 9:53:25 AM / by RU Texas posted in Drug and Alcohol Addiction

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Addiction affects Americans of every age, ethnicity and economic background. It's important that we recognize this for treatment and prevention purposes. One of the most common questions regarding drug and alcohol addiction, both in expert analysis and casual conversation, is: “Who does it affect most?” This is a perfectly natural curiosity as it helps people better understand the nature of the problem while allowing stakeholders to focus treatment and prevention resources where they are needed most. The trouble with this question, however, is that drug and alcohol addiction in America has gotten so pervasive, so ubiquitous, and so out of control, that it defies any one identity or group of identities. The sooner we realize the extensive nature of the problem, the sooner we will be able develop the sweeping and comprehensive solutions necessary to face it head on and help those in need.

American Addiction Defies Cultural Perception

Many have pre-conceived notions about the average addict and labor under the misapprehension that there actually is an archetype. They picture an inner-city young adult who is unkempt, addled and evidently volatile. What’s more dangerous about this perception is that it paints addiction as a choice rather than a medical disease, ignoring the complex and devastating neurobiological elements at play. If, after decades of evidence, there was any lingering doubt that addiction affects every portion of the American population, the explosion of prescription opioid fatalities has obliterated it. In 2014, there were over 47,000 overdose fatalities from these drugs, and many of these victims don’t look like what many expect.

Seniors Are More Vulnerable Than Ever

In 2013, generic hydrocodone was the most commonly prescribed drug under Medicare. In that single year, seniors became more vulnerable than ever to prescription opioid abuse. As our bodies age, it becomes more difficult to metabolize these drugs and break them down properly. This means they stay in the system longer, prolonging and magnifying their effects. Compound this with the stresses (retirement, financial fears, family estrangement, mental illness, etc.) and physical rigor of the aging process, and we have an entirely new group of at-risk addicts. In addition to prescription opioids, benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium pose a significant threat to seniors. The rate of benzo addiction among seniors continues to increase each year.

A Universal Problem with Devastating Fallout

Seniors are not the only vulnerable population. More than 50 million Americans have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in their lifetime.Additionally, there are the established threats of cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, alcohol abuse and others. We have also seen the resurgence of heroin, which has been magnified due to the increased regulation of prescription opioid diversion. Many users are finding it difficult and more costly to obtain drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone for recreational use, and are graduating to heroin because of its nearly identical effects. More than 30 percent of all heroin users start off using prescription painkillers. The cost difference between prescription painkillers and heroin is often as wide as $30 per pill versus $5 per baggie.

Sensible Solutions

While prescription has undoubtedly changed the face and perception of chemical dependency in the United States, there is still a language and stigma barrier that blocks many from getting the treatment they need. This past week, the Senate approved measures that incrementally break down these obstacles in the form of the 2016 Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, however lack of funding has many questioning whether or not it will be effective. However we choose to combat drug addiction in America going forward, we need to start with the idea that everyone needs help, regardless of their race, age or education or bank account. Once we recognize the universal nature or modern addiction, we can get serious about treatment and prevention.

 


 

Recovery Unplugged - Texas is committed to helping Americans of all backgrounds overcome drug and alcohol dependency. Call us at (815) 444-0660 to start healing today. 


 

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