RU Texas The Beat

New Father-Son Book Highlights Treatment Gap and Prison Rates for Addicts

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 20, 2016 9:24:26 AM / by RU Texas posted in Recovery, Addiction, Treatment, Prison, Depression

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When most people are in the midst of a lengthy prison sentence, they tend to think their life is over, or at least severely disrupted. The last thing they’re thinking about is writing a book with their dad. Rolando Perez, however, has always been a little different and a little more driven. Once bent on being an engineer, he would, as a child, often run around his house with two books saying: “This is my dad's dissertation, and this is my dissertation.” He was even on an academic decathlete in high school. It seemed as though he was able to write his own future.

En route to that limitless future, however, life took an unexpected and ugly turn. In college, while studying on scholarship, Rolando started self-medicating for depression and his life spiraled out of control. He is currently serving seven years for possession with intent to deliver a narcotic. Many would call it a day after that; however, Rolando has decided to turn his experiences into a cautionary tale in the form of a book on which he’s collaborating with this father, Dr. Juan Perez. An Everlasting Bond: The Story of a Father and His Son hit shelves and sites last month.

In addition to the deeply personal material that the weighty title suggests, the book focuses on a variety of issues faced by the United States’ addicted population, including prison culture, treatment accessibility and more. It calls for a "cultural shift" in talking about and treating the issue because 90 percent of those with a substance abuse disorder are not getting any treatment at all. Above all it puts a human face on addiction and highlights the devastating impact it causes individuals and the families that love them. This is something that many need to see as the stigma of moral failure continues to hover around chemical dependency.

At his trial, Rolando had the same attorney that defended Ethan Couch, or as many know him the “affluenza teen” who killed four people while driving drunk in 2013 and receivedprobation. He did not, however, have Couch’s financial resources and wasn’t able to gather the money to attend a quality treatment program…the alternative was jail. Rolando has been sent to prison three times, and has received no level of treatment during the totality of his incarceration. Dr. Juan Perez, a certified school counselor who works with school districts and former parole commissioner for the state of Texas, is hoping this latest collaboration with his son will help guide the addiction conversation in a more substantive and helpful direction.

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How Vivitrol Helps Families after Treatment

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 29, 2016 10:51:49 AM / by RU Texas posted in Vivitrol, Opioid Addiction, Addiction, Family, Prison

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Those of us who have helped our loved ones manage addiction know how difficult it can be. Even after the best treatment and the most positive and encouraging signs of progress, the path can still be difficult. For every single person that suffers from addiction, there is usually a group of people suffering right alongside them. Sometimes this suffering consists of active conflict, including shouting fights and even physical confrontation; other times it can be as passive as watching a loved one struggle through the pain and sickness withdrawal symptoms. Many prefer actually fighting with their loved ones to watching them go through withdrawal because at least they have sense of control over a confrontation.

To watch a loved one struggle through their residual withdrawal period, even when they’re remaining faithful to their post-treatment recovery program, can be truly painful. Add to this, the constantly looming danger of relapse and subsequent overdose, and it’s easy to see how families can disintegrate in the wake of drug addiction. Loved ones of addicts are getting help from a newer and increasingly effective resource: Vivitrol. Vivitrol is an established and reputable medication for combatting alcohol and opioid abuse. It reduces cravings and blocks the euphoria associated with opioid highs. It is administer via a monthly injection by a licensed and credentialed physician.

Families of addicts are experiencing the benefits of Vivitrol through a growing variety of institutional avenues. In Duval County, Florida, an area which lies just under five hours from the Recovery Unplugged flagship facility in Fort Lauderdale, the prison system is using the medication to help inmates with their cravings so they’re able to better transition into their everyday lives once they’re released. The county is one of dozens across the country that is utilizing Vivitrol injections to help rehabilitate inmates. Vivitrol maintenance is not meant to replace any element of rehab like group therapy or individual counseling; but rather it’s meant to help patients reduce ongoing cravings.

For families who have an addict either in treatment or in prison, the reduction of cravings and the stabilization of physical health can be a game-changer in the way they’re able to transition into their lives in recovery. This mitigates family dysfunction, helps recovering addicts to focus and allows them to feel better every day. For a disease that is so complex, so powerful and so destructive, every single resource helps.

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