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For years it has been known that natural organic food can heal a body and end drug addiction.  Gary Hayden is helping people do that. “...We must learn how to clean the organism we have polluted so that the automated decision making processes of our body can reset themselves…Words are like cleaning your floor by telling your floor; be Clean!  Not too effective.  We need a set of tools with real power.  One minute of silence with God is better than a thousand books.  Organic food is well worth the price.  A complete cleaning of your organism with nutrition is the beginning of a sound recovery…” Gary L. Hayden  CLICK on Addiction and Diet to read more.  Regenerative NutritionAddiction Treatments,,  Whole Self Recovery,… are more links for information on natural healing of addiction.

Our America  with Lisa Ling examines tough issues, one of which is drug addiction.  In the episode; “Mike and Darla:Survival in New York City”, Lisa shows us how where seemingly normal everyday couple became trapped in a life style they are struggling to escape; addiction and the destruction it left behind.  Darla didn’t make it.  Many don’t make it out of the abyss of addiction.  We want to think; just quit, but look at the statistics. ABC News looks at the Skyrocketing use of Heroin by our kids and that is where this starts.   There is something we are missing and its attacking families from the inside out.  We fill our jails with all kinds of addicts and alcoholics.  A small minority of addicts who have spent a enough time in jail are fortunate to hang on to their sobriety when they were released.  A sober addict named Tommy was one of the lucky ones who did.  Being an addict is a rotten choice to make, but once done, leaving that realty becomes harder with every day spent using, until for most, it is impossible. There is something missing in America, when a damaging trend that affects us all is ignored by those who can make the biggest difference.

“…There are two drug tests in the NFL. First, there’s the random performance enhancer test. This can occur at any time throughout the season, on Mondays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. We have to produce a valid urine sample under the watchful eye of an independent company. What’s a valid sample? It means the urine can’t be too clear or too yellow (they test PH levels before sending samples off to the lab), and the sample has to be given before practice. The cup has to be filled to the correct height. During the offseason, the NFL can also collect random samples anytime, anywhere: With 24 hours notice, they can have someone at your mom’s house in any town or state in the USA.

But street drugs? As long as we’re not repeat offenders in the NFL’s substance abuse program, we get one test and one test only. So every team has a few guys shooting up something: Prescription pills, marijuana, crack, cocaine, meth, pretty much any drug someone can pick up on a street corner is fair game for most players during the football season…” Read more –  Mary S.

Drug addiction is a tough nut to crack.  When you add co-occuring disorders, namely,  a host of mental illnesses that plague many addicts,  it becomes near impossible for some to recover and stabilize their lives.   To Kathleen Sciacca, trying to understand and deliver a reliable system of dealing with dual diagnosis and drug addiction has become a personal goal.  You can hear Kathleen discuss her work in this you-tube clip:   Motivational Interviewing

In the 14 years he lived as a drug addict, former NBA player Chris Herren had no shortage of moments that could have been his “rock bottom.”  The earliest may have come when he was only 18, shortly after Sports Illustrated hyped the local star’s matriculation to Boston College. Herren — then one of the most highly anticipated freshmen basketball players in the country — left BC after only one game after a positive test for cocaine.  Quoted from CNN’s, Kevin Conlon. February 2012. 

Chris Herren knows the top and the bottom.  He writes about it in Basketball Junkie, a journal of his personal battle with addiction, published in 2011 by St. Martins Press.  Stories like this are what we live for;  tales of coming back from the brink of total self destruction to make an enormous difference in showing others how step out of the abyss of addiction,  give families hope for their own sons and daughters and stop some from ever going there.

Former NBA player recounts struggle with drug addiction –   Chris Herren, a basketball legend from Fall River, Massachusetts, realized his dreams by playing for the Celtics in the NBA, only to lose it all to addiction before rising again with a new dream.   Chris wrote Basket Ball Junkie which is his memoir of his struggle with heroin and other drugs.  You can read an excerpt here.  The reminds me of a piece we did a while ago call the Fighter and also of the great Texas Ranger’s baseball slugger, Josh Hamiliton.   The message here, is that addiction impacts more than skid row junkies and miraculous comebacks happen everyday.  Recovery is more that a possibility.  Link by Bill

Should taxpayers support wet houses?  In AA literature, it has been said that there are those who seem to be constitutionally unable to get sober.   A wet house is basically a place that allows drunks and addicts to enjoy a modicum of shelter and to drink, usually outside the premises.  Typically, shelters require residents to remain sober or they are disqualified.   What appears to be the ultimate in enabling is to some a less costly way of dealing with drunks.  The argument being ER, jail, and crime are the alternative and cost more than sheltering a drunk or addict.  Advocates of wet houses call it harm reduction.  Whether America comes to terms with its chronic population of drunks and addicts is yet to be seen.  Addiction doesn’t seem to be waning and it is in fact costing all of us too much money and grief. Teen drug addiction has a devastating effect on  youth,  families and  communities.  Teens drop out of school, the workforce or life itself.  Change the course of teen drug addiction.

Host, Larry Golbom of PAR Radio,  has it out for big pharma who market addictive narcotic drugs to America.  In fact, anyone who has watched the  destruction addiction  has had on their families, feel the same.   Read OxyContin and Purdue Pharma – Diabolical Beyond Comprehension  The genesis is what Larry Golbom calls the marketing of pain as a disease, which has been stunningly epidemic in his home state of Florida.  Not long ago, pain was treated as an underlying symptom of a disease and the real disease was addressed.  What we have now is pain as the most over treated “contrived” disease in medical history and addiction as one of the most untreated “denied” of diseases.  For insight into the making of this phenomena, read this 2001 New York Times piece  Pain, The Disease

Addiction now defined as chronic brain disorder – Health – Addictions –  This is what we at a grassroots and professional level have been talking about.   Addiction needs a medical classification so we can simply deal with it at the right scale.  In a nation governed by a voting population, majority rules and the majority votes for legislators that say in many ways; let the addicts rot.  Can we afford to keep looking at a medical condition in this manner?  Even if 10% of the population deals directly with the impact of addiction, that’s  30 million people; addicts and their immediate family.   We argue, that when you calculate prison, emergency rooms, homelessness,  deaths, lost productivity the costs start to look something like a cabinet level budget.   We spend hundreds of billion of dollars annually on the disease by not dealing with it; so why not accept it and deal with it humanely.   It is chronic problem that doesn’t go away on its own.   Msnbc link by Tom G.

 Substance Abuse Treatment in the federal prison system works for the 210,000 inmates it houses.   Where treatment is missing is in state prisons and local jails.  Those facilities contain roughly 91% of all inmates.  If we look at the Bureau of Federal Prisons we see a model that could be used in all prisons.    Of the estimated 2.3 million inmates currently incarcerated in U.S. prisons, 1.9 million could benefit from alcohol and drug treatment, which could ultimately save taxpayers millions of dollars, according to a new report.  Currently only 11% of inmates who need treatment are receiving it during their incarceration.  Approximately 85% of current inmates could benefit from treatment, according to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University.   The CASA report, Behind Bars II: Substance Abuse and America’s Prison Population,” shows that 1.5 million of the estimated 2.3 million prison inmates meet the DSM IV medical criteria for substance abuse or addiction.

Singer Whitney Houston apparently drowned in her bath after ingesting a cocktail of prescription sedatives.  The Crime Report is a great website that collects resources concerning topics associated with criminal justice; in this case, prescription drug abuse.  The website archives a range of topics including wrong doing centered around the world of drugs.  Such a tragic loss!

As Christmas is upon us, viewership is up.  So isn’t the  struggle for addicts, alcoholics and their families to get through the holidays.  People who have seen the worst and best of themselves and their loved ones,  still care to make a difference in the world of addiction and recovery.  They share what they see here and elsewhere.  There are those who want to see a loved one survive.  There are those who want to know their own freedom from addiction.  There are those who want the world to be free.  That freedom is possible.

Keep sharing and logging on to  Spread the word.  The point is to move consciousness in America from one of  prejudice towards addiction and alcoholism to that of understanding.  Addiction is a deadly disease that needs a real solution.  Some people who log on to this blog have lost a loved one to drugs or alcohol in body or spirit.  Somehow, they are able to keep putting out a positive message that may move another person away from what they have witnessed.  Recovery is possible.  Never give up.  Have a merry Christmas and a free and happy new year in 2012!

Life-Saving Drug Out of Reach – “Overdose now kills more people in the United States than car accidents, making it the leading cause of injury-related mortality according to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of deaths — 37,485 in 2009 — could be cut dramatically if Naloxone were available over-the-counter and placed in every first aid kit.” View the rest of  Maia Szalavitz’s story  on the use of Naloxone, by click on the image or title of this article. News Room: New CASA Report Finds Adolescent Substance Use at Epidemic Levels.

The study looks at how American culture increases the risk that teens will use addictive substances and how the messages sent by adults, and glamorized by the tobacco and alcohol industries and the media, normalize substance use and undermine the health and futures of our teens.

Probably one of the best videos;  America’s Disastrous Drug War,  produced by Walter Cronkite was removed from all you-tube archives.  Go Figure!  One Cronkite  video that survived is called Harm Reduction BUT!!!, Many informative videos on the drug war are still out there and readily available to illustrate maybe,  the costliest problem America faces.  Here are a few notable video producers and interviews on the subject:  Neil FranklinFrontline,  Robert Capecchi ,  a 12 minute clip from a great 2007 series from Kevin Booth’s, The American Drug War.   Check out the rest of Kevin’s  series on TagTélé and  you-tube.

South Florida has achieved a reputation of becoming a haven for pill farms and the proliferation of illegal pain medication.  Pressure to enact new laws has finally led to monitoring and limitation of prescriptions, which dampened the availability of addictive drugs from Florida pill mills.    October 1st, 2010, was a milestone as some pain clinics simply closed, leaving addicts looking for other sources. A lot of people were panicking… I was getting a lot of calls from people trying to figure out how to stay alive,” said Bernard Cassidy, a Fort Lauderdale attorney who represents pain clinics. Some pill mill operators were charged with illegal dispensing of pain medication.  There are thousands of Americans still  addicted to pain medication, affecting women, the elderly and teens.   Teens are especially vulnerable as Mary Bono Mack talks about the issue, using her son as an example.  Women are another vulnerable group as explained in Women and Prescription Drug Addiction. Prescription drug addiction is a growing American problem.  Links by JJ

St. Francis Mission Recovery Programs…Can you imagine driving more than 90 miles to get to your weekly meeting?  What if you wanted to go to more than one a week but couldn’t because it was either too far away or you didn’t have adequate transportation? What would you do, and more importantly, who would you turn to?  These issues, sadly, are run of the mill problems for those recovering from alcoholism and addiction on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  The reservation is home to the Lakota (Sioux Indian) people, many of whom suffer from the problems mentioned above.  Two recovery centers – the Icimani Ya Waste Recovery Center and White River Recovery Center – are working to help those who suffer from addiction on the Rosebud Reservation.  The centers are run by members of the Lakota tribe / the St. Francis Mission (link:  They help coordinate 12 step meetings for those in need, provide space for those meetings to take place, give referrals to treatment centers and support for the families of those suffering from addiction.  In talking to the coordinators to the two recovery centers, it is clear that the need for recover is strong on the reservation.  Jim Stands, director of the White River Recovery Center, states, the people on the Reservation are affected by the disease of addiction.  Whole families – from great grandchildren to great grandparents – are affected, and in turn, addiction affected the community and the whole Lakota nation (called the oyate).  When an individual wants to overcome their addiction, they face challenges that are above and beyond what someone who lives off a Reservation might face.  One of the open AA groups that meets on Wednesdays at the White River Recovery Center is called the “Out of Towners” meeting for a reason.  Many of the individuals who attend this group live far away from where the meeting is held, but make the long drive every week to support each other in sobriety.  The St. Francis Mission and the Recovery Centers have partnered with the Betty Ford Institute to provide educational programing to address the effects addiction has on the family.  Participants of the Betty Ford Family Program learn to set boundaries, control codependency issues, and communication skills so they can express emotions and feelings in a healthy constructive way.  The recovery programs combine Lakota traditions with more traditional recovery content.   by Corrie Oberdin

As Mexico counts 35,000 deaths resulting directly from the drug war that President Felipe Calderon initiated in 2006, Former Mexican President Vicente Fox among others,  argues for legalization to stop the carnage.  Meanwhile, here in the U.S., it seems pointless to incarcerate users of pot and other drugs, while at the same time fueling the drug trade coming in from Mexico.  Everyone seems to lose except the DEA and the Prison Lobby.  What would happen if much of that enforcement effort went into rehab and recovery.  That would be a good counterpoint to what Mexico is thinking about.  Even if  sanctions remained in the U.S. for drug trafficking, we could help millions of Americans, simply with the  decriminalization of use, diverting that savings to rehab.   Portugal embarked on just such an experiment more than a decade ago.  Nothing bad happened.  In fact, no one regrets it because their experiment showed positive results, lowering drug use and removing the cost of incarceration of drug use.  The whole point is to help those bit by their drug use; not hurt them.   Although, one can not say how this would work in the U.S., the Drug Czar has taken a cue from his look at Portugal.

America loves its drugs.  Maybe that’s why we are silent to the epidemic of addiction.  25 million Americans abuse something.   From prescription drugs, liquor, caffeine, heroin, a growing trend of free highs,  Americans are experts at self medicating and now our teens buy legal club drugs and herbs practically anywhere, including online.   Salvia is just that; a legal and available drug luring our youth into a culture of drug useSalvia, in fact, has very  negative implications even suicide.  A friend asked me recently, reflecting on Jared Loughner’s use of drugs if that could have contributed to his shooting rampage in Tucson.  I responded by saying the underlying cause was probably already there, i.e., some kind of mental issue, but who knows and is it worth the risk.   ABC News published a video in January of 2011 investigating the drug salvia.   Obviously, some pharmaceuticals may extract useful medicine from herbal drug sources, but the use of these drugs is just another road to addiction.  Individual’s   Addiction starts somewhere and habituating something one views as innocuous,  is a beginning.   This website is about lighting a fire under positive action away from an addictive society and the counter productive policies that keep Americans hooked.   Topic provided by Mary

OxyContin and the Opium Epidemic of the 21st Century.  Larry G. of Prescription Addiction Radio wrote this piece early in 2009 to bring attention to the epidemic sweeping America; quite frequently culminating in street heroin addiction.  Its not about responsible use of pain medication.  Its about kids dying.  A dozen young people died just in the NW part of Tucson this year!  Evan Cueto was the 3rd overdose death at Canada Del Oro High School in just 3 months into 2009.  Many Blessings to his family.  This is an epidemic.  If it were a terrorist incident, it would be all over the news.  The death toll of opiate overdose barely gets print.  Why  is America silent?  The carnage won’t end without communities demanding it stop.  Opiate Addiction is a serious illness and is treatable if addicts want it and have an accessible support network behind them.   Current estimates of opiate addiction in America is roughly 2 million and growing.  100,000 may die.  The writing is on the wall.  Parents can start by educating themselves.  Time to Act.

Stanton Peele is a rogue in the treatment industry.  Controversial is his middle name.  Check out his blog.  While your at it, look through his videos.   He doesn’t see addiction as a disease; but moreover a personal behavioral problem and more related to social ills.  His latest book Addiction Proof Your Child explores addiction in his own view which you can judge for yourself in Amazon’s expanded preview of the book.  It is actually a fairly big chunk of the book which is anything but traditional in what people believe about addiction and young people…and people in general.   It’s worth a look.

Seeing the obvious in the world of “insidious” addiction is like trying to see a forest through its trees.  Those who have felt the impact of an addict in their family knows how elusive the answers can be, let alone, the right questions.  Simple answers to basic questions makes a big difference.   Joe Herzanek has the answers to the 10 Toughest Questions Families and Friends Ask About Addiction and Recovery. His 22 minute video lays it out in plain language.  Joe speaks from his own experience.  After  three decades of sobriety, he still spends his personal and professional life helping others take that first step.  In 2007 he wrote a widely received book that tackled the biggest nagging question;  Why Don’t They Just Quit.  Now he offers the rest of the answers to the ten toughest questions in the video you shouldn’t miss.  Check out some excerpts. Joe and his wife, Judy Herzanek founded The Changing Lives Foundation and its blog; Why Don’t They Just Quit.  They both share a common bond in striving to make a difference by spreading the message that people do recover.

What Do You Buy An Addict For Christmas? is the name of an excellent podcast put together by Denise Krochta podcast on  Denise has been down the same hellish road that so many  parents of addicts have walked.  Its a very bumpy road that’s not very drivable, but Denise has risen above the traps of her own co-dependence and has written about it.   Her book Sweat as Denise puts it; “cuts to the chase” about what options parents have.   She goes on to say, “Addiction is a disease not only of the addict but of the family.” She adds “The intention of this book is to cut through the volumes and months of time and materials I already researched and to present to you, the reader, a kind of “cut to the chase” approach to arm you with tools to help you to have a good life no matter the choices of your loved ones.” As far as Christmas gifts go, it doesn’t take a  lot of  imagination to figure out  where money and gifts most likely will go, but there are some things you can give an addict.  Check out Denise’s podcast and book. 

Is Addiction Really a Disease? Dr. Kevin McCauley, founder of the Institute for Addiction Study, offers 7 short videos beginning with the one below.   You can  also download a PDF version of Dr. McCauley’s viewpoints




America’s politicians and legislators are painfully silent about an epidemic of drug and alcohol addiction that continues to sweep mainstream  USA.  As the political drone continues on the subject of the drug war, crime and immigration we ignore the fundamental demand of drugs flooding into this country.  Jamie lee Curtis discusses her own addiction in  King of Pain.   Ted Koppel finds himself mourning the loss of his son to addiction.  Michael Douglas talks about his son’s drug dealing.   Joseph Califano, an expert on addiction talks of rising demand in We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us.  Demand is up and options for recovery are elusive with out deep financial pockets.  In Florida, oxycodone alone killed almost 1200 persons in 09.   In fact, more than 20,000 persons die from drug overdose each year in America.    The point is that addiction touches too many Americans to remain silent about it.   Politicians need to talk about treatment and recovery options available to all Americans on demand.  Politicians need to see the drug war in real terms with solutions coming from reducing demand and treating addicts; not ostracizing them.

Tens of thousands of families in America probably want to know just how they can intervene in their  loved one’s addiction.  I would say do it fast and early.  The more time wasted; the harder it becomes.   There are so many factors that can lead to failure; why add rehab itself as one of the reasons?  Should rehab facilities should be held more accountable to a workable recovery path?   A July 2010 piece called Does Teen Drug Rehab Cure Addiction of Create it, puts this question in an useful perspective.  This article can also be viewed in the Media Awareness Project.   Another piece called Stigma Hinders Drug Users Recovery explores yet another factor of failure.   Addiction is a difficult subject that we are always looking for clarity.  Failure to make a transition to sobriety is a often a failure to find a safe context in which to succeed.  The first year is  a tough one for many.  Education is important because the  more we know about addiction, the more we can accept it for what it is, possibly accepting it as a medical condition.  Save from the courage of a willful addict to come to terms with his own addiction, there is no magic bullet cure.  Anything close to a cure, like methadone or suboxone is only a diversion to another dependence with different challenges.   Harm reduction plays a big role in those choices.   The Blog “drug addiction treatment” asks the question”  Can We Cure Addiction, but doesn’t leave the reader with a “cure”  So far we know that addiction is not cured.  The cravings remain a threat to relapse.   A fair amount of addicts eventually will quit (often with help) and just don’t use “one day at a time”.  Success is gauged on vigilance and a safe context or surroundings.   links by Mary.

When a teen becomes an addict, that person you once knew and planned a future for has effectively checked out.  What you experience is an addict who will play you better than you can play them.  After a period of time, your teen’s brain becomes progressively “hard-wired” to his or her drug of choice, to use a colloquial term.  Re-setting and adjusting their brains requires a period of abstinence, which is near impossible for young restless addicts without early intervention.  Achieving that abstinence can’t be done with out rock hard will power.  Most of the time it is a very rough task for a young drug addict and as budgets continue to be slashed, we can’t expect too much intervention from local mental health authorities.  Jails are a different story.  See the rest of this article by clicking  here.

South Florida pill mills have been partly responsible in recent years for an explosion in addiction to pharmaceutical drugs like Oxycontin which we now know leads to the much cheaper heroin.  As a result, new laws and regulation are going into effect limiting pharmacy abuse and the saturation of addictive drugs into South Florida communities.    Back in March we were talking about cracking down on pill mills in   Cracking Down on South Florida Pill Mills Following the work of activists quite a few new regulations have already begun to take hold.  Where the display of pill mill advertising seemed every where, even in high schools, people are waking up.  Parents are refusing to allow their schools from placing ads from pain centers, causing pain clinic ads to be pulled from Boca Raton Schools.  Who would of thought.  Keep the pressure on.  Links from Keith and JJ.

Depending on who you talk to,  the percentage of drug addicts with serious mental  illness is as much as 53%.  That figure is from the  National Alliance on Mental Illness It is a subject that  flies in the face of state policies that define where publicly funded  psychiatric intervention can apply, which is often reserved for those who are a threat to themselves or others.  According to Dr. Glen Hanson,  drug addicts can initially mask mental health issues and later make them a lot worse.   What makes this so hard for families, is that state policies that mandate psychiatric evaluation are set up to define mental illness in a vacuum.  Drug addiction is a whole other issue.  It is defined as a self-inflicted condition based on an individuals choice.  Treatment for addiction is illusive at best.   But really came first the chicken or the egg; the addiction or the mental illness?  In the U.S., there is an estimated 5 million adolescents that suffer from clinical depression. Does this mean that these adolescents will soon make up 2.65 million more drug addicts?  Scary thought!  Mental illness is basically under diagnosed, while drug addiction stymies the efforts of parents wanting to save their kids and can’t afford specialized care; care that insurance companies have so craftily excluded from most policies.

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