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What does it take to cope with a family member’s drug addiction?  View my re-prints from the widely successful blog, “Intervene”,  that was run by the former Partnership for A Drug Free America (PDFA), recently re-formatted at the new website: Partnership for Drug Free Kids.   So, how does America become drug free?  is that possible?  The demand for addictive drugs continues to move in the wrong direction.  We know that!  Yes, education is key until the work of those that care can positively impact ways that changes the paradigm of treatment …and demand supportive judicial legislation.  In America, a fractured  legal and health care system still does little to reduce the disease of addiction.  The drug war continues to consume the bulk of our efforts.  We do the best we can but that is far from acceptable.  It is easier to keep insisting that addicts must “will” their own cures.  It does take outside intervention in the many severe cases.  It’s whole families that take the brunt of misdirected funding and a drug war in which its efforts are counterproductive.   The result we see, is American families bearing a burden of seemingly impossible and troubling pursuit;  saving their addicted loved one from the misery of addiction.  We have do what we can to survive and share that with others.

Screen shot 2014-05-01 at 2.29.34 PMReport: Peaches Geldof Died From Heroin Overdose – The daughter of Irish musician Bob Geldof, Peaches Geldof shared the same tragic fate as her mother, British television personality Paula Yates, who died from a heroin overdose when Peaches Geldof was 11 years old.   Really!  If we know this, is it possible to recognize what we are doing, just is not working.

“…According to National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 3.8 million full-time college students binge drink and/or abuse prescription or illegal drugs and 1.8 million full-time college students meet the medical criteria for substance abuse and dependence.  Do you and your student know and understand the alcohol and drug use policy and treatment facilities available to them in the school that they are attending? Do you know if the state in which they are attending school has a 911 Good Samaritan Law and the legal reading of that law?…”  Please view the rest of this Huffington Post article by Elaine Pawlowski in Back-to-College; Educate your Child to Call 911


With professionals like Nora Volkow bringing addiction science into mainstream visibility, how can we go wrong?  She is a revolutionary!  With blood ties to the infamous Leon Trotsky, this boldness is a trait we  need to overcome obstacles that keep us from pushing through the big roadblocks to solving an insidious problem.   She is a medical doctor with residency in psychiatry and passion for addiction science.  Nora is committed to unlocking the mystery of addiction.  In 2003, She was appointed the Director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, NIDA.    Nora Volkow is a rock star.  She attracts a lot of attention and many hope that she will make a huge difference in one of the biggest public health concerns the U.S. has known.  25 million Americans deal with addiction.  She  recently  received an  Award in Psychiatry by Baylor College of Medicine.   The New York Times calls her a General in the Drug War.   That’s about as mainstream as it gets,  as the scourge of addiction moves closer to achieving the coveted title of a genuine medical problem; enabling the help so many addicts have been with out.  Go Nora!

From Bangor to West Palm Beach and now to Orange County,  drug addiction continues to sweep through America killing one person every 19 minutes.   Now Orange County is yet another major force on fire to call for end to the madness.  The Orange County Register chronicles the epidemic in the  4 part series on RX addiction epidemic  One impacted California Dad eloquently speaks out in his blog,  ♠  Check out the real story in Orange County.

Gupta: Let’s end the prescription drug death epidemic –

Rewiring the brain against addiction is an idea that holds the key to the answer.  Having known suffering drug addicts, its safe to say that “just quitting” is not an answer.  The Depression that goes along with addiction, often predicating the need for drugs to begin with is a key area of study.   Dual Demons! as it called,  continually feeds into the reality of repeated relapse.    Addiction is a disease that requires the equivalent focus in dollars and effort of the drug war itself.  Once we get big Insurance and big Pharma to play the game of real recovery we can start poking holes in the sails of drug trade.  De-criminalizing addiction would cripple illegal drug trade.  Imagine a world of compassion, recovery and freedom from addiction.   Links by M. Slivinski.

“Kicking” opiates is exceptionally hard for most addicts during the first week.  If an addict succeeds the initial physical part of withdrawal, an addict will have to bear out a condition similar in some respects to methamphetamine withdrawal called P.A.W.S., post acute withdrawal syndrome.  That’s really the tough part.   It takes months and is predominately psychological.  PAWS hits a average peak in 3 months making the risk of relapse very high for the first 3-6 months.  That is why short term treatment claims can be mis-leading.    Here are some links that are very helpful in explaining the complexity and details of what treatment and recovery look like:

Opiate Addiction, A New Breed of Drug Dependency Warrants Unique ApproachUnderstanding Drug Dependence, Novus Medical Detox ♦  Treatment Options of Long Term Opiate Addiction ♦   Suboxone Assisted Treatment ♦    Aegis Medical Systems, Video Library ♦  National Advocacy ♦    Medical Assisted Treatment ♦  NIDA, Treatment Options ♦   links by Mary Slivinski

The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” — Albert Einstein

Screen shot 2013-02-20 at 11.15.41 PMTeenagers abusing drugs is often the beginning of a dangerous road.  Kids with conflicts often become teenagers with drug problems, consequently becoming adults with serious addictions.  Many of the conflicts that plague young people and lead to substance abuse are hard to handle at home.   According to Mathew Kyle,  home may not be enough to avert bigger problems in a teens immediate future if not dealt with in a timely manner.  Mathew  works with the Family Compass, a website committed to early conflicts in teen life.  Mathew touches on this topic in the article below:

When Home Is Not EnoughBoarding School Help For Teenage Substance Abusers.  Many of us have the idea that all you have to do is just quit drugs and/or alcohol.  Adults find it very difficult.  How much more difficult is it for a teenager?  To coin a phrase from Nike, “just do it,” is much easier said than done. In order for most teens to quit, they need help. Most parents want to do the best thing possible for their children. Some parents believe a teenager can get all the support they need at home to kick those ugly and destructive habits.  These habits sometimes combine both drugs and alcohol.  There are options when home is not enough.  When home is not enough to help your teenager, look into the boarding school choices that will help see your family through this time of crisis.  In addition, crisis is exactly the term needed to describe this downward spiral to self-destruction. Boarding school fills the following needs…Read the rest of Mathew’s article  by clicking here

Screen shot 2013-04-02 at 11.30.12 PMAmy Fry writes from the UK.  She summarizes recent evolutions in heroin addiction and studies depicting a trend in heroin use shifting  from younger addicts to older longer term addicts often dealing with post acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).  Veteran heroin addicts have a very tough time walking away. She talks about acting sensation, Russell Brand, a former UK addict who keeps his own ongoing vigilance amidst thoughts of past use.  He has a wealth of personal experience to share with the world on his opiate addiction.  Much of Amy’s statistical  data  comes from  the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA)Read more of Amy’s piece in Changes in Heroin Use & Treatment for Addiction.  Contribution by Amy

Meth is a dangerous and destructive drug

Meth destroys those it comes in contact with. Meth is the number one drug related issue for law enforcement officials in Alabama. Meth is addictive and creates mental and physical effects that changes your life forever. Meth is death.

ZEROMETH is an awareness and educational campaign sponsored by the ALABAMA DISTRICT ATTORNEYS ASSOCIATION, with the goal of stopping this drug and it’s life threatening consequences  –  LINKS BY DONNA

A few weeks ago this website posted a some alarming news of black tar moving into the heart of America in a piece called.  A Deadly Market:  Black Tar in Middle America As the Associate Press reported a similar warning in Deadly, ultra-pure heroin arrives in US, we are reminded that heroin epidemic hasn’t  gone away.   As the cost of pills rises and new laws limit illegal prescriptions, the use of street heroin is growing.  It is claiming the lives of over 3,000 users each year.  Websites, such as Drug Action Network seek to reduce the carnage.   Individual’s like Jim Gray seek to reform our laws making easier to treat addicts through our legal system.   Law-makers like Senator Jim Webb seeks to  overhaul the entire criminal justice system in the same vain.  We can do this.  We have to run drug cartels out of business and seize opportunities to treat addiction in a big way.  Links by Mary S.

If our celebrities are any indication, look out.  Most don’t know that the opiate drugs,  heroin and oxycontin are virtually identical and that opiates are being abused in the form of more than two dozen other prescription opiate  in America.  Rush Limbaugh Michael Jackson ♦  DJ AM ♦   Heath Ledger are just the lastest recent heavy hitting opiate addicts that have fallen victim.  Limbaugh is still with us showing that addiction  can hit every corner of society.

There are more than 2,140 drug courts in operation, with another 284 being planned or developed in the United States.  The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) discusses this in their website.  Drug court diverts non-violent, substance abusing offenders from prison and jail into treatment. By increasing direct supervision of offenders, coordinating public resources, and expediting case processing, drug court can help break the cycle of criminal behavior, alcohol and drug use, and incarceration. A decade of research indicates that drug court reduces crime by lowering rearrest and conviction rates, improv­ing substance abuse treatment outcomes, and reuniting families, and also produces measurable cost benefits.  The attached PDF, entitled Defining Drug Courts:  Key Components, outlines how drugs courts work.  One of the ongoing dilemmas of drug courts is that most addicts are arrested for other crimes to get drugs and do not qualify for drug court.  They consequently are not treated and usually re-offend.  They don’t figure into the statistics of drug court success.  This makes drug courts much less effective in reducing the much larger impact of drug related crime.  Read a report by the Beckley Foundation that discusses why this is right here. Data base and links provided by Mary Slivinski.

The David Lewis story was so important to the treatment and recovery of bay area addicts, inmates and struggling ex-cons, after his death the  California Governor offered a $50,000.00 reward in July to find his killer.  Many mourned his murder.  David Lewis not only showed that prison rehab can work after  20 years of his own incarceration; the center he started helps 4600 bay area addicts each year.    He started the ground breaking drug treatment program, Free At Last in East Palo Alto.  David Lewis was a Hero.   He showed the world the courage needed to take on addiction in and out of prison.  One single person with a brutal past can make an amazing difference.  Imagine what we can all do together.  Links by Marcia.

Mother’s Day was a big event for Moms United and the millions they represent.  These Rock Star Moms gathered outside of the Los Angeles Superior Court House to speak out against the war on drugs.  They are concerned about Americas’ endless drug war that is tearing apart families with little mercy.   Spokesperson, Gretchen Burns Bergman along with activist moms, formed the group  Moms United to End the War on Drugs.  They  are doing the work many do not have the courage to do.   Mom’s United is dealing with the scourge of drug addiction through positive solutions, drug policy reform and compassionate harm reducing strategies.  Gretchen is well spoken on the subject and has written for journals and newspapers.   Her latest piece, published the day before Mother’s Day is called Mother’s Day: Tears & Triumphs  You can view other publications by Gretchen in the Huffington Post.

How to fight addiction at grassroot level –  Even a statesman was touched by the scourge of addiction.  George McGovern is on fire for solutions as he discusses a grassroots view to fighting a gripping national epidemic that took his own daughter 17 years ago.   George McGovern points out that, on the federal level, not a single government agency working in this area bears the word “recovery” in its name.  George McGovern is a former U.S. senator and Democratic nominee for president

The unsettling trend in prescription drug abuse

seems to be  an issue in the armed forces as well.   Military prescriptions for  pain killers  is up  to 3.8 million.  We know soldiers are taking a toll, but consider since the invasion of Afghanistan the use of pain pills has went up four times, putting some of our troops at risk.  One in four admit to abuse.  While doctor are under fire for prescribing too many pain pills, military doctors are under the glass as well,  in Abuse of Pain Pills by Troopslink by Mary S.

Meth Inc.: Industrial-scale Mexican labs now pushing top-grade poison our way is a piece published a few weeks ago by the Arizona Daily Star, that talks about corporate meth;  The new meth source.  Yes, Americas drug war managed to push  local meth production into Mexico.  The demand never went away.  This is the legacy of our war on drugs; pouring gasoline on a fire.  The more you try and kill it, the bigger it gets.    Just north of the U.S.-MEXICO border, Arizona  is No. 1 in the nation for high school methamphetamine use, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Rural areas in Arizona and other states tend to be hit even harder and the drug is easy to get from Mexico.   One meth hot spot, Central Valley, California, is home to some of the most impoverished rural towns in America, where crystal meth addiction is prolific.  In Fresno, Louis Theroux finds a community ravaged by this cheap and highly addictive drug in his documentary, The City addicted to Crystal Meth    Meth is just one drug that is tearing apart our country.

Fighting America’s craving for drugs is not easy.  Crystal Darkness is one small campaign to end the madness.  You can view their website:  CRYSTAL DARKNESS.  Their  mission, however, clear is dwarfed by the immensity of the problem in America.  Now with the economy in shambles, where will  young addicts turn?…State funded rehab?   It’s clear that an entire reversal of what we have been doing for the last 40 years has to take place.  Emphasis has to be on recovery and saving our youth.  Drug addiction has to be given legitimacy as a disease that devours our young like a rouge cancer.  Killing it is not working.  It needs to enter the realm of medical science.  We are better than this.

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

The Cullen’s story is one that can not be told enough.  Untold grief and sorrow lie in the wake of losing their son, Jeff to drug addiction.  Parents Fight Son’s Lost War With Drugs is a piece published by the Orange County Register and tells what far too many parents have already witnessed.   Gary and Denise fought through their grief and founded  Grasp. Its a website that grabs your heart as it is intended to help others with their losses.  They are also co-founders of  Moms United to End the War on Drugs. A million people live with the relentless impact of addiction every day.  The Cullen’s and many other remarkable citizens made a powerful impact in Southern California the summer 0f 2010 as we get closer to making a difference in saving more lives.

RECOVERY HELPDESK – Harm Reduction causes uproar.

The Drug Monster is a website written by Vince’s Mom, the real life character in the story about Vince’s fall from  innocent grace into the abyss of drug abuse.  The site is obviously written for the young and impressionable and for their moms and dads.  Drugs are a monster and early vigilance is invaluable.  Take a look at the site INTERVENE which focuses on early action.  Once addiction to drugs like heroin and meth sets in, every year that goes by is a year of extremely negative imprinting on the psychology of a young mind. The website and its video  “The Boy Who Was Swallowed by the Drug Monster” offers an innocent explanation of youth stepping into the drug world.  Vince like many drug abusers alludes to the sinister power of heavy drugs, marijuana being his gateway drug.   You might also want to check out Scumbag Sewer Rats which delves into the criminalization of young drug abusers and the archetype of the eternal boy.   The website, Drug Monster, is a christian one and sets a tone that underlies the basis of one successful pathway into recovery  taught by Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous which is letting go and letting god; having a power greater than ourselves.  All addicts are who they are because of themselves.  Admitting powerlessness to drugs and giving it all to a higher power is the bliss that replaces addiction to drugs and alcohol and its free.   link by Donna.

How do you find a treatment center for your child and will insurance cover it? These are two questions that always come up when you are dealing with a child with drug addiction.  When one searches on-line,  you find many private facilities and non-profits  which do not accept most insurance.  Drug addiction is tough enough for parents and adding more stress while trying to find the appropriate care is almost an impossibility.  Brief Metro is a snapshot of substance abuse treatment in various metropolitan areas nationwide with focus and examples in Los Angeles.   Therapy Unlimited provides general information on insurance coverage and is geared to getting one to treatment and therapy.  It’s the kind of information that often comes up in online searches which is somewhat useful.   The recent parity act is explained in the CMS website, however, it illustrate just how many insured people still will not get treatment covered.  Still, yet, Hub Pages attempts to offer answers to people wanting to know how to pay for treatment.  It remains very confusing when you realize that there isn’t a shortage of treatment centers but a shortage of dollars to provide for the care.  This is the issue that needs to be addressed.  What can a parent really do?   Online searches help, but often do not lead to clear answers and people who need treatment mostly don’t get it.  That’s a problem.   Links and text by Mary and Bill

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




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.

The brain chemistry of addiction has puzzled doctors and psychiatrists for years fueling a debate on whether or not addiction is a medical condition.  For that reason, in 2007  Senator Joe Biden wanted to change the name of the National Institute on Drug Abuse to the National Institute on Diseases, and change the name of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to the National Institute on Alcohol Disorders and Health.  The bill didn’t become law, but kept the debate going.  Opposing views are chronicled in:  Medical Misnomer… followed by convincing counter response written by the Institute for Addiction Study NIDA, The National Institute on Drug Abuse, claims that addiction is a chronic disease.

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.

Actor Christopher Lawford and musician Nikki Sixx are two ex-addicts that live a sober life,  share their stories and actively spread the word that recovery is possible.  Sixx has had the courage to leave his drug life behind him and take a stand against drug abuse.  Lawford has  went on to become a leading speaker on the topic of substance abuse.   They are have both been interviewed about rehab basics in a piece called Experts cite must-haves for effective rehab.  The article cites a consensus of what constitutes sound rehab.   Everyone who has been down that road from addicts to their broken families know that good rehab is not a guarantee just because its expensive.  Basics count.

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.

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