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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

prescription opioids
It’s been nearly two decades since the American opioid addiction epidemic began. The crisis is the result, most experts agree, of changes made in how physicians treat and manage patient pain. Up until the late 1990s doctors were extremely reticent about prescribing high doses of opioid painkillers for extended periods of time. Then, concerns about patient comfort and subsequent quality of life led primary care providers to literally “flip the `script;” overprescribing became less of a rarity and practically the rule.

Most people are aware of the dangers of prescription narcotics today, thanks in part to constant media coverage of the devastation wreaked upon the nation from the use of drugs like OxyContin. More than 64,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Wonder database. It probably will not come as a surprise to learn that the majority of overdoses stem from prescription opioids.

It can be easy to conclude that the people dying prematurely from overdose are “hardened” drug addicts; this is due to the ever-persistent stigma of addiction. However, and in many cases, overdose victims are young adults who had the misfortune of being introduced to the substances via a friend or a family member. While opioids are the number one offender in the home medicine cabinet, the general public must not lose sight of the fact that any narcotic a doctor prescribes can precipitate disastrous consequences, such as addiction and overdose. More than 30 percent of overdoses involving opioids also involve benzodiazepines like Xanax or Ativan.


National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

The medicine cabinet is often a repository of some of the most harmful drugs, to be sure. The good news is that WE all have the power to help prevent addiction and save lives. This Saturday is the 15th DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Given that the majority of abused prescription drugs are acquired from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet, it is clear that the onus is on everyone to help stem the tide.

Please take a moment to watch a short PSA on the subject:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Do you know that:
  • The non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in America.
  • The majority of teenagers abusing prescription drugs get them from family and friends — and the home medicine cabinet.
  • Unused prescription drugs thrown in the trash can be retrieved and abused or illegally sold. Unused drugs that are flushed contaminate the water supply. Proper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment.
Prescription narcotics are a public health issue that must be a priority. If you have unused or unwanted drugs that carry habit-forming potential, please use the DEA’s collection site locator to find out where to go in your area. If you are unable to get to a drop site this Saturday, don’t worry, there are year-round locations you can find here.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

The Haven at Pismo can help anyone in the grips of opioid use disorder, whether it be OxyContin or heroin. We provide a continuum of care, including medical detox, gender-specific residential programs, and outpatient programs. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs. 805-202-3440.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Your Spring Recovery To-Do List

Springtime is full of fun and sober activities that can help your recovery and overall health. Here are a few good ones to add to your recovery to-do list this season.
spring recovery to-dos
  • Start your day with a morning walk or jog. When you exercise outdoors you get the mental health benefits of the physical activity itself as well as nature. Whether you choose to walk or jog – or a combination of both – adding outdoor exercise to your spring recovery routine is a great way to fend off stress, be more upbeat and heal your physical and mental self from past trauma. 
  • Plant a garden. Not only is gardening a great form of physical exercise – one hour is equivalent to roughly 35 minutes of jogging – but it’s also a great mental workout. And you don’t even need a green thumb to reap the recovery benefits, which include more patience, persistence and better planning.
  • Head to your farmer’s market. Stock up on spring produce – asparagus, fava beans, strawberries – to fuel your brain and body for the hard work of recovery. And while you’re there, why not treat yourself to some beautiful fresh flowers or herbs to spice up your cooking.
  • Go for a hike. There’s nothing quite like an afternoon with Mother Nature to reduce your mind’s propensity to “ruminate” — or focus on negative, self-focused patterns linked with anxiety and depression. 
  • Read under a tree. Building a better sober life means finding activities that keep your mind busy and strong and a good book can certainly do that and more. Reading has been linked to many recovery benefits, including better sleep and less stress.
  • Spring clean your mental cobwebs. It’s the perfect season to open the windows, let the sun shine in and let go of all of those negative thoughts and worries cluttering your mind. You can start by jotting down three things you can do today to free up your mental space. 
Begin Holistic Addiction Treatment Today
Haven offers its clients a long list of holistic therapies that emphasize body, mind, and spiritual healing. To learn more about our alternative treatment avenues, call our admissions team at 805-202-3440.

Friday, April 20, 2018

National Addiction Treatment Week

addiction treatment
Millions of Americans are currently struggling with mental illness in the form of alcohol and substance use disorder. We must share the fact that treatment works, and recovery is possible. Additionally, in order for people to receive the assistance they require, we have to reassure individuals that they are not at fault for their condition, despite the stigma of addiction that persists.

Addiction is a debilitating disease and society should treat it as such, of course convincing the general public of this reality is no easy task. While it is factual that we have come a long way regarding stigma, we still have miles to go to increase public awareness and encourage those suffering to seek treatment. This month, people are working tirelessly to share information about alcohol. Experts hope to reach young people and parents across the country with the goal of steering those in need toward treatment and programs of recovery.

While April is Alcohol Awareness Month, April 23rd through April 29th is National Addiction Treatment Week. Treatment centers are often the first stop on the road to lasting recovery. What’s more, people who seek help in such facilities are more likely to stay on course in early recovery. Equipped with tools for coping and a roadmap highlighting pitfall-laden areas, people who complete a residential program are positioned to excel.


National Addiction Treatment Week

Alcohol and substance use disorders can affect anyone, regardless of where they come from in life. In fact, according to the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (2016), nearly 20.5 million Americans are struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD); the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that only 1 in 10 people with a SUD receives treatment. The numbers are a clear indication that treatment is both underutilized and, in many cases, difficult to access; however, the trend is reversible through coordinated efforts like National Addiction Treatment Week.

Throughout the coming week, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) would also like to inspire more people to seek careers in the field of addiction medicine. ASAM calls for fostering a “qualified addiction medicine workforce.” You can find more information about events taking place next week at You can also share facts about addiction on social media using: #TreatmentWeek.

“Raising awareness that addiction is a chronic brain disease, and not a moral failure, and qualifying more clinicians to treat addiction is vital to increasing patients’ access to treatment.” said Kelly Clark, MD, MBA, DFASAM, president of ASAM. “National Addiction Treatment Week supports ASAM’s dedication to increasing access and improving the quality of addiction treatment, and helping physicians treat addiction and save lives.”


Ignoring Stigma, Seeking Treatment

At The Haven, we understand stigma's paralyzing effect on people who live with any mental illness; we know how it keeps individuals from receiving the care they require. Please know that you are not alone, addiction is a disease not a lack of willpower, and treatment works. We offer a number of programs, including our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) which features the ASAM curriculum. If you are ready to take certain steps to break the cycle of addiction and begin a remarkable journey of recovery, please contact us today for a free consultation.

Friday, April 13, 2018

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

April is a pivotal month regarding alcohol education and prevention, use, abuse, treatment, and recovery. That is because this is Alcohol Awareness Month, a yearly observance led by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). The advocacy organization focuses on alcohol and substance use disorder and the consequences that accompany such conditions.

Given that most people who develop alcohol-related disorders begin using the substance in adolescence, it is vital that young people have all the facts. Alcohol use disorder may take its victims at a slower pace than opioids, but the overall cost of life stemming from alcohol use is far more significant than prescription painkillers and heroin.

One of the most substantial obstacles deterring people from fully grasping the risks of alcohol is the substance’s pervasive nature in our culture. It is no secret that most Americans view alcohol use as a rite of passage when they turn 21; most adult drinkers, although, began a relationship with alcohol at an earlier age. If experts, parents, and teachers can reach young persons before drinking initiates, they can help spare millions of people from years of heartache and physical malady.


Alcohol Facts

The theme of this year’s Alcohol Awareness Month is, “Changing Attitudes: It’s not a ‘rite of passage.’” One of NCADD’s goals is to educate parents about the unique role they can have in guiding their children’s use of alcohol. Throughout the course of April, experts are speaking at events across the country educating individuals about the treatment and prevention of alcohol use disorder, especially among our youth. Did you know that 623,000 adolescents (12–17) met the criteria for alcohol use disorder (AUD) in 2015?

“Alcohol and drug use is a very risky business for young people,” says Andrew Pucher, President and CEO of NCADD, “and parents can make a difference. The longer children delay drinking and drug use, the less likely they are to develop any problems associated with it. That’s why it is so important to help your child make smart decisions about alcohol and drugs.” 

While the damage of alcohol use often occurs slowly over the course of years, that is far from always being the case. In fact, NCADD reports:
  • The typical American will see 100,000 beer commercials before he or she turns 18.
  • Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year.
  • Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.
  • Teens who have conversations with their parents and learn a lot about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50 percent less likely to use alcohol and drugs than those who don’t have such conversations.
We understand that talking to teenagers about alcohol and substance use is not always painless. However, there are resources available to help guide you, to ensure the conversations you have with your kids bear fruit.


Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment


If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol use disorder, The Haven at Pismo can help. We provide a continuum of care, including medical detox, gender-specific residential programs, and outpatient programs. Please contact us today to learn more about our program. 805-202-3440.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Should Men and Women be Treated for Depression Differently?

In 2016, roughly 16.2 million U.S. adults experienced at least one episode of major depression – and these episodes were almost twice as common among women than men. 

Because of this overwhelming prevalence among women, researchers set out to pinpoint specific genetic differences between men and women who had had major depression disorder (MDD).

Researchers analyzed the brain tissue of 50 deceased adults (26 men and 24 women) who had had MDD and examined genetic alterations across three brain regions involved in depression:
  • Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
  • Subgenual anterior cingulate cortex
  • Basolateral amygdala
The results: 706 genes were expressed differently in men with MMD and 882 genes expressed differently in women with MDD. And these differences varied among the sexes: only 73 genes were found in both men and women who had had MDD and in 52 of these 73 genes, expression changed in opposite directions with respect to the sexes. In other words, only 21 genes were affected in the same way in men and women with MDD.

Researchers also noted that sex roles – testosterone in men and estrogen in women –  may also play a role in these differences. "It's not that women are more vulnerable to depression, it's actually that men are more protected [by testosterone],” author Etienne Sibille, PhD, senior scientist and chair, Campbell Institute, Center for Addiction and Mental Health, and professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, University of Toronto, Canada, told Medscape Medical News.

The findings provide further evidence that men and women should be treated for depression differently. "These results have significant implications for development of potential novel treatments and suggest that these treatments should be developed separately for men and women," said lead author Marianne Seney, PhD, of University of Pittsburgh. 

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders
Your best chance of recovery lies in integrated dual-diagnosis treatment that addresses both conditions in one recovery program. The Haven at Pismo provides a continuum of care for clients with co-occurring chemical dependency and mental illnesses. To learn more, call 805-202-3440.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

An A.M. Routine to Set the Tone for Recovery

a.m. routine for recovery
Your morning routine can set the tone and pace for the rest of the day – so why not start off the right way? One way to do this is to make conscious, healthy decisions in those first seconds, minutes and hours after you open your eyes. These tips can help you do just that – and the effects will last the entire day.   
  • Wake up and meditate. You don’t have to jump out of bed and b-line for the coffee machine. Instead, linger in bed and meditate to tap into your inner spirit. If you have time, consider following the mediation with a little journaling to document the experience.
  • Write yourself a love note. Instead of reaching for your smartphone, reach for a piece of paper and jot down why you deserve to have a great day ahead.
  • Drink a tall glass of water. Water will help fire up your metabolism, flush out any toxins and give your brain fuel to start the day.
  • Fuel up. Aim for a healthy mix of protein, fiber and healthy fats. This combo will keep you full longer and prevent blood sugar dips that can lead to mood swings and cravings.
  • Jot down your goals. These can be short- or long-term, as long as you make them "SMART," which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely or Time-sensitive. For example, a SMART Goal might be to walk for 30 minutes, three times per week for five days, starting on Monday.
  • Head outdoors. Just stepping outside can help you start the day with a sunnier outlook. Breathe in the fresh air, breathe out any negative emotions – and while you’re out there, go for a heart-pumping walk or jog.
Your Path to Better Mental Health
The Haven at Pismo can help you achieve inner harmony while building the skills to maintain it over the long term. Our dual diagnosis programs are recommended for those experiencing the doubly damaging effects of addiction and mental illness. To connect with a caring and understanding admissions counselor, call today: 805-202-3440.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

ER Visits for Opioid Abuse Soaring

A new government report released more stats surrounding America's opioid epidemic – and, once again, it’s pretty scary.

In the new report, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified 142,557 opioid overdose victims from 45 states spilling into ERs from July 2016 to September 2017. Emergency room visits for opioid overdoses increased nationwide and across all demographic groups. The Midwest was hit hardest; data showed an overall 70 percent increase in overdose treatment rates in emergency rooms.

"This fast-moving epidemic does not distinguish age, sex or state or county lines, and it's still increasing in every region of the United States," said Dr. Anne Schuch, CDC Acting Director, during a press conference. "This data sends a wake-up call about the need to improve what happens when patients leave the emergency department."

Added U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams during the briefing: "It is a chronic illness that must be treated with skill, compassion and urgency."

Do You Know About the "Good Samaritan" Law?
Indeed, acting with urgency is imperative for saving the life of someone overdosing on opioids. And, yet, it’s common for friends and family members who are also misusing drugs to delay help for fear of arrest. 911 “Good Samaritan” laws exempt an individual from arrest and prosecution for mild drug and alcohol law violations if they call for help to save someone else’s life. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have some type of Good Samaritan law.

Getting Help for Opioid Abuse
The Haven at Pismo provides a continuum of care that includes medical detox, residential programs for men and women, partial hospitalization and outpatient programs. If you or a loved one is showing signs of an opioid addiction, call today: 805-202-3440.