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Friday, January 24, 2020

Congress Addresses Methamphetamine Use in America

stimulant use disorder
Earlier this month, we covered the rise of methamphetamine use in America and the surge in overdoses related to the dangerous stimulant. Regular readers of our blog will remember that since late 2018, methamphetamine use has led to more fatalities than opioid painkillers.

It's vital to point out that opioids continue to be a significant crisis in the United States. Prescription painkillers, heroin, and synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil steal the lives of thousands of Americans each year. However, public health officials and lawmakers must address the alarming trend of methamphetamine use ravaging many parts of the U.S.

From the Central Valley of California to rural Missouri, meth is back in full force. The source of the dangerous stimulant is Mexico and the cartels that operate super laboratories. As we pointed out previously, today's methamphetamine is significantly more potent and less expensive than the meth of the 2000s.

Government crackdowns during the height of the American meth epidemic of decades past created a shortage that the cartels were happy to fill. Each year, tons of the drug is smuggled across the southern border and then dispersed across the greater United States.

It's worth noting that many Americans living with opioid use disorders also use stimulants. The simultaneous use of central nervous system depressants and stimulants is hazardous. The term used to describe what happens when a person combines two different types of substances is drug synergism.

When two or more drugs are used simultaneously, it causes the total effect of the drugs to be more significant than the sum of the individual effects of each drug. When opioids and stimulants are used together, the practice is often referred to as "speedballing."

The American Addiction Epidemic

Most Americans tend to view the public health crisis in the U.S. as an opioid epidemic. However, opioids are only one facet of an even more significant problem. What we are facing should be called the American addiction epidemic.

Millions of Americans are battling opioid use disorder and stimulant use disorders; some individuals meet the criteria for both conditions. In our previous post, we mentioned that states are having a challenging time addressing the scourge of methamphetamine use. The problem is that lawmakers were so fixated on tackling opioid use that they lost sight of the big picture.

Congress began directing billions in funding in the last decade to expand access to treatment for opioid use disorders. However, provisions mandate the funds only to be used for opioid-related conditions. So, even though there are resources available, public health officials cannot direct them for the treatment of stimulant use disorders.

Lawmakers were made aware of the above issue and, mirabile dictu, they are taking action. Congress passed a spending bill late in 2019 that allows states to use funds earmarked for opioid addiction to address instead stimulant use, The New York Times reports. The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is preparing to inform states that they can tap into a $1.5 billion grant program previously relegated for the opioid crisis.

"We are concerned that while the nation, rightly so, is devoting so much of its attention and resources to the opioid epidemic, another epidemic — this one involving cocaine and methamphetamine — is on the rise," wrote the House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J. and ranking Republican Greg Walden of Oregon. 

SLO County Addiction Treatment Center

The Haven at Pismo can help you or your loved one begin the journey of recovery from opioid or stimulant use disorder. Please contact us today to learn more about our detox and evidence-based addiction treatment programs. The Haven is the perfect place to renew to your best today.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Call Before You Fall in Recovery

addiction recovery
When you leave a center for addiction recovery, you must establish yourself in a support group in your area. Introduce yourself to people in the meeting right from the start to begin building a network of trusted allies. Be on the lookout for a sponsor or someone to guide you on the path toward progress.

It’s essential to make a list of phone numbers of people you can call besides your sponsor or recovery mentor. Keep that list with you wherever you go to ensure you have a lifeline should problems arise. Such contacts will prove to be invaluable in early recovery and beyond.

It helps to be discerning when taking the phone numbers of your peers. Make sure that your contact list is comprised of only people who are committed to long-term recovery. In early recovery, your list should include members of the community of the same gender.

When you get a sponsor, he or she will instruct you to call every day whether you are having a problem or not. Such calls will get you in the practice of picking up the phone before you fall. Triggers and cravings are a part of early recovery; you will experience them from time to time. Knowing how to reach out before such temptations take a life of their own is essential.

No matter where you are or the time of day, you can rest assured that someone will pick up the phone. If you are struggling, then they will help you work out the issue without having to succumb to temptations to use.

Call Your Peers When You Have Cravings

Getting in the habit of calling members of your support network when times are good will make it easier to reach out in times of need. Make a point of phoning your sponsor and at least one other member of the recovery community every day. In time, the practice will be second nature instead of a tedious chore.

Each person in early recovery can count on finding themselves at risk of relapse in the first year. Fostering relationships and talking regularly with your support peers is a vital tool for preventing a return to use.

There will be days when you will feel like isolating and keeping to yourself; you may not feel like talking on the phone or attending a meeting. Please resist the temptation to forgo reaching out.

Long-term addiction recovery is only achievable by working together with others and establishing routines. Daily calls to your peers are one of the most beneficial habits you can develop. Call before you fall is a saying that you should memorize and a vital practice to adopt. You have the ability to protect your progress no matter the obstacles. It’s much easier to call for help before a relapse than it is after.

Do you have a list of contacts who you can rely on in times of need? If not, please begin getting phone numbers right away. Your recovery could depend on having the ability to reach out for support, day or night quickly.

Central California Addiction Treatment Center

Please contact the Haven at Pismo, to learn more about our commitment to integrity and excellence. Our evidence-based therapies and highly trained team can help you renew to your best today. We are available at any time to answer your questions on our 24/7 hotline. 1-805-202-3440

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Take Time for Yourself and Have Fun in Recovery

After treatment, men and women are thrust back into the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Still, they must always make time for themselves and their recovery. They must also learn to take better care of themselves and learn how to have clean and sober fun, all while prioritizing sobriety.

Some will find it challenging to manage all of the above in the first year, but each person can do so as long as they continue to make sobriety their number one priority. Recovery is a multifaceted process that involves many different aspects. In the first year, individuals must learn how to strike a balance between working their program, tending to their responsibilities, and having fun without drugs and alcohol.

If you attended an addiction treatment center like The Haven at Pismo, then you probably know about the importance of taking care of yourself. You learned about eating healthy and exercising on a regular basis; you perhaps also gleaned that making time to enjoy life is vital. People in recovery are not sticks in the mud, and they insist on living life to the fullest.

Abstaining from drugs and alcohol provides you with ample opportunity to engage in new and exciting activities. Each person must find what they enjoy again; years of addiction can take away one's ability to enjoy all that life has to offer. Now that you are sober, you must find ways to occupy your time when you are not working the steps, attending meetings, or at your place of work.

Maybe you used to surf, ski, or snowboard? Perhaps you were an avid hiker at one time or bicyclist? In sobriety, you have the opportunity to get to the activities you used to love. As long as such experiences do not stand in the way of your program, you will find that prioritizing having fun will strengthen your recovery.

Make Time for Yourself in Recovery

In previous posts, we have shared that isolating is not beneficial for people in early recovery. Staying close to your support network and attending daily meetings is a must. However, it would help if you also remembered to take time for yourself so that you can process where you are and what you would like to achieve.

Take time to connect with your higher power daily via prayer or meditation. Stay present, but do not shut out your peers when they ask to spend time with you outside the rooms of recovery. You can say no from time to time, but in early recovery, it’s essential to foster relationships with the people in your support network. Such men and women who will become your lifelong friends and allies as you trudge the road of happy destiny.

You have the right to work your program as you see fit, but we strongly advise you to watch your peers closely, especially people with more time than you like your sponsor. In the first year, you may be at a loss regarding how to balance recovery and life in healthy ways. Your peers serve as a model for what is suitable for healing and what behaviors will stand in the way of continued progress.

There may be things you want to do that may run counter to the principles of recovery. What’s more, you may not be aware that something you are doing is an obstacle to progress. Recovery-first means talking to your support network openly and honestly about what you are up to when you are not in their company. If you do that, then you will receive necessary feedback that could prevent a relapse down the road.

SLO County Addiction Recovery Center

The Haven at Pismo can help you or a loved one begin a life-changing journey of addiction recovery. Our addiction recovery center and detox is the perfect place to renew to your best today. Please reach out to our team today to learn more about The Haven difference. You can call our confidential hotline at any time of the day. 1-805-202-3440

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Methamphetamine Use and Overdose in America

Nearly one year ago, we covered the topic of the return of methamphetamine use in America. At the time, we mentioned that opioids and opioid-related overdoses overshadowed all other life-threatening narcotics. We want to report that the new meth crisis is being addressed. Unfortunately, matters are seemingly worse than initially thought.

As we pointed out last January, the methamphetamine being consumed today is far more dangerous than that of the early 2000s. Commonly referred to as "ice," today's meth is far more pure and exceedingly more potent than earlier iterations. "Homegrown" meth manufactured in clandestine American labs in the 1990s and 2000s pales in comparison to the methamphetamine being produced in Mexican super labs.

One of the significant problems with addressing meth use in America, aside from price and abundant availability, is treating stimulant use disorder. There are no medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating meth addiction. What's more, there are not any medications that can reverse a meth overdose, like there are with opioids.

An opioid overdose can be combated with naloxone, a life-saving drug that can reverse the deadly symptoms of opioid toxicity. If administered in a timely fashion, naloxone or Narcan can save a person's life. Not so when it comes to methamphetamine, which may account for a staggering rise in methamphetamine overdose deaths in recent years.

In fact, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that there were about 13,000 deaths involving meth nationwide in 2018, The New York Times reports. Moreover, since late 2018, methamphetamine has been involved in more fatalities than opioid painkillers. The CDC reports that in 14 of the 35 states that report monthly overdose death data to the federal government, the potent stimulant was involved in more deaths than fentanyl.

Methamphetamine is Potent, Addictive, and Treatable

Methamphetamine can cause irreversible damage to vital organs. The drug's high potency makes the drug extraordinarily addictive and places men and women at risk of relapse. Moreover, there are no medications for meth addiction detox and treatment like those for opioid use disorder (i.e., Suboxone or buprenorphine).

Another concerning element to the meth scourge in America is that most of the federal funds for treating addiction are earmarked for opioid use disorder. As such, people with stimulant use disorders may have difficulty accessing evidence-based treatment, according to the article. Lawmakers will have to confront the meth scourge, and sooner rather than later hopefully.

"We know there is funding coming in for the opioid problem," said Mimi Tarrasch, the chief officer of an alternative sentencing program in Tulsa. "But what I see, and what our community continues to see, is really a lot of addiction to methamphetamine."

Meth impacts the central nervous system, leading to:
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Psychosis
  • Damage to the Heart, Brain, and other Vital Organs
"Basically your blood pressure goes up so high that you can rupture your aorta or have a stroke," said Dr. Andrew Herring, an emergency medicine and addiction specialist in Oakland, California.

Regularly, overdose deaths involving meth also includes opioids; people often mix both drugs to achieve drug synergy. Combining two drugs enhances the euphoria caused by each individual substance. Dr. Daniel Ciccarone, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, says that meth-related deaths may be on the rise because more people are using meth, the article reports. Last month, Dr. Ciccarone spoke at a conference on stimulant abuse called: "Developing Novel Therapies for Stimulant Use Disorder." At the workshop, he said that it's hard to pinpoint the exact cause of the surge in meth-related deaths.

"It's embarrassing that we don't have the answer at our fingertips and we should," Dr. Ciccarone said. 

SLO County Stimulant Use Disorder Treatment

Even though scientists have yet to create a drug for helping people recover from stimulant use disorder, methamphetamine addiction is a treatable condition. With professional assistance and evidence-based therapies, recovery is possible for people living with a stimulant use disorder.

Please contact The Haven at Pismo to learn more about our programs and unique treatment path. Our team of highly trained addiction specialists can help you renew to your best today.