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I think this plan is a really clever way to get a handle on the opioid settlement negotiations.”

~ Howard Erichson, Professor, Fordham University School of Law, Expert on Complex Litigation

In mid-June, lawyers representing various cities and counties across the country proposed including all 24,500 American communities in a possible comprehensive national settlement of the more than 1800 opioid lawsuits against drug manufacturers and distributors. This would mean that if an agreement could be reached, every municipality in America would share in the funds.

For communities that have been affected – or even devastated – by the ongoing and still-worsening opioid epidemic, this would provide some sorely-needed funds to support and expand prevention and treatment efforts. Unfortunately, less than 10% of people who struggle with problematic substance abuse ever get the specialized help they need. The kind of money that could result from a national opioid settlement could change that.

And if the right assurances can be made, such a settlement would also benefit the drug companies, because it would save them both the expense of prolonged litigation and the negative press that would surely result from a public trial.

But although both sides have much to gain by settling now, there is still a lot to be worked out, and challenges still remain. There is as of yet only a framework in place that points to the possibility of a national opioid settlement.

Let’s take a closer look at how bad the problem has been, who the players are, what’s at stake, where we are now, the pros and cons of a comprehensive deal, and what it’s going to take to get there.

The US Opioid Epidemic: A Quick Overview

“In terms of the overall number of overdose deaths, the epidemic is unprecedented and has wide-ranging negative effects, not only on individuals but on their families and communities.”

~ Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse

Currently, drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans younger than 50. In fact, drug poisonings claim more lives than gun homicides and car crashes combined. Of troubling concern, the numbers are continuing to get much worse. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the United States has endured 19 consecutive years of tragic new “records”:

  • 1999: 16849
  • 2000: 17415 (+3.3%)
  • 2001: 19394 (+11.4%)
  • 2002: 23514 (+21.2%)
  • 2003: 25785 (+9.7%)
  • 2004: 27424 (+6.6%)
  • 2005: 29813 (+8.7%)
  • 2006: 34425 (+15.5%)
  • 2007: 36010 (+4.6%)
  • 2008: 36450 (+1.2%)
  • 2009: 37004 (+1.5%)
  • 2010: 38329 (+3.6%)
  • 2011: 41340 (+7.9%)
  • 2012: 41502 (+.4%)
  • 2013: 43982 (+6.0%)
  • 2014: 47055 (+7.0%)
  • 2015: 52404 (+11.4%)
  • 2016: 63632 (+21.4%)
  • 2017: 71,000 (estimated) (+11.6%)

In less than a generation, fatal overdoses have more than quadrupled, largely driven by opioids. For example, in 2015, over 58% of overdose deaths involved prescription painkillers, heroin, or, increasing illicit synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

Since 1999, drug overdoses have killed more Americans than every armed conflict combined, dating back to World War I.

The United States has 5% of the world’s population but consumes 80% of the global opioid supply, including 95%  of its hydrocodone, the primary ingredient in Vicodin. Right now, there are around two million people in America who struggle with prescription opioid addiction, and an average of 130 Americans die every day because of opioid overdoses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that prescription painkiller abuse places an economic burden on the US that reaches $78.5 billion annually.

Who are the Plaintiffs?

This is an attempt to bind together all of the cities and counties in the U.S. to negotiate as one as if the defendants are interested in a global deal. Imagine a legion of soldiers prepping in the battle against an adversary. You don’t want soldiers wandering around in different directions. You want the soldiers to be unified. There’s strength in numbers.

~ Attorney Paul J. Hanly Jr., Co-lead for the Federal litigation

The 1850 plaintiffs already named in the Federal lawsuit are communities from every part of the United States – counties and individual cities. This shows how every part of America has been impacted by the opiate crisis.

According to the latest “Vital Signs” report put out by the CDC, there was no part of the United States that failed to experience an increase in opioid-related fatal overdoses between 2016 in 2017. Emergency room visits involving overdoses caused by opioids jumped 30% in every part of the country.

July 2016-September 2017:

  • The Midwest: 70% increase in opioid overdoses.
  • Large metros: +54%
  • Large “fringe” metros: +21%
  • Medium-sized metros: +43%
  • Small metros: +37%
  • Micropolitan communities: +24%
  • Non-core cities: +21%

Even more telling, the National Center for Health Statistic has released a report highlighting just how badly some states have been hit by the opioid crisis. Here are the fatal opioid overdose rates for each state and the District of Columbia for 2017, ranked by overdose death rate per 100,000 residents:

  1. West Virginia — 49.6
  2. Ohio — 39.2
  3. District of Columbia — 34.7
  4. New Hampshire — 34
  5. Maryland — 32.2
  6. Maine — 29.9
  7. Massachusetts — 28.2
  8. Kentucky — 27.9
  9. Delaware — 27.8
  10. Connecticut — 27.7
  11. Rhode Island — 26.9
  12. New Jersey — 22
  13. Michigan — 21.2
  14. Pennsylvania — 21.2
  15. Vermont — 20
  16. North Carolina — 19.8
  17. Tennessee — 19.3
  18. Indiana — 18.8
  19. Illinois — 17.2
  20. Wisconsin — 16.9
  21. New Mexico — 16.7
  22. Missouri — 16.5
  23. Florida — 16.3
  24. New York — 16.1
  25. South Carolina — 15.5
  26. Utah — 15.5
  27. Virginia — 14.8
  28. Alaska — 13.9
  29. Arizona — 13.5
  30. Nevada — 13.3
  31. Oklahoma — 10.2
  32. Colorado — 10
  33. Georgia — 9.7
  34. Washington — 9.6
  35. Louisiana — 9.3
  36. Alabama — 9
  37. Wyoming — 8.7
  38. Oregon — 8.1
  39. Minnesota — 7.8
  40. Iowa — 6.9
  41. Arkansas — 6.5
  42. Mississippi — 6.4
  43. Idaho — 6.2
  44. California — 5.3
  45. Kansas — 5.1
  46. Texas — 5.1
  47. North Dakota — 4.8
  48. South Dakota — 4.0
  49. Montana — 3.6
  50. Hawaii — 3.4
  51. Nebraska — 3.1
Who are the Defendants?

Purdue Pharma…sponsored 20,000 educational programs across the country with messages for the medical community that we were allowing patients to suffer needlessly because of an overblown fear of addiction…And as the medical community responded to this brilliant marketing campaign, and as the prescribing began to take off, it led to parallel increases in addiction and overdose deaths that led to a public health crisis. Since 1997, we’ve had a 900% increase in opioid addiction in the United States from exposure to opioid pain medication.”

~ Dr. Andrew Kolodny, MD, speaking to Kentucky Educational Television in 2016

There are two dozen companies being sued for their part in the opioid crisis, including some of the largest drug manufacturers and distributors in the country:

  • Actavis
  • Allergan
  • Cephalon
  • CVS
  • Endo
  • Janssen
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Purdue
  • Rite Aid
  • Teva
  • TopRx
  • Walgreens
  • Wal-Mart

In the original 2017 filing, the description read, “Plaintiffs allege that the manufacturers of prescription opioids grossly misrepresented the risks of long-term use of those drugs for persons with chronic pain, and distributors failed to properly monitor suspicious orders of those prescription drugs – all of which contributed to the current opioid epidemic.”

What are the Charges?

“…(the) lawsuit alleges that the drug companies engaged in fraudulent marketing regarding the risks and benefits of prescription opioids… We believe that the evidence will show that these pharmaceutical companies purposely misled doctors about the dangers connected with pain meds that they produced and that they did so for the purpose of increasing sales. And boy, did they increase sales.”

~ Mike DeWine, Ohio Attorney General

Among the stated grievances are allegations that the manufacturers knowingly:

  • Minimized the abuse and addiction potential of their opioid products

*A 2015 review found that 30% of prescribed opioids are misused, and 10% of pain patients are addicted.

  • Overstated the medications’ effectiveness.

*Opioids are actually no better than over-the-counter remedies at managing chronic pain.

  • Exaggerated the duration of pain relief.

*Physicians and patients were told that OxyContin relieved pain for 12 hours, instead of the actual 8 hours.

  • Ignored reports of misuse.

*Purdue execs knew their products were being abused as far back as 1999.

  • Unethically provided incentives to doctors to push opioid painkillers – trip, bonuses, “consultant” fees, etc.

*As a result, the top 10% of opioid prescribers write 57% of the prescriptions

  • Punished prescribers who did not meet quotas.

Drug company execs would withhold cushy paid speaking engagements and trips until more opioids were prescribed.

  • Required providers to treat pain as a “vital sign”

*Doctors were urged to eliminate pain with opioids, rather than safely manage it with other methods.

Pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart are included in the lawsuit because it is alleged that they also ignored reporting guidelines for the sake of higher profits.

What is at Stake?

“(Purdue Pharma is) drowning in lawsuits.  This isn’t the first settlement the company has reached during this big opioid crisis, but it comes in a crucial year, at a time when people are watching to see if this company will start cutting deals with states and local governments two limit its legal exposure.  So this is a big settlement. It’ll be looked at as a potential template for future deals all over the country.”

~ Brian Mann, “All Things Considered” National Public Radio

In a word, money.

According to court documents filed by the plaintiffs in April, addressing the opioid crisis could cost a staggering $480 billion. That’s the kind of money that could make a real difference and save hundreds of thousands of lives:

  • Public awareness campaigns
  • Prevention efforts
  • Education
  • Expansion of treatment services
  • Development of new anti-addiction medications
  • Increased availability of emergency overdose reversal drugs
  • Family programs
  • Housing, educational, vocational, and employment assistance

But this is also the kind of money that can change the entire opioid industry. For example, Purdue Pharma has already stopped marketing OxyContin, joining Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Allergan, each of whom hasn’t actively promoted their opioid products in years.

Purdue has also laid off more than half of its sales force and is said to be looking into bankruptcy protection.

Looking at What Happened in Oklahoma

It is a new day in Oklahoma and for the nation in our battle against addiction and the opioid epidemic…We are out of time with regard to the responsibility we have to deal with this crisis. But the money from this settlement will provide significant and substantial funding to the Center for Wellness and Recovery here, allowing us to focus our attention on what should be our highest priority: Americans struggling with addiction.”

~ Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter

In March of this year, Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxycontin, agreed to a massive financial settlement, putting an end to the opioid lawsuit brought by the State of Oklahoma.  It was alleged that Purdue and other drug companies had committed fraud by waging a deceptive marketing campaign that understated the abuse potential of their products, thereby creating addicts and causing overdose deaths by the thousands.

Purdue will pay $270 million, a calculated corporate decision in order to avoid a very public trial that was certain to generate an enormous amount of negative press.  Not everyone is in favor of this. Senator Richard Blumenthal, who formerly served as Oklahoma’s Attorney General, said, “…there is also virtue in trials that publicly inform the nation and allow evidence to be made public.”

The $270 million is by the largest payout to-date in Purdue’s ongoing legal battle.  Right now, Purdue Pharma and its owners are named in more than 1600 lawsuits resulting from their corporate and personal roles in both creating and expanding the opioid addiction epidemic that continues to drive the American drug crisis.

But there are important aspects to this particular case Oklahoma that could have far-reaching implications for other lawsuits. And this is why establishing the proper framework for a potential national opioid settlement is so important.

First, Purdue was eager to make this deal, reaching an agreement a full two months before the case was set to go to trial.

Second, there were several Oklahoma cities and towns that did not participate in the state’s lawsuit, instead opting to pursue their own cases: Oklahoma City, Lawton, Broken Arrow, Midwest City, and Enid.

Third, this settlement only involves Purdue Pharma. Oklahoma’s lawsuit will continue against other drug manufacturers.

Oklahoma’s settlement moves the needle toward more settlements. It’s a reference point that other states will look to in their own negotiations…,” said Robert Bird, who teaches Business Law at the University of Connecticut.

These fines and lawsuits are hitting drug companies where it really hurts –right in the profits. And if judgments from the past lawsuits against Big Tobacco are an accurate benchmark,  then opioid settlements will be in the HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of dollars.

Look at what has already happened:

  • Purdue Pharma (2007): $601 million
  • Purdue Pharma (2019): $270 million
  • McKesson (2019): $37 million
  • Insys Therapeutics (2019): $150 – $225 million
  • Teva Pharmaceuticals (2019): $85 million, reaching a settlement with Oklahoma just two days before the lawsuit was set to go to trial.
Criminal Convictions Set a Powerful Precedent

“Today’s convictions mark the first successful prosecution of top pharmaceutical executives for crimes related to the illicit marketing and prescribing of opioids. Just as we would street-level drug dealers, we will hold pharmaceutical companies responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic by recklessly and illegally distributing these drugs, especially while conspiring to commit racketeering along the way.”

~ Andrew Lelling, a top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts

In My 2019, a Boston jury found Insys Therapeutics executives guilty of conspiracy and racketeering charges involving the sale of Subsys, their flagship product. Subsys is a powerful opioid painkiller primarily given to cancer patients. A month’s supply of Subsys costs up to $30,000. In 2016 alone, Subsys generated $240 million in sales.

In late 2017, John Kapoor, Insys’ billionaire founder, and former CEO was arrested and charged with:

  • Conspiracy to defraud insurance providers
  • Conspiracy to violate the anti-kickback law
  • RICO conspiracy
  • Conspiracy to commit wire fraud

After a ten-week trial this year, the jury convicted Kapoor and four other top executives:

  • Richard Simon, former National Director of Sales
  • Michael Gurry, former Vice President of Managed Markets
  • Sunrise Lee, former Regional Sales Director
  • Joseph Rowan, also a former Regional Sales Director

Ultimately, they were convicted of conspiring to increase profits by bribing prescribers and by lying to insurers about patients’ need for Subsys.

One of Insys’ most-common tactics was to bribe doctors and other prescribers by paying them huge fees for cushy “speaking engagements”. In 2016, Insys made 18000 payments to doctors around the country, eventually spending more than two million dollars.

These convictions carry up to 20 years in prison, and the message is loud and clear: those who are most for creating the opioid epidemic are being held accountable at last.

Insys Therapeutics filed for bankruptcy in mid-June.

How Would an Opioid Settlement Benefit Affected Communities?

Up to this point, the vast majority of the costs of the opioid catastrophe have been shouldered by the taxpayers. It is our hope, and it is the intention of (the) lawsuit to hold the industry accountable and to make the opioid industry shoulder its share of the burden.”

~ Mark Chalos, one of the attorneys representing numerous municipalities in the nationwide opioid case

Unfortunately, this does NOT mean that there is soon going to be a huge pool of money available for every single person who has ever struggled with opioid addiction. These lawsuits were filed by governments to protect their citizens and recoup past financial losses they may have spent on such addiction-related expenses as:

  • Law Enforcement
  • Emergency Services
  • Medical Treatment
  • Overdose Reversal Drugs
  • Incarceration
  • Court Costs
  • Government-Funded Drug Rehab

Settlement money can also be used to expand existing services and create new ones, thereby both helping people who are already addicted AND preventing the next generation of addicts.

There is also a very practical concern that underscores why it might be in the plaintiffs’ best interests to settle now, rather than prolonging the legal battle.  Simply put, when faced with judgment after judgment and individual settlement after individual settlement, some of these companies are going to run out of money. Bankruptcy protection has a very real possibility.

In other words, it might be better to share in an agreed-upon settlement now, rather than fighting for years to end up with nothing.

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Where Are There Good Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers in Washington State? People in Washington State struggling with substance abuse disorders such as the misuse of prescription painkillers, addiction to illicit street drugs, or the abuse of alcohol already have enough on their plate, just dealing with their addiction.

But as it turns out, they may also be struggling with a serious psychiatric condition. Rates of serious mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are all higher among alcoholics and drug addicts – and vice versa.

When a person is evaluated as having co-occurring mental and addictive disorders – or meets the criteria for such an evaluation – then they are said to have a “dual diagnosis”.

Substance abuse and mental illness are inextricably intertwined – each condition can be a factor in the development of the other, and can worsen the other if left untreated.

And there is the question – “Are there good dual diagnosis treatment centers in Washington state?”

Of course, the answer is “yes”… IF you know what to look for.

How Prevalent are Dual Diagnoses, REALLY?

Unfortunately, the rate of comorbid disorders is distressingly high:

  • Half of all people with mental disorders are ALSO addicted to/dependent upon alcohol or drugs
  • 53% of all drug addicts ALSO have a psychiatric disorder
  • 37% of all alcoholics ALSO have a psychiatric disorder
  • A huge majority of addicts/alcoholics of both sexes experienced symptoms of anxiety before they abused substances – 70% of males and 80% of females.
  • Teenagers diagnosed with anxiety have a risk of addiction 3.5 times higher than the general population.
  • Similarly, 53% of female and 43% of male addicts/alcoholics experienced depression before they abused substances.
  • Non-abstinent depression patients with comorbid addiction will relapse into depression twice as often as those who abstain.
  • Just over half of all male PTSD patients will abuse alcohol, and over a third will abuse drugs. Female PTSD patients have alcohol and drug abuse rates of 28% and 27%.
  • 47% of schizophrenia patients have a co-occurring substance abuse disorder. This is a rate that is 4.5X HIGHER than that of people without the condition.
  • HALF of all borderline personality disorder patients have a lifetime risk of alcohol abuse, while 38% will suffer from drug dependency.

Here’s the scariest statistic of all – just 12% of individuals with a dual diagnosis will receive proper care for both conditions.

What Do I Need to Look for in a Washington State Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center?

Unfortunately, all treatment centers are not created equal. Some facilities still use treatment models that are outdated, or worse, have been found to be ineffective.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there is currently only one recommendation for a dual diagnosis – Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders (ITCOD).

“Our 28-Day Rehab Program is designed to treat co-occurring disorders as well as cross addictions.” What is ITCOD?

ITCOD is a research-proven, evidence-based model of treatment for people with substance abuse disorders and co-occurring mental illnesses. “Integrated” means that are evaluated and treated by the same team of professionals at the same Washington dual diagnosis treatment center at the same time. In other words, both disorders are treated as the primary presenting condition.

Obviously, for treatment to be integrated, there needs to be a great deal of communication and cooperation between the patient, the service providers, and even the patient’s support system – i.e., their family and friends.

Everyone works together as a team with a shared philosophy, and the team might include:

  • Psychiatrist/Psychologist – treating the psychiatric disorder
  • Substance Abuse Counselor – treating the addictive disorder
  • Therapist – individual psychotherapy, family counseling, and leading peer groups
  • Medical Doctor – supervising a return to health
  • Nutritionist – instilling proper eating habits that can reduce cravings
  • Spouse/Partner/Other Family Members/Sober Friends – providing emotional support
  • Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous Sponsor – nonprofessional recovery support
  • Social Worker – referrals to needed services
  • Child Protective Services – helping address parenting issues
  • Judge – providing alternatives to jail time
  • Probation Officer – providing accountability

A team of people working together towards a common goal – your return to wellness – is a much better option than the outdated treatment models preferred by some Washington State dual diagnosis treatment centers.

If a particular facility (A) uses an individual therapist, rather than a collaborative team of professionals, (B) tries to treat the different disorders sequentially, or (C) tries to treat the disorders at the same time, but uses unconnected providers, each with their own agendas, then you probably need to look elsewhere.

What Kind of Services Should I Expect from the Top Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center in Washington State?

Treating co-occurring disorders means offering a number of simultaneous services:

  • Individual counseling/psychotherapy – to deal with the way the disorders have manifested in your life
  • Peer group therapy – to discuss issues common to people with your disorders
  • Couples/family therapy – to repair the damage that the disorders have done to your relationships
  • 12-Step fellowship meetings – hearing the stories of others will give you a source of inspiration and strength
  • Medication for both disorders – to ease cravings, reduce withdrawal symptoms, and stabilize moods
  • Education – to learn more about both conditions
  • Practical life skills – substituting positive behaviors for negative ones
  • Avoiding triggers – staying away from the people, places, and things that could lead to relapse
  • Coping mechanisms – finding positive, productive ways to deal with everyday frustrations
  • Stress reduction – how to reduce or eliminate the #1 cause of relapse
  • Overcoming trauma – how to safely reduce stress in ways other than self-medicating
  • Proper nutrition – healthy eating to repair damage, stabilize moods, and reduce cravings
  • Exercise program – to boost energy and relieve stress
  • Vocational & housing assistance – how to deal with the specific ways that a personal history of substance abuse can affect your career and your housing options
  • Rejoining society – making sober friends, dating, “giving back”
  • Relapse prevention – how to make a plan to prevent relapse and what to do if relapse DOES occur
The Two Questions You Must Ask

If you go to a mental health professional, most do not have the specialized training to handle the co-occurring substance abuse problem.

On the other hand, most alcohol or drug treatment centers in Washington State do not have the training or resources to handle the coal-occurring psychiatric condition.

First and foremost, you need to look for a drug and alcohol treatment facility that specializes in addressing dual diagnoses. But even then, there are two questions that you must ask in order to find out if they can help you:

Who makes the determination to whether or not there is another disorder co-occurring with my addiction?

The answer you want is that you will be evaluated by a licensed and board-certified psychologist, psychiatrist, or medical doctor.

If co-occurring conditions are found, what specific services do you offer?

You want an answer that is as close as possible to the list of services shown above.

When your treatment plan is INTEGRATED – you will know that everyone is working together for your benefit. They are cooperating with each other and executing a shared treatment strategy.

When your treatment plan is COMPREHENSIVE – you will know that the goal is your total wellness in mind, body, and spirit. You will know that you are being treated as an individual, not just a catalog of symptoms.

Finding a top-quality Washington State dual diagnosis treatment facility near you will require a bit of planning and homework, but when you are returned to optimal mental and physical health, your efforts will have been well worth it.

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Studies show that young adults are the biggest prescription drug abusers in America. How bad is the youth drug problem and what’s driving it?

Gabby never intended to become a drug addict. In fact, the young woman never even touched an illegal drug. But, like many fellow young people, she found herself spiraling into unexpected drug addiction.

She was a seventeen-year-old high school senior, she tells us when her doctor first prescribed her Percocet, a brand name version of oxycodone. She’d injured her knee during a soccer game. The former soccer star forward was rushed into the operating room a few days later, where doctors worked diligently to repair her leg.

After the surgery, Gabby, now 24, received her first opioid prescription. “It worked well at first,” she says, explaining that it helped to ease some of her post-surgery pain. “It also made me extremely relaxed, which I needed at the time. I mean, I thought that I was going to play soccer in college. Underneath the haze of the drugs, I realize now that I was very depressed.”

At the time Gabby had no idea what she was getting into. But, her Percocet prescription was just the beginning of a 6-year long struggle with drug addiction.

From Prescription to Addiction: A Common Story

A year after her knee injury, Gabby found herself living on-campus at an out-of-state university. Unable to play soccer, she committed herself to her education, studying philosophy and taking elective classes in art.

Always a good student, she excelled during her first year of college. At the time, she planned on attending law school after she obtained her Bachelor’s degree.

But, she also harbored a secret few people knew: she was still using opioids.

“It was weird. I was never a drug user,” she explains, “But I took them for a few weeks after my surgery, and before I knew it I wanted more.”

She admits that, soon after she was prescribed, she started taking more than she was supposed to. While the doctor told her to take 7.5 mg several times per day, she’d often double that. Before long, she was taking three or four times the directed amount.

“Honestly, the doctor was probably a little too generous with me,” she admits, “I went back four or five times to get a refill and never got any pushback.”

At a certain point, however, she stopped refilling her prescription. Not wanting her parents to know she’d been misusing her prescription, she looked elsewhere for meds.

The Accessibility of Prescription Drugs

It didn’t take long for Gabby to find someone who could supply her pills. Even as a good student who steered clear of drugs, she was able to find a fix just by asking around.

“I told someone it was for my knee,” she explains, “A person I knew through sports put me in contact with their cousin, who knew where to get anything. I paid him a lot of money for pills that year.”

When she arrived at college, drugs were even easier to find. Although Percocet wasn’t always available, she realized she could take almost any other opioid and feel the same effects. “Sometimes I didn’t even know what I was getting,” she explains, “Sometimes it’d be Vicodin. Other times it was Lorcet. Honestly, I didn’t really care about the brand name because I just needed it to function.”

She also started using anti-anxiety medications like Xanax and Valium, which she enjoyed for their calming effects. “I was fighting to keep my head above water,” she explains, “As a full-time student maintaining a hardcore addiction, I was constantly on edge.

Sliding Toward Rock Bottom

It took years for anyone, including Gabby herself, to realize she had a problem. But, throughout college, she’d slowly built up her tolerance. She needed higher and higher doses just to function.

“Surprisingly, I was doing okay in school,” she says, “But I was taking a crazy amount of pills every day.”

At the advice of a drug-using friend, she’d also started crushing up her pills and snorting them. This allowed her to get much higher, much faster. But, it was also the point where she started to worry.

“The first time I snorted, I knew I was an addict,” she says, “I was in poor health, I was tired all of the time, and I didn’t even have money for lunch. I just kept thinking, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I’ve become a drug addict.’”

Yet, she refused to ask for help. She didn’t tell her parents and continued snorting instead. It wasn’t until she collapsed in the street one day while walking home from class that her family realized what was going on.

“They knew I wasn’t the same person I’d been before,” she says, “But they didn’t realize the extent of my drug use. Being rushed to the hospital really opened up everyone’s eyes, including mine.”

America’s Youth Prescription Drug Problem

Every day, five people aged 18-24 die from a prescription drug overdose.

Gabby is lucky. After being rushed to the hospital, she checked into a detox facility. She spent four weeks meeting with therapists and counselors in an inpatient rehab facility. Since then, she’s worked hard to maintain her sobriety.

But, many others aren’t so lucky.

According to a recent study published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an average of five young Americans dies from prescription drug overdose every single day.

Of the 47,055 drug overdose deaths that happened in America during 2014, more than 5% were caused by prescription medications and occurred in people ages 18-24.

The NIH tells us that the main culprits are readily available meds—opioid pain relievers, anti-anxiety medications, and ADHD drugs like Adderall. Like Gabby, many of the overdose victims started by taking a prescription.

Some of these cases involved other drugs like cocaine or heroin. But, in many of the cases, the victims had never even seen an illegal drug, let alone tried one.

Gabby was able to get help. Unfortunately, many others allow their habit to spiral out of control until it’s too late.

Young Adult Prescription Drug Abuse: Facts & Statistics

Let’s take a glance at youth prescription drug abuse in America. Here are some facts, figures, and statistics:

Defining “Misuse”: What is Prescription Drug Abuse?

When it comes to prescription drugs, “abuse” is kind of hard to define. There’s a thin line between responsible use and misuse.

After all, these drugs serve a medical purpose. Even something as dangerous as fentanyl gives some people the strength to live their lives.

But, it’s easy for someone to abuse their drug prescription. Once they start misusing drugs, they put themselves at serious risk of overdosing.

Here are a few behaviors that are considered drug abuse:

Taking More than Prescribed

Prescription drugs are intended to be used in certain doses. That’s why pills come in certain sizes and a recommended dose is listed on the bottle. Taking more than recommended is unsafe.

Oftentimes, addicts start to take more once they’ve built a tolerance. This allows them to feel the same effect as before. It’s very dangerous behavior.

Using with Alcohol or Other Drugs

There are very few drugs that mix with alcohol. If someone takes opioids, stimulants, or benzodiazepines with alcohol in their system, they put themselves at severe risk.

Alcohol has a way of heightening the effects of prescription drugs. This makes it popular among recreational users. But, even those who have a prescription are participating in drug abuse if they mix it with booze.

Snorting, Smoking, and Injecting

A doctor will never suggest that you snort a drug. There aren’t any prescription drugs, aside from marijuana, that is supposed to be smoked. IV drugs should only be taken under a doctor’s supervision.

Sometimes, addicts resort to these alternative means to feel heightened effects. However, this behavior is considered drug abuse.

Taking Without a Prescription

If someone needs medication, they should seek out medical advice. They should receive a diagnosis from a doctor before taking meds. Under no circumstances should someone take opioids, benzodiazepines, or prescription stimulants without a prescription.

Some people continue using meds after their prescription expires. Others never receive one at all. Either way, non-prescribed use can be fatal and is a surefire sign of drug abuse.

Why Are So Many Young Adults Getting Hooked on Meds?

Prescription drug abuse overdoses are frighteningly high. So what’s driving this crisis?

It’s hard to pinpoint the cause of an epidemic. After all, there’s no “Patient Zero” in America’s adolescent drug crisis. It didn’t start with one source and it won’t end with a single person, either.

But, when studying the drug crisis, experts often look toward the doctor’s over-prescribing practices. Some people suggest that it’s the doctors who handed Oxycodone and Adderall out like candy who sparked the millennial addiction epidemic.

It wasn’t until the 1990s, one writer explains, that doctors began prescribing opioids for pain management. Drugs like Oxycodone were previously reserved for those who suffered from terminal illnesses. Only cancer patients and a few others had access to it. “The ignorance among physicians and aggressive marketing by opioid manufacturers are primarily to blame for the crisis,” writes Dan Kopf in Quartz.

Others share the same opinion about ADHD and anti-anxiety meds. While many people need drugs like Adderall to function at work, roughly 16 million prescriptions are written each year. This increases its availability, making it accessible to recreational and non-prescribed users.

Across the country, an estimated 5 million people use prescription stimulants illegally.

Heroin for a Toothache?

Unfortunately, many prescription drugs are similar to illegal drugs. Prescription pain opiates are very similar to heroin. On a molecular level, Adderall resembles crystal meth. Oftentimes, prescription drugs affect the body and brain in the same way as illegal drugs.

So, it’s quite scary to consider that many kids receive prescriptions for slight injuries.

For example, it’s common for patients to receive a Vicodin prescription after dental surgery. But, studies show that taking opioids after wisdom tooth removal greatly increases the odds of long-term use.

And like Gabby, many young people receive high-strength opioids for sports injuries. It makes sense to go under anesthesia for surgery, and possibly even take painkillers for a week during recovery. But should doctors refill prescriptions four or five times?

Data shows that young athletes in high-injury sports are at a 50% higher risk of abusing painkillers than other kids. So, many would say that loose prescription practices promote addiction.

In looking at the causes of youth drug addiction, it’s important to ask:

Does someone really need that strong of an opioid after they get a tooth pulled? Would non-addictive drugs like Aspirin or Naproxen be more suitable?

The Risks of Prescription Drug Abuse

Thousands die at the hands of prescription drugs. But, there are plenty of other risks to misusing medication.

Medical-grade opioids and stimulants kill a lot of people. But, millions of people use these drugs without dying.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t make them safe. Even if someone manages to avoid a fatal overdose, they can still suffer consequences.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there are roughly 122 overdose-related emergency room visits for every young adult overdose death. So although 1700 young people died from overdoses in 2014, more than 200,000 reported to the ER for a nonfatal event.

Every drug affects the body differently. There are different risks associated with each of them. In general, however, prescription drug abuse presents the following risks:

Physical Health Side Effects Heart problems

Most drugs can take a significant toll on the heart. When someone takes a drug, it triggers changes in their central nervous system (CNS), which regulates all of the other systems in the body.

When someone uses a depressant like fentanyl or Percocet, their heart beats slower. When they use a stimulant like Adderall or Ritalin, their heart beats faster. If they take a drug too much, the user can actually retrain their heart to beat at a certain speed. Over time, this can cause serious damage to the organ.

Respiratory Issues

The CNS also regulates the respiratory system. Stimulants speed up the lungs while depressants slow it down.

One reason why overdoses occur is that the lungs slow down too much. This causes the user to stop breathing. But, even those who avoid fatal overdose may suffer long-term lung problems if they use drugs frequently.

Liver Damage

Drugs are toxic chemicals. Even if someone is prescribed medication, their body must work hard to process it. The liver is the primary organ responsible for processing toxins.

When someone takes drugs, their liver must put in the extra effort. Over time, this can get exhausting. Especially if someone parties and adds alcohol to the mix, drug abuse can do severe damage to the liver.

Mental Health Problems Anxiety

A lot of folks self-medicate with drugs. It’s common for people to take prescription drugs to cope with social anxiety. But, drug abuse can actually make anxiety worse.

Stimulants, in particular, are known to cause anxiety disorder. They excite the brain, making it shoot signals every which way. Anxiety occurs when the brain is overly excited, causing the user to experience panic.

Depression

Many people also use drugs to cope with depression. But just like anxiety, drugs actually exacerbate symptoms of depressive disorder.

While prescription drugs might help someone overcome depression for a short time, the “high” eventually ends. Once they come down, they’ll usually find that they’re more depressed than they were in the beginning. Then, they have to use higher doses to manage their symptoms.

Social and Financial Consequences Severed Relationships

Often, though not always, drug addiction leads to social alienation. Addicts often alienate themselves from family and friends.

There are a number of reasons why this occurs. Some addicts behave erratically. Some withdraw from social life out of embarrassment. Whatever the reason, drugs become the most important thing in an addicts life. So, they’re often incapable of caring enough about relationships to maintain and nurture them.

Job Loss/Financial Struggle

Of course, the addictive behavior often leads to financial struggle. Drugs are expensive, after all. Once the doctor refuses to refill a prescription, the insurance stops covering the..

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Pornography addiction means being compulsively addicted to pornographic material despite the negative mental, physical and social effects. It is a behavioral addiction like compulsive internet use or cybersex addiction. Although diagnostic criteria does not exist for this disorder, it is seen as a compulsive disorder. Like pathological gambling or internet addiction, porn addicts see a decrease in the ability to stop, an increase in use over time, as well as adverse mental effects.

“Porn addiction is a process or behavioral addiction. Contact us for info on our addiction treatment program”

Internet addiction is particularly dangerous due to its accessibility and never ending supply. One survey found that of 9,265 participants, 1% of Internet users are clearly addicted to cybersex and 17% of users meet criteria for problematic sexual compulsivity.

11 Signs You May Be Addicted to Porn

According to a study on hypersexual disorders, “When this drive becomes intensive and leads to ‘out-of-control’ sexual activity despite negative consequences and risk of harm to one’s emotional and physical health, its protective and evolutionary values are diminished. Similarly, if sexual activity hinders completion of non-sex-related vital tasks, this evolutionarily positive drive has become negative and arguably turned addictive. Males often engage in sexual activity for pleasure and esteem reasons.”

So how do you find out if you are addicted to porn? Here are some signs that you may be addicted to porn.

1. You live a double life

Porn addiction can be hard to hide. Like substance abuse disorder, you may have to lie to make sure you are not found out by work or a partner. Eventually, every addict is revealed. So, if you’re serious about getting help, it’s important to start opening up about your issues. You can start with a friend or family member you trust or a trained healthcare professional.

Through interacting with other people online, addicts can form complex emotional attachments that can directly interfere with their everyday lives. It can manifest in prioritizing relationships with chatroom friends or falling in love with someone online.

2. You Suffer From Sexual Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) and delayed ejaculation are becoming more and more common in younger men. Of course some of this is a result of physical illness, physical impairment, use of SSRI-based antidepressants, emotional stress, depression, anxiety, relationship issues, etc. If it’s porn induced sexual dysfunction, symptoms may be: you easily achieve an erection and orgasm with porn, but not with a partner; sex with an an actual partner takes longer than you’d like; you prefer porn to real sex; you play pornographic images in your mind while having actual sex.

According to the American Osteopathic Society, teenage boys are the most at risk for developing ED due to porn use, “During the teenage years, brains are still developing. If a teenager views Internet pornography, it can deform the pleasure centers of their brain, making it much more difficult to recover than older males who didn’t grow up with the Internet. Dr. Weber says she sees teens and adults with erectile dysfunction because of Internet pornography, but that ED medications don’t help, because they treat the organ, not the brain, where the problem lies.”

3. You are preoccupied with pornography

You can’t think of anything else besides pornography. Like a substance abuse addict, you crave watching porn while doing other activities or working. You wouldn’t be the only person doing so, “70 percent of all online porn access occurs during the nine-to-five workday. These thoughts can preoccupy you so much that it can make even talking to a friend difficult. You are unable to enjoy what you are doing because you can’t stop thinking of the next time you can watch pornography and masturbate.

4. You have guilt and self hate from using pornography

This is often what stops people from seeking treatment for a porn addiction in the first place. Due to the nature of the subject, you may be afraid to talk to someone about your addiction. Also, like an alcohol or drug addict, you may have a sense of self-loathing after “using” or while in a refractory period. This psychological and emotional distress can make living with a porn addiction extremely difficult, and it can lead to depression and feelings of isolation. You may think that if you tell someone, they will hate you like you hate yourself.

5. You’ve started looking at illegal pornography

According to the American Osteopathic Association, “Studies show that those who view Internet pornography for hours each week have decreased gray matter, a major component of central nervous system, than those who do not view it. This means there are fewer neurons and neuroconnectivity in the pleasure centers of the brain. This leaves the brain craving more, while making it harder for the same images to provide pleasure. Addicts then seek increasingly deviant sexual images depicting violence or children to satisfy their craving.”

This risky behavior can lead to breaking the law and being convicted of a sexual felony. Being a sex offender can limit your access to work and housing. The stigma surrounding sex offenders will also throw you into deeper isolation and could exacerbate your addiction.

6. You partner no longer seems attractive to you

Watching pornography can give viewers unreal expectations of what sex is. This includes expectations on your partner’s appearance. The viewing of a small set of attractive, hairless, cosmetically altered women can make your brain crave a permanent fantasy. This ideal directly competes with your reality. This can lead your partner to become unsatisfied with your behavior and unreasonable expectations for their appearance. According to an article in Psychology Today, “Not many real women are porn-worthy ever and it’s discouraging that desire in men is seemingly being conditioned to be excited only by an impossible standard. Certainly there is cultural pressure on men compared to media personalities but women don’t usually watch movies while masturbating to reinforce the attraction.”

7. You have a distorted sense of what intimacy and sexuality are

Your expectations about sex and intimacy look more like a plot of a bad pornographic film than real life. These unrealistic expectations make you think your partner should be performing more like a porn star than a typical person. You may think there is something wrong with your partner since they don’t act that way.

8. You’ve become anti-social

You’ve begun retreating because you can’t be away from the internet for too long. This will absolutely impact your relationships with friends, family and your partner. If you aren’t dating currently, the likelihood of that happening before you start getting help is going to decrease. Withdrawing can lead to more depression and feelings of shame. That in turn leads you to use more porn as a means of self-soothing.

9. You’ve started paying A LOT for pornography

Like substance abuse, an addict may begin paying more and more to satisfy their addiction. If you’re starting to pay for more and more pornography, you are running the risk of suffering from financial distress. According to CNBC, “Every second $3,075 dollars are spent on adult content, more than 28,000 Internet users are viewing it, 372 Internet users are typing adult terms into search engines to find it, and every 39 seconds a new pornographic video is produced in the United States.”

If your addiction is affecting your work, this risk is increased as you could lose your job. By allowing the cycle of addiction to continue, the likelihood of participating in risky behavior in order to satisfy your addiction will be heightened.

10. Your internet use is affecting your work and home life

Nothing matters but your porn addiction. This means time with your family, friends or work just doesn’t matter as much as your need to watch porn. You may be watching pornography at work or skipping work altogether to stay home and watch pornography. You may be skipping out on family gatherings to instead stay home alone to be on the internet.

11. You are beginning to suffer from pain due to being on the computer too much

Despite this not being substance abuse, porn addicts can have withdrawal symptoms that include anxiety, fear, depression, anger, mood swings, sadness, loneliness, and procrastination. Physical symptoms can include back aches, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, dry eyes, personal hygiene issues, disordered eating and disordered sleep patterns.

How To Treat an Addiction to Pornography When You’re Ready to Recover

If you believe you are suffering from porn addiction, rehabilitation is essential to gaining back control and living a healthy sexual life. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is often used to break the cycle of porn addiction. CBT focuses on minimizing dysfunctional thought patterns and actions. This is an effective therapeutic approach for those with mood disorders such as depression. The goal is to take self-defeating thoughts and transform them into positive messages. It also tries to find more positive and effective stress coping skills than substance abuse. CBT is often a short-term therapy that addresses immediate problems and includes abstinence from porn use. The resources to get you back to yourself exist. Now is the time to ask for help.

If you love someone you believe may be suffering from a porn or sex addiction, intervention services are available.

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I used to be addicted to drugs. You name it – I would smoke it, snort it, drink it, or pop it.

My Name is Tim – I Am a Recovering Addict

I mean I did everything – cocaine, meth, benzos, prescription painkillers, and heroin. Anything that would change the way I felt.

Basically, there came a point in my life where I could not function with or without drugs. On September 27, 2005, I hit bottom. I went to rehab and got sober. In more than 13 years, I have not found it necessary to take a drink or use drugs. For that, I am truly grateful.  

Substituting One Addiction for Another is Common in Recovery

This is not the harrowing tale of how I wound up in drug rehab. I want to tell you what happened in the years after I got clean.

I believe mine is a story worth telling. I don’t think we talk enough about how recovering addicts will often substitute one addiction for another when they stop using. Doing this can be dangerous and cause the same kind of destruction as substance abuse.   

Overcoming an addiction to drugs is a major undertaking. Those who get sober should celebrate themselves for gaining victory over their illness. However, programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous only acknowledge substance abuse.

When someone remains abstinent from drugs and alcohol, it can be easy to overlook other destructive behaviors that are causing powerlessness and unmanageability.

Obsession and Compulsion Drive Addictive Behaviors

At some point, most people in recovery will engage in some other type of obsessive and compulsive activities during sobriety. This is more common than you might think.

Once the drugs are out of the equation, we are susceptible to getting addicted to certain behaviors that make us feel good. These include sex, gambling, binge-eating, shopping, and other process addictions. For me, it was work

I want to share honestly about how my work addiction almost killed me. It is my sincere hope that telling my story will help others find freedom from workaholism. Plus, I will offer some solutions. I ask that you keep an open mind and remain honest with yourself as you read this article.

You may see yourself in my story.  

In My Sobriety, I Had Something to Prove

In those last days of my addiction to drugs, I was completely useless. I lost several jobs due to absenteeism because it was impossible to go to work when I was dope sick. I got high at work. I nodded out at my desk. I made a lot of expensive mistakes.

Quite frankly, I saw my job as a means to support my drug habit. I was only in it for the paycheck. I had no interest in actually being a good employee.

When I got sober, I had a lot to prove. I was motivated to show my wife and kids that I could be a good provider. I needed to know that I was capable of being a professional people respected. I knew what failure felt like. I felt like it was time to finally experience success.  

Finding My Identity in My Professional Achievements

For so long, I identified myself as an addict. Even in sobriety, I was considered a recovering addict. I longed to define myself by something other than drug addiction. So, I set out the be a stellar performer in my field. I threw myself into work and gave it everything I had.

I was in sales. It was a highly competitive, high stress, power-hungry environment driven by greed. (Think Wolf of Wall Street.) I fit right in. I took the manipulation skills I learned as an addict and put them to what I thought was a good use. I was making buckets of money, which made me feel invincible.

I worked 80 hours a week. I refused to take vacations. I was up every morning at 4 a.m. and went to bed every night at eleven. I was wired on adrenaline and I couldn’t get enough. I thought I had finally found myself. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was completely lost. My addiction to work almost cost me everything I had.

The Downward Spiral – The Nightmare of Work Addiction

After five years of hardcore workaholism, my health and my relationships were in serious trouble – not that I knew it at the time.

My wife was constantly telling me that I needed to spend more time with her and the kids. It felt like nagging. After all, I was bringing in the big bucks. Why was she complaining? My sponsor told me I needed to find balance. But, I had been clean for years. What did he know? He lived in an apartment and was up to his eyeballs in debt.

My doctor told me numerous times that I needed to lower the stress in my life. At 47 years old, I had high blood pressure, migraine headaches, and extreme anxiety, which was putting stress on my heart. Plus, I was hospitalized twice for collapsing at work from exhaustion and dehydration.

But, I didn’t listen. I was 10-feet tall and bulletproof. There was no stopping me. I was just as driven to work as I was in my pursuit of the next fix during my addiction to drugs. As far as I was concerned, I didn’t have a problem.

A Rude Awakening – Hitting Bottom and Ending the Insanity

At the young age of 48, I had a massive heart attack while I was at work. I completely blacked out and fell on the floor, breaking my nose in the process. I woke up in ICU with a tube down my throat after major heart surgery.

I was in the hospital for three months. During that time, my wife took my phone away from me because I was obsessed with making phone calls and checking emails. I needed to stay in touch with what was going on at the office. Now, I am so grateful she did that. It gave me time to think.

I realized that I was killing myself for a job that was given my position to a junior executive before I was even out of heart surgery. I was an absentee father and husband. I had plenty of money in the bank, but I was completely bankrupt in every other area of my life. It was a wakeup call.

Getting Into Recovery and Finding Freedom

It still amazes me when I look back at just how sick I was in my work addiction. I was in total denial. I was consumed by my job. Outside of the office, I had no real identity. Once again, I was confronted with the idea that I was an addict. I had no idea who I was without the insanity of addiction running my life.

I quit my job and committed to my wife that I would not work for one full year. I spent that time in therapy, getting involved in the lives of my kids, and falling in love with my wife again. I also worked the 12 Steps of N.A. on my work addiction.

During that year, I decided to change careers. I went back to school and got a Master’s in Counseling. Today, I run a successful counseling practice out of my home. I have never been happier.     

So, there you have it – the condensed version of my story about work addiction. I have shared my experience with you. Now let’s talk more about workaholism and how affects individuals and their families. I hope to educate you on the reality of this condition and how devastating it can be.

What is a Workaholic?

There is no clinical definition of workaholism. It is not included in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), which recognizes mental disorders. However, most addiction experts agree that workaholism is a type of process addiction. Other examples of process addictions include gambling, shopping, and sex.   

Nevertheless, I believe it is important to define the word “workaholic.” In order for someone to recover from this condition, they must first understand what it is.

Barbara Killinger, Ph.D. and author of the book Workaholics: The Respectable Addicts, defines a workaholic “as a work-obsessed individual who gradually becomes emotionally crippled and addicted to power and control in a compulsive drive to gain approval and public recognition of success.” This explanation may be too technical for some. For me, a workaholic is someone who is driven by an obsessive and compulsive cycle to work, no matter what the cost. Work Addiction is Just as Real as Drug Addiction

One recent estimate suggests that about 10 percent of U.S. adults qualify as workaholics. This is probably a low estimate. In today’s economy, he who clocks out last wins. Workaholism often drives the American workplace.   

Executives everywhere are competing for highly sought positions, approval from the boss, perks, and the satisfaction of personal achievement. This drives work addiction. More hours, more bonuses, more respect, more…MORE! MORE!

Sound familiar? “More” is the battle cry of an addict. There is never enough coke, meth, or heroin to satisfy someone in the throes of drug addiction. This is also true of someone who runs themselves ragged to maximize the rush of workaholism.  

Workaholics are Celebrated, Not Stigmatized

The thing is, people who are addicted to work are not viewed as addicts.

The country stigmatizes people who are addicted to drugs like alcohol, crystal meth, or cocaine. They are often looked down upon as weak, pathetic, disgusting, and pitiful. Not so for the guy neglecting his family in the name of the 80-hour workweek – you know, the one who spends his life in hot pursuit of the almighty dollar?

The workaholic is revered, celebrated, promoted, and awarded for his efforts. He is granted a higher salary, a bigger expense account, and all-paid vacations to Tahiti. Corporate America applauds the guy who works long hours and gets the job done. He is touted as a hard worker, a motivated individual, and a stellar performer.

Unfortunately, the cultural acceptance of workaholism makes this condition difficult to identify and treat. Most work addicts (I know from personal experience) do not see anything wrong with their behavior. They honestly think people who don’t live a face-paced, work-obsessed lifestyle are lazy.

Are You a Workaholic? A Self-Assessment Quiz

Denial is the powerful driving force behind addiction. Most drug addicts will tell you that they don’t have a problem, or it’s not that bad, or they can quit anytime they want to. This is also true of workaholics.

If you think you might be a workaholic or someone in your family is telling you that you are addicted to work, take this self-assessment quiz. Answer the questions with an honest “yes” or “no.” Your answers might surprise you.

  • Would rather be at work than spend time with the people who love you the most?
  • Do you work in bed?
  • Do you take work with you on vacations or holidays?
  • Do you opt out of vacations and holidays so you can be at work?
  • Have you had physical or mental health issues caused by stress?
  • Do you find yourself obsessed with work – like it is all you can think about?
  • Would you prefer to talk about work with your spouse or family members rather than discuss other important issues?
  • Do you pull all-nighters and work more than 10 hours straight because you want to?
  • Have you ever slept at the office?
  • Have you ever abused stimulants (this includes coffee!) to have more energy so you can accomplish more in a given day?
  • Have your coworkers, supervisor, or boss ever told you that you work too much and need to cut back on hours?
  • Has your spouse or loved ones told you that they want you to work less to spend time with them?
  • Do you take on work or tasks outside of your specific areas of responsibility?
  • Do you spend more time at work than at home?  
  • Do you immerse yourself in work to avoid uncomfortable feelings like grief, sadness, or shame?
  • Do you think coworkers who have priorities other than work are lazy?
  • Do you feel restless when you have down time and think you need to be doing something work-related?
  • Do you feel that you have to respond to emails, texts, or other work-related communication when you are not at work?

Believe it or not, if you answered YES to any ONE of these questions, you may be a workaholic who would benefit from having some balance in your life. When taken to the extreme, working too much can bring about its own unique set of unwanted consequences – just like drug addiction. 

The Negative Effects Workaholism Has on Individuals and Families

It may be hard for you to believe, but the workaholic experiences many of the same consequences as a heroin addict.  

Work addicts are just as obsessive and compulsive about their job as the addicted person is about their next fix. Someone who is addicted to work will go to any length to stay drunk on the power of their position. This is not an exaggeration.  

Here are just a few of the many negative consequences of work addiction:    

  • Unmanageable stress levels
  • Total mental, physical, and emotional burnout
  • Depression and loss of motivation
  • Extreme fatigue, exhaustion, and dehydration
  • Crippling anxiety that often demands medication to manage symptoms
  • Fits of rage or unexplained anger
  • Physical health problems related to overworking
  • Chest pains, shortness of breath, or heart attack
  • Family issues related to long work hours
  • Emotionally neglected children
  • Divorce
  • Increased risk of substance abuse or relapse
  • Legal problems (drug possession, DWI)
  • Missing out on other enjoyable aspects of the human experience

There is nothing wrong with being dedicated to your job. Being a hard worker is a positive attribute. BUT, if you are working yourself to death at the expense of your health, family, and personal life – you might want to reevaluate your priorities.

7 Signs of Workaholism

Still not sure if you are a workaholic? Check out the following signs of work addiction. They might help better explain things.  

# 1 You volunteer to work more than 50 hours a week on a regular basis

Sometimes you have to work longer hours to make more money to pay the bills or buy things you need. Sometimes you have to put in extra hours to finish a really important project. And, sometimes, you have an unreasonable and demanding boss (probably a workaholic) who often manipulates you into working long hours.

But, if you are on salary and you are volunteering to stay longer than 50 hours a week on a regular basis, this should be a red flag.

# 2 Your spouse tells you that you work too much

Your spouse married you because he or she wanted to build a life with you. They enjoy your company and they want to be around you. If you have been working too much, chances are you have heard about it from your spouse.

It may seem like nagging. You might get tired of the same old mantra, “You spend too much time at work and not enough time with me!” I remember when I would hear this from my wife and how much it would aggravate me. Now I realize she was right.

If your spouse has talked to you about your long work hours and asked you to spend more time at home, you might be a workaholic.

# 3 You are missing important milestones in the lives of your children

Your children only get one childhood. Are you investing your time in creating happy memories for them? Or, are you spending your time and energy pouring yourself into a job that can never love you back?

I missed a lot of years with my kids. I didn’t go to games or school plays or even their birthday parties. I would leave for work before they got up and get home after they went to bed. I barely saw them. I am still working on forgiving myself for that.

Think about it. What will your kids have to say about you later in life? That you were never there? Always at work? Or, that you valued your time with them and showed them you loved them by being involved in their lives?

# 4 You derive your self-esteem entirely from work achievements

There is nothing wrong with gaining satisfaction from having a solid work ethic. You should absolutely be proud of your accomplishments on the job. However, you should also derive your sense of self-worth from other roles in your life. This includes being a parent, a spouse or significant other, and an active member of your community.  

Believe me, when I tell you, there is so much more to life than work!

# 5 You spend a lot..
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Johnny Depp: The Link between Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence

Domestic violence, also known as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is a major public common. This issue is closely linked with substance abuse, and as many as 40% to 60% of all domestic violence cases involved some type of substance abuse.

Those who are under the influence are more likely to engage in risky or impulsive behavior. They are also more likely to act emotionally. Any type of substance can lead to domestic violence.

Living with and loving an addict is never easy. Those who are in an intimate relationship with an addict are more likely to be in an abusive relationship.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, you need to get help immediately and get out of the relationship now. This article will look at one of the more infamous cases of domestic violence and substance: Johnny Depp’s relationship with Amber Heard. It will also explore what you can do if you are a victim of domestic violence, and how you can protect yourself.

Statistics Involving Domestic Abuse and Substance Abuse

There’s a strong link between domestic abuse and substance abuse. The abusive partner is not the only one who is more likely to use drugs or drink. The victim is equally as likely to drink or use illicit drugs in order to cope with the stress. Alcohol abuse and drug abuse are often used to mask trauma.

Let’s take a look at some of the statistics below, so you can get a better idea of (1) the prevalence of domestic abuse in America and (2) the relationship between substance abuse and domestic abuse.

  • Physically violent situations are 11 times more likely to happen on days with heavy drug use or alcohol abuse
  • More than 20% of male abusers report using drugs or drinking immediately prior to abusing their partners
  • 85% of domestic violence victims are female; women are 5 to 8 times more likely than men to be in an abusive relationship
  • 40% of men in same-gender relationships report experiencing domestic abuse
  • 15.5 million children live in homes where domestic abuse occurs
  • 56% of women in abusive relationships are likely to struggle with a mental health disorder; these women are likely to have co-occurring disorders and will need dual diagnosis treatment to recover

From these statistics, it’s obvious that domestic abuse is a huge problem in America. It affects women more than men, and both individuals in an abusive relationship have a higher risk of abusing drugs and alcohol.

Domestic Violence Can Happen to Anyone

Many people have a clear picture in their mind of what a battered woman or man looks like. They may also have a clear picture of what an abuser may appear to look like.

The truth is that anyone can be a victim and anyone can be an abuser. Even the sweetest petite woman that you see on the streets could be both physically, emotionally, verbally or physically abusing their partner. Recent studies show that domestic violence is a widespread problem across the nation. It can happen to anyone — even celebrities.

One of the most infamous domestic violence cases that have captured the attention of the media recently involves Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.

That’s right. Our favorite character in The Pirates of the Caribbean has been accused of some very heinous acts. This is the same man who visits children’s hospital in his Jack Sparrow costume just to put a smile on the faces children there.

Depp and Heard married in February 2015, but a year later, filed for divorce due to irreconcilable differences. During the divorce, Heard brought to light the abusiveness of the relationship.

Divorce and Restraining Order: The First Glimpse of Possible Domestic Abuse

“I live in fear that Johnny will return to (our house) unannounced to terrorize me, physically and emotionally.”

~ Heard

Heard first filed a restraining order against Depp in 2016. This was after she had filed for divorce. This was the first glimpse that the public had of their turbulent relationship.

Heard arrived at court in Los Angeles with her lawyer and photos showing various bruises that she claimed Depp inflicted on her during their marriage. She also showed up to court with a bruise.

Heard said in a sworn declaration that Depp had thrown her cellphone at her during a fight. This cellphone struck both her cheek and eye. She also claimed that Depp screamed at her and repeatedly hit her. Heard claimed that the actor was both high and drunk during the time of the abuse.

While the judge granted Heard with a temporary restraining order, the Los Angeles Police Department could not confirm whether any domestic violence occurred. Law enforcement officers did indeed visit the couple’s downtown LA home on Saturday; however, they claimed that the person who reported the crime did not insist on a police report or offer any evidence for a report to be made.

“Officers determined a crime did not occur. They cleared the scene and left a business card. LAPD cannot confirm reports that a restraining order was sought or obtained.”

Heard also claimed that this was not the first time that Depp was abusive towards her. She claimed that the actor was both verbally and physically abusive towards her during their entire relationship. She claimed that she often lived in fear and uncertainty.

Amber Heard Penns an Op-Ed in Washington Post

Shortly after speaking out about her relationship, Heard penned an op-ed in Washington Post talking about domestic violence. The post included no names, but detailed Heard’s experience with domestic abuse and her call to action for those who are abused.

“I want to ensure that women who come forward to talk about violence receive more support. We are electing representatives who know how deeply we care about these issues. We can work together to demand changes to laws and rules and social norms — and to right the imbalances that have shaped our lives.”

Heard claims that domestic abuse victims are often hesitant to go public because they are painted in a negative light. She claimed that she felt the full wrath of coming out as a victim, as she was dropped from some of her modeling campaigns. Her career in acting was also at risk. Many people told her that she would no longer get any big roles, if any roles at all.

Her experience gave her insight into how the institution protected the abusive partner. It examined the social plight that victims and survivors often face. Her goal was to help raise awareness for domestic violence and make a change to laws, rules and social norms in order to protect the victims.

Johnny Depp Strikes Back with a Defamation Lawsuit

Heard’s claims shocked the public.

Shortly after, Depp filed a defamation case for $50 million. While Heard’s op-ed did not specifically name any names, Depp’s lawsuit claims that it is clear that Heard was talking about him. He claims that the domestic abuse allegations had significantly damaged his career and that he had suffered massive financial losses because of the accusations.

For one, he was dropped from his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Depp denies being abusive and claims that Heard made up the allegations in order to put herself in a more positive light during the divorce. She had asked for alimony and a $7 million settlement, which she promptly donated to campaigns that help victims of domestic abuse.

Heard Offers More Proof

Recently, Heard asked a judge to dismiss Depp’s defamation lawsuit by offering more evidence of the physical and verbal abuse that she suffered during their two-year marriage.

Heard claimed that Depp began abusing drugs and alcohol about a year into the start of their relationship in 2012. She claimed that the substances transformed him into a different person and a “monster”. She claimed that Depp would often go on binges, like a three-day ecstasy binge.

She also claimed that Depp would also take other illicit drugs. At which point, he would physically assault her by punching her, throwing bottles at her or grabbing her hair. Here are some of the photos that she submitted to back up her claims:

The Link Between Alcohol Abuse and Domestic Violence

It’s clear that from many domestic violence cases that alcohol abuse is often an instigating factor. Those who drank heavily often became abusive.

But, is there actually a clear link between alcohol abuse and violence?

Not surprisingly, the answer is yes. A Scandinavian study found that intoxication led to a rise in violent behavior. The violence usually came from individuals who would often suppress their feelings of anger while they were sober. The alcohol freed these individuals of any inhibitions and allowed them to act out.

Additionally, those who did not work on their anger were more likely to abuse alcohol. Those who entered alcohol rehab programs and got their drinking under control would also be less likely to be abusive. Alcohol rehab programs also offer counseling services that can help these individuals work through their emotions.

The Link Between Drug Abuse and Domestic Violence

Many people who are admitted into drug rehab programs by loved ones claim that they were often abusive. Studies found that those who abused hallucinogens and stimulants were likely to get abusive if they also did not get their anger checked out when they were sober.

Those who abused stimulants like cocaine would experience a rush of energy and emotions. This flood of neurochemicals could heighten one’s emotions and cause them to act more emotionally rather than logically.

While it’s important to get one’s emotions and thoughts under control, overcoming addiction is also a start in putting an end to domestic violence.

The Different Types of Abuse

When we picture IPV, we often picture physical abuse. We picture a partner punching the other in the face. Domestic violence and abuse are a lot more than just physical assault. We’ll explore the different types of abuse below.

Physical Abuse

This is the most common type of domestic abuse. It’s also the most obvious type of abuse. It’s hard to ignore a black eye or an injury. Physical abuse happens when one partner intentionally hurts or injure the other partner. Common examples of physical abuse include:

  • Abandoning the victim in an unfamiliar place
  • Driving recklessly or dangerously when the victim is in the car in order to scare or hurt him or her
  • Forbidding one’s partner from eating or sleeping
  • Preventing one’s partner from getting medical help or attention
  • Pulling a partner’s hair
  • Punching slapping, kicking, biting or choking the partner
Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse can be just as taxing and harmful as physical abuse. Those who have experienced emotional abuse may have low self-esteem and may have difficulties believing in themselves. Emotional abuse uses emotions to hurt the other person. Common examples of emotional abuse include:

  • Telling a partner that they will never find anyone better and that they are lucky to be in the relationship
  • Damaging property when angry, like punching walls and throwing things
  • Humiliating the victim
  • Threatening one’s partner
  • Trying to isolate one’s partner from friends and family
  • Constantly criticizing a partner and manipulating him or her to believe that he or she is in the wrong or deserve the backlash
Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse is often interchangeably as emotional abuse, but there are actually some distinct differences between the two. Verbal abusers use language to hurt someone. This could include speaking violently or aggressively or not saying a thing at all. Common examples of verbal abuse include:

  • Ignoring a partner and giving them the silent treatment
  • Calling a partner names or degrading them
  • Using aggressive forms of language to hurt one’s partner
Financial Abuse

Financial abuse can be just as bad as physical abuse. It can make one’s partner feel as if he or she has no control over anything in his or her life. Financial abuse can come in different forms. Some common examples of financial abuse include:

  • Monitoring the amount of money that a partner spends and preventing him or her from making any purchases
  • Placing a partner’s paycheck into one’s bank account and denying him or her access to it
  • Preventing a partner from having access to or viewing bank accounts
  • Forbidding a partner from working or limiting the hours that they can work
  • Refusing to give a partner money to pay for basic necessities, like food, medicine or transportation
  • Stealing money (like using it to buy drugs or alcohol)

Alcohol and drug addiction treatment can be rather costly. However, even those who are in financially abusive relationships can seek drug or alcohol treatment if they need it.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, all health insurance plans cover substance use disorder treatment. Verify your insurance with us today to get a better idea of the type of coverage that you have.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse happens when one partner receives undesired sexual behavior or attention from the other. Sexual abuse is more common than you’d think. Every minute, 24 Americans are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner. Women are more likely to be victims than men. Common examples of sexual abuse include:

  • Forcing a partner to dress in a sexual way
  • Forcing or manipulating a partner into having sex or into performing sexual acts
  • Demanding sex
  • Forcing a partner to watch pornography
  • Involving other people in sexual activities against one partner’s wishes

Sexual abuse can also include sexual coercion. This includes pressuring a partner into sex even after they have refused or making him or her believe that they owe sex because he or she is in a relationship.

Reproductive Coercion

Many people also mistake reproductive coercion for sexual abuse. Reproductive coercion, however, is a partner’s need to have power and control over the other partner’s reproductive system. Sometimes, sexual abuse and reproductive coercion overlap. Common examples of reproductive coercion include:

  • Removing or breaking a condom intentionally during intercourse
  • Refusing to use a condom or other types of birth control
  • Lying about one’s birth control method (being on the pill, having a vasectomy, etc.)
  • Forcing pregnancy on a partner and not supporting his or her decision
  • Forcing a..
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15 Signs That Your Life is Out of Control Because of Alcohol or Drug Addiction

Did you know that almost every adult in America has tried an intoxicating substance at some point in their life?  That’s right, 86% of adults have taken a drink of alcohol, and approximately half of everyone age 12 and older have tried an illicit drug.  Millions of people are current users:

But as common as it unfortunately is, substance use is not without consequences. Per the NSDUH, close to 27 million people in this country have struggled with a Substance Use Disorder within the past year. They have lost control of their drinking or drug use and as a result, their lives have become unmanageable.

Where do YOU fit in with all of this?

If you drink or use other drugs, how do you know when your personal habit has become a problem?

Addiction doesn’t happen overnight.  There are many red flags that can signal a developing addiction.  Here, we present several of the top warning signs. If you notice any of these in your own life, then it might be time to seek professional help NOW, before your illness worsens and the negative consequences become even more serious.

Addiction is a progressive disease that always gets worse and is almost invariably fatal without outside intervention.

Sign #1 — Someone is Worried about Your Use of Substances

As much as you try to hide it, someone else will always notice your drug use or excessive drinking. They will be able to see past the constant excuses and the lies and the denial.  It may be someone close to you, such as a family member or friend who has seen the changes and you, or it may even be a coworker or acquaintance who can recognize addiction because it has touched their life before.

They may show their concern in several ways:

  • A casual remark that lets you know that THEY know
  • Asking you if you are OK
  • Treatment brochures left on your dinner table or desk
  • An invitation to go with them to a 12-Step meeting such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or Celebrate Recovery
  • Mentioning Employee Assistance Programs at work
  • A willingness to talk about their own struggles with substance abuse
  • A formal intervention

However they decide to approach you, the underlying message is the same – they are worried about you and think that you need outside help.

Significantly, the first person to wonder if things are spiraling out of control is often YOU.  If you have ever woken up hung-over and remorseful after a bender or a binge and sworn to yourself, “Never Again”, then you are already aware that you have crossed a line.

But at some point, someone will express concern or try to talk to you about your problem.  When it has reached the point that other people are noticing, then that is a major red flag that should not be ignored.

Sign #2 – It Impacts Your Job Performance

It has been estimated that 70% of substance abusers are employed, and the loss of productivity due to illegal drug use costs employers around $200 billion per year.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence lists a number of ways that substance abuse causes problems in the workplace:

  • Absenteeism
  • Punctuality
  • Excessive sick leave
  • Reduced productivity
  • Decreased efficiency
  • Sleeping on the job
  • Impaired decision-making ability
  • Theft
  • Fraud
  • Difficulties with coworkers and supervisors
  • Disciplinary problems
  • Demotions
  • Suspensions
  • Terminations
  • Fines
  • Illegal activities at the workplace
  • Lowered morale
  • Increased employee turnover
  • Accidents
  • Injuries
  • Fatalities

It is important for you to understand that because addiction is a recognized illness, you have certain rights and protections.  If you need to take time off of work to go to rehab, your employer is required by law to make reasonable accommodations and protect your job, position, and privacy.

But that is only if you proactively seek treatment before there are any incidents or accidents. Your employer has the right to expect and the obligation to provide a safe, drug-free workplace. If you wait until you have an accident or fail a drug test, you are not protected.

If you have experienced any of these problems at work, then it should be painfully obvious that your “recreational” substance use has become a problem that is affecting the other areas of your life.

SPECIAL NOTE: Many of these work-related warning signs are also applicable if you are a student – frequent tardiness, frequent absences, discipline problems, missing assignments, uncharacteristically poor grades, academic probation, and expulsion. The Monitoring the Future survey found that roughly 4 out of every 10 full-time college students have used an illicit drug within the past year.

Sign #3 – It’s Causing Problems in Your Relationships

It’s a paradox – addiction is a lonely, isolating disease that eventually creates distance between you and the people closest to you.  But at the same time, the chaos, dysfunction, and negative consequences that always accompany addiction affect everyone around you.

Out-of-control substance abuse can wreak havoc in your personal relationships:

  • Arguments
  • Infidelity
  • Separation
  • Breakups and estrangement
  • Divorce

But it goes beyond strained relationships.  Addiction can also cause you to perpetrate criminal acts on your loved ones.

  • Domestic violence92% of batterers use drugs or drink on the day of the assault.
  • 38% of assailants qualify for a medical diagnosis of Alcohol Use Disorder, while another 22% can be classified as “heavy drinkers”.
  • On drinking days, the odds of male-to-female intimate partner violence skyrocket 11-fold.
  • Between 50% and 70% of women who abuse their partners also abuse their children.
  • Child abuse and neglectUp to two-thirds of child mistreatment cases involve substance abuse.
  • 61% of infants and 41% of older children in out-of-home placements come from homes where their caregivers abused alcohol or drugs.

So if you find yourself frequently fighting with your partner about your drug use or drinking and the problems it is causing, or you have harmed someone you love because of it, it may be time to seek counseling and treatment for and both addiction and anger management.

Sign #4 – It Affects Your Physical Health

According to the World Health Organization alcohol abuse contributes to over 200 diseases and health conditions, including:

  • Cancer – Especially breast, mouth, tracheal, mouth, colon, liver, or pancreatic.  These risks are magnified by 35 times in the drinker also smokes.
  • Cirrhosis – Suffered by 20% of chronic heavy drinkers
  • Tuberculosis – Up to 50% of TB patients are alcoholics
  • Heart disease – Among senior citizens, even moderate drinking is harmful to their cardiac health.  Among older women, this means that even one drink a day can be dangerous.
  • Brain damage

In fact, alcohol is the deadliest drug in the world, killing 88,000 Americans every year.

Drug abuse is also associated with numerous diseases and health problems, including:

  • Heart attacks
  • Brain bleeding if
  • Endocarditis – A potentially-deadly infection of the heart caused an intravenous drug use
  • Stroke
  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • Hepatitis

Over 70,000 people in the United States died because of fatal drug overdoses last year.

Here’s the thing – drugs and alcohol starts affecting your body and brain from the very first use.  And the longer and heavier you use them, the worse the damage to your health becomes.

If you are already experiencing health problems related to your substance use, then it is absolutely imperative that you see a medical doctor and immediately check into a program that can treat your addiction.  In a very real way, your life may depend on it.

Sign #5 – You Experience Legal Problems

Substance abuse leads to court decisions that can land you legal hot water.

  • Driving Under the Influence – Leading to significant fines, loss of driving privileges, and even prison time
  • Public Intoxication
  • Theft
  • Fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Identity Theft
  • Possession
  • Distribution
  • Manufacturing
  • Assault

The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that approximately 18% of prisoners in federal custody committed their offense to obtain drug money, along with 17% of those in state prisons.

If you have ever been arrested for a DUI, sold drugs, or stolen something so you could buy drugs, then you are on a slippery slope that is only going to get worse.

Sign #6 – You are Struggling Financially

Your substance abuse probably costs much more than you might realize.  For example, look at how much the “typical” drinker or drug user might spend:

  • Oxycontin – $100,000 per year
  • Vicodin – $40,000 to $50,000
  • Heroin – $50,000
  • Methamphetamine – $30,000
  • Alcohol – $10,000 or more
  • Marijuana – $5000 or more

And that is just the cost for the individual substance.  Most addicts and alcoholics use more than one substance. When you also factor in civil and criminal charges, lost wages, and medical bills, you get a much clearer picture of the true financial burden of addiction.

If you have ever bought drugs or alcohol with the money needed to pay your bills, then that is a clear sign that feeding your addiction has become the top priority in your life.

Sign #7 – Your Mental Health is Suffering

Addiction and mental illness have a complicated relationship.  Each worsens and is worsened by the other. In fact, having one addictive or emotional disorder doubles the likelihood that you will struggle with both.  In other words, if you are exhibiting the symptoms of one kind of condition, it is extremely likely that you will also need treatment for the other illness.

Some of the mental conditions linked to substance abuse include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia
  • Suicidal Ideation

Such a dual diagnosis complicates successful recovery from either.  This is why top rehab programs offer specialized comprehensive treatment that addresses both the addiction and the mental disorder simultaneously.

If you struggle with any mental illness and find yourself turning to alcohol or drugs for temporary relief, then you definitely need professional help.

Sign #8 – You Ignore Responsibilities and Obligations

Because addiction is characterized by compulsive substance-seeking and use, that leaves very little time for anything else.  You will break promises, miss deadlines, and ignore commitments if they interfere with your ability to get drunk or high that day.

So you make flimsy excuses, or worse,  completely blow off professional and personal obligations and leave your suffering family members, friends, and coworkers to cover up for you.  You put them in the awkward position of enabling your continued substance abuse.

If your alcohol and drug use has made it with the people closest to you consider you completely undependable, it may be time for a change.

Sign #9 – You Withdraw Socially

Because finding, using, and recovering from substances start to take up so much of your time and energy, you find that you just don’t have anything left for your friends, especially if they don’t share or support your habit.

So you stop going to parties, accepting invitations, or even just hanging out with people who have been by your side for years.  You may even feel that you no longer have anything in common with them.

Often, you make new “friends” who are only too willing to party with you.  Unfortunately, however, drugs and alcohol may be the only connection you have. These so-called friends are just unhealthy triggers that prompt you to drink and do drugs whenever you are around them.

Look around you at your current circle of “friends”.  If they are all drug users and heavy drinkers and all of your time together involves getting high or drunk, it may be time to step away and reconnect with the real friends who were pushed away by your addiction.

Sign #10 – You Don’t Care about Anything Else

Addiction also robs you of your interests, talents, and passions. Because intoxicants directly affect the areas of the brain associated with reward and pleasure, chronic substance abuse impairs your ability to derive pleasure from activities and hobbies that you used to enjoy.

Nothing seems fun or brings you joy anymore, except for drugs and alcohol. As a result, you lose interest in those things that used to define you.  Whatever interests you had—sports, art, collecting, dancing, drawing, music—are replaced by your substances of choice. You become one-dimensional, focusing only on your next high or your next drink.

If you can barely remember the last time you practiced what used to be your favorite hobby, then that is a definite sign that your addiction has become the most important thing in your life.

Sign #11 – Your Day Revolves around Drugs and Alcohol

People struggling with severe addictive disorders often find that feeding their insatiable compulsion takes up virtually all of their waking hours.  The first thing they do when they wake up is take a drink, hit, pill, or bump, just to “get right” for the day.

If they are out of or running low on their drug of choice, then it is time to find more.  That usually involves calling or visiting their dealers to locate what they will need to get through the day.  Paying for the drugs also frequently requires a juggling act of hustling or scamming to come up with enough money.

Using and recovering from use also takes a significant amount of time.  Often, alcoholics and addicts will drink and use until they run out or pass out.  They sleep it off, and the next day, the cycle of substance abuse starts all over again.

Look at your own day.  Do you “wake and bake” or take a drink as soon as you get up?  Do you spend a lot of time every day messaging or waiting on a dealer?  Is your biggest daily worry about how you are going to find and pay for the drugs you will use today?  Do you set aside time every day to use and recover from alcohol or drugs?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then addiction is stealing the one resource you can never get back – your time.  It is time to reclaim your life.

Sign #12 – You Compromise Your Principles

Addiction is a disease that thrives on dishonesty, deception, deflection, and denial.  It is virtually impossible to habitually abuse alcohol and drugs without lying to and taking from other people.  And once you take one step over the line, it becomes far too easy to keep on breaking your own moral code.

  • Unhealthy secrets – Hiding your consumption from others
  • Lying – About how much and how often you are using
  • Stealing – From your friends, family, employer, or even strangers so you can afford to buy more alcohol or drugs
  • Committing fraud – Writing bad checks, identity theft, pawning stolen property, etc.
  • Other criminal acts – Selling drugs, prostitution, etc.

No recreational drug user or social drinker ever intends to become dependent or addicted.  But intoxicants affect reasoning, decision-making, impulse control, and even the ability to distinguish between right and wrong.

If you have ever stolen anything, hurt someone else, or otherwise done something that you never thought you were capable of just to satisfy your drug and alcohol cravings, then you know that you have gone too far and need help to find your way back.

Sign #13 – You’re Missing Out on Your Own Life

Addiction is a selfish disease that wants all of your time, money, resources, and attention.  This means that you miss out on so much of the good things going on in your life –birthdays, anniversaries, school recitals, graduations, reunions, family get-togethers, and other celebrations.

You also lose the little everyday moments –family dinners, reading to your children, or tucking them into bed at night.  When all of your time is spent thinking about, acquiring, using, and recovering from drug or alcohol abuse, you sacrifice what is really important.  These are moments that you can never get back.

Even when you are actually physically present, you may not be all there mentally.  For example, chronic substance abuse can significantly impair your memory. If you are too high, too drunk, or too hung-over to be a part of what’s going on, and you are not going to remember it anyway, then what is the point?

Worst of all, your condition and behavior may make your presence on these occasions uncomfortable, and therefore, unwelcome.  Your loved ones may stop expecting or even inviting you because they know that you will either let them down or embarrass them yet again.

Think about it – how many special family occasions have you either missed, forgotten, ignored, or ruined because of your substance use?  If it’s happened even once, that’s too often.

Sign #14 – You Feel Sick When You Don’t Use

If you are like most people who worry that they might have a drinking or drug problem, you have probably tried to cut back or even quit completely.  You may have even tried to bargain with your addiction by making deals –no drinking during the daytime, using only on weekends, switching from hard liquor to beer, etc.  Bargaining is one of the primary symptoms of a diagnosable Substance Use Disorder.

But soon, you start to feel so bad that the only way you can feel better is to start using again. The sobriety that you were determined to achieve is abandoned.  Unsuccessful attempts to quit are another indication of SUD.

These withdrawal symptoms can be so harshly unpleasant – physically and emotionally – as to trigger a relapse.  Sometimes manifesting within just a few hours of the last used, typical symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Agitation
  • Irresistible drug cravings
  • Anxiety
  • Irritation
  • Aggressiveness
  • Confusion
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Muscle cramps
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors in the extremities
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Watery eyes and tearing
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Seizures

Withdrawal is yet another symptom indicating that a medical diagnosis of SUD is appropriate.

SPECIAL NOTE: Although it can be painful and distressing, in most cases, withdrawal is not particularly dangerous...

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Seattle, Washington Sets New Records as the Fasting Growing City in the U.S.

Many people who live in Seattle might tell you they enjoy the quality of life the city has to offer. Of course, they would. Seattle is a great place to live.

It is very much alive with stunning architecture, vibrant culture, and an eclectic population of people from all over the world. There is so much to see and do in Seattle. It’s an ideal place to raise a family. And, it is overrun with employment opportunities.

Plus, Seattle is setting new records, making it an even more inviting place to live – especially for out-of-towners looking to relocate. The city is experiencing record low unemployment, record job growth, and a record high $15-an-hour minimum wage.

And, there is an expected and highly anticipated economic boom on the horizon for the city. As Amazon builds its headquarters in Emerald City, the online shopping giant has created an astounding 45,000 new jobs.

But, before we celebrate and take our hats off to Seattle; let’s talk about a few other records the city is breaking:

Homelessness is at an all-time high with at least 11,600 people sleeping in the streets, tents, cars, and emergency shelters around the city. Homelessness has led to the degradation and slow destruction of this once tranquil and serene Washington locale.

Addiction: There was a record number of overdose deaths in 2018. Seattle continues to live up to one of its commonly known nicknames – “Junkie Town.” Addicts use drugs openly in the streets and often cause disturbances that make the community unsafe.

Crime: Property crime is at an all-time high and is now two-and-a-half times higher than Los Angeles and four times higher than New York City. The city is experiencing a rapid increase of burglaries, car thefts, break-ins, and other property losses.  

Population is at an all-time high with the Census Bureau reporting that Seattle is the fastest growing city in the U.S. The city now has approximately 724,745 residents and many are struggling to find affordable living accommodations.

Cost of Living is at an all-time high with the cost of housing skyrocketing 57 percent in the past six years, pushing many people into homelessness.

These statistics speak for themselves.

Many say the city of Seattle is under siege; facing an unprecedented homelessness crisis, addiction emergency, and incarceration problem (or lack thereof).

With a reputation as one of the most liberal cities in the United States, Seattle may ultimately come to serve as a cautionary tale for the rest of the country. Many agree this Washington locale is quickly becoming a shining example of what NOT to do.

In this article, we answer the question – is it hopeless in Seattle?

Is Seattle Dying?

Many Seattleites are reporting that they now live in a city they don’t recognize. They say the problem of addiction, homelessness, and relaxed law enforcement policies have caused the city to decline to such a degree that it is essentially unlivable. In fact, some say Seattle looks like some kind of post-apocalyptic wasteland.

According to reports, there is waste and trash all over the city. Many prominent areas smell like urine and feces. Addicts are passed out in the streets. Tents line public sidewalks to provide shelter for the homeless. Crime is at an all-time high. Historic cemeteries have been overrun by prostitution and drug activity.

And, the police are outraged because they are being told by the city government not to do anything about it.

To really get a grasp on the hopeless state of Seattle, we encourage you to watch an awesome documentary, “Is Seattle Dying?” It depicts just how raw and real the problems are in Emerald City. Those who care about the future of Seattle should definitely take an hour to check out this video :

Seattle is Dying - YouTube
Local Government Acknowledges Homelessness Crisis

Homelessness is big news in Seattle. It’s no secret the growing number of people without permanent housing is alarming and disruptive. Currently, there is a collaborative effort underway among local and state agencies and nonprofits to bring about positive change in this critical area of the local landscape.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan is calling the problem of homelessness in Seattle a crisis of epic proportions. She has made a solemn commitment to address (and ultimately correct) the problem. Here is what she has to say on the subject:

“Every night, thousands of our neighbors sleep outside without shelter, in some of the most inhumane and dangerous conditions you can imagine. While every single person experiencing homelessness in Seattle has their own story, what is true across Seattle is the need to help our neighbors move to safer places as we work together to build a better future for all who call Seattle home.”

Durkan adds, “We have a responsibility, to be honest, that this crisis won’t go away overnight. Lasting, meaningful progress will take years. But we still must act – and are acting – to improve life in Seattle.”

Many believe Durkan’s promise to end (or at least reduce) homelessness comes largely as a response to the homeless encampments encroaching upon upscale neighborhoods.

Local residents have been very vocal about their disdain for the unsightly camps, unsanitary conditions, increased crime, and a decreased sense of safety. Since the popup of so-called tent cities in prominent local parks situated near suburban neighborhoods, locals have put the pressure on city government to take action. However, the response has not been favorable.  

What Causes Homelessness in Seattle?

If you have never been homeless, it can be difficult to understand how it happens.

Understanding what causes someone to become homeless is the first step to finding solutions. Homelessness is a systematic problem that affects every city in the Puget Sound region of the United States. Seattle has been hit particularly hard.

There is still an incredible stigma that surrounds this issue. Many people judge the homeless very harshly. They assume they are just lazy and looking for a handout. It is true that many homeless people enjoy this lifestyle and choose to be nomadic. However, many homeless people desperately want to have a permanent place to live.

Becoming homeless in Seattle is actually more common than you might think. Adverse life events can lead to the loss of a home or apartment. These include the loss of a job, a health issue that makes it impossible to work, or the need to escape an abusive situation.  

Also, many people who work in decent-paying jobs have been forced out of their residence because of rent increases. We mentioned earlier that the cost of housing has skyrocketed more than 57 percent in the past six years. Some people end up on the streets because they cannot afford rent or find affordable housing.

What is at the Root of Seattle’s Homelessness Crisis?

We’ve cited a few life events that can force someone to live on the streets, but the situation actually goes much deeper. There are a number of other causes that are inherently interconnected and compounded by one another.

Let’s examine a few of the reasons that explain the homelessness crisis in Seattle:

Mental Health Issues

It is estimated that 40 percent of all homeless people in Seattle have a disability that prevents them from sustaining gainful employment. More often than not, disability is a mental illness like bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, depression, or anxiety. These conditions can be so debilitating that an individual simply cannot work.

Addiction Problems

It’s no secret that addiction and homelessness often go hand-in-hand. There are a number of reasons for this. In some cases, a person’s addiction can drive them out into the streets. They lose their job and their residence as a consequence of abusing drugs like cocaine, crystal meth, or heroin. With nowhere to turn for help, they end up homeless and continue to use drugs.

In other situations, homeless people have a dual-diagnosis and self-medicate as a way to address their mental health issues. This compounds the problem and makes it next to impossible for them to improve their situation and find permanent housing.

Economic Disparities and Poverty

It is true that Seattle offers a minimum wage of $15 an hour, among the highest in the country. However, this level of income is not nearly enough to cover the high cost of living in Seattle. Plus, the city’s economic growth has not been shared widely enough. Many people live in poverty and stay in constant fear of losing their housing due to nonpayment of the rent.

Lack of Affordable Housing

Finding affordable housing in Seattle isn’t easy. The price of rent continues to rise. According to Rent Jungle, as of March 2019, average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Seattle is about $2,014 a month (a 2.18 percent spike from last year) and a two-bedroom apartment costs approximately $2,775 (a 3.6 percent increase from last year).

A recent analysis found that 47 percent of the people who rent in the Seattle metro area are “housing cost burdened.” This means they spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent alone. Strict zoning laws aren’t helping the situation.

In 2017, the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) held a lottery for the Housing Choice Voucher program. This helps low-income families and individuals, senior citizens, and people with disabilities pay their monthly rent in privately-owned apartments or houses.

More than 21,500 Seattle residents completed registrations for the lottery, competing for 3,500 places on the list. This ought to let you know how desperate people are to get adequate and affordable housing.

Racial Disparities

Unfortunately, most homeless people are disproportionately people of color. Racial inequity and policies that drive racial disparity are interwoven throughout Seattle. Access to education, healthcare, affordable housing, and jobs training are limited for people of color in Emerald City. Of the 21,500 applications to the 2017 SHA lottery program, more than 35 percent came from people of color.

The Criminal Justice System

Many people become homeless after they are released from jail or prison. After an extended period of incarceration, they lose their homes. Also, having a record makes it difficult to find employment, which makes it impossible to make money to pay housing costs.

A Decentralized Response to a Regional Crisis

The response to the problem of homelessness involves government agencies, private businesses, nonprofit service providers, individuals, and advocates across the Puget Sound region. Over the last decade, there has been a continued lack of coordination among these organizations, which has limited the effectiveness of monetary investments.

Estimates suggest that approximately $1 billion is spent every year to solve the homelessness crisis in Seattle. What is the money being spent on? No one really knows.

“You have to wonder where the money goes,” Seattle City Council candidate Ari Hoffman said recently. “The first thing we need to do is audit where all that money is going. There’s plenty of money, the city’s coffers are full, the money is just not being spent appropriately.”

The Effects of Homelessness on the City of Seattle

Being homeless profoundly affects an individual. If you have never been homeless, you can’t conceive what this lifestyle can do to the human spirit.

Imagine not having a place to call home; a safe place to lay your head at night. Think about what it would be like to push around everything you owned in a shopping cart. What if you had to dig through dumpsters and sift through other people’s trash to find scraps of food so you could eat for the day? It’s all so very heart-breaking.

Of course, individual homelessness affects Seattle as a community. Here are just a few of the many ways the city has been impacted by the crisis:

  • Poor individual hygiene, which can lead to the spread of community diseases
  • An unsanitary lifestyle creates unlivable conditions in public right-of-ways
  • Extensive public drug and alcohol use (which leads to discarded dirty needles, empty glass liquor bottles, and other scattered drug paraphernalia)
  • Aggressive panhandling can lead to the harassment of area residents
  • Increased property crime and theft
  • Unsightly tent cities scattered throughout the city
  • A decreased sense of safety
  • Tents situated on high traffic areas including sidewalks and shopping districts

Homelessness in Seattle is such a major problem, there are few areas that have been untouched by it. This leaves community members urging local government to solve the problem and take drastic measures.  

Yet, in spite of the fact that in 2017, King County and Seattle spent over $195 million to combat homelessness (which included local, federal, and charitable spending), more people are homeless in Seattle than ever before.

The Reality of Trash Cleanup at Homeless Encampments in Seattle

Here’s another consequence that comes from the homelessness crisis – all the trash that is left behind.

When homeless communities set up encampments under bridges, along the sides of roads, and other locations; they accumulate a lot of trash. This includes dirty syringes. Usually, there is nowhere to properly dispose of garbage so it goes on the ground. This quickly leads to unsanitary conditions for everyone.  

The City of Seattle continues to make significant financial investments to clean up trash resulting from the homelessness crisis in an effort to keep the city beautiful, sanitary, and safe. Here are a few statistics that put the problem into perspective:

  • In 2017, the City of Seattle removed 3,205 tons of garbage and waste from unmanaged homeless encampments. That equates to 6.4 million pounds of trash!
  • In January of 2017, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) kicked off a pilot program to collect trash from unsanctioned encampments in popular RV camping areas. The pilot program collects an average of 31,233 pounds of trash per month from these areas.

Just think about what Seattle would look like if the city didn’t pick up all this trash. Emerald City would get a new nickname – Garbage City!

City-Permitted Villages Help House Those in Need of Shelter

To combat the problem of homelessness in Seattle, nine permitted villages have been constructed across the city that offers temporary shelter and allow residents to connect to housing resources. This is perhaps the most promising effort made by local agencies to solve this problem.  

These villages consist of a group of tiny houses that can be locked, which provide safe shelter to more than 300 people each night. The houses have electricity and heat and they are weatherproof.

The villages offer access to clean restrooms, showers, on-site social services from a case manager, a kitchen, and a managed community that follows a code of conduct.

Villages provide temporary shelter to the homeless. In many cases, it begins the process of placing them into permanent housing. In 2018, the citywide villages served 658 unique households and placed 135 of these households into permanent housing. This represents a 32 percent increase from 2017.   

Homelessness and Addiction in Seattle – What’s the Connection?

In no uncertain terms, addiction runs rampant among the homeless population in Seattle. In fact, it is one of the most addicted cities in Washington State. Many civic leaders say that Emerald City doesn’t have a homelessness problem as much as it has a drug problem. Some say that 100 percent of all people without permanent housing are in some stage of addiction.

Many people abuse alcohol and drink daily to avoid the detrimental consequences of alcohol withdrawal. But, of greater concern is a collective addiction to heroin and prescription opioids.

It is no coincidence that many of the unauthorized homeless encampments across Seattle are down the street from methadone clinics. Many homeless people who were once addicted to heroin or prescription painkillers use methadone as a way to avoid deadly withdrawal symptoms.

Because these people do not have access to transportation, they set up camp so they can walk to the clinic for their daily dose. More than 3,6000 people in King County receive methadone treatment.

The Drug Culture in Seattle – The Party Never Stops

Seattle has a national reputation for being a party city. Illegal drugs are available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, 365 days-a-year – and they come cheap.

Many addiction experts suggest that an addict can score heroin, crystal meth (which continues to rise in popularity), cocaine, and prescription painkillers within a 10 miles radius from any point in the city. Alcohol is readily available at local grocery stores and corner stores. And, of course, marijuana is legal for recreational use in this city and the stuff is everywhere.

Seattle is known for its lax approach to criminal justice – drug laws in particular. In Seattle, law enforcement officers generally will not take an individual to jail for drug possession as long as they have less than three grams. This includes hard drugs like heroin and crystal meth.

Seattle has a very lenient drug policy and three grams is viewed as “for personal use.” Addicts take this as a green light to use drugs openly so it is not uncommon to walk by people hitting crack pipes or injecting heroin on the streets.

How the Legalization of Marijuana Has Negatively Impacted Seattle, Washington

In 2012, Washington State (along with Colorado that same year) was the first to legalize marijuana for recreational use. This has certainly benefited Seattle. There has been a decrease in violent crime and drug arrests citywide since marijuana was made legal. And, the city has largely contributed to the more than $1 billion in marijuana sales statewide in the past five years.

A portion of the marijuana tax revenue generated is allocated to substance-abuse education and treatment programs. Plus, in 2018, more than $262 million helped the state pay for Medicaid, which provides health insurance to an estimated 1.8 million low-income Washington residents.

These are just a few of the many benefits that have manifested as the result of legal marijuana sales in Washington State.

However, legalizing marijuana has contributed to the problem of homelessness. People from all over the country have migrated to Seattle to partake of legal weed. Many of them were homeless when they got there. According to survey data, approximately 9.5 percent of the city’s homeless say that they came for legal marijuana.

Also, keep in mind that marijuana is addictive. Those who use the substance daily have a habit to support and feel as if they cannot function without their herb. This often leads the homeless to commit property crimes and theft so they can get high on pot.

The Far-Reaching Opioid Epidemic is Affecting Addicts in Seattle

According to the Seattle Times, fatal overdoses were..

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Once deemed the “wonder drug” for getting people off heroin, Suboxone is now under fire. What was supposed to be a solution to help people recover from opioid addiction is now being questioned. It was marketed as a treatment drug that would help people get off prescription painkillers and heroin.

Federal prosecutors have now found that Suboxone is prone to abuse. They are now looking to prosecute the British drugmaker Indivior for not giving up the whole story about the drug. Additionally, it’s believed they were encouraging people to overuse it. A federal grand jury in Virginia claims that Indivior had created a scheme that clearly puts profit over the well-being of patients.

“Indivior obtained billions of dollars in revenue from Suboxone Film prescriptions by deceiving health-care providers and health-care benefit programs into believing that Suboxone Film was safer, less divertible, and less abusable than other opioid-addiction treatment drugs,” said the prosecutors.

Fraudulent Marketing of Opioids

Indivior is being charged with felony fraud and conspiracy based on allegedly marketing it incorrectly. The drug was initially thought to solve a problem in the opioid epidemic. Prosecutors are saying the company boosted profits illegally. They did so by creating a system that connected opioid addicts with doctors who over-prescribed Suboxone for their own greater good. You’ve probably heard of pharmaceutical companies being accused of similar acts. They have been accused of dumbing down facts regarding how addictive opioid medications were.

The Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt said that Indivior promoted their product with no regards for the safety of the products. Despite the risks of diversion and abuse that they didn’t reveal to anyone about. The indictment states that Indivior,

“obtained billions of dollars in revenue from Suboxone Film prescriptions by deceiving health care providers and health care benefit programmes into believing that Suboxone Film was safer, less divertible, and less abusable than other opioid-addiction treatment drugs”.

It also stated that Indivior “lacked any scientific evidence to support those claims”.

Increasing Sales of Suboxone

Federal prosecutors believe the firm created a scheme so they could increase sales of their Suboxone Film products. These are an opioid drug to help treat addiction. Indivior has given a rebuttal to contest the charges. They have said they are a world leader in addiction treatment. The Department of Justice is demanding a minimum of $3 billion in fines. Indivior’s market value is currently £202 million since the collapse of their shares.

The company is already seeing the repercussions of the accusations against them. Ther stocks fell to an all-time low (nearly 75%) immediately after U.S. prosecutors made their announcement. The prosecutors claimed that the British drugmaker had deceived doctors on their addiction treatments. They hid the dangers and fueled an already problematic situation, the opioid epidemic. It’s believed that they misled doctors and government health about the safety of the drug compared to other products.

The “Here to Help” Program

Many agencies in the U.S. have been going after makers and distributors of opioid painkillers. Indivior marketed themselves as a solution to the epidemic. There were previous reports about the misuse of Suboxone. This new information shows that something considered to be a solution can be mismanaged and turned into part of the problem.

It is a combination of two different drugs. One of them is an opioid, buprenorphine.  Buprenorphine doesn’t show to cause the euphoric effects of other painkillers or heroin. Naloxone is a reversal agent against opioids. The medication satisfies the addiction need for opioids and curbs withdrawal symptoms. It has been abused however and the company did little to stop it.

Their program, “Here to Help” was actually used to increase prescriptions and that’s the problem. The prosecutors state that Indivior used the program to connect patients to ‘crooked’ doctors. How were they crooked? They were found to prescribe Suboxone to more patients than was allowed by federal law. They prescribed high doses and in circumstances that were considered suspect.

What Indivior Has to Say About the Accusations

A representative of Indivior had this to say about the accusations,

“I couldn’t be prouder of the work Indivior does to fight the opioid crisis,” he said in a statement published on the company’s website. “We wish the Justice Department had taken an alternative path, because their indictment simply can’t be justified based on any fair reading of the facts or the law.”

The company says the opposite. They say they never diverted their product intentionally and have always educated doctors on recommended Suboxone treatment.

Indivior is stating the exact opposite of what the Department of Justice is accusing them of. They said they are absolutely not contributing to the opioid epidemic. The FDA and CDC acknowledge this medicine as a way of combating the epidemic. Indivior says that the allegations from the Justice Department are a contraction.

Opioid epidemic and Pharmaceutical Companies

Indivior is not the only company who’s gone under fire for allegedly manipulating public perception about their products. Pharmaceutical companies like Johnson & Johnson, Purdue Pharma, and Teva are all dealing with lawsuits. They played a part in the opioid epidemic with their products. Indivior is a bit of a different story as it’s supposed to be a treatment to aid in the pursuit of ending the opioid epidemic.

More than 200,000 Americans have died of an overdose from prescription opioids. It was the aggressive marketing of opioid painkillers that started the crisis. Despite “wonder drugs” like Suboxone strips, people are still dying every day. Federal agencies are now demanding that the makers and distributors of these medications pay. If federal prosecutors are successful in these lawsuits against big pharma, the money goes towards drug treatment. This would include the ability to get more law enforcement and offer people rehab programs to get them off the drugs.

Dangers of Suboxone

While Indivior marketed their Suboxone strip as a safe way to taper off stronger opioids, there are also dangers with the drug. It’s a challenge to treat people who are addicted to heroin. Sometimes it’s important to turn to medicine for a short term solution. Suboxone was created for this reason. It eases withdrawal with only a mild high. It has a lower potential for addiction but it is still addictive.

While it has been used as a treatment for opioid addiction, it can worsen the situation. Suboxone contains 2 ingredients with one ingredient being a partial opioid agonist. This means it does create an opiate response but just with some of the opiate receptors in the brain. This is why it’s a milder high than prescription painkillers. The other ingredient is naloxone which is an opioid antagonist. It turns off the opiate receptors in the brain and has been instrumental in saving lives during an opioid overdose. It immediately counteracts the effects of opioids through injection. In a pill form, it prevents a reaction to opioids. The combination of the two has been found to help those with opioid addictions.

Addiction to Suboxone

The high expectation of Suboxone and what it could do for addicts have turned to disappointment. There isn’t a reduction in opioid addiction and Suboxone is adding to the problem. Indivior may have been partially responsible for that if the allegations are true. The National Pain Report states that buprenorphine is one of the most abused prescription drugs throughout the world currently.

The report stated that people looking to keep up their addiction use Suboxone to ease their symptoms in between times they’re not abusing other opioids. It eases things for the addict and makes the breaks easier. It’s not making them want to stop for the long term. If someone wants to get high, they may take more than recommended. The naloxone isn’t a deterrent for abusing Suboxone as it works differently when ingested.

Signs of Suboxone Abuse or Addiction

There are certain behaviors that are found in addicts. They can indicate abuse and addiction. Here are some of those signs:

  • There are pills missing from a bottle when based on the prescribed amount.
  • Prescriptions are stolen.
  • The person will be secretive and lie about medications.
  • They are sleepy and have a hard time concentrating.
  • There is an indication of doctor shopping. Many different prescriptions from different doctors and pharmacies.

These following signs indicate addiction. Doctors will see these as a sign of substance abuse and addiction.

  • Inability to stop or control substance use.
  • Consume more substance than planned.
  • Cravings and spending time using or trying to get Suboxone.
  • Relationship problems.
  • Inability to manage daily responsibilities.
  • The person will keep using even if their health is in jeopardy.
Buprenorphine Overdose

While Indivior saw growth in sales, people were dying from buprenorphine. The Center for Substance Abuse Research reported that Suboxone sales in 2012 were $1.4 billion. This is over 10 times what it made in 2006. In Florida, there were 27 deaths from buprenorphine. Keep in mind that doctors and medical examiners won’t test for buprenorphine so it’s believed that more people are dying from it than is reported. This is also true when it comes to details on Suboxone and how it’s being abused.

Suboxone Side Effects

It is the buprenorphine that comes with side effects in Suboxone. There are the most common side effects of taking the drug:

  • Symptoms of the flu such as nausea, fever, chills, body aches.
  • Stuffy/runny nose.
  • Muscle pain, primarily in the back.
  • Inability to sleep.
  • Constipated.
  • It hurts to urinate.
  • Dizziness.
  • Extreme fatigue.
  • Drowsy.
  • Confused.
  • Blurry vision.
Long-term Effects of Suboxone Addiction

It’s important to remember that Suboxone is an opioid. It causes similar issues that other opiates do. This includes:

  • Inability to sleep.
  • A feeling of restlessness.
  • Heart damage.
  • Respiratory damage.
  • Potential brain damage (hypoxia).

When using any opioid for a long period of time, there is a risk of tolerance. This means that you’ll have to take more of the drug as time goes on. This increases the chance of addiction.

Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms

Another side effect of Suboxone (the buprenorphine) is the withdrawal symptoms. If you’ve been taking the medication for a long time, you can go through withdrawal. This is going to be similar to other opiates. Buprenorphine interacts with your mind and body and affects chemical processes in the brain. When you stop using it, the body will feel the absence of the drug. How severe these withdrawal signs depend on how long you’ve been using and how often.

If you’ve gone from heroin addiction to Suboxone as a way of tapering, you’re dealing with the effects of opioids in your system for a long period. While your withdrawal symptoms will be less than when you abused stronger opioids, it may have been years since your body was truly clean.

The common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Stomach pain.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Anxiety.
  • Inability to sleep.
  • Confusion.
  • Mood swings.
  • Cold chills or sweating.

If you suffer from depression, it’s likely that will be a part of the symptoms too. Any underlying mental disorders will flare up. Withdrawal can be overwhelming physically and emotionally. This can cause a relapse.

The Dangers of Using Suboxone

The intention of Suboxone is a good one. It can be a good resource to help people from their stronger opioid addiction. There are advantages and disadvantages to it of course. There are some subtle side effects but usually, it’s okay to use as a recovery tool for a relatively long time. When using Suboxone, it’s often important to taper from the drug. This is when you start taking less of the medication over time. This would be instead of going ‘cold turkey’ and shocking the body.

Suboxone is a medication-assisted treatment. It is not a cure for addiction. There are many other things that surround addiction recovery. There is a whole system put in place for getting off opioids. It will start with detox but there also needs to be management of the psychological reasons for your addiction.

This, of course, should all be brought up with you by your doctor. There is a risk of dependence and without the other therapies, you’ll just stay in the wheel of using various kinds of opioids. This is another issue. As easily as you use Suboxone, you might switch to Oxycodone or heroin. Addiction causes risky behaviors.

Suboxone – A Solution or a Cause?

Suboxone isn’t usually the gateway drug for opioid addiction. It doesn’t make any sense. Buprenorphine has a ceiling effect so it can only get you so high. Naloxone blocks a lot of the effects anyway. However, when someone has grown too dependent on opioids and they mismanage their Suboxone prescription, it can become problematic.

While Suboxone was supposed to be a solution, it has caused people to maintain their opioid addiction. As a legitimate product, it is supposed to be an aid during the detox phase where withdrawal from stronger opioids is too much to handle. Doctors may knowingly give the prescription out for longer. Indivior’s problem right now is they’re being accused of seeking out doctors who intentionally give out higher doses for a long period of times. This is believed to promote Suboxone dependency and can lead to addiction.

Suboxone and the Opioid Epidemic

Indivior is suspected of intentionally connecting ‘crooked’ doctors with patients. Suboxone could be a good option to help people get off opioids. The formula looks good on paper. It is less harmful than other opioids. The problem is the manipulation that is putting people in jeopardy of dependence and eventually addiction. It’s being marketed as one thing while being managed differently. What should have been a solution is now becoming another part of the problem in the opioid epidemic.

Indivior is denying their role in the epidemic and they haven’t been convicted of the crime as of yet. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time a pharmaceutical company manipulated its marketing tactics to get more sales for their prescription drugs. If you’re using a medically-assisted medication, it should always include professional addiction treatment. This allows you to understand the nature of your addiction and digs into the reasons you abused drugs. Without it, you could end up a victim when given Suboxone and told it’s the answer to all your problems. It can work but it needs to be a part of a bigger treatment plan.

Addiction Help for Suboxone

So when we talk about other treatments for opioid addiction, what does this include? You could be taking Suboxone while you go through addiction rehab. This will allow you to focus while you go through essential addiction therapy. You will learn how to manage emotional triggers so you can avoid relapse. Going through behavioral therapy or talk therapy can help you come to terms with things that have happened in your life. For whatever reason, something lead you to addiction. You may not even know what it is. If this is the case, addiction rehab can help you find those answers.

At Northpoint Washington, we have all the available tools to help you with addiction. We safely help you with detox and integrate you into our rehab program. It is a full spectrum treatment plan that focuses on all aspects of addiction. Medication to help you get off drugs is important but there are many other tools to help you. We are experienced specialists that have helped thousands of opioid addicts recover and experience a more positive life. When you’re ready to get the help you need, contact us. We will help you begin your recovery journey.

The post Prosecutors Say Suboxone Maker Indivior Lied About Popular Opioid Treatment appeared first on Northpoint Washington Blog.

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We have an exciting announcement. You’ve waited patiently, and it’s finally time for us to reveal our latest inpatient drug and alcohol treatment facility — Northpoint Washington. You’ve probably followed our blogs and visited our website. Now, you can finally see what our facility looks like!

This new inpatient treatment facility is located in Edmonds, Washington. It offers a wide range of addiction treatment options. We can treat all types of addictions, and the experts on our staff have a lot of experience dealing with these issues.

Take a look at some of the pictures to see what our facility looks like:

Important Dates to Write Down

Let’s take a look at some of the important dates that you should write down. Our grand opening is on April 26th! We’ll have a ribbon cutting ceremony from 10 AM to 12 PM, and then an open house from 12 PM to 7 PM. You can take a look at our facilities, amenities and more at this time.

Our new treatment center meets all local safety requirements. You’ll also find that it offers a comfortable and welcoming environment. It’s definitely a great place to get away from the chaos in your life. You can focus on your recovery here.

We won’t be admitting patients until April 29th. Our facility will be in full operation at this time.

Who Will Be There?

We’re so excited about the grand opening that we’re inviting anyone who wants to come. Although we haven’t invited any celebrities, we have invited CEOs, industry influences, government employees, and those who work in the medical industry and counseling industry. We’ve also invited the media. We can’t wait to show off what we have in store!

To top it all off, we’ll also be on the King 5 (NBC Station) morning talk show once a week for 4 weeks straight. Our first appearance will be on April 23rd. Tune in then to see what we have to say about rising addiction rates and more.

More About Our Inpatient Treatment Facility

Northpoint Washington has 44 beds to offer. This means that our latest drug and alcohol treatment facility will be two times larger than our other inpatient rehab center. We have twice the capacity, so we’re hoping that we can reach out and help even more people in need. Our 44-bed inpatient treatment facility offers only evidence-based treatment approaches.

Our larger capacity is not the only thing that makes us stand out from other treatment facilities. Northpoint Washington is also characterized by our ability to offer exclusive and individualized addiction treatment programs. We tailor each alcohol and drug detox and rehab program to the needs of each client. Clients receive specialized evaluations from doctors, nurses, and counselors that help the addiction experts on our team create the perfect treatment plan.

A series of integrated activities in the local community are also incorporated into each plan. These activities allow clients to test out the recovery skills that they’ve learned in real life scenarios and situations. These types of community assimilation activities allow clients to come face-to-face with their triggers. They also allow clients to learn how to master various recovery skills.

The Benefits of Going to an Inpatient Rehab Center

If this is your first time seeking treatment or if you are at risk of experiencing life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, many addiction experts will recommend that you start off with inpatient rehab. You can slowly transition into an outpatient treatment center after. This is because inpatient treatment facilities are able to offer some distinct advantages, like:

  • Around-the-clock care and supervision. You’re never alone if you choose to go with an inpatient program. You’ll always be under the supervision of a team of medical staff. If your condition changes at any moment, you will receive medical care immediately. This is particularly important for those who will experience intense and dangerous withdrawal symptoms.
  • A new environment that’s free of triggers. You will be away from most, if not all, of their triggers. You won’t be around the same people that cause you to stress, and you’ll also be away from situations and even items that may remind you of drugs. It’s difficult to obtain drugs or alcohol while at an inpatient treatment facility.
  • Immediate access to therapy and addiction treatment services. Do you need to talk to a therapist? Or, do you need to distract yourself with art therapy? Regardless of what you need, you can reach out for help at any time of day, and someone will be there to help you.
  • An ability to focus on your recovery. Everything that you need will already be taken care of. Our in-house chefs will cook delicious and healthy meals for you. Also, we’ve already crafted a busy day-to-day schedule for you.

Inpatient care can greatly help stabilize clients at the start of their recovery. These treatment programs help clients figure out how to jumpstart their recovery. They also teach them the discipline that they need to avoid relapses.

What You Need to Bring to Our Facility

If you’re interested in coming to our facility, you’ll need to first get in contact with our experts. Once you’ve been accepted into our program, you will then need to pack for moving day. We already have most of the utilities and items that you’ll need. As a result, you won’t have to bring much to our facility. You can pack the following items:

  • Two weeks’ worth of clothing, provided that the clothing do not have any offensive logo, language or images on it
  • Bathrobes, pajamas, slippers and other items needed at night
  • A fancy outfit for some of our activities and events
  • Prescription medications in their original bottle with their original label intact
  • A list with the contact information of those you want to be involved in your recovery
  • Toiletries that do not contain any alcohol
  • Two pieces of government ID
  • Some cash, a credit card or a debit card for unexpected purchases
  • Personal items that will help you feel more comfortable at our facility, like photographs or a wedding ring
  • Items that support a hobby, like books or paint supplies
  • Snacks and foods that are purchased from a grocery, as we do not permit any homemade food

We ask that you leave electronics at home. If you forget any items, you can always ask a friend or family member to drop by later with what you need.

An In-Depth Look at Our Results

Northpoint Recovery commissioned Milliman to conduct an in-depth report on how effective it’s programs are. Our goal was to provide an independent evaluation of drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs. We are actually one of the first addiction treatment centers to have sought out independent research to study and assess our programs and our success rates.

The Milliman Outcomes Assessment Report found that 51% of our clients come to us with alcohol addiction. 28% come to us with opioid addiction and 13% come to us with an addiction to stimulants. The report found that:

  • 75% of our clients reported that they were still sober and clean after 6 months
  • 90% of our clients highly recommend our clients
  • 90% of our clients would say that they’re time with us was a success
  • 21% of our clients felt comfortable and confident in making use of an outpatient program after completing an inpatient one

Clients who sought inpatient treatment were 80% less likely to be readmitted within 30 days. They were also 12 times more likely to continue an outpatient treatment program for at least 90 days after discharge.

You can expect Northpoint Washington to offer the same results. After all, we’re part of the same umbrella and will offer the same types of treatment programs, amenities, and quality of care.

A More In-Depth Look at Our Inpatient Alcohol and Drug Rehab Programs

We offer two different addiction treatment programs: a 28-day alcohol detox and rehab program and a 28-day drug detox and alcohol rehab program. Both programs follow similar structures.

Upon arriving at our facility, you will first need to get started with the basics. This includes filling in paperwork, medical forms, and payment processes. Once you’re done with all of the administrative work, you’ll be paired with a greeter, who is another patient here at our facility. Your greeter is further along in the program and can answer any questions that you may have. He or she will also give you a tour of our facilities, help you to your rooms and get you settled in.

You’ll then need to complete a full health assessment. This includes physical, psychiatric and biosocial examinations. We will then come up with a personalized treatment plan for you, and also help you come up with a solid aftercare treatment plan.

Medical Detox Services

The first part of your treatment plan will consist of medical detox services. Our addiction doctors will determine which medications can ease your withdrawal symptoms. These medications can also normalize neurochemical fluctuations in the body. Drug detox can last anywhere from 7 to 14 days depending on the addiction and the severity of the withdrawal symptoms.

Each client will need a different cocktail of medications. Some medications are FDA-approved to treat specific addictions. Other medications treat specific withdrawal symptoms. Some of the medications that we have to offer include:

  • Methadone, Suboxone and Vivitrol for treating opioid withdrawal symptoms
  • Acamprosate and disulfiram for treating alcohol withdrawal symptoms

We also use medications like baclofen to treat seizures and tremors. Clients may also be prescribed over-the-counter medications like sleeping pills if they have insomnia.

The Types of Behavioral Therapies We Offer

Here, at Northpoint Washington, we recognize that each client will need something different in order to succeed. This is the reason why we are able to offer a whole bunch of behavioral therapies and counseling services. Some of the services that clients can enjoy include:

  • Art therapy
  • Bibliotherapy
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
  • Drug education
  • Dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Gym workouts with a personal trainer
  • Mindfulness and meditation
  • Neurofeedback therapy
  • One-on-one counseling
  • Strength-based therapy
  • Yoga

Clients can receive therapy and counseling sessions after they have received medical detox services. Behavioral therapies and counseling treat psychological withdrawal symptoms. They also help prepare clients for the road ahead.

Our Other Locations

Northpoint Washington is part of a larger conglomerate. We have many other locations where you can get the addiction treatment that you need. Each location has Joint Commission Accreditation and treats both alcohol and drug addiction. Our other locations include:

  • Northpoint Recovery. This is our other more established inpatient drug and alcohol rehab center in Boise, Idaho. Northpoint Recovery is one of the first rehab centers that we opened.
  • Ashwood Recovery. This is an outpatient branch in Idaho with two locations. One of the treatment centers is in Boise and the other is in Nampa.
  • The Evergreen at Northpoint. This is an outpatient treatment center in Edmonds, Washington. We are opening another location in Northgate, Seattle in July. You’re also welcomed to go to our grand opening for this location when it opens.

At this moment, we recommend that those who have completed an inpatient treatment from Edmonds, Washington to consider transitioning to our outpatient program at The Evergreen at Northpoint. By transitioning into an outpatient program, clients can continue to receive support on their journey to sobriety.

Introducing Key Members of Our Team

We have a lot of addiction experts on our team who are ready to cater to clients and help them succeed. We have many experienced members on our team that can help you figure out what you need. Some of our key hires include:

Logan Stroud is our Vice President. He’s responsible for everything that happens under the Washington market. If you have any specific concerns, you can always ask him. He’s a friendly face that you will often see at Northpoint Washington.

One of the medical experts on our team is Dr. Samir Aziz. He’s the Medical Director of Washington and will make sure that each client gets the treatment that he or she needs. Dr. Samir Aziz plays a fundamental role in creating a customized addiction treatment plan.

Dan Labuda is the Program Director of Northpoint Washington. Once again, he’s another friendly face that you’ll likely meet when inquiring about our facilities and when getting admitted.

Meet Kozi Colberg, our Director of Nursing. She has a lot of..

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