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Ohio has been one of the top 5 states for the last several years suffering alarming rates of opioid overdose and opioid-related death. Overdose death rates are already accelerating all over the country, and the Buckeye State is one of many that are part of the trend.

In 2016, Ohio ranked number 2 in overdose deaths rates, with Virginia in 1st place. Already early reports are showing that the rates in 2017 have seen a steady increase.

Federal data shows that overdoses have decreased or remained stable in parts of the West. Yet the East Coast and Midwest have continued to suffer.

Suffering in the Midwest

A lot of states are experiencing higher rates of overdose and death, with the Midwest being a hotbed of opioid issues. A National Center for Health Statistics report from back in 2017 was showing provisional overdose death counts in Ohio from May 2016 to May 2017 increasing over 41%. More recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows:

  • 3,763 deaths for the 12- month period ending in July 2016
  • 5,256 overdose deaths for the 12 months ending in July 2017
  • This would put the climb to be approximately 39%

Other states saw significant increases in and around the Midwest during the same period, including:

  • Kentucky- nearly 14% increase
  • Indiana- 27.8% increase

Eric Wandersleben, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, said it will take “comprehensive and persistent community response” to be overcome the ongoing overdose outbreak in Ohio.

Looking at the CDC data, it appears that the largest spikes in drug overdose deaths included:

The report also notes that these overdoses can also be underreported due to incomplete information. A driving force behind these rates in the Midwest is also synthetic opioid fentanyl.

Pennsylvania is also suffering greatly from the overdose outbreak. York County is just one community that saw a nearly 90% increase year-over-year of heroin-related deaths. Again, many officials believe fentanyl is responsible for this massive surge in overdoses.

When looking at reports from community outreach and collaborative efforts, the most common complaints coming from many Ohioans, especially in rural areas, seems to be the lack of resources or treatment facilities. Many are irritated that a lot of programs in some areas of Ohio are reserved for those who break the law and are given the treatment option instead of jail time.

Comprehensive Treatment for Rural America

A priority when fighting the opioid crisis should always be to make as many resources available as possible, especially safe and comprehensive addiction treatment. While it is great that more states are now getting access to harm reduction tools like the overdose antidote Naloxone (brand name Narcan), there still needs to be a more focused effort on getting people who are struggling the specialized care they need.

Rural areas are getting hit extremely hard by the opioid crisis. Overdose deaths are tearing apart farming communities and small towns, not just big cities and major metropolitan areas.

According to the CDC, approximately 100 farmers and agriculture workers suffer a lost-work-time injury every single day. CDC numbers also indicate that 1 out of 5 of those farm patients will receive a prescription for opioid pain medication before they leave their doctor or emergency room following an injury. In fact, the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union conducted a survey with Morning Consult, which showed:

  • Only 31% of rural Americans believe the opioid crisis is mostly in rural communities
  • But 74% of farmers or farm workers are, or have been, directly impacted by opioid addiction.

So for rural Americans in general, not just in the Midwest, the opioid crisis is very real. Therefore, rural areas including states like Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia need to have even more access to treatment resources.

Still, people from all over the nation can still seek out comprehensive, holistic treatment opportunities. While they may not find these resources locally, they can look for effective programs that best fit their needs.

Ohio is not the only place suffering, and it is definitely not the only place for Ohioans to get clean from drugs or alcohol. It is an injustice how many people never get the quality of care that they deserve. However, it is possible to get effective care. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction please call toll-free now 1-800-777-9588

The post Overdose Deaths in Ohio and the Rural Midwest Rising Steadily appeared first on Orchid Recovery Center.

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 Jada Pinkett Smith is, by all means, a celebrity powerhouse, with a long list of incredible accomplishments she has managed to pull off over a long career. One particular victory for the amazing icon is especially impressive, even though it is probably not the most publicized: Jada Pinkett Smith is over 20 years sober!

Getting to Know Jada Pinkett Smith

The American actress has extended her talents to various areas of art and enterprise, most notably as a:

  • Dancer
  • Singer
  • Songwriter
  • Businesswoman
  • Producer
  • Author

Her career found a strong start in 1990 when she made a guest appearance on the sitcom True Colors. She later found fame working on:

  • A Different World
  • The Nutty Professor
  • Menace II Society
  • Set It Off

Before long, Jada Pinkett Smith had appeared in well over 20 films in a variety of genres, including box office blockbusters such as:

  • The Matrix Reloaded
  • The Matrix Revolutions
  • Madagascar (pt 1-3)
  • Scream 2

She even starred in the powerful bio-pic Ali opposite her husband, the Fresh-Pince-famous Will Smith. Over the course of her career, she has received a litany of awards and various other nominations for her work as an actress.

Now, at age 46, the multi-million dollar woman celebrates over 2 decades of sobriety! As we celebrate all women in recovery, let us take a look at this amazing woman and her celebrity recovery story.

Her Hard and Humble Beginnings

The stunning and talented Jada Pinkett Smith did not always live the life of luxury and star power. She grew up in Baltimore, Maryland in what she once described during an interview with as a “war zone” of drug addiction and poverty. In the past, Jada has been very open and honest about the adversities she faced growing up, saying in interviews,

“I grew up in a drug-infested neighborhood where you walk out each day and you just hope that you make it. I came from a war zone… There was a possibility that I wouldn’t make it past 21—that was the reality.

Jada Pinkett Smith was born to a young mother in the midst of the crack-cocaine epidemic. Her mother quickly got swept up in the grips of the drug, and over the years Jada endured a lot of suffering due to her mother’s drug addiction and alcoholism.

Before long, Jada found it was not uncommon for her to drink a lot, and drink alone. By age 33, she decided it had to end.

“I found myself drinking two bottles of wine on the couch and I said, ‘Jada, I think we’ve got a problem here.’ I had problems with alcohol and I really had to get in contact with the pain, whatever that is, and then I had to get some other tools in how to deal with the pain.”

Thankfully, Jada found the pain and the way to face it head-on. With some willingness, she was able to get sober and change the direction of her life toward what it is today. Following her own sobriety, Jada Pinkett Smith became an inspiration and an advocate for recovery.

Jada is a woman well admired for her ability to address every opportunity or situation with grace, humility, and conviction. She and her husband created the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation in Baltimore, Maryland. This charity focuses on youth in urban inner cities and family support and has provided grants to numerous non-profit organizations. She is truly a powerful woman who gives of herself and builds not just her brand, but her community.

After more than 20 years of sobriety, Jada Pinkett Smith is still making such a huge difference in the world, not just in entertainment, but in the lives of countless others who look to strong and inspired women for a vision of hope in recovery.

We honor all women through their stories of recovery and their journies in sobriety! The Orchid Recovery Center understands the unique issues women face when trying to overcome issues with addiction, mental health, and trauma, and we are here to support you. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588 now. You are not alone.

The post Celebrity Recovery Story: Jada Pinkett Smith Over 20 Years Sober appeared first on Orchid Recovery Center.

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As the days of drug policy reform unfold, we have yet another example of how perspective and opinion on marijuana use is changing across the country. According to new reports, the District Attorney’s office in San Francisco, California is committing to expunging marijuana convictions for over 3,000 misdemeanor offenders.

Proposition 64

The new move isn’t actually all that radical. It is actually a step up from a provision that’s already part of Proposition 64. For those who don’t know, Proposition 64 is the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, which passed back in 2016.

One element of Proposition 64 allows individuals convicted of cannabis-related charges to file a petition to have those convictions overturned or sentences reduced.

However, City District Attorney George Gascon notes, there are barriers that make it more difficult to actually get the blemish on one’s record removed. The process can often be both time-consuming and expensive when adding lawyer and court fees. And for thousands of San Francisco residents, time and money are already hard enough to come by. Having a drug conviction on your record can be a huge obstacle when looking for work and other resources, and not being able to afford the petition process can keep people stuck in a cycle.

As a result of that cycle, only 5,000 people have petitioned to have their convictions overturned since the passage of Proposition 64. Expunging marijuana convictions for these people will allow thousands trying to get their lives back together to pursue opportunities for:

  • Housing
  • Jobs
  • Educational resources

Most of which were previously unavailable to them due to their convictions. Many cannabis legalization advocates have said that since states are trying to adopt a culture of accepting marijuana they should also work to retroactively relieve the burdens caused by those arrested for marijuana.

So, in an effort to help more individuals get back on their feet, the District Attorney has announced that his office will be proactively expunging marijuana convictions for 3,038 misdemeanor violations.

Expunging Marijuana Convictions for Felons

Gascon made the announcement at a press conference on January 31, stating,

“You shouldn’t have to come to court and miss a day of work to get your record expunged… We will do all the work for them.”

But Gascon isn’t stopping there. The DA also added that his office will be reviewing nearly 5,000 felony convictions for cannabis-related offenses. Some of these may qualify for downgrades to misdemeanor charges with sentence reductions. Gascon believes expunging marijuana convictions can actually have a positive impact on the lives of California residents, especially those who have had to live with the restrictions put on them by their convictions.

A criminal drug charge on a person’s record attaches a negative stigma to them that might keep them from being more successful and more involved in their own community.

At the time of the press conference, there was no information available concerning the cost of this conviction review or the time frame. However, Gascon states paralegals will handle the majority of the misdemeanors. He says felony cases will have to be done with case-by-case reviews, especially with cases where the marijuana conviction is related to another offense.

The DA even took the time to take a shot at Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his decision to resend the Obama-era memo that took a more hands-off approach to legalized marijuana. Gascon states,

“While the national government has taken a direction sort of going backwards when it comes to drug policy, here in San Francisco, again we have an opportunity to lead the way.” “We want to address the wrongs caused by the failures of the war on drugs for many years in this country and begin to fix some of the harm that was done not only to the entire nation but specifically to communities of color.”

So while marijuana laws are changing, many believe that expunging marijuana convictions will be a big step for people who are trying to recover from the harm a drug conviction can do to your quality of life.

Anyone familiar with the stigma attached to drugs and drug use knows how much of a difference this could make. Overcoming stigma is a huge obstacle for those struggling with drug use, and those who are recovering from addiction.

The Fight Against Stigma

Stigma is something that has held back a great deal of progress when it comes to drug policy, harm reduction and addiction recovery. Whether or not you are someone who advocates marijuana legalization, we should all be able to support policies that focus on supporting people instead of punishing them. Expunging marijuana convictions may be another way to get past the negative stigma associated with people who use drugs in order to better support them, especially those in recovery from addiction.

Regardless of the legal status of any substance, abuse is still possible. While a substance may have medicinal uses, it may also have an adverse effect on others. Whatever your opinion on marijuana uses, we are here to support all those who are trying to recover from substance use disorder. Part of fighting substance use disorder is fighting against the stigma that keeps people from getting help and getting better.

The failed War on Drugs has put so many people who could benefit greatly from holistic treatment opportunities behind bars for non-violent crimes. Most experts can tell you that we are not going to be able to arrest our way out of America’s drug problem. Perhaps this could be another way our country begins to shift our policies away from jails and prisons and toward better resources for reintegration. People who struggle with marijuana use disorder deserve the chance to get real help.

No matter how the laws change, be careful not to underestimate any substance use. Addiction affects everyone differently, and it is nothing to be taken lightly. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now 1-800-777-9588.

The post Expunging Marijuana Convictions by the Thousands in San Francisco appeared first on Orchid Recovery Center.

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(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

On January 15, 2018, the world lost another iconic voice in music, Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of Irish rock band The Cranberries. At this point, a London coroner’s office is stating the cause of death will not be revealed until at least April. However, there have been many early reports saying that fentanyl poisoning is behind the tragic death of the 46-year-old rocker.

While sources indicate the police will be waiting for the toxicology report before making a definite announcement, other sources have indicated that O’Riordan’s death may have been a suicide.

The Loss of Dolores O’Riordan

The Santa Monica Observer states in a report:

“Lead Singer of the Cranberries Dolores O’Riordan died of Fentanyl poisoning Monday, said a source in the London Police Department. Authorities found counterfeit fentanyl near the 46 years old rocker’s bed. The source added that an official cause of death will probably have to wait for a toxicology report. He added that suicide and a deliberate overdose are suspected.”

There are reports of friends of the singer saying she was “dreadfully depressed” while others say she was suffering from serious back pain. Some might think her depression is a clear indication of suicide, while others might argue that the highly potent synthetic opioid found at the scene was used for medicinal purposes and led to an accidental overdose.

According to Rolling Stone, a representative for the Westminster Coroners’ Court said that an April 3rd hearing has been scheduled to determine when to release their findings regarding O’Riordan’s death. Ultimately, it could be up to the family whether or not to share the information publicly.

Noel Hogan, Cranberries guitarist, is quoted by Rolling Stone saying,

“Dolores’ legacy will be her music. She was so passionate about it. There are songs I hear today that we wrote over 20 years ago, and I see and hear people singing along with them. There are only a few artists who get to have maybe one song they are remembered by. Dolores has so many. It’s a great legacy.”

While this story has been heartbreaking for music lovers and punk rockers all over the world, it also brings to mind a recent study about suicides being misclassified as opioid overdoses.

Suicide VS Overdose

The Luskin School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles, published a study in the journal PLOS One. The authors state that both suicide and drug intoxication death rates in the United States have risen over a period of 15 years. This data comes from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to show:

  • 2000- The suicide rate was 10.40 per 100,000 people
  • 2015- Suicide rate rose to 13.75 deaths per 100,000 people
  • 2000- Drug intoxication mortality rate for those over the age of 15 was 7.81 deaths per 100,000
  • 2015- Drug intoxication death rate for those over the age of 15 rose to 20.07 per 100,000 in 2015

According to the researchers, the rate of intoxication death rose by 257% in those 15 years, while suicide rates only rose by 32%. Noting the huge gap between the two, the researchers believe this major difference in mortality rates suggests suicides are being misclassified in a big way.

There are many factors that can be contributing to this problem, especially during a massive opioid outbreak in America. A CDC summary says issues with accurate reporting of suicides include:

  • Potentially vague evidence
  • Overlapping demographic groups
  • Overlapping risk factors (substance use disorder, mental health)
  • Difficulty in establishing intent to die

At a time when the world has been watching opioid abuse, addiction and overdose rip families and communities apart, is it possible that many of these deaths should be signaling a deeper issue with mental health?

Drugs, Death and Mental Health

In the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death. The number one risk factors for suicide are depression and other mood disorders. But what most people don’t realize is that drug and alcohol abuse, even when someone does not suffer from depression, is number two.

In fact, some research even suggests:

  • Alcoholism is actually the strongest predictor of suicide, not a psychiatric diagnosis.
  • People with substance use disorders are around six times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.
  • 1 in every 3 people who die from suicide is under the influence of drugs such as alcohol, heroin or oxycodone.
  • The third leading method of suicide is poisoning.
  • 75% of suicides due to poisoning are done using drugs.

And again, if we look at the recent report in the PLOS One submission, these statistics might actually be greatly underestimated.

Addiction and mental health disorders often co-exist. Many people struggling with addiction are self-medicating with substances. Some do not even know they’re doing it due to lack of diagnosis. The link between mental illness and suicidal ideation and suicide attempts has been well-studied. Approximately 90% of people who commit suicide met criteria for at least one diagnosable mental illness, including:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Couple that with the suicide rate among patients studied with untreated addiction issues, which is often as high as 45%.

The Importance of Dual Diagnosis

Looking through the complex and volatile relationship between substance use disorder, mental health conditions, and suicide, it is easy to see how these lines can be blurred and the nature of such tragic deaths can be so hard to read.

In the midst of an opioid crisis, have we been overlooking a suicide epidemic? How can we do more to support mental health treatment and awareness while addressing the opioid epidemic?

This is why dual diagnosis treatment is so important. Treating both addiction and mental illness at the same time helps to create a stronger foundation for recovery. If one issue is ignored while the other is treated, the co-occurring disorder may ultimately trigger the old destructive behaviors and cause a relapse. By addressing each issue simultaneously through comprehensive care and personalized treatment can make a huge difference.

Too many amazing people are lost every day because they have mental health and substance use disorders that go untreated. While we may never know just how fentanyl ended up taking the life of Dolores O’Riordan, we know that too many people go without the help they need. Some might say ‘how’ does not make a difference, while others would argue it makes all the difference in the world. We say mental health and addiction treatment matters, and we all need to make a difference. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. 1-800-777-9588

The post The Death of Dolores O’Riordan and Suicide VS Overdose appeared first on Orchid Recovery Center.

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Marijuana reform is heating up already this year. Even after the controversy surrounding Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ move undoing Obama-era policies that gave law enforcement a more hands-off approach to states with legal marijuana, it seems some advocates are not backing down from pursuing legalization of the drug, whether for medical or recreational uses. While some are wondering what the federal government will do to enforce federal marijuana laws in the future, others are watching local lawmakers make moves of their own.

As we continue to watch the history of legalized marijuana in the making, another first may be quickly approaching.

Phil Scott, the governor of Vermont, plans on signing a legislation that will legalize marijuana possession. This will make Vermont the first state to legalize marijuana through legislative action.

Legislatures Legalize Marijuana

In case you’re curious as to how this is different from any other state to legalize marijuana, the key difference lies in how the bill got to where it is today.

All other states to legalize marijuana have done so via voter referendum. Typically this means the citizens collect a predetermined number of signatures, which qualifies a ballot measure for repealing a specific act of the legislature. Essentially this process allows citizens to push for legislation through popular vote. For example, Washington D.C. already legalized marijuana possession, but it came through the voters.

Vermont will be the first state where the legislature has taken initiative without waiting for citizens to push the cause through. Both houses of the Vermont legislature have passed the bill to legalize marijuana use and possession. However, the bill does not legalize marijuana retail sales.

Vermont already has a medical marijuana program, but it will soon become the ninth state in America to legalize the personal possession of marijuana.

Vermont Officials Take Action

What may come as a surprise is that Governor Scott actually vetoed a similar bill to legalize marijuana last spring. At the time Scott said the state needed more time to study the issue, particularly regarding driver impairment from marijuana. However, he recently spoke up saying that he will sign the bill into law this time around. Scott states:

“I made that commitment. It’s a libertarian approach and that was something that I was comfortable doing.”

In an effort to reaffirm his stance on drugged driving, Scott is saying he won’t support any effort to legalize retail sales of marijuana until there is a reliable road-side test that can measure impairment due to drugs. He went on to say,

“It’s not just impairment due to alcohol or not just to marijuana, but it’s prescription drugs and heroin and a combination of all, and we have to come up with a way to determine impairment on our highways.”

While Scott made a commitment and be aware of the risks before jumping headfirst into reform, other officials don’t seem to think there is much risk of a marijuana outbreak at all. Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Sears claims that he does not believe the bill will have a big impact on marijuana use in Vermont. Sears stated:

“If the Rand Corporation is anywhere near correct, 80,000 Vermonters are using it now and maybe a few people who will try it and either not like it or continue to use it, but I don’t think it’s gonna result in a huge influx,”

If things go through with the Vermont governor, the law to legalize marijuana is expected to take effect on July 1 of this year.

Marijuana Use Disorder

Marijuana reform may be gaining in popularity, but it is also important to remember that just because a substance is legal does not mean it is harmless.

When substance use becomes habitual it can be extremely harmful to an individual who struggles with substance use disorder, and marijuana use disorder is still possible even if you legalize marijuana. While this drug may not be as deadly as many other hard drugs on the street, it can still have adverse effects on the quality of life for some individuals.

Marijuana use disorder treatment offers a safe and secure environment while providing a variety of therapeutic opportunities to help develop a healthy lifestyle without relying on the use of marijuana or other drugs.

If states are going to support legalization of marijuana, there should also be an emphasis on awareness of substance use disorder, breaking the stigma, and offering holistic and effective addiction treatment solutions. Orchid Recovery Center is here to help. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now 1-800-777-9588.

The post We May See First State to Legalize Marijuana Through Legislature appeared first on Orchid Recovery Center.

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Since 1900 Philip Morris International Inc. has become a multinational cigarette and tobacco manufacturing company. Over 118 years after Philip Morris opened a single shop on Bond Street in London in 1847, their tobacco products are sold in over 180 countries outside the United States. Their products have been all around you for your entire life, whether you noticed or not.

Most ironically, Philip Morris International is known for their Marlboro brand.

But now the multi-billion dollar company behind the infamous “Cowboy Killer” cigarette is claiming it wants to quit tobacco and give up the smoking business?

Some say it’s a move toward a more tobacco-free future. Is it, or is the world’s leading Tobacco Company just blowing smoke?

New Commercials in the UK

Recently Philip Morris took out several full-page ads in newspapers in the United Kingdom making a shocking announcement- that it is stopping sales of cigarettes!

The branch of the company based in the UK, Philip Morris Limited (PML), makes the bold claim that not only will they cease the sales of cigarettes, but they will be actively assisting in the local UK governments’ efforts to reduce smoking. PML says they will do so by including information about alternatives to smoking in their cigarette packs. The managing director of PML actually penned a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May that states:

“We believe we have an important role to play in helping the U.K. become smoke-free. The commitments announced today are practical steps that could accelerate that goal. We recognize that never starting to smoke—or quitting altogether—are always the best option.”

So these ads are claiming that Philip Morris is trying to give up cigarettes, but only in the UK, right? Or will it eventually find its way to other parts of the world where Philip Morris International has a firm hold on the tobacco trade?

Needless to say, the announcement has been met with a wave of both open skepticism and direct criticism.

A Hit of Hypocrisy?

One interesting article from Fortune.com makes a point when stating:

“It is the height of hypocrisy for PMI to proclaim that it is helping solve the tobacco problem while it aggressively markets cigarettes—especially in low- and middle-income countries—and fights proven policies to reduce tobacco use and save lives. This advertising campaign should be seen for what it is: an effort to divert attention from the fact that PMI remains a primary cause of the smoking problem, not the solution.”

The article goes on to say that if Philip Morris International was genuine in their claim to quit the smoking business, they would have taken other steps, like setting a deadline. The authors even point out that if they are truly committed to helping reduce tobacco use, they should support proposed policies like:

  • Significant tobacco tax increases
  • Comprehensive smoke-free laws
  • Tobacco advertising bans
  • Graphic health warnings on cigarette packs

While these may sound counter-intuitive for a tobacco company, so does saying you’re not going to sell cigarettes anymore.

Instead, investigative reporting from 2017 reveals that Philip Morris was engaged in a massive campaign against the world’s tobacco control treaty, filing multiple expensive lawsuits to challenge tobacco control laws in various countries.

So Philip Morris is selling the idea of a smoke-free future to the UK, meanwhile, it conducts aggressive marketing and talks of efforts to develop untapped markets across Africa and the Middle East. So realistically, this whole promotion of trying to help create positive change is really just a change in marketing to adapt to a shift in the market itself.

Smoking Alternative Business

Other critics point out that this is where the ruse really pays off for Philip Morris. It has been described as a cynical move to adjust to a more smoke-free world with so much popularity now surrounding smoking alternatives.

With vapes and e-cigarettes becoming more and more prominent, critics believe that Philip Morris is just trying to get in on this new action. They already have a horse in the race, so to speak, with their product line of iQOS. This device heats tobacco without burning it, reducing the carcinogens people are exposed to with traditional means of smoking.

This new market has only grown in recent years. Even more trouble, it has become increasingly popular with teenagers as well. While teens are smoking cigarettes less- 4.2% of high school students, the vaping rates are steadily increasing- 16.6% of high school students.

So has Philip Morris really recognized the risks of tobacco use and the damage such an addiction can have? Or are they using the old bait-and-switch strategy to reel in an “untapped market” while making themselves look like humanitarians? Raising awareness about the health risks associated with drugs, including alcohol and tobacco, is increasingly important.If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. 1-800-777-9588

The post Philip Morris Tobacco Company Giving Up the Smoking Business? appeared first on Orchid Recovery Center.

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There is absolutely no denying at this point the severity and urgency of the opioid epidemic in the U.S. Synthetic opioids like fentanyl and semi-synthetic opioids like prescription painkillers or heroin are destroying countless lives across the nation. But we cannot drop our guard on the other very real threats that are a lot bigger than some may believe. One of these threats is the re-emergence of cocaine.

According to the annual Drug Threat Assessment by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), cocaine use is actually on the rise.

While the world has been watching closely how opioids have been making a devastating impact, cocaine has quietly infected the country.

Influx of Smuggling

As the nation’s primary supplier, Colombian drug cartels make enormous profits from the illegal drug trade. In 2016:

  • 92% of cocaine seized in the U.S. came from Columbia
  • The rest of the cocaine in the U.S. originates in Peru

Reports from DEA officials now indicate that cartels are producing more powder and developing even more innovative tactics to get it into the country, all to keep up with increasing demand. So while many are quick to jump on the idea that this is a foreign problem, we have to remember the demand is right here at home, too.

Those in the business of smuggling often go the extra mile to make sure their product reaches the U.S. market because it is extremely profitable for them.

Attempts by law enforcement to stop cocaine smuggling have forced many drug traffickers to find some creative hiding places. In July of 2016 there were a few unique examples:

  1. Underwater

50 feet below the water’s surface, just off the coast of Key West, Florida, divers discovered five kilos of cocaine hidden on the ocean floor.

  1. Fuel Tanks

Smugglers used a false compartment in the fuel tank of a tractor trailer’s to hide their drug shipment.

  1. Shaving kits

Officials discovered over 12.7 kilograms mixed in with a load of shaving kits in a tractor-trailer heading for Pennsylvania.

Problems this Cocaine Creates

Of course, the DEA believes the recent flood in the production and distribution of cocaine will correlate to its increased use. Officials not only expect to see cocaine smugglers trying even more bizarre or creative ways to get their drugs into the country, but they’re also expecting to see a strong uptick of cocaine-related issues in American communities. This includes:

  • More cocaine-related overdoses
  • Increase in cocaine-related deaths
  • Increase in seizures of shipments
  • Positive workplace drug tests

Drug enforcement agents are sure to come up against even more resourceful schemes by traffickers trying to expand their market and capitalize on the potential consumers all over the nation.

Knowing the Risks

With so much tragedy surrounding opioid abuse and addiction, we might forget how serious the dangers related to cocaine abuse really are. Cocaine is plenty deadly enough to consider a real risk.

This potent stimulant causes many extreme changes in the body that can lead to harmful and potentially fatal reactions. This drug causes an increased heart rate and other heart-related issues that can be deadly. The drug also elevates blood pressure, which can cause stroke and other severe side effects. Other side effects include:

  • Insomnia
  • Itching
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Nasal infections
  • Chest pain
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid breathing
  • Nose Bleeds
  • Twitching
  • Bruxism or grinding teeth
  • Constricted blood vessels

The possibility of overdose is extremely high. Even one single dose can be lethal. Research has shown that even in small amounts, the drug may cause:

  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Death due to heart attack

Then, if we go back to the conversation concerning opioids, we find that drug dealers have recently begun adding the exceedingly potent and deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl into cocaine to increase their profits. This incredibly deadly mixture has led to an even greater increase in overdose deaths.

Staying Vigilant

As the country continues to find new ways to deal with the opioid crisis, we have to stay vigilant when it comes to other dangerous drugs. It isn’t just cocaine. Other illicit substances have also begun to see a rise in abuse. The opioid epidemic should still be a priority, but we have to also be aware of the other factors in the country’s drug problem.

A critical part of overcoming the country’s drug problem is providing effective treatment resources. If we do our best to curb the demand for some of the drugs, it could render the supply of such substances unnecessary.

Detox for cocaine addiction can make a huge difference for the user by helping with any and all of the cocaine withdrawal symptoms. Due to the intense nature of addiction and the discomforts of cocaine withdrawal, medical detox should be designed to promote physical wellbeing and emotional support. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now 1-800-777-9588

The post Cocaine in America: Use Rising Under the Radar appeared first on Orchid Recovery Center.

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Depression is a difficult thing to talk about, but it is an increasingly important conversation. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) an estimated 16.1 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in 2015. Among people ages 15-44 years old depression is the leading cause of disability in America. While depression affects everyone, it seems young women are especially vulnerable. Now a recent study is suggesting young girls are experiencing depression at a troubling rate.

Millennium Cohort Study

A collaboration of researchers analyzed data from more than 10,000 children who were born between 2000 and 2001 who were participating in the Millennium Cohort Study. Researchers were from:

  • The University of Liverpool
  • The University College London

The information used for this study differed in stages. At first, parents were reporting on the mental health of their children, specifically ages:

  • 3 years old
  • 5 years old
  • 7 years old
  • 11 years old
  • 14 years old

Then, when the children were 14 they were asked directly about their depressive symptoms. The entirety of the research is published with the National Children’s Bureau. For the most part, emotional problems were roughly the same for boys and girls when being reported by parents, including:

  • 7% of children at age 7
  • 12% of children at age 11

But by 14 years old mark emotional problems became much more prevalent in young girls. Reports from parents on symptoms of anxiety or depression show:

  • 18% –according to parents- of young girls
  • 12% –according to parents- of young boys

Once the children were answering for themselves, the researchers found that:

  • 24% of 14-year-old girls were suffering from symptoms of depression
  • 9% of 14-year-old boys were suffering from symptoms of depression

As the reports from the children differ from the parents’ reports, the researchers highlight the importance of considering how young people view their own mental health.

So what else can we learn from these surveys and the rest of the study?

Expert Opinions

The lead author of the study is Dr. Praveetha Patalay from the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Psychology, Health, and Society. According to Dr. Patalay,

“In recent years, there has been a growing policy focus on children’s mental health. However, there has been a lack of nationally representative estimates of mental health problems for this generation. “In other research, we’ve highlighted the increasing mental health difficulties faced by girls today compared to previous generations and this study further highlights the worryingly high rates of depression.”

The Director of the Millennium Cohort Study, Professor Emla Fitzsimons, states,

“These stark findings provide evidence that mental health problems among girls rise sharply as they enter adolescence; and, while further research using this rich data is needed to understand the causes and consequences of this, this study highlights the extent of mental health problems among young adolescents in the UK today.”

The Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau, Anna Feuchtwang, said,

“This study of thousands of children gives us the most compelling evidence available about the extent of mental ill-health among children in the UK. With a quarter of 14-year-old girls showing signs of depression, it’s now beyond doubt that this problem is reaching crisis point.”

Feuchtwang also suggests that their study provides evidence that parents may be underestimating their daughters’ mental health needs. On the flip-side, she notes that parents may also be detecting symptoms in their sons, which boys may not be noticing in themselves. Feutchtwang goes on to say,

“It’s vital that both children and their parents can make their voices heard to maximize the chances of early identification and access to specialist support.”

This much is indisputable; early detection of a mental health disorder should always be a priority in order to help provide resources that help parents and their children disrupt the development of more serious depressive symptoms. The mental health of young people is important for the mental health of the future.

Depression and Addiction

The National Institute of Health conducted a study called the Epidemiologic Catchment Area study that reported 1 in every 3 individuals with depression also suffer from a co-existing substance use disorder at some point in their lives.

Depression is a very common mental health condition that co-occurs with substance use, and the correlation is bi-directional. This means that people who abuse substances are more likely to have depression, and people with depression are more likely to struggle with substance abuse. At times, it may even feel like a “chicken-or-the-egg” situation; not knowing which issue came first. Regardless, one thing to note is that each feeds on the other.

This is what makes dual diagnosis treatment so crucial for people who struggle with substance use disorder and depression. If someone treats their addiction but ignores their depression, it can make the recovery process that much more difficult. A more comprehensive and holistic approach can even be the deciding factor in relapse or lasting recovery.

For young women with substance use disorder and depression, dual diagnosis treatment can play a pivotal role in escaping the grips of addiction and creating a more fulfilled and joyful life.

When looking for a dual diagnosis women’s treatment center, it is always best to do your research and be sure to find an effective program that is designed to support all of your needs. The Orchid Recovery Center is committed to providing holistic healing for those in need of dual diagnosis treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. 1-800-777-9588

The post 1 in 4 Girls Have Depression Symptoms at Age 14 Says New Study appeared first on Orchid Recovery Center.

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(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Did you know that anxiety disorders are the most common of all mental health problems? In fact, recent research shows that up to 1 in every 4 adults will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.

Anxiety disorders, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, are feelings of worry or fear that do not go away and that can actually get worse over time. These feelings can interfere with daily life and have a real impact on several aspects of an individual’s life, including:

There are several kinds of anxiety disorders, including:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder

Each of these conditions can be coupled with a unique set of circumstances and symptoms. When it comes to substance use, some drugs can influence these feelings, like alcohol-induced anxiety. Even with how common anxiety is, there are still so many misconceptions how it comes to bear on people’s lives. So we wanted to take a look at 4 ideas about anxiety that are actually wrong.

  1. People with anxiety always get anxious about the same things.

People who suffer from anxiety are just like anyone else in that their feelings and behavior can vary a great deal from moment to moment.

For example, if someone gets extreme anxiety while driving in a thunderstorm, it doesn’t mean they will always get anxiety while driving. A relative of mine used to only be able to drive in a car if someone was with her in the vehicle; she would experience intense anxiety if she were driving alone.

Also, a person’s mood does impact their reaction to certain situations. If someone with anxiety is in a positive and elevated mood, they may be more apt to undergoing a situation that would typically induce anxiety for them. Having some mental momentum can make a difference.

In short, just because a situation can create a moment of anxiety, doesn’t mean the same situation is guaranteed to always inspire the same worried or fearful reaction.

  1. You can always tell when someone is having anxiety

In my opinion, this one is definitely on point. Sometimes people get the idea that someone with anxiety will be visibly afraid. Movies and TV shows depict a panic attack as someone breathing into a brown paper bag and hyperventilating. Unfortunately, that isn’t always what a panic attack looks like.

As someone who has experienced plenty of anxiety attacks, I can definitely say that I’ve been around people who typically have no idea what I am experiencing.  On the outside, someone having a panic attack can seem perfectly calm, but beneath the surface, things are far more unsettling.

In fact, a lot of anxiety symptoms are internal. Some symptoms of a panic attack can go completely unnoticed externally, such as:

  • Heart racing
  • Chest tightening
  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach

And a lot of anxiety hinges on the individual’s thoughts. So while someone is in their head wondering “am I dying” or “am I going crazy” they probably look like they are thinking about what they want for lunch. Unless the person with anxiety speaks out, you may never know what they are thinking.

  1. Anxiety is a weakness of the mind

The idea that people with anxiety are somehow weak of mind or weak in willpower is absolutely unfounded. It goes along with the idea that courage is not being afraid. But in reality, true courage is about being afraid of something and doing it anyway.

The same can be said about people with anxiety. While there are times when people lose out on opportunities or their lives suffer because they become overwhelmed by their anxiety, many people living with anxiety actually have to face some of their most nuanced fears every single day.

Some people with anxiety are afraid of intimacy. Some of us are afraid for our health for the most seemingly random reasons. Anxiety manifests in many ways, and a lot of us walk through that fear all the time with a smile on our face. Often treatment for severe anxiety will entail purposely facing the thing you are most afraid of.

People with anxiety have a certain kind of mental strength that is hard to understand until you face something that makes your heart race with true terror, and you get over it without anyone even noticing.

  1. Anxiety isn’t that serious

Some people may even read that last part and think; it can’t be that serious. I’ve felt anxious before, it’s not that big of a deal.

Without experiencing an anxiety disorder there is no way to truly quantify your experience with someone who has anxiety. You may feel your own experience with feeling nervous or stressed is comparable, but an anxiety disorder has a much more profound impact on someone’s life.

Not only are the feelings different from the more common sense of concern or anxiousness, but the resulting impact on your mindset is also a factor. People with anxiety tend to:

  • Think about their anxiety a lot of the time
  • Avoid things they need or want because of anxiety
  • Judge themselves for their anxiety and reacts to situations

It isn’t just the feeling of fear, but how the fear can make you feel about yourself. Even though you are not weak, you might assume that is how others see your anxiety and thus, view yourself as weak. It can be frustrating when people don’t understand or underestimate your anxiety, and it can cause very real issues in your relationships.

Anxiety can be a consuming thing that dictates what you do on a daily basis. It can be something that rushes in out of nowhere when you least expect it to cripple you mentally. Sometimes it can feel like your own mind is holding you hostage, and you aren’t sure if you are second-guessing a very real danger or overreacting.

And in the end, anxiety can be downright exhausting.

Facing Anxiety and Substance Use Disorder

It will take a lot of work to overcome the stereotypes and stigma attached to anxiety and anxiety disorders. That kind of change doesn’t happen overnight. But we can work a little bit every day to try help people understand how anxiety impacts people’s lives.

Anxiety disorders are often connected to drug and alcohol abuse. Substance use disorders commonly co-occur with other mental health conditions. Many people who struggle with drugs or alcohol use these substances to self-medicate.

An important aspect of getting treatment for substance use disorder when you have severe anxiety is to seek dual diagnosis treatment options. Dual diagnosis treatment gives people a resource to receive treatment for both their issues with drugs or alcohol, while also receiving help for their mental health disorder. If an individual gets treated for one but ignores the other, the odds are that the co-occurring disorder will make the recovery process much more difficult, and can even lead to relapse. Be sure to find a program that offers comprehensive care for both conditions to help ensure a lasting recovery.

Treating substance use disorder along with other mental health issues like anxiety disorders can seem like a difficult task. Luckily, holistic addiction treatment is all about effectively healing the whole person with different opportunities for innovative therapies. The Orchid Recovery Center provides a nurturing environment to create a personalized recovery plan for addressing every part of the individual; mind, body, and spirit. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help. 1-800-777-9588

The post 4 Assumptions about Anxiety Which Are Actually Wrong appeared first on Orchid Recovery Center.

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A newly released study of the opioid crisis in America actually reveals that 2/3 of people who died due to opioids actually were diagnosed with chronic pain and received a prescription painkiller in the year before their death. This research is being called “the largest study of opioid deaths”, and shows that over half of the people who overdosed on opioids between 2001 and 2007 were being treated for chronic pain.

Also, statistics show that the majority of people struggling with heroin addiction actually began by misusing prescription drugs. So while street drugs like heroin are undoubtedly a problem, the fact that so many prescription drugs are being abused is also an important issue.

So when it comes to prescription opioids, how much of an impact do they have on the opioid crisis, and how many of those prescriptions are actually legitimate?

Pain Management IS Important

First things first; One of the more difficult parts of the opioid crisis conversation is how to know when opioids are helping people or putting them in danger. It is a very divisive discussion that often pits people passionately advocating for pain management patients against people who are adamant about the devastation caused by prescription drug abuse.

Whenever the opioid crisis conversation starts to turn to prescription drugs, some people feel that legitimate pain management is under attack. This should not be the case, and it is not this article’s intention to undermine the importance of pain management. For many people who are prescribed opioids for pain, it is not a road to addiction, but it still happens to others.

In March of 2016, the CDC released opioid prescription guidelines that recognize appropriate cases, such as:

  • Cancer treatment
  • Palliative care
  • End-of-life care
  • Certain acute care situations if properly dosed

Those suffering from chronic pain can experience a great deal of difficulty trying to find an appropriate pain management program that is safe and effective for them. Many people do benefit from having access to opioids. It can be an essential part of their process in recovering from a serious injury or illness.

But the fact that many people do suffer because of prescription drug dependence and abuse is still important. It is true that illicit drugs like heroin and fentanyl have brought a new level of desperation to the drug problem. However, to ignore the impact of prescription opioids is much too dangerous. Again, this is not an attack on pain management. It is also important to consider that the majority of the opioid prescriptions come from a primary care doctor and internal medicine physicians. Very few pain prescriptions actually come from physician specialists.

These Numbers are also Important

The American Journal of Psychiatry published the study, which was conducted by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), The inquiry examines medical records of 13,089 adults. Each individual included in the study was:

  • Under the age of 65
  • Enrolled in Medicaid programs
  • Died of opioid overdose

One thing the study notes as more shocking is that out of all these cases, only 4% of the overdose victims were ever diagnosed with having a drug abuse problem.

Ultimately, individuals who were diagnosed with chronic pain and prescribed an opioid in the year prior to their death made of 61% of the opioid overdoses. Something else quite shocking the study reveals is that these same people were prescribed benzodiazepines.

Benzodiazepines are commonly identified as anti-anxiety drugs, such as Xanax. What some people may not realize is that these medications combined with opioids can be an especially deadly mix.

Thoughts from the Researchers

Those involved in the study made several suggestions based on the results of the data. The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Mark Olfson, said that understanding the difference between overdose victims who were prescribed the drugs and those who were not “puts us in a better position to combat the epidemic.”  

Dr. Olfson went on to say,

“The frequent occurrence of treated chronic pain and mental health conditions among overdose decedents underscores the importance of offering substance use treatment services in clinics that treat patients with chronic pain and mental health problems.”

Dr. Olfson believes that providing such services might help increase early clinical intervention for patients with a higher risk of fatal overdose and prevent some opioid overdose deaths.

More Recent Research

While this study may have focused on deaths from 10 years ago, it is safe to say that prescription opioids have made a substantial contribution to opioid overdose deaths, even for those who are legally prescribed these medications for medical use. Not to mention, there are plenty of numbers to look at today that show the impact of prescription drugs on the opioid epidemic.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the sale of prescription drugs has quadrupled since 1999 and so has overdose deaths involving prescription opioids. To say that there is no connection to those legitimately prescribed these medications and the rising overdose death rates seems, at the vest least, a little tone deaf.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) a study of young urban IV drug users in 2008 and 2009 found:

  • 86% used opioid pain relievers for non-medical use before heroin

These people were able to obtain opioids 3 ways:

  1. Family
  2. Friends
  3. Personal Prescriptions

Note that last one. Not everyone who abuses prescription opioids or other prescription medications is getting them off the street. Plenty of people who misuse these powerful medications are people who were medically prescribed these drugs at first but developed a dependence. Others use medication given to them by a friend or loved one with the intention of self-medicating for pain without a proper diagnosis. And when it comes to overdose deaths, a large number of unintentional overdoses are by those who are prescribed the medication.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) states:

  • In 2012, 259 million opioid prescriptions were written, which is more than enough to give every American adult their own bottle of pills
  • 4 in 5 new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers

To be fair, a lot of prescription opioid misuse does come from people obtaining the drugs other than a personal prescription. Still, that does not mean it doesn’t happen.

Today is Time for Treatment

Our greatest hope is that more pain management options will continue to be researched and developed to help more people suffering from severe pain. Physical trauma and extended suffering due to intense damage to the body is not something anyone should have to endure. But we also should focus on helping pursue more solutions that don’t carry the great risks caused by extensive and excessive opioid prescriptions.

Whether this means developing new medications or new treatment options for pain management, the medical community should continue to strive for more opportunities.

As for those already suffering from substance use disorder, they are still struggling with a great deal of pain themselves. Finding a safe and efficient recovery program can be a critical step to making lasting change. The Orchid Recovery Center offers comprehensive and holistic treatment options to help make the transition easier and more effective. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. 1-800-777-9588

The post Study Says Most Opioid Deaths Were People Who Had Prescriptions appeared first on Orchid Recovery Center.

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