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Marijuana could prove to be another tool to use in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

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There are a lot of different opinions on medical marijuana use, but there is also one very interesting fact that took the medical community by surprise.

A University of California report found that states that legalized medical marijuana ended up treating far fewer opioid users. In fact, the hospitalization rate for opioid dependence and abuse dropped by 23 percent in these states. Meanwhile, the hospitalization rate for opioid overdoses fell by 13 percent.

At the same time, these states saw no increase in hospitalizations for marijuana use.

Given the enormity and complexity of the opioid crisis, many public health experts took a long, hard look at the results of the report. While it’s too early to make any definitive statements, the report suggests that marijuana use can help curb opioid use.

A second study published in the Journal of Pain Research found that at least 46 percent of people who used marijuana at least once within the previous 90 days had used it as an alternative to prescription drugs that treat pain, anxiety and depression.

The next logical question is what are the potential consequences of using marijuana to overcome opioid use?

Side Effects of Marijuana Smoking

There are definitely some benefits to marijuana use. Researchers have found that it can help with chronic pain, nausea from chemotherapy and multiple sclerosis symptoms.

But there are also protentional side effects with mixed research. Some evidence suggests that marijuana can impair learning and memory for up to 24 hours after use. That may not sound like a big deal, but if you get high on a regular basis, the effect could be significant.

Marijuana can also negatively affect one’s physical health. There is also some evidence, although limited, that marijuana could lead to testicular cancer and compromise lung health.

Lastly, there is evidence that people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder commonly use marijuana, but it’s unclear if the mental illness or marijuana use came first. So far, researchers are still exploring the answer to this question.

The Bottom Line

Unfortunately, the bottom line is that there is still much research to be done. Could marijuana turn out to be useful in the fight against opioid abuse? Possibly. But it could also be true that marijuana is just a crutch and that true recovery involves getting to the bottom of your emotions and issues.

At the end of the day, more research will be needed before we will know for sure.

Hope and Healing at The Raleigh House

At The Raleigh House, we believe that addiction isn’t fixed by a quick detox. After all, what good is it to be sober if you’re not happy? Instead, we take a whole-person approach to recovery. That means we don’t just get heroin or painkillers out of your system. The real work is helping you recover psychologically, mentally, spiritually and socially. We also evaluate and treat residents for any co-occurring conditions that may exist, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the prescription painkillers or heroin treatment program at The Raleigh House.

The post The Pros and Cons of Using Marijuana to Curb Opioid Use appeared first on Raleigh House.

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The number of painkiller prescriptions prescribed by doctors has decreased to 50 million a year.

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Here’s a staggering statistic: 4.4 percent of the U.S. population misuses opioids, including painkillers and heroin.

That statistic was provided as part of an update on the opioid crisis recently released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. While there has been some progress made, the report indicates that the epidemic is still raging on, especially on the East Coast and in the Midwest.

The Start of the Opioid Crisis in America

In the late 1990s, drug pharmaceutical companies took steps to reassure the medical community that their prescription painkillers were safe and unlikely to lead to addiction. Healthcare providers listened and began to prescribe drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin at greater rates.

What happened next proved the misunderstanding the pharmaceutical companies had about their medications. Some argue this epidemic proved how they intentionally mislead the America people for profit, a matter being battled out in the judicial system right now.

Between 21 and 29 percent of people who are prescribed opioids for pain misuse them, and between 8 and 10 percent go on to develop an opioid use disorder.

Opioid overdoses have increased 30 percent from July 2016 through September 2017. In the Midwest, opioid overdoses increased 70 percent during that same time period. Meanwhile, opioid overdoses in large cities in 16 states also increased by 54 percent.

Signs of Progress in the Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic began with prescription opioids and that, too, is where it must end. Around 70 million prescriptions for painkillers were written in 2010. In 2017, that number was down to about 50 million.

At the same time, the report states youth prescription opioid misuse has declined over the last decade and that heroin use is stable among youth.

The challenge now is two-fold: To use education to prevent more people from becoming addicted and to get help for those who are already addicted.

Hope and Healing at The Raleigh House

At The Raleigh House, we take a whole-person approach to recovery. That means we don’t just get the heroin or painkillers out of your system. The real work is helping you recover psychologically, mentally, spiritually and socially. We also evaluate and treat residents for any co-occurring conditions that may exist, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the painkiller addiction treatment program and the heroin addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

The post Opioid Crisis Update: Here’s What You Need to Know appeared first on Raleigh House.

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Research shows that women use alcohol to regulate their mood more often than men do.

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Over the course of the last century, the gender gap has narrowed. Women can now vote, wear pants, go to college, have a career and choose their own destinies.

That’s all good, obviously.

But there’s also a downside. Women can also now down three martinis in a bar or chug beer in college without anyone thinking it’s the least bit unusual. In fact, women born between 1991 and 2000 drink just as much as their male counterparts.

The problem? Well, there is a difference between how men’s and women’s bodies handle alcohol. Quite simply, alcohol hits women harder than it does men.

Alcohol and Women

Research shows that women produce smaller quantities of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol in the body.

Research also shows that women tend to get addicted to alcohol more quickly than men. While no one knows exactly why that’s true, one theory is that women and men tend to use alcohol for different reasons.

Men are more attracted to the risk-taking and social aspects of drinking, while women tend to use alcohol more to regulate their moods and deal with the stresses of life, including child-rearing and taking care of elderly parents.

The Alcoholic Woman and Abuse

Sharon Wilsnack is a psychiatry and behavioral science professor at the University of North Dakota’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Her research found that women who consume excessive amounts of alcohol often have been sexually abused as children.

For them, drinking has become a way of numbing themselves to past trauma. Instead of working through issues, it’s much easier to turn emotions off with alcohol.

The result is that there are then two issues to address: the past abuse and the addiction.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

At The Raleigh House in Denver, Colorado, we take a whole-person approach to recovery. That means we don’t just treat the physical addiction. We also try to find out what factors may have contributed to the addiction, including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

We work with you to help you recover psychologically, mentally, spiritually, mentally and socially. Rehab isn’t just about giving something up; it’s about getting your life back. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the alcohol addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

The post Women and Alcohol Abuse appeared first on Raleigh House.

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Freedom from opioid addiction is possible, and it leads to a new, better life.

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We’ve all heard the news: The unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since 2000.

Given that statistic, it’d be logical to assume that almost anyone who can work is working, but that’s simply not true. In fact, our labor force participation rate among prime workers is only at about 81 percent.

Another way of looking at this is that nearly 20 percent of people who can work are not working by choice.

Why is that?

Opiates Abuse and the Economy

While there’s certainly multiple factors at play, economists have identified one very prominent cause of the lagging labor force participation rate: the opioid epidemic.

As more and more people are becoming addicted to opioids, they’re also opting out of the workforce.

Princeton University economist Alan Krueger examined the issue in a research paper titled “Where Have All the Workers Gone?”

His conclusion was, “Labor force participation has fallen more in areas where relatively more opioid pain medication is prescribed, causing the problem of depressed labor force participation and the opioid crisis to become intertwined.”

Breaking Free of Opioid Dependence

Opioid addiction may seem like a dead end, but it’s also true that there’s a way to turn things around and get back on the right path.

The thing is, breaking free from addiction isn’t as simple as some people may think. It’s not just a matter of getting the drugs out of your system and then choosing not to use again.

Addiction changes the brain and most people find that in order to leave opioids behind, they need to learn new coping skills. They also need to address any co-occurring conditions they may have, such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or depression.

Opioid Addiction Help and The Raleigh House

At The Raleigh House, we take a whole-person approach to recovery. That means we don’t just get the heroin or painkillers out of your system. The real work is helping you recover psychologically, mentally, spiritually and socially. We also evaluate and treat residents for any co-occurring conditions that may exist, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the prescription painkillers or heroin treatment program at The Raleigh House.

The post How Opioids Depress our Labor Force appeared first on Raleigh House.

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There is hope for babies born addicted to heroin or prescription painkillers.

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A baby is born approximately every 15 minutes in the United States suffering from opioid withdrawal, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), the condition has increased 433 percent from 2004 to 2014. Now, eight out of every 1,000 babies born in the hospital in the U.S. suffers from NAS. It’s attributed to both heroin and opioid prescription painkiller use during pregnancy.

Babies born with NAS are irritable, can have feeding or breathing problems and are likely to be underweight.

All of which raises one very important question: What can be done to help these babies?

Helping Infants with NAS

Dr. Stephanie Merhar, a neonatologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, studied the effects of opioid use on 97 infants who had been diagnosed with NAS. What she found is that, while the long-term outlook for these babies is not known, most were able to overcome the effects of NAS by their two-year check-ups.

Dr. Lauren Jansson is the director of pediatrics at the Center for Addiction and Pregnancy at Johns Hopkins Medicine. She said there is one thing we know for sure: That babies suffering from NAS are more likely to do well if their mothers receive treatment.

“The one solid thing we can say about children who are exposed to substances prenatally,” she said, “is that their mothers need treatment.”

In other words, children of recovering addicts can go on to lead healthy and good lives.

Opioid Recovery Benefits and The Raleigh House

If you’re pregnant and using either heroin or opioid painkillers, you may feel hopeless. But research shows that just the opposite is true. By seeking immediate medical help, you can change the future for both your child and yourself.

At The Raleigh House, we take a whole-person approach to recovery. That means we don’t just get the heroin or painkillers out of your system. The real work is helping you recover psychologically, mentally, spiritually and socially.

We also evaluate—and treat—residents for any co-occurring conditions that may exist, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the prescription painkillers or heroin treatment program at The Raleigh House.

The post Children of the Opioid Crisis appeared first on Raleigh House.

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Opioids aren’t the only drugs ruining lives across America.

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Some 115 Americans die every day as a result of the opioid epidemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, now, the epidemic is shifting to what some say is an even more dangerous drug—at least in places like Ohio, Texas, Montana, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Iowa and South Dakota.

That drug is meth.

Meth is short for methamphetamine. It’s a highly addictive, powerful stimulant that, at one time, was produced in makeshift meth labs across America. Now, it’s mostly coming across the border from Mexico.

It kills more slowly than heroin or opioids, but it changes lives just as quickly.

Here’s how Kristin Korpela, a social worker in Wisconsin explained it in an NBC News story: “Meth makes you forget that you ever had children.”

The Emerging Meth Crisis

What’s happening, according to some experts, is that heroin and painkiller users are turning to meth.

It all started in 2006 when the U.S. government cracked down on meth labs by placing tighter controls on the over-the-counter cold medicines used to cook meth, creating a void that was swiftly filled by Mexican superlabs. As meth flooded the market, prices fell. By 2014, the estimated number of meth users was up to 569,000 from a low of 314,000 in 2008, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

What does that have to do with opioid users? Authorities have documented heroin users turning to meth because there’s less chance of an overdose.

But that’s not the only reason. Authorities have also documented a disturbing new trend among heroin and painkiller users who are trying to break their addictions by taking daily Vivitrol injections. While Vivitrol blocks the euphoric effects of opioids, it has no effect on stimulants. The result is that Vivitrol users still desperate to get high are turning to meth.

That’s exactly what’s happening in Vinton County, Ohio, which was the focus of a recent NPR story. And when you combine Vivitrol and meth, the results are paranoia, hallucinations and other symptoms that look like schizophrenia.

But meth is powerful enough all on its own to lead many in Vinton County to worry. NPR asked Amanda Lee, a local rehab counselor, which addiction she thought was more dangerous—opioids or meth.

“Methamphetamines scare me more than opiates ever did,” Lee responded.

Hope and Healing at The Raleigh House

The Raleigh House, located in Denver, specializes in treating addictions to prescription painkillers, heroin and methamphetamines.

When you walk through our doors, our first goal is to make you feel safe and comfortable. You’re then assigned your own master’s level therapist who will work with you to come up with a plan for rehab—and to rebuild your life.

One-on-one and group therapy sessions will help you heal emotionally, while chef-prepared meals and activities like yoga and boxing help heal your body. Meanwhile, you’ll be staying in a clean and cozy setting that feels like home, with staff that treats you like family. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the prescription painkillers, heroin and meth treatment programs at The Raleigh House.

The post The Epidemic Expands: From Opioids to Meth appeared first on Raleigh House.

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True happiness can’t be found in a pill bottle.

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You’ve had enough. You learned firsthand that drugs always take more than they give. You’re ready to be done.

But you’re also scared.

You don’t want to be sick. You don’t want to feel bad. And you certainly don’t want to go through the rest of your life feeling bored or fighting cravings.

If those are your fears, you probably don’t have a good understanding of what really happens at rehab.

Painkiller Addiction Treatment

Rehab will help you get through the physical discomfort of withdrawal, yet it’s about so much more than that.

A good rehab will first look for any co-occurring conditions (such as depression or anxiety) that may need to be treated at the same time as your addiction.

At a credible rehab, you’ll be assigned a therapist who will work with you to come up with a plan not just for the weeks ahead, but for how to cope and thrive for the rest or your life. You won’t be detoxing for a week and then out on your own. Research shows that the best treatment programs last 90 days or more, which will give you the time you’ll need to navigate this new way of life. It will also give your brain the time it needs to heal from the damage caused by painkillers.

Another aspect of a great rehab program is there will be more than one kind of therapy. You may also find art or music therapy, equine-assisted therapy and family therapy. You also will find an emphasis on nutrition and exercise, which are two natural ways to boost your body’s production of feel-good chemicals.

Finally, in a good rehab program, you’ll learn that life isn’t about quick fixes. It’s about giving yourself the time you need to heal and get better, and realizing that addiction is a disease that you need help to fight. It’s about believing in yourself and in the future that lies ahead.

Painkiller Addiction and The Raleigh House

At The Raleigh House, we believe in taking a whole-person approach to recovery, including the physical, mental, psychological, social and emotional aspects of addiction. Each person who walks through our doors is assigned a master’s level therapist to guide them on their journey. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the painkiller addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

The post What to Expect When Tackling Painkiller Addiction appeared first on Raleigh House.

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Prescription painkillers can end up chipping away at your happiness.

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Some people safely take prescription painkillers as prescribed by their doctor to manage chronic pain. Others start using painkillers for physical pain and end up addicted. There are also those who take them just to get high.

By now we all know of the risks of painkillers and addiction, but that’s not the only thing to worry about.

Depression is a very common side-effect of painkillers for about 10% of people who use them. The result can be a vicious cycle of taking pills to feel better and then ending up feeling even worse.

That’s just one of the reasons why the medical community is beginning to look at painkillers as a last resort instead of turning to them immediately to deal with chronic pain.

Other Causes of Depression

There are many other possible causes of depression such as genetics, abuse, illness, the loss of a loved one and personal problems.

Substance abuse is also linked to depression. In fact, nearly 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have clinical depression.

In some cases, it’s hard to tell if the depression or addiction came first. That’s why it’s so important to find a treatment program that focuses on co-occurring conditions like depression.

You can leave rehab without any drugs in your system, but if you’re still battling depression (or anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder or any other mental health condition) then you’re setting yourself up for a major challenge.

The easy part of rehab is often the physical part. The challenge is to tackle the mental, psychological, emotional and social aspects of addiction. After all, the goal isn’t just to be drug-free, but to live a good life that’s free from the burden of addiction.

Painkiller Addiction and The Raleigh House

At The Raleigh House, we believe that everyone deserves a second chance to live a great life, and we use every available tool there is to make that happen. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the painkiller addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

The post Painkiller Side Effects and Depression appeared first on Raleigh House.

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Like the rest of the country, Denver is struggling to find a way out of the opioid epidemic.

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Overdoses in libraries. A burgeoning homeless population. Thousands of needles turned in at the Harm Reduction Action Center.

The opioid epidemic has hit the Denver area hard, leaving city officials, residents and treatment centers scrambling to come up with ways to save lives.

The Opioid Crisis in America

First, let’s take a look at the opioid crises across the country. According to PBS, it’s the worst drug crisis in American history, rivalling the number of deaths caused by AIDS in the 1990s.

PBS went on to say that, in 1999, cocaine killed twice as many people as heroin. By 2014, opioid deaths were up 369 percent.

The Opioid Epidemic in Denver

The Denver Needs Assessment on Opioid Use reports that, in 2015, Denver experienced eight opioid-related deaths per 100,000 residents and 4.2 heroin-related deaths per 100,000 residents. The report goes on to say that the problem is more severe in Denver than the rest of the state.

And it could have been much worse.

During the first 10 months of 2017, Narcan was used 234 times to reverse opioid overdoses at the Harm Reduction Action Center. The Harm Reduction Action Center also works to reduce the damage from heroin by providing clean needles and access to sterile water.

The report also delves into the issue of where overdoses occurred. Out of the 174 overdoses that occurred in Denver in 2016, at least 20 took place in an alley, public park or business restroom.

Hope and Healing at The Raleigh House

At The Raleigh House, we take a whole-person approach to recovery. That means we don’t just get the heroin or painkillers out of your system. The real work is helping you recover psychologically, mentally, spiritually and socially. We also evaluate—and treat—residents for any co-occurring conditions that may exist, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the heroin addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

The post The Opioid Crisis in Denver appeared first on Raleigh House.

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There are steps you can take to help your loved one who is addicted to heroin.

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It feels as if the person you love is lost. Yes, they might be standing right in front of you, but the things they do and say make you feel as if the person you know is gone.

There’s almost nothing you wouldn’t do to get your loved one back but, at the same time, you often don’t have any idea what you can or should be doing to help.

You can’t magically fix your friend or family member’s addiction, but there are steps you can take that can help—both your loved one and yourself.

Buy Narcan

Your worst fear is probably that your loved one will overdose and die—and that fear is well-founded. Each day, more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Narcan is the brand name for Naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of opioid overdose. It’s available over the counter at places like Walgreens and can save lives.

Push for Treatment to Stop Heroin Addiction

People used to think that rehab wouldn’t work unless the person battling addiction had hit rock bottom. We now know that isn’t true and can, in fact, be a deadly point of view.

People who are addicted to heroin should be helped as soon as possible. You don’t need your friend or family member to “buy into” treatment. You just need them to agree to go.

Don’t Be an Enabler

Yes, you want to show your love and keep the lines of communication open. But you don’t want to be in the position of enabling the addiction. That means not giving money, not paying car insurance, not paying bail money and certainly not helping your loved one get heroin.

Take Care of Yourself

Sadly, there are millions of people in your same situation. Finding a few of them to talk to through a support group like Nar-Anon can make you feel less alone and can also help you learn more about addiction—and how to live through it.

Try to take time to do the little things that can help you cope better. Get enough sleep, exercise, spend time with loved ones and take time to do things you enjoy.

Treating Heroin Addiction at The Raleigh House

The Raleigh House is a residential treatment center located in Denver that believes addiction isn’t just a physical problem. Our whole-person approach to recovery also deals with the mental, emotional, physical, spiritual and social aspects of addiction. Our master’s level trained therapists get to the root cause of addiction and will help you develop a strategy to manage and enjoy life without drugs or alcohol. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the heroin addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

The post How to Deal with a Heroin Addict appeared first on Raleigh House.

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