man looking over water

Alcoholic Withdrawal Symptoms Timeline

When you stop drinking alcohol, there is a period of withdrawal. Your body needs time to heal and determine what chemicals are missing, which is why you may feel side effects like anxiety, nausea and seizures. Symptoms can start as soon as two hours from your last drink, though they usually peak around 24-48 hours.

To ensure a safe, effective recovery from alcoholic withdrawal symptoms, it’s important to detox in a medically supervised environment. If you’re not sure where to turn, Drug Help Line can help. Call us today and let us find you an alcohol detox center in West Palm Beach that meets your short and long term needs.

What Alcoholic Withdrawal Symptoms are Most Common?

Usually, withdrawal symptoms peak within a day or two from your last drink. The most common symptoms include insomnia, sweating, tremors and headaches. The symptoms can be difficult to manage, which is why alcoholics continue to drink. Fortunately, once you make it through the first few days of alcoholic withdrawal symptoms, things tend to get easier.

Here is a breakdown of the alcohol withdrawal timeline. Knowing what to expect can help you prepare for this process.

6 to 12 hours from Last Drink

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shaking
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting

12 to 24 hours from Last Drink

  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures

48 hours from Last Drink

  • Delirium tremens
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating

Each Person is Unique

Not all detox programs are the same. It’s important to choose a facility that meets your needs, as each person is unique. You may do best with a full continuum of care that includes detox, counseling and aftercare in the same facility. You may prefer to participate in an outpatient program after detox. There are also other aspects to be aware of, such as programs that are holistic, faith-based or gender-based.

Not only should you choose an alcohol rehab that meets your needs but also is able to work with your medical history. Have you been treated for alcohol addiction in the past? Do you have a co-occurring disorder such as depression or PTSD? Does the program offer alternative therapies to manage alcoholic withdrawal symptoms?

With so many questions to ask, let Drug Help Line help. We know how important it is to detox from alcohol in a safe, supportive and medically supervised environment. Call us today and take the first step in your recovery.

girl looking off in distance

Pros and Cons to Soboxone Treatment in West Palm Beach

Suboxone is controversial, but it does provide relief from heroin cravings. In order for the drug to be safe, it must be used as part of a comprehensive treatment program. A clinician can help determine an appropriate dose of Suboxone and combine the medication with other therapies, such as individual counseling and a 12-step program.

If you or someone close to you wants to stop using heroin, soboxone treatment in West Palm Beach may be the best approach. Let’s talk more about what this drug is and the pros and cons to using it.

What is Suboxone, Exactly?

Suboxone is a medication that is used to treat opioid addictions. It contains buprenorphine and naloxone. It is considered a partial opioid agonist, meaning that it produces less intense effects compared to full opioid agonists like heroin, fentanyl or morphine.

Since Suboxone produces desirable effects, it can be habit-forming. However, it is more difficult to abuse than other medication-assisted therapies, such as methadone. This is why it’s important to research the pros and cons to soboxone treatment in West Palm Beach.

The Pros to Suboxone Treatment

The benefits of using suboxone to treat a heroin addiction are:

  • Prescribed in a doctor’s office. Methadone can only be dispensed from a specialized addiction clinic. Suboxone is more accessible, allowing more people to get the help they need.
  • Proven effective. Studies show that Suboxone is an effective treatment option. It has a high success rate for treating opiate addiction because it reduces withdrawal effects and prevents users from getting high.
  • Lower potential for abuse. Suboxone has lesser side effects compared to methadone, making it more difficult to abuse. Also, if a tablet is crushed and snorted, the naloxone in the pill will block the brain’s receptors, preventing any sort of high.

The Cons to Soboxone Treatment in West Palm Beach

Suboxone can be an effective treatment option for those suffering from heroin addiction, but it is not without risk. The drawbacks include:

  • Needed for a long time. Users recovering from an opioid addiction need to be on suboxone for a long time. Only as people are able to maintain their recoveries can they start tapering off the drug.
  • Can be habit forming. Suboxone does create desirable effects and can cause dependence in some users. When it comes time to stop the suboxone, there may be another withdrawal period.

Only you and a medical professional can determine if soboxone treatment in West Palm Beach is the right approach. Even though there are drawbacks to using this drug, the dangers are much lower than with other medication-assisted therapies. If the withdrawal process is more tolerable and the positive reinforcement from opioids is stopped, individuals will have an easier time sticking to their recovery regimens.

To find soboxone treatment in West Palm Beach, contact Drug Help Line today at 800-591-0343. We’ll help you find the right treatment program based on your needs, your insurance and the treatment you've received already. 

choosing a door

Methadone Detox Programs West Palm Beach

A methadone detox program in West Palm Beach can give you the fresh start you’re looking for. Whether you got addicted to methadone while trying to get off heroin, or you feel that you don’t need methadone anymore, detox is the first step in freeing yourself.

Finding the right methadone detox program can feel overwhelming, but Drug Help Line is here to help. Call us today and we can find the best detox program for your needs.

Symptoms of Methadone Withdrawal

Coming off methadone is not easy. It’s an opioid, so it can cause its own withdrawal symptoms. Methadone withdrawal is usually not as severe as withdrawal from other opioids, but the symptoms can last longer. Fortunately, there are a number of medications and alternative therapies that can help make the withdrawal process more manageable.

The symptoms of methadone withdrawal are:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps

How Methadone Detox Helps People Get Clean

To ensure a safe, effective detox from methadone, you need a methadone detox program in West Palm Beach. Methadone needs to be tapered down instead of stopped cold turkey, otherwise the withdrawal symptoms will be longer lasting and more intense. Detoxing on your own is not recommended.

By detoxing in a medical detox facility, you will have 24/7 medical supervision and access to medications that can boost your mood and ease anxiety. Aside from traditional medications, such as buprenorphine and suboxone, some treatment facilities also offer nutritional IV therapy, amino acid therapy, natural supplements, nutritional therapy and more.

Here are the key characteristics that we recommend looking for in a methadone detox program in West Palm Beach.

  • Personalized treatment. No two people are alike, so any form of treatment should be unique. We help people in the West Palm Beach area find methadone detox that offers tailored programs based on the person’s metabolism, underlying health and more.
  • Safety and comfort. Another important characteristic is the comfort of the detox facility. Going through withdrawal is uncomfortable, but various medications and therapies can be used to make the process more tolerable.
  • Confidential. All clients deserve privacy and confidentiality when receiving treatment. We can help you find a program that offers private detox rooms or comfortable shared rooms.

Consider a Full Treatment Program for a Complete Recovery

Although a West Palm Beach methadone detox program can help you withdrawal safely from methadone, it does not address substance abuse issues. Some detox programs are part of a larger recovery program, which is beneficial to a complete recovery. Other programs focus solely on methadone withdrawal, though these programs are best for those who have already received treatment for substance abuse.

Let Drug Help Line find you the right fit based on your needs and the treatment you have already received.

couple hugging

Benefits of Couples Addiction Treatment

When both partners in a relationship are struggling with substance abuse, it can be difficult to get the proper help. If only one person receives treatment, drugs and alcohol will still be present, raising the risk for relapse. Drugs and alcohol will also continue to exacerbate problems in the relationship, potentially leading to arguments and domestic violence.

Fortunately, these challenges can be addressed in the appropriate couples addiction treatment program in West Palm Beach. If you and your significant other are in this situation, or you know a couple that is, read on for more information about the benefits of attending rehab together.

When Couples Treatment Becomes Necessary

It’s not unusual for couples to use drugs and alcohol together. According to the National Abandoned Infants Assistance Resource Center, women who use drugs and alcohol are more than two times likely as men to have a partner that abuses substances as well. Some of the signs that a relationship is struggling due to substance abuse are:

  • The partners only enjoy drinking and using drugs together.
  • Drugs and alcohol are leading to domestic violence.
  • The couple relies on drugs and alcohol to demonstrate affection.
  • The partners neglect responsibilities such as childcare and housework.

Advantages of Attending Rehab Together

When a couple is committed to getting clean and sober, it can be a rewarding journey that leads to a stronger, happier life together. Here are some of the main benefits to seeking couples rehab in West Palm Beach.

  • Lower risk for relapse. When both you and your significant other are working on your recoveries, there is a lower risk for relapse. You can create a home and lifestyle that is free from drugs and alcohol.
  • Someone to attend support groups with. 12-step meetings are more rewarding if you have someone to attend them with. This is something that couples can do together and include as part of a regular routine.
  • Accountability. You are counting on yourself to maintain sobriety, but so is your significant other. Having this accountability can be a motivating factor in making good choices and staying clean and sober.
  • Improve your relationship. It’s not uncommon for addictive couples to have tumultuous relationships. Through counseling, you will learn new ways of interacting and spending time together. This bond will make your relationship stronger.

The tumultuous relationship you may have right now can change. The first step is to get clean and sober through a detox program and then seek counseling in a safe, supportive treatment center. To find a couples addiction treatment center in West Palm Beach that meets your needs, call Drug Help Line today. A new, sober life is within reach.

What is the drug Flakka?

Perhaps you’ve heard of bath salts or the meth epidemic. Now, a new synthetic drug called Flakka has hit the market…
But, what is Flakka? If you want to learn more about Flakka abuse, addiction, and treatment considerations…read here in our Flakka Addiction Treatment Programs and Help guide. In this article, we review the drug Flakka as well as the consequences of its use. We also explore why addicts use drugs in the first place, and invite your questions or comments at the end.

Horrible New Designer Drug Hits the Streets

A new designer drug called “Flakka” has been showing up on the streets of Florida, Texas and Ohio, and its effects are truly frightening. Due to the way the drug acts upon neurotransmitters, it can trigger anxiety, paranoia and delusions, which in turn can lead to a psychotic state. Tendencies toward violent behavior coupled with increased strength and loss of awareness of reality mark this substance as a problem for authorities and communities.
In one case in Miami a man ran out of his home, screaming and ripping of his clothes in a violent rage. He was perspiring, paranoid, delusional, and hallucinating after smoking Flakka. It required five police officers to subdue him.

What is Flakka?

Flakka is a synthetic amphetamine-like substance similar to the family of drugs known as cathinones, commonly referred to as bath salts. Just as bath salts are addictive, so is Flakka highly addictive both physically and psychologically, and can be smoked, inhaled, swallowed, or injected. Since it can also be vaporized, it’s use in an e-cigarette makes it hard to detect even when used in a public setting.
The drug is synthesized from a compound derived from khat, a plant grown in the Middle East and parts of North Africa that has been used traditionally to produce, when chewed in leaf form, a moderate high. As with cocaine, which when used traditionally by chewing coca leaves, the synthetic or distilled product has a vastly more powerful and deleterious effect. In the case of Flakka, the drug inhibits the re-uptake of dopamine and norepinephrine, two crucial neurotransmitters affecting mood and normal brain function. The result is a prolonged effect of what is known as “excited delirium.”

Danger: Flakka Hits the Market

Flakka typically comes to the U.S. through three main supply points: China, Pakistan and India. By the time it hits the streets, it has likely been adulterated in a number of ways. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports no statistics involving the drug in 2010, 85 cases in 2012, and 670 in 2014. In Fort Lauderdale, the police have formed a special unit to deal with Flakka in anticipation of an increase in use.
One reason for the emergence of this new designer drug is that it is relatively cheap: an eighth of an ounce of Flakka costs about $150, or about one third the cost of an equivalent amount of crystal meth. At five dollars a single dose-one with effects lasting three to four hours-the drug has appeal to low-income users, although teens experiment with it for its euphoric effect.

Why would anyone become a Flakka drug addict?

As with bath salts, Flakka has a reputation on the streets for having the potential to produce highly unpleasant results, but that doesn’t seem to stop the spread of its abuse. This of course brings up the question of motivation: Why would anyone purchase a drug with known consequences as dire as those of Flakka?
The problem of addiction starts with the problem of the addict’s condition between highs. There is something radically unsatisfactory with the individual’s experience of life and self, to the extent that the addicted brain puts a premium on the possibility of relief from its condition via a drug and discounts the potential cost.
Consider the drug Krokodil, a homemade drug that has horrific effects that are publicly known and yet consumers continued to use it. Denial includes a mindset of exemption from consequences, and so drug abusers are inherently compromised when it comes to making decisions regarding their self-interest.

What can you do about Flakka?

If drugs exert such a strong pull on you or a loved one that they have priority over healthy pursuits: social, recreational, educational and professional. For these people, treatment is the best option. Without help, an addict is trapped in a spiral of self-defeat and continued abuse. Recovery through treatment offers not only freedom from dependency but also an entirely new life of hope and possibility.

Written on Drug Addiction Blog at: Flakka

 

8 Ways to Prevent Relapse

In many 12-step programs, there is an adage, “Relapse may be part of my story, but it doesn’t need to be part of my recovery.” And it sounds great on paper. The truth is, there are many men and women who get clean and sober and stay clean and sober without ever suffering a relapse. But I was not one of them.
If we were to perform an autopsy on my relapse, you would find a set of universal precursors to my taking that first drink, which eventually led up to my sticking a needle in my arm again. And although I realize that in hindsight, vision is usually 20/20, I also realize that a primary component of my relapse was my ability to rationalize my behavior, or rather, my ability to rationalize the behaviors that led up to my relapse. Because, like many addicts and alcoholics, I have the uncanny ability to talk myself into taking that first drink, regardless of the consequences. That said, I have to tell you that I don’t live like that anymore.
Because I grew up.
Reparenting yourself and then, conversely, policing yourself in sobriety is no mean feat. Men and women who are new to recovery face challenges that for normal people seem small and easy to cope with, but for the alcoholic or the drug addict are almost overwhelming. This is why the newly-recovered person needs structure and support in the beginning, and why it is vital for them to accept that they are not like normal people — that they have a very real problem for which abstinence and vigilance are only part of the solution.
To that end, I offer you these eight simple ways to help prevent relapse. But I’m afraid I can only offer these tools to you; it is ultimately up to the addict/alcoholic to incorporate them into his or her recovery and use them.
Believe me, I know how hard it is in the beginning. But I can promise you that as time goes by, the self-esteem that is built from having these components in your life will more than make up for the absence of the substances you’ve been using to destroy yourself. Because, ultimately, it’s about feeling good about yourself.

1. Flex Your Willpower Muscles.

Research studies show that willpower can be limited, but only if we believe it is limited. The truth is that temptation is everywhere. However, when you resist one temptation, you can better resist the next one more easily. And, every time you let an urge pass without giving in to it, you strengthen your neural connections so that with time, it gets easier to resist those urges. Long story short: You are only as strong as you will let yourself be.

2. Be Proactive and Positive.

It’s not easy to maintain a positive attitude at all times, but there are things you can do to stay away from obsessing over a negative thought. Call your sponsor or therapist, Have that person on speed-dial, because knowing that support is right there at your fingertips can build your ability to stay positive. When you are restless, you need company; go find some.

3. Live in the Moment.

Vigilance is the key, and you can’t be vigilant if you’re romanticizing the past. Most of your self-esteem will come from being sober and working through your issues, but don’t take your renewed self for granted. If you are overconfident, you may want to “prove” to someone that you can handle a drink or two. Live in the truth and understand that every moment you spend glorifying your past or obsessing over your future is a moment that diminishes your power in the now; and today, we’re all about taking our power back so that our lives aren’t ruled by alcoholism or drug addiction.

4. Stay in Therapy.

Now that you are sober, you have a world of emotional issues to confront without the numbing agents of drugs and alcohol. You may find familial, platonic or romantic relationships that are causing problems for you, and all of you need to learn how to resolve conflicts in healthy ways. But you are the key. Continue weekly appointments with your therapist (for at least a year or two after getting sober) as well as group meetings. This will complete your healing and provide the coping tools that are your insurance.

5. Have Patience.

Patients and their families all need lots of patience as they wait for the healing to set in. Emotions are volatile, insomnia is rampant, and patients begin to feel as if they will be miserable for the rest of their lives. Their loved ones are also seemingly on constant vigil, thinking, “Is he late because he’s out drinking?” No one needs to assume that relapse will happen, and there’s no point in constantly worrying about it. If you get bored, however, join a health club, get out of the house, plan a trip — expose yourself to new things. Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself. Everything that you’ve accomplished so far has been nothing short of heroic, but things aren’t going to change overnight. In many 12-step programs, there’s a concept called “slowbriety” that I think you should explore, especially when you feel as though you are climbing out of your skin. Take your time with this; be kind to yourself. You’re right on schedule and you’re on the right track.

6. Sleep.

Sure, we need to exercise and eat healthy foods, but nothing we can do has the health-restorative benefits of simple sleep. Our overall sleep patterns keep us healthy for a lifetime. As addicts, of course, many of us have lost the ability to get enough rest. Our abuse of drugs and alcohol has totally untrained our bodies in the art of falling asleep. We’ve tampered with our brain chemistry. During deep sleep and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the brain regulates all of its chemicals and resets the neurotransmitter systems. The only caveat I have about sleeping is that you shouldn’t sleep during the day and isolate yourself from the rest of the waking world because, frankly put, it’s counter-productive. Reestablishing healthy sleep patterns is an important component of early recovery, but you need to approach this component in an intelligent manner; the last thing you want to do is make sleeping too much your new problem.

7. Avoid Being Around Alcohol and Drugs.

You can still be crazy, funny, daring, and cool. Your life can still be full — actually more full — of great times and memorable people and places. That’s good crazy. Recovering addicts are probably the most fun, smart, and entertaining people I know. And they enjoy huge success by staying out of harm’s way, especially in the beginning. Bars, nighclubs, neighborhoods or environments where you used to drink and use — it should be a conscious choice to avoid these places until you develop the ego strength to go there. Long story short: If you hang around the barbershop long enough, you’re going to get a haircut. Am I telling you to join a monastery? No. But, I am asking you to take your power back and decide where you want to go and why you want to be there. You got clean and sober to have a new life. And, I don’t know of anyone who gets a new lease on life and then dances on a minefield. You have options today. Use them.

8. Realize That Your Symptoms Are Normal.

Your emotions are sensitive in early recovery, because they are no longer covered up by your substance abuse. This can be overwhelming when you’re not used to dealing with your feelings. You might get depressed or develop resentful thoughts. It’s totally normal to feel this way. Your feelings will eventually start to calm down. You may even start to embrace these emotions once you can respond in a healthy way. Can you imagine the triumph in that? You’ve been a human piñata for so long, taken from pillar to post by your feelings that you had to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, that just getting through the day knowing what to say or do when those same feelings come up is a really huge deal. I’m here to tell you that not only is it possible, it happens all the time. You don’t have to be alone in this. Even if you are in an igloo in the middle of the frozen tundra, there are resources at your disposal. All you have to do is realize that you haven’t used every resource at your disposal until you’ve asked for help.

Is relapse going to be part of your story? Maybe. But, the unfortunate truth is, you may not make it through that relapse alive. And believe me, I know a lot of people who didn’t survive their relapse. They just didn’t make it. It’s a terrible, tragic reality of the disease of addiction.

But if you open yourself up to the possibility that there might be a way to prevent relapse from becoming a part of your recovery, you may find yourself not only clean and sober, but immersed in a life worth staying clean and sober for.

Written by Howard C. Samuels, Psy.D. on Relapse Prevention

Fentanyl is fueling a new overdose crisis. Here’s what you need to know about the deadly opioid.

WASHINGTON — Fentanyl, a super potent synthetic opioid at the center of a new overdose epidemic, is presenting uniquely vexing challenges for law enforcement officials because it’s so deadly, so versatile and so profitable.
It’s flowing into the U.S. across the southern border and via the mail system. It’s being trafficked by Mexican cartels with vast dealer networks and by small-time operators ordering the drugs online. It’s being purchased by people with opioid addictions looking for the most potent dose on the street and by unsuspecting consumers looking for cheap pain pills from shady Internet retailers.
“It truly is everywhere,” said Barbara Carreno, a spokeswoman for the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
Here are the key things to know about the drug fueling this deadly crisis:

Where is the fentanyl coming from?

The primary source is China, where thousands of illicit labs led by rogue chemists manufacture fentanyl and a raft of copycat substances.

Experts say the primary buyers are Mexican drug cartels, who mix the fentanyl with heroin and other substances and then smuggle those diluted mixtures across the U.S.-Mexico border. But the amount of fentanyl coming into the U.S. via the mail system is growing — in smaller packages and at much greater potency.
“I expect that in fiscal year 2017, the numbers of seizures in the mail and express consignment environment (such as FedEx and UPS) will be much higher than they were last year,” said Robert Perez, an acting commissioner with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency.
Perez said the CBP seized more than 400 pounds of fentanyl in fiscal year 2016 — up from eight pounds in 2014. A few granules of the drug can be deadly, and many customs agents are now equipped with Narcan, the anti-overdose medication, in case they come into contact with the substance.

What role is China playing?

Chinese officials were initially slow to respond to pleas from American officials to crack down on fentanyl, which is a Schedule II narcotic in the U.S.
China has a booming pharmaceutical industry, and fentanyl was not causing a deadly overdose epidemic in China, so the government there wasn't focused on controlling it.
“It’s hard to get cooperation from another country on a substance that’s not illegal in their country,” said Richard Baum, acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
But China has become more aggressive, Baum and others say. This year, for example, China’s National Narcotics Control Commission banned four fentanyl-class substances, including carfentanil — which is normally used as a large-animal tranquilizer and is 10,000 times more potent than morphine, according to the DEA.
That should cause a drop in the amount of carfentanil flowing into the U.S. But every time the Chinese ban one synthetic opioid, drugmakers in that country tweak their recipes to get around the new restrictions.
“These rogue chemists in China can just tweak a molecule and then you have a new substance,” said Carreno. That often leaves American law enforcement officials “three or four generations behind” the chemists, she said.

Why is fentanyl supplanting heroin as a key driver of the overdose epidemic?

It’s easier and cheaper to produce than heroin, which is derived from poppy plants. With fentanyl, there are no crops, just chemicals.
“You can make it as strong as you want, and in bulk and fast,” said Tim Reagan, a Cincinnati-based DEA agent. And because it’s so potent, a little bit goes a long way, making it extremely profitable.

How difficult is it for local law enforcement officers to prosecute cases?

Very.
“With it coming through the mail, it just adds a whole different dynamic that we’ve never dealt with with any other drug,” said Tom Synan, police chief in Newtown, Ohio, which has been particularly hard hit by the influx of fentanyl.

Synan said it’s dangerous to collect evidence at an overdose scene because fentanyl is so toxic. In May, a police officer in northeast Ohio overdosed after he brushed a bit of the white powder off his uniform. He had just returned to the station from making a drug arrest, where he had used gloves and a mask to search a suspect’s car. Without the protective gear, it took four doses of Narcan to bring him back.

Synan said his officers focus on reviving overdose victims and keeping themselves safe, and they worry about making arrests and building cases later. Even when officers are able to ensnare dealers, Synan and others said, it can be hard to connect them to a broader drug ring.
“When you had crack cocaine, you had a lot of organized gangs that were really the primary pushers,” said Synan. With fentanyl, some dealers are connected to Mexican cartels, but many others are independent operators.
The dealer may lead to just “one string, instead of a tree,” Synan said. “Right now, we’re just kind of surviving and just trying to save lives.”
Reagan said the DEA has had “a ton of success identifying street dealers” whose transactions have resulted in overdose deaths. But those dealers are often unwilling to cooperate, stymieing efforts to target operators further up in the supply chain.
As for tracing sources in China, Reagan said, the DEA can turn over incriminating information to Chinese authorities to see whether they will prosecute. Or try to bring charges in the U.S. and ask for extradition.
“There’s definitely more cooperation than ever,” he said. But “this is all kind of new.”

Why do individuals with opioid addiction take fentanyl-laced drugs when they are so likely to result in an overdose?

First, medical experts note that addiction is a brain disease that can impair self-control and judgment. People suffering from addiction are not making rational decisions.
Second, some individuals with substance abuse disorders don’t realize fentanyl has been mixed into the drugs they’re buying. Take this person who posted a message in a fentanyl chat room on Reddit asking about what might be in his opioid pills.
“With real oxy, I usually have at least a day after my last dose before the withdrawls (sic) kick in, but now it’s literally like 3-4 hours after my last dose,” this person wrote. “Is this normal for fent or are my pills laced with something else?”
Finally, those with opioid addiction want the most intense high, and some seek out fentanyl-laced drugs even if they realize it could kill them. “If a user dies … (others) are going to try to find that dealer, because they’re looking for the best stuff,” Reagan said.

Another person on Reddit explained the decision to use fentanyl this way:
“So because oxycodone is so gosh darn expensive I've decided to start using fentanyl but have no idea how to use it,” this individual wrote. “How much am I supposed to use without killing myself thanks for your help.”

What role is the Internet playing in fentanyl sales and distribution?

A big one. Dealers and those with opioid addiction can buy fentanyl directly from Chinese manufacturers with just a Google search and a few clicks.
More sophisticated operators use the so-called dark web, which hides the servers and identities of a websites administrators and users. These clandestine sites often use digital currencies, such as Bitcoin, to further disguise financial transactions.
“These dark web markets are like eBay” for illegal products, said Isak Ladegaard, a researcher at Boston College who has studied digital drug markets. “If you order something through the dark web and it’s delivered to your address, there is no evidence you were the person making the order.”
The Department of Justice announced on July 20 that it had shuttered one the largest online criminal marketplaces, AlphaBay, and Dutch authorities also recently closed a similar site called Hansa Market. At the time of the AlphaBay bust, there were more than 250,000 listings for illegal drugs and toxic chemicals on the site, the Department of Justice said, along with thousands of listings for other illicit goods.
But Ladegaard said the Justice Department crackdown would not dampen the illegal fentanyl trade.
“All research thus far suggests that when a market is closed down, there is a period when there is some instability and people are not entirely sure what to do,” he said. “But fairly soon, traffic moves on to other (dark web) marketplaces.”

How do Customs officials stop fentanyl shipments from getting into the U.S.?

In June, Border Patrol agents seized 34 pounds of fentanyl during a vehicle stop at a California checkpoint — discovering 10 plastic-wrapped bundles of fentanyl in the car's trunk, with an estimated street value of more than $1 million, according to a CBP news release.
But the dangers at the border are the same as on the street. Even drug-sniffing dogs are at risk of death if they accidentally ingest fentanyl during searches, and the agency is now engaged in a pilot project to specially train dogs for these synthetic opioids.
Finding fentanyl in the mail can be even more difficult, because of the sheer volume of packages and the lack of electronic data detailing shipments sent via the U.S. Postal Service.
“How we inspect and how we select packages in the mail is still a very manual process,” said Perez, the CBP commissioner.

Written on USA Today at: Fentanyl

Study: Alcohol Fuels Drastic Increase in Liver Disease

A new study found that cirrhosis-related deaths increased the most among people aged 25 to 34 from 2009 to 2016.

Deaths from liver disease, especially among young people, have increased dramatically since 1999, according to new research.
A study published Wednesday in The BMJ examined deaths related to cirrhosis and liver cancer from 1999 to 2016. Researchers discovered that cirrhosis-related deaths increased 65 percent among men and women across all ethnicities, totaling 34,174. Deaths from liver cancer doubled to 11,073. Asians and Pacific Islanders was the only subgroup that saw a decrease in mortality from cancer.
According to the study, from 2009 to 2016, "the period of worsening death rates," people aged 25 to 34 experienced the highest annual increase in cirrhosis-related deaths (10.5 percent), which was entirely fueled by alcohol-related liver disease. The researchers stated this finding is "reinforced by parallel changes in mortality due to alcohol use disorders and all alcohol-related liver disease."

Deaths from cirrhosis rose the most among Native Americans, whites and Hispanics. They also rose the fastest in Southern and Western states, such as Kentucky, New Mexico, Arkansas, Indiana and Alabama. Additionally, men experienced twice as many deaths from cirrhosis as women.
Cirrhosis is the scarring of the liver, which prevents it from functioning properly. Common causes include heavy alcohol consumption and hepatitis.

Lead author and professor at the University of Michigan, Dr. Elliot Tapper, told CNN that an increase in binge-drinking culture among young people could be the cause of the rise in cirrhosis-related deaths. Tapper said he has been treating more young people with liver disease and that these deaths are preventable if the right measures are taken before it's too late.
"We were struck by how the current concept of who develops cirrhosis didn't quite match what we were seeing," Tapper told CNN. "It was really striking to us to have people that were younger than us in our clinic dying from cirrhosis."
Tapper suggests using blood tests to diagnose the disease and raising the price of alcohol.

Written on USN at:

Alcohol

A Mother’s Love – A Mother’s Heartache

The day before Thanksgiving, nine years ago, I lost all happiness, peace of mind...and my daughter.

My name is Renee. I have a beautiful daughter…a beautiful daughter that happens to be a heroin addict. I have gone through every imaginable scenario and disaster in parenting her. She started using at the tender age of 18.
The day before Thanksgiving, nine years ago, I lost all happiness, peace of mind…and my daughter.
I remember looking at her that first time in detox and thinking, “Its okay; we can fix this. She will be fine.” As I walked in to visit her, she was sleeping with a rosary in her hands across her chest. That moment sticks with me and knowing she had God with her…well, I just knew it would all be okay.
She stayed in detox for a total of five days before she convinced me she didn’t need the whole thirty days in rehab. I think back to how naive I was – and still am, at times.

Looking Back

I’ll give you the very short version: She has been admitted to a total of 13 rehabs – completing only one at 19 years old – she’s been in jail a half dozen times – three of those times I’m the one who turned her in. She’s stolen everything from my house and our family members’ homes. She broke into my home, lied, stole, destroyed every relationship in the family (and we have a huge family).

Everyone has given up on her…even her two brothers. But not not me; I’m her mother.
She used to show up everyday, run into my house, grab food, then try to lock the bathroom door and shower. We finally put locks on everything in the house just to keep her out.
About three months ago, she showed up at five in the morning, which isn’t abnormal. She was very sick I let her come in. She stayed and I eventually got her into a methadone program. Then, of course, things started going missing again, so off she went.
I was beside myself, but this time was different.

Cutting Ties Hurts

I realize I can’t – and won’t – do this anymore. I cant save her! So, I went down to the court house and got a restraining order.
I have to do this; it’s the only thing I haven’t done so I have to completely cut her off. God, I pray I’m doing the right thing. When I don’t hear from her, I worry. Then when she shows up, I’m relieved…but it’s always the same outcome.

Written on Recovery at: A Mother's Love

How Does Drug and Alcohol Detox Work?

Having an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol can have an impact on a person’s overall health. It can cause both physical and psychological damage. Trying to quit can be extremely dangerous, and in most cases requires specialized treatment. The process for drug and alcohol detox can be successful, but it should be done under medical supervision to avoid complications, including possible death. After detox, it is also important for an individual to consider attending a rehab program for better success in recovery.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a successful detoxification process can be measured, in part, by whether an individual who is substance dependent enters, remains in, and is compliant with the treatment protocol of a substance abuse treatment/rehabilitation program after detoxification.

How Does the Drug and Alcohol Detox Process Work?

Depending on the severity of the addiction, and other factors such as a person’s current health status -detoxing from drugs or alcohol can vary from one individual to another. A person that enters into a detox program will undergo certain criteria before the detox process begins. Some of the procedures to expect before, during and after may include:

Before detox:

An assessment will be necessary to help the medical professionals understand the severity of the drug or alcohol problem. Questions regarding the history of drug and/or alcohol used will be asked, and if any co-occurring disorders may be present that may of lead to substance abuse, and were never treated. A person will also need to undergo a physical examination to identify conditions such as malnutrition or dehydration. This helps the licensed professionals create a treatment plan that meets your needs.

During detox:

Depending on how much drugs and/or alcohol is in your system, and what damage they have done, the detox process can take from several days to several weeks, especially if your body has toxins from several substances. Medication, according to the treatment plan can be started to help ease the withdrawal symptoms associated with drug and alcohol detox. This medication also helps reduce the cravings often experienced from withdrawal- which usually cause an addict to start using drugs or alcohol again.
Medications may vary, but the most commonly used ones during detox include:

Alcohol: 

Naltrexone
Acamprosate
Disulfiram

Other drugs-such as opiates:

Methadone
Buprenorphine
Suboxone

Not everyone that suffers from the same disease of addiction will receive the same medication, or expect the same detox process. Some may need additional medical treatment if the severity of the addiction has caused health complications that may be irreversible. While treatment can help, it cannot be cured. Which is very important to have a follow-up plan after detox to prevent the temptation of using drugs and/or alcohol again.
Not only can alcohol, and certain drugs cause permanent damage to both physical and mental health, but the more the abuse continues -the higher the probability of it producing fatal results.

After detox:

When the toxins are out of the body, it does not mean that all is fine. Now the most important part can take place. Therapies, such as counseling, group sessions, behavior therapy, medications to help with psychological elements if necessary, and other important factors need to be addressed and followed up on. Therapy and/or a recovery program can help you to avoid relapse, and the longer you were on substances -the more help you will need after drug and alcohol detox. Those who attend and complete addiction treatment after detox have a lower risk of relapse.

Written on Detox at: Detox