Legalized drugs are addictive. Just like any other drug, there are pros and cons.

How Will Recently Legalized Drugs Affect Addiction Rates?

Drugs aren’t just what seedy men with long trenchcoats sell in alleyways. They are a common breakfast beverage and guilty snack. A drug is a substance that changes someone physically or mentally. Caffeine is a drug. Tobacco is one, too. 

Some legalized drugs are controversial. A few states made legal weed news during the last election. One even passed legal mushrooms. There are two sides to whether this was the right move or not. 

What Has Happened To States With Legalized Drugs? 

To put it another way, some drugs are legal. Yet, some states have taken a liberal approach to controversial substances. Marijuana is one of them. Legal mushrooms are another. Since November 4, 2020, more states have loosened their legal stance on it. Although this may be true, the federal government still has a war on drugs. 

As of now, 35 states have legalized/decriminalized marijuana for either recreational or medicinal purposes. Oregon decriminalized small amounts of hard drugs. Also, Oregon approved legal mushrooms with psilocybin in them.  As of the last election, these are the 15 states with recreational marijuana: 

  1. Alaska 
  2. California 
  3. Colorado 
  4. Illinois 
  5. Maine 
  6. Massachusetts 
  7. Michigan 
  8. Nevada  
  9. Oregon 
  10. Vermont 
  11. Washington 
  12. Arizona 
  13. Montana 
  14. New Jersey 
  15. South Dakota 

Recreational marijuana is old legal weed news to some states. Using weed as medicine is even older. To illustrate, PubMed Central (PMC) states California has used cannabis for medical purposes since 1996. States that have legalized drugs like marijuana first can indicate long-term effects. 

Colorado 

To begin with, Colorado is one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. Furthermore, a bill passed in 2012 to make it official. This state served as a test drive in some sense. 

To continue, this state decriminalized marijuana for medical purposes before recreational. However, recreational was taboo not even a decade ago. At present, its capital, Denver, totes $320.8 million in revenue from marijuana sales taxes. Unsurprisingly, it’s been rated the state with the best economy. 

On the other hand, Denver Public Health reports that hospitalizations possibly due to marijuana have gone up. As a result, there were around 550 pot-related hospitalizations per 100,000 in 2020 in Denver. In 2011, this number was under 400. 

Washington 

Also, Washington state made legal weed news in 2012. It was passed in 2011 before a governor partially vetoed it. This bill was labeled I-502. The Drug Policy alliance paints a pretty picture for statistics tied to marijuana legalization. 

In summary, one year into pot legalization, this state saw $83 million generated from taxes. In addition, it saved millions on resources for law enforcement. Traffic violations and youth use didn’t increase. But, violent crime decreased since it was passed. 

Oregon 

In 2014 Oregon passed retail marijuana into law. In more recent times, they decriminalized small amounts of hard drugs. More notably, in 2020’s election they passed legal mushrooms with psychoactive effects into law. This makes it the first state to do so.  

Oregon uses revenue from marijuana taxes to fund drug addiction treatment. Their position around drugs is that it is a medical disorder instead of a criminal offense. In this way, those with a substance use disorder are offered an alternative to jail time: lasting recovery. 

Massachusetts 

Moreover, Massachusetts legalized weed in 2016. Massachusetts Public Health projected that pot would boost state revenue by $215.8 million within the first two years. It comes as no surprise that it has the seventh-best economy. This state was one of the first to have recreational dispensaries.

In contrast, what are the health implications? Since its legalization, rates for fatal car accidents where the post-mortem results showed THC increased. With this, 34% of citizens in Massachusetts that consume pot drive while high. Young adults make up the bulk of those who use marijuana. 

Legalized Drugs and Addiction Rates 

At the present time, research indicates that cannabis use disorders have increased from 2008-2016. An independent study by JAMA Psychiatry surveyed 505,796 participants. They did this before recreational pot was legal and afterward. This is what their research found:

  • Ages 12-17: cannabis use disorder went from 2.18% to 2.72% 
  • Ages 26 and older: cannabis user disorder went from 0.9% to 1.23% 
  • Frequent use by ages 26 and older went up by about 23% 
  • Social benefits increased along with public health concerns

Hence, a more lax approach to marijuana has increased drug dependency. The study went on to say that it was unclear whether or not it had to do with medical marijuana or retail. However, adolescent cannabis dependency went up by almost 25%. This number is higher for adults 26 and over. Calculations show that addiction rates went up by about 37%. 

JAMA Psychiatry notes that these spikes might be due to newfound availability, a price decrease for pot, and unperceived risks. Cannabis use disorder in youth, in particular, leads to health complications. It also leads to economic and social obstacles. 

This presents a tricky question. Should drugs be legalized even when they are known to increase addiction rates? How can our country avoid higher addiction rates in lieu of criminalization? Addiction treatment programs may be the answer. 

Legalized Drugs and Incarceration

In short, recently legalized drugs may hurt public health but help social justice. In the distant past, people with alcohol dependencies were thrown into mental asylums or in jail. But, psychiatric research ultimately showed it was a medical condition, not a moral impairment. While alcohol is socially acceptable across the USA, recently legalized drugs aren’t. 

In contrast, those who use them recreationally or who have a substance use disorder are treated as criminals. This applies to states who have a rigid approach to drugs. Alcohol and other substances can impair those who are dependent upon them. Yet, alcohol is legal federally while others aren’t. 

Besides, both Oregon and Washington found that legalizing marijuana improved incarceration rates. According to the Oregon Health Authority, Marijuana arrest rates in Oregon went from 31 per 100,000 adults arrested in 2011 to 3. Combined studies show how incarceration for drug dependency hurts citizens: 

  • Hurts chances of employment 
  • It disproportionately affects minorities 
  • They never learn how to cure their substance use disorder 
  • More funds need to be allocated towards prisons and law enforcement 
  • Children are taken away from their parents 
  • Young adults are removed from school

Non-violent arrests that have to do with substance use are common. Americans have had their entire lives derailed because of drug possession. Recent legislation surrounding legalized drugs has taken this into account. 

Pros of Recently Legalized Drugs

Proponents of recently legalized drugs like legal mushrooms and marijuana argue the pros outweigh the cons. States who have legalized it have had a boost by the millions in terms of revenue. They can take this money to fund addiction treatment centers. In this way, people who have a substance use disorder can recover healthily. 

Treating drug dependency as a medical disorder instead of a criminal offense has multiple benefits. It has to do with the fact that people within treatment centers are certified professionals. Community support specialists, doctors, therapists, wellness coaches, and psychiatrists make up teams. They are equipped to handle substance use disorders within a healthy environment. 

Drug legalization has benefits: 

  • Statewide economic boosts 
  • Fewer funds and less time needed for the war on drugs 
  • Adolescents can have a realistic education over abstinence 
  • Those with addictions to hard drugs can have a softer alternative
  • People with medical conditions can opt for a natural alternative 
  • Use or dependency won’t derail their lives from a legal POV 
  • People with a drug dependency can get help without fear of incarceration
  • Employers can’t discriminate against employees who use legalized drugs without cause 
  • Treats substance use disorders as a medical condition instead of a criminal offense

Hence, those who argue in favor of recently legalized drugs see these benefits. That isn’t to say they don’t believe in any repercussions for risky use. Many would like to see criminal charges towards those who are a threat to society. For example, driving under the influence should end in a criminal offense. 

Cons of Recently Legalized Drugs

On the contrary, others argue there are more cons than pros. Studies show that addiction rates have risen as a whole for drugs that were recently legalized. Car accidents that are related to THC have risen with it. Advocates of this side see the danger in a lax approach to drugs. 

Drug legalization has cons: 

  • Adolescents have easier access 
  • Public opinion on its dangers lessens 
  • Chronic use in adults will increase 
  • Increased availability can lead to frequent use 
  • Health issues related to smoking will increase 
  • Hidden health issues may surface that would have otherwise not 
  • Addiction rates for legalized drugs will increase 
  • Hospitalizations for legalized drugs will increase 

Although the Center for Disease Control has said otherwise, many see legalized soft drugs as a gateway. In some cases, this is the truth. A person who smokes pot might end up smoking crack by accident. This could lead to a lifetime of addiction. 

Legalized Drugs Can Result In Addiction 

Legal or not, people can develop a dependency on anything classified as a drug. Just because a legalized drug is socially acceptable, it doesn’t mean there is no danger. Habitual use creeps on without notice. 

At Discovery Institute we know that drug dependency is a medical disorder. We would never judge anyone for a substance use disorder, even if it’s illegal. If you or a loved one can’t live without drugs and alcohol, contact us now for a permanent solution. 

Is Marijuana a Stimulant or Depressant?

Marijuana tends to affect users differently, which leads people to wonder what exactly is the drug classification for marijuana? 

What Are the Effects of Marijuana?

Many people report pleasant euphoria and a sense of relaxation when they smoke marijuana. Other common effects include:

  • an increased sensory perception—brighter colors, for example
  • laughter,
  • altered sense of the passage of time, 
  • increased appetite.

Unpleasant Effects

Not everybody has pleasant experiences when using marijuana. Instead of relaxation and euphoria, some people feel:

  • anxiety, 
  • fear, 
  • distrust, 
  • panic. 

These effects are more likely when a person takes too much, the marijuana has a higher potency than expected, or the person is not experienced with it. People who have taken large doses of marijuana may experience sudden psychosis, which includes hallucinations, delusions, and a loss of the sense of personal identity.

These are temporary, unpleasant reactions and are different from longer-lasting psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. However, there may be a link between marijuana use and psychiatric disorders in vulnerable people.

Drug Classifications

Drugs are classified according to their effects and properties. Generally, each one falls into one of these four categories:

  • Depressants: Depressants are drugs that slow down your brain function. Some examples are alcohol, Xanax, and barbiturates.
  • Stimulants: These elevate your mood and increase your energy and alertness. They tend to be highly addictive. Examples are cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs for ADHD.
  • Hallucinogens: Hallucinogens alter your perception of reality by changing the way the nerve cells in your brain communicate. LSD and MDMA are examples.
  • Opiates: These are painkillers that rapidly produce feelings of euphoria. They are also very addictive and can have long-term effects on your brain. Examples are heroin, morphine, and prescription painkillers.

Where Does Weed Fit In?

The answer to where marijuana fits in these categories is not as clear as you would think. The effects can vary greatly from person to person. And in addition to that, different strains and types of marijuana can produce different effects. 

As a result of this, and according to the University of Maryland, weed can be classified as:

Marijuana as a Depressant

Marijuana affects your nervous system and slows brain function, calming nerves and relaxing muscles. Over time, you can develop a tolerance, which means you keep needing to use more to get the initial effects. You can also become dependent.

Marijuana as a Stimulant

Stimulants have the opposite effect of depressants. They increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Weed is sometimes considered a stimulant because it can cause elevated moods and make you feel alert and energetic, especially right after using them. You can also become dependent on marijuana for the mood-elevating effects.

Marijuana as a Hallucinogen

Hallucinations are false perceptions of objects, events, or senses. Weed is often stereotyped for hallucinogenic effects. But while hallucinations are possible, they rarely occur and don’t happen in all users. However, the symptom of time distortion with marijuana is also part of a hallucination. 

So clearly, marijuana can have various psychological and physical effects that vary from person to person. It makes some people relaxed and sleepy, but it can also give other people an energy boost and increase alertness. It has also been used to treat mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. For other people, it can cause anxiety over time.

What are THC and CBD?

THC

THC is tetrahydrocannabinol, and it is the chemical responsible for most of the psychological effects of marijuana. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it acts a lot like the cannabinoid chemicals naturally made by the body. The receptors for cannabinoid are located in certain areas of the brain. 

THC attaches to these receptors and activates them, which affects these areas of your brain:

  • Memory
  • Pleasure
  • Thinking
  • Concentration
  • Coordination
  • Sensory and time perception

CBD

CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it’s the second most active ingredient in marijuana. Although it is an essential part of medical marijuana, it is obtained directly from the hemp plant, a marijuana plant cousin. 

While CBD is one of the hundreds of marijuana parts, it does not cause a “high.” According to the World Health Organization, “…there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” CBD is easy to get in most parts of the U.S. but its exact legal status is constantly changing.

How Does Marijuana Produce Its Effects?

When marijuana is smoked, THC, and other chemicals from the plant pass from the lungs into the bloodstream. They are then rapidly carried throughout the body to the brain. THC stimulates the cells in the brain to release dopamine which creates a euphoric feeling. These effects are felt more quickly when it is smoked. It also interferes with how information is processed in the hippocampus—the part of the brain responsible for forming new memories. 

When cannabis is ingested in foods or beverages, the effects are delayed to some extent. Because the drug must pass through the digestive system, the effects usually appear after 30 minutes to an hour. Eating or drinking marijuana carries considerably less THC into the bloodstream than smoking an equal amount of the plant. Because of this delay, people may accidentally consume more THC than they intended.

Risks of Marijuana Use

The pleasant effects of marijuana make it a popular drug. Actually, it is considered one of the most commonly used illicit drugs in the world. However, the effects also worry mental health advocates. Some of the risks are:

  • Schizophrenia relapse–NIDA has reported that THC can cause a relapse in schizophrenic symptoms.
  • Defective motor skills–Using marijuana can impair driving or similar tasks for about three hours after consumption. In fact, it is the second-most common psychoactive substance found in drivers, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The most common is alcohol. People using medical marijuana are told not to drive until it has been shown that they can use it and conduct motor tasks successfully.
  • Hallucinations—THC can cause hallucinations, change your thinking, and cause delusions. The effects begin about 10 to 30 minutes after consumption and last about 2 hours. 
  • Anxiety—excessive uneasiness
  • Memory– recall issues

Risks for Younger Users

Using marijuana can cause long-term problems for younger people. Some of the side effects for younger people include:

  • Decrease in IQ
  • Memory loss
  • A decrease in cognition (ability to understand)

The University of Montreal published a study on almost 300 students who found that marijuana’s early use of marijuana can affect teens. People who start smoking marijuana at around age 14 do worse on some cognitive tests than non-smokers. They also have a higher school dropout rate. The ones that waited until around age 17 to start using the drug didn’t seem to have the same impairment.

Medicinal Uses for Marijuana

Marijuana has been used for medicinal purposes for more than 3,000 years. In early 2017, more than half of the United States had legalized the use of medical marijuana. Several states have legalized the drug for recreational use as well. 

THC can be removed from marijuana or synthesized, as in the case of the FDA-approved drug dronabinol. Dronabinol is used to treat or prevent nausea and vomiting typical with cancer medicines. Likewise, it is used to increase the appetites of people with AIDS, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

All Natural

Some people are claiming marijuana as a better drug than prescription pills because it is “all-natural.” However, that may not be completely true. Just because something is considered “natural” doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Poison ivy grows in the ground and is natural, but that 

Marijuana Edibles and Overdose

Foods containing THC, known as edibles, have become a problem in states that have legalized marijuana because of overdosing. Edibles can sometimes cause overdose because people often ingest a full serving of a cookie (or other edible) instead of a smaller amount. It is easier to swallow a whole cookie, and it’s more attractive to younger people or people who don’t want to inhale it in the form of smoke.

Edibles have extremely high potency. Because of this, when ingested in the gastrointestinal system, the drug can last longer and with more intensity. The effect from inhaling THC will last 45 minutes to a few hours, but edibles can last for 6 to 8 hours. Therefore, edibles are more likely to lead to a trip to the ER with an overdose.

How Does Cannabis Interact With Other Drugs?

For all practical purposes, all chemical compounds interact with other chemical compounds. Whether it’s over-the-counter drugs, prescription medication, or illicit substances, they interact, and it can be from mild to severe. For cannabis, most potential interactions that are known have been identified as relatively mild. The fact is, some drugs work together with cannabis favorably. Some of the interactions that have been studied are:

Marijuana with Blood Pressure Reducing Drugs

THC activates the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain at the same time. This causes a stress response in the cardiovascular system that can reduce blood flow in the arteries of the heart. This can multiply the effects of the medication.

Marijuana with Blood Thinners

THC and CBD may increase the effect of drugs used for blood thinning (warfarin or heparin), or drugs known to cause blood thinning (ibuprofen or naproxen, etc.). This happens possibly by slowing down the metabolism of these drugs.

Marijuana with Opioids

A study conducted by Dr. Donald Abrams of UC, San Francisco, concluded that cannabis could safely boost the pain-relieving effects of opioids. His team also found that treating patients with opioids and cannabis may allow for using lower doses of opioids. This will reduce the risk of dependence and cause fewer side effects.

Marijuana with Alcohol

Mixing any drug with alcohol is generally not a good idea. But there is no doubt that alcohol and cannabis are a popular combination. However, current studies can be interpreted negatively or positively.

In some research, there is evidence that alcohol increases blood THC levels (but there is no evidence that the reverse is true). And on the other hand, some studies suggest that people drink less alcohol when they use cannabis. These findings make sense when you consider that THC increases its effects through the use of alcohol, which means that you would need less alcohol.

However, you still need to be careful when using alcohol and cannabis for two reasons:

  1. The combination creates greater dangers when driving than either one alone.
  2. If a person has had too much to drink, to the point where they need to vomit to get rid of the toxins. Cannabis inhibits nausea and vomiting which puts the person at a greater risk of alcohol poisoning.

Marijuana with Sedatives

Cannabis with sedatives doesn’t seem to raise blood levels or increase the sedative action. Therefore, it’s not as risky as combining alcohol with sedatives, which can be fatal, but it is still risky. Better to avoid the combination.

Can You Get Addicted to Marijuana?

Yes, marijuana can lead to a stage of problem use known as marijuana use disorder. In severe cases, this takes the form of addiction. Recent studies imply that 30% of people who use marijuana may have some level of marijuana use disorder. Users who start before the age of 18 are 4 to 7 times more likely to develop a use disorder than adults. 

Marijuana use disorders are frequently connected to dependence—when a person feels withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug. Symptoms of withdrawal are at their worst in the first week after quitting and last up to 2 weeks. Symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Decreased appetite
  • Cravings
  • Restlessness
  • Physical discomfort

Marijuana Addiction

Addiction occurs when the person can’t stop using the drug even though it interferes with many parts of the person’s life. Studies suggest that 9% of people who use marijuana will become addicted. This figure rises to about 17% for those who start using it during their teen years.

Is Treatment for Marijuana Addiction Available?

Although marijuana use disorders seem to be similar to other substance use disorders, the long-term outcomes may be less severe. Generally, adults seeking treatment for marijuana use have used marijuana nearly every day for more than ten years and have tried to quit more than six times. 

Additionally, adolescents with marijuana use disorders also often have other psychiatric disorders (dual diagnosis). They may also be addicted to other substances such as cocaine or alcohol. Treatments that have been successful include;

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Contingency management therapy
  • Motivational enhancement therapy

Medications for Treatment

The FDA has not approved any medications for the treatment of marijuana use disorder. Since sleep problems are common in marijuana withdrawal, some studies are looking at medications that help with sleep. Other chemicals that are being studied include nutritional supplements and chemicals called FAAH inhibitors that reduce withdrawal symptoms by slowing the body’s own cannabinoids’ breakdown.

A Place to Recover

If your relaxation method, pain relief, or recreation has turned into an addiction, you have no time to wait. Your life could be so much more than that. At Discovery Institute, we are well acquainted with these issues and have over 50 years of success at helping someone like you or someone close to you.

Make the first step and contact us now. Our evidence-based treatment has helped many people reclaim their lives and their futures. We have licensed professionals who are experienced in the treatment of substance use disorders and co-occurring conditions. Do it for yourself or someone you love.

online addiction treatment resources

Social Media Provides Accessible Addiction Help Online

The time in which we’re currently living is both challenging and even frightening. Uncertainty surrounds us all, both here in the United States, and throughout the entire world. People from all walks of life are facing the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But, as the world struggles to return to a state of normalcy, questions continue to linger. These questions are also plaguing the minds of those who are in recovery from addiction.

As recovering individuals were prohibited from gathering in group meetings due to safety concerns, many people who are working to overcome addiction have been left wondering what to do. Accountability and togetherness are both necessary components of the recovery process.

So, how can individuals continue to receive addiction help throughout this time? Well, social media platforms have teamed up with Google to make online addiction help both possible and accessible to those who need it. According to a recent report, recovering individuals may be able to find addiction help online, a welcome and needed resource at this time.

Facebook, Twitter, and Google: Bringing Hope and Help

Social media often gets a bad reputation. Many people find themselves struggling to maintain a healthy self-image due to the pressures that come with keeping up with the social media Joneses. But, what if Google and social media joined forces to provide people with hope? What if there was a way for people who struggle with addiction to gain access to addiction help through these platforms?

Apparently, the individuals behind Twitter, Facebook, and Google have thought through these questions. Recently, these platforms shared the news that they partnered with the nonprofit Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies. In doing so, they have launched Tech Together, an online platform that works to help those suffering from substance dependence.

About Tech Together’s Approach to Online Addiction Help

The Tech Together site launched by Facebook, Twitter, and Google threesome is meant to create a safe space for those who are struggling with addiction or dealing with the stigma of getting treatment for substance use disorders. The website (TechTogether.co) is a resource where individuals can find the help they need as they work through addiction.

This resource might prove to be very helpful, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic our world is currently experiencing. Since the coronavirus has halted addiction recovery group meetings for now, more and more people are taking to telehealth and telemedicine approaches to get help. 

As previously mentioned, accountability is a critical part of the journey to recovery. Those who are attempting to remain free from addiction need a support system, complete with like-minded peers and compassionate professionals. But, as the world continues to take safety measures by carrying out social distancing precautions, recovery meetings and support groups are unable to meet. This makes accountability and support systems less and less accessible.

Thankfully, however, more individuals, communities, and corporations are finding ways to provide addiction help online for those who need these services. 

Tech Together offers people in recovery a platform where they can find resources as they move toward a life without substance dependence. These resources include tools that can help people find treatment services near them. Also, individuals can help family members of struggling individuals to find helpful resources. So, the spouses, children, and parents of those suffering from substance use disorders may be able to benefit from Tech Together, as well.

What Does This Mean For People in Recovery?

With the COVID-19 virus running rampantly throughout the world, many people are facing intense feelings of fear and uncertainty. Emotions are running high and countless families are trying to navigate through this new normal. While everyone is truly hoping that this current normalcy is only temporary, there is no real way to be sure.

Those who are trying to terminate addiction’s grip on their lives and begin a new and healthier life are likely to feel a different kind of uncertainty than others. It can be difficult to take the first step toward recovery in a regular world. So, attempting to do so in a world that is plagued by chaos and “the unknown” can be even more challenging. 

This is why support and resources are so important for those in recovery. Perhaps, one might even say that these components of recovery are even more essential now than before the coronavirus pandemic struck the globe. 

Finding hope and help is absolutely necessary while in recovery. Having access to resources like those provided by Tech Together may prove to be a critical part of the recovery process, both now and in the future.

While local and federal government officials sort through the sea of unresolved issues regarding the virus, individuals around the world are simply trying to make it through another day in recovery. Fortunately, Google, Twitter, and Facebook have recognized this truth. By working together, these platforms in combination with the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies have provided people with effective and useful solutions and tools.

Finding the Best Resources for Your Needs

No doubt, if you or someone you know needs addiction help, you are wondering if online addiction resources are really enough. This question is one that probes at the minds of many individuals seeking to recover from alcoholism or drug misuse. The truth of the matter is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to addiction treatment.

It is certainly true online resources can be both convenient and effective. It’s also true that this approach can help those who are unable to attend group meetings or find treatment services and facilities near them. But, these tools and resources are only helpful in cases where people are truly willing to end addiction in their lives.

Many people who suffer from substance use disorder may not recognize the severity of their struggle. Others may simply be unsure how or if they should even go about finding help for substance use disorders. But, by learning more about substance misuse and the available resources, individuals may become more comfortable with seeking addiction help.

If you are currently dealing with drug use or alcohol use and you’re not sure where to start, know that we are here for you! At Discovery Institute, we are dedicated to providing individuals with the tools they need to recover from addiction. Our staff is working to create a safe and secure environment, taking great care to follow the best coronavirus prevention precautions. So, please reach out to us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you find true freedom. We look forward to walking with you on this journey!

addiction and the coronavirus

Addiction and Coronavirus

COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, is a respiratory disease that has rapidly spread across the globe over the past few months. With more than 123,000 deaths as of April 2020, it hasn’t only affected our health; it’s also undoubtedly impacted our way of life. Many stores, restaurants, and parks remain closed to “flatten the curve” and lessen the number of COVID-19 cases.

This sudden disruption of daily life can be devastating for people who are recovering from addiction, who depend on routines to stay sober. We’ll break down how COVID-19 affects addiction, as well as any virtual mental health resources that can help them during this time.

How Does COVID-19 Affect an Individual’s Body? 

In a healthy person, COVID-19 attacks the lungs by infecting cells in their lining. The first symptoms you’ll notice are a dry cough, headache, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue and muscle pain. As the virus moves from the upper respiratory tract to the lower, these symptoms will get worse. Serious COVID-19 cases can cause bronchitis or pneumonia, and sometimes even acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

When we look at how addiction impacts the body in general, it wreaks havoc on it. Addiction weakens the immune system and destroys internal organs. Methamphetamine can damage blood vessels in the brain and heart, tooth decay and respiratory problems, while excessive alcohol consumption can cause cirrhosis of the liver, brain damage and cancer. Opioid use disorder can result in pulmonary damage. Smoking marijuana can also put pressure on the lungs, weakening them.

In healthy patients, the immune system might be able to contain COVID-19 to the upper tract. However, if addiction has already affected your body, COVID-19 could do even worse damage since your immune system is weak.

How Does COVID-19 Affect Mental Health?

A sudden disruption in routine is already hard enough for healthy people, leaving them depressed, anxious and stressed. For those recovering from addiction, this change can be especially surprising and confusing. Those recovering or suffering from addiction might already deal with mood disorders, which results in co-occurring disorders. They usually self-medicate to deal with depression or bipolar disorder, and this can make their mental health symptoms worse.

People who are at a high risk of contracting COVID-19, such as healthcare workers, first responders, people with mental health issues and addicts (both current and recovering), might be more stressed about the virus.

Coping with COVID-19 and Addiction

People on the front lines of the virus can develop secondary traumatic stress (STS) during this time. Symptoms of STS include fatigue, guilt, fear, and social withdrawal.

To avoid developing STS, it’s important to do the following:

  • Avoid using alcohol, drugs or tobacco to cope with the stress of the crisis.
  • Allow time for self-care.
  • Take a break from social media and watching the news.
  • If you’re a healthcare worker, create a buddy system with a coworker to monitor stress and workload.

By maintaining healthy habits and social distancing, you can avoid contracting COVID-19 and also keep yourself from relapsing back into addiction.

Get Virtual Help for Addiction During COVID-19

Many 12-Step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) that gather in person are moving online to free video platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts Meet. Having virtual meetings when you can’t meet in person can help you maintain your recovery and keep a somewhat normal routine. Check the AA and NA websites for any virtual meetings that are near you.

If you’re in recovery and you regularly attend therapy, many licensed mental health counselors are holding virtual “telehealth” sessions via webcam and phone calls. Ask your therapist if he or she is offering these alternatives to in-person sessions.

The following is a shortlist of virtual resources for addiction recovery:

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has provided a full list of virtual recovery programs.

Contact Discovery for Addiction Help Today

We know this is a difficult time for you and your family, especially if you’re suffering from addiction. Discovery Institute is still accepting patients in light of the pandemic. Contact us now to peak with a representative about how you can recover from substance use disorder.

teen vaping

Can the New Vaping Laws Help Curb Teen Use?

E-cigarettes, or “vapes,” have become a wildly popular substitute for cigarettes in the past four years. Their dangers have become so widespread that lawmakers have passed restrictions against them. Despite this, vaping seems to be a more popular practice than ever. Why are there laws against vaping? Can the new vaping laws curb teen use? We’ll explore this and let you know all the side effects of this new practice. Learn how you can get help with your vaping habit at Discovery Institute.

What is “Vaping”?

Vaping involves the use of vaping devices, which consist of electronic cigarettes, also known as vapes, e-cigs, vape pens or hookah pens. Users inhale aerosols out of these battery-operated devices, and they usually contain nicotine and flavorings. Many vapes resemble USB sticks, although have also been designed to look like cigarettes. Over the last few years, more than 460 vaping brands have come onto the market.

There are four different parts to a vape: 

  • A power source
  • A cartridge/pod/reservoir that holds a liquid solution containing nicotine, flavoring, and other chemicals
  • A heating element, or atomizer
  • A mouthpiece for inhaling

Inhaling from the vape activates the heating device, which then vaporizes the liquid, allowing the user to inhale the aerosol and get high.

How Vaping Affects Your Brain

Vaping affects your brain in the same way that smoking cigarettes does. When you inhale the vapor, the nicotine inside it absorbs quickly into your lungs. Now that the nicotine is in your bloodstream, it stimulates glands that release adrenaline, which stimulates the central nervous system (CNS). In turn, your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure increase. Nicotine also increases the amount of dopamine in your body, activating the brain’s reward center. 

Because you feel good when you have nicotine, you usually require more and more of it to feel that same amount of pleasure. This is why people who smoke or vape often will crave nicotine when they are stressed or upset. Some people have used vapes as a substitute for cigarettes so they can quit, but there are few studies that show whether this is effective.

Health Effects of Vaping on the Body and Brain 

Vaping increases your desire for nicotine, which is no doubt an addictive drug. Once your brain craves nicotine constantly, it may lead you to try other substances that will give you the same effect. Vaping is a relatively new trend, so there aren’t enough studies to determine exactly how healthy a habit it is.

Teens and adults who vape may think that they’re inhaling a pure vapor that gives off a clean high, but that isn’t always the case. Although recent studies have shown that vapes may be less harmful than cigarettes, others say the other chemicals inside vapes that include flavoring aren’t healthy for your body. Some e-cig brands contain carcinogens (which cause cancer), toxic metal particles, and high levels of chromium and nickel. Also in the liquid is cadmium, which can cause disease and breathing problems in heavy smokers. 

Vaping vs. Smoking Cigarettes 

Even though vaping is considered a “healthier” alternative to smoking as vapes have fewer chemicals, it doesn’t mean it’s safer. Since lungs can’t filter out toxic chemicals, the inhalation of certain vaping oils has also led to lung illnesses and even death in some smokers. As of January 2020, there have been 60 deaths related to e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI). The main chemical of concern behind EVALI is vitamin E acetate, which is a thickening agent usually found in THC-vaping devices.

As we mentioned earlier, nicotine increases your blood pressure and adrenaline. This increases your heart rate as well as your risk for heart attack. Vaping has also been linked to cardiovascular disease and chronic lung disease and asthma. One study found that students who vape are more likely to end up suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and anxiety.

“People need to understand that e-cigarettes are potentially dangerous to your health,” said Michael Joseph Blaha, M.D., M.P.H., director of clinical research at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease. “You’re exposing yourself to all kinds of chemicals that we don’t yet understand and that are probably not safe.”

Vaping and Teens: Why is it So Popular?

Vaping has skyrocketed among teens and young adults, and a big reason for this is the attractive flavors available in vaping devices. Vaping is now the most common source of nicotine among young people in the U.S. E-cigarette companies like Juul, Stig and NJOY have become masters at marketing their product so that it looks attractive to teens. 

With flavors like Blazberry Cream, Cotton Candy, and Apple Cinnamon Donut, who wouldn’t want to try a vape? These along with the wide availability of vapes and the illusion of them being safer than cigarettes has caused sales to boom. 

While cartridge-based vape brands used to be more popular, disposable e-cigarettes like Puff Bar are now taking over since teens won’t have to buy new cartridges. Many young people also find the lack of smoke from vapes appealing. Cigarette smoke tends to leave an unpleasant odor on people’s clothes and in rooms, and vaping doesn’t do this. 

Statistics

About 2.5 million former smokers are now using vapes. More than 5 million teens in the U.S. are vaping, and about 88 percent of high schoolers who vape regularly (about 20 to 30 times a month) were previously cigarette smokers. This is compared to about 12 percent of vapers who had never smoked before.

What Are the New Vaping Laws? 

Before 2016, vaping wasn’t given much consideration. However, now that vaping has increased exponentially, law enforcement has been looking at it much more closely. All 50 states, including New Jersey, have banned the sale of vapes to anyone under the age of 21, and several states have taken the time to define exactly what a vape is. Many states have also placed a ban on vaping in most indoor workplaces. There are also some taxes on vapes, which vary by state.

The Trump administration issued a ban on all mint and fruit flavors in vapes in 2019. In Colorado, lawmakers enacted a ban on all flavored nicotine products to curb the teen vaping rate. 

Why Is There A Need for Vaping Laws? Are They Helping?

Schools have seen huge problems with vaping among students. Many have gone to the hospital for vaping problems. Laws have been created to curb vaping because of these health issues. Lawmakers believe that by enacting laws, they will be preventing teens from using these devices. The American Medical Association has called for a ban on all vapes, but banning vaping might actually be hurting more than helping. People have restricted the use of cigarettes, but they’ve never been outright banned. The interesting part is that cigarette smoking is now at an all-time low.  

Although Juul got rid of all of its mint and fruit flavors in 2019, many brands still have these kinds of flavors available. Teenagers have also found loopholes in the Trump administration’s flavor-banning law. The law technically only applies to refillable vapes like Juuls, which is why young people are now switching to disposable vapes like those offered by Puff Bar. Puff Bar offers plenty of fruity and minty flavors. As a result, young adults are still finding and using flavored vapes.

By raising the age at which people can buy vapes, more young people may actually be encouraged to buy cigarettes. This will make the smoking rate go up, and lawmakers have tried so hard for it to go down.

Instead of simply banning vaping, the best way to convince teens to not vape may be changing the way they think about it. Vaping is considered “cool” now. For a long time, cigarette smoking was considered cool, but marketing like The Truth Campaign portrayed tobacco companies in a negative light. If teens begin to see that vaping has a negative effect on their health, they’ll be less likely to buy an e-cigarette.

Treating Your Vaping Addiction

Like cigarette smoking, vaping is addicting. If your teen is constantly craving an e-cigarette, they may have a nicotine addiction. 

Treating nicotine addiction requires therapy and a will to quit. The most effective way to quit smoking is through over-the-counter nicotine patches and gums, as well as prescription nicotine replacement methods. Your child may experience serious withdrawal symptoms if they don’t have nicotine regularly. Signs and symptoms of vaping addiction include: 

  • Sweating
  • Constipation and gas
  • Sore throat
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

It is possible to quit your nicotine addiction with plenty of dedication. 

Get Help for Vaping at Discovery Institute

Is your teen vaping constantly without any regard for the consequences of their actions? Discovery Institute can help. We can provide individual therapy, group therapy and holistic therapy that will help your child get over their vaping addiction. We put our patients’ recovery first and won’t rest until you reach your goals. Contact us today.

COVID-19 Response at Discovery Institute

Read Our Full Statement Here

Discovery Institute has implemented several new policies to ensure the safety of our clients, staff, and their families. We are still accepting new clients and all programs will continue to operate as they normally would, except for outside activities. We will proceed with extreme caution during this time of increased risk and continue to update our protocols based on the CDC standards. Our number one priority is to stay in unity and continue to help individuals find long term recovery from substance use disorder. 

The CDC’s Page on COVID-19

New Admissions

  • New admissions will be screened for the Coronavirus prior to admitting to Discovery.
  • New admissions will also undergo an additional screening process once they arrive at Discovery and will be isolated until the screening takes place.  

Visitation/Family Programs

  • Family programming and visitation will still occur during the designated times but will be conducted over HIPAA compliant video chat or through a phone call.
  • Family may drop off items, those items will be collected wearing gloves and stored for 24 hours before given to clients.
  • Family therapy sessions will be done by phone or telehealth.

Outpatient Services

  • We are providing telehealth for all outpatient services. 

Operations

  • All staff and clients who enter and exit the building will have their temperature read by touchless infrared thermometers. 
  • Clients will not attend outside meetings, nor will outside presenters be allowed to bring in meetings.
  • Any outside urgent appointments for clients must be approved by the Medical and Clinical Director.
  • Clients will be rescreened upon re-entering the facility. 
  • Any employee who displays any of the identified symptoms, specifically a fever, or has been in contact with someone who has tested positive or with someone who has been to the identified countries, must contact Human Resources and Nursing Director. 

We would like to assure you that Discovery Institute’s main mission is to provide the best possible care for our clients. We will be continuously following the most up to date COVID-19 guidelines to maximize the safety of our clients and staff. Thank you for your understanding and patience during this turbulent time. We are all in this together. 

Nick Boatman
President of The Board

Stay Connected to Recovery

Alcoholics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous

SMART Recovery

Other Resources

24/7 Help Available 844-471-3870

Chef Kevin Giunta

Discovery’s Patients get Bit by the Cooking Bug, Thanks to the New Celebrity Chef

It’s likely that most people don’t think of cooking as an important skill for those who are overcoming addiction. But, believe it or not, life skills such as cooking a fresh and nutritional meal can help individuals in recovery to become more comfortable with their journey, helping them to find peace and contentment with who they are becoming!

Often, those who are working to recover from substance abuse struggle to feel a sense of belonging, a feeling of self-value and worth. As individuals recover from substance dependence, it’s important for them to also regain the ability to care for and love themselves. After all, emotional health is just as important as physical health. That’s why we strive to bring complete recovery and overall health to the lives of each patient here at Discovery Institute for Addictive Disorders in Marlboro, NJ. 

We understand that our clients may be facing challenges they never knew they would face. So, our team is dedicated to walking with each individual on the road to a new and healthier life! One of the ways in which we work to help our clients find fulfillment in their newfound sobriety is by providing them with the opportunity to develop new and helpful life skills in a fun, engaging, and safe environment! Developing life skills can help people to develop a sense of security, confidence, and self-worth. So, we offer individuals the chance to grow and learn as they transition from a life that has been affected by alcohol or drug abuse into a life that is totally free from addiction.

Recently, Discovery Institute for Addictive Disorders in Marlboro, NJ added a brand new cooking program to help our clients find the joy that comes with honing a new life skill! Through this program, we invite celebrity chefs who have worked for numerous public figures to teach our clients how to prepare healthy, nutritious, and delicious meals for themselves and their families. We have found that, by learning to take control over what they are eating, individuals actually gain more self-confidence and self-love as they learn to better care for themselves. These increases in self-esteem are absolutely critical to a successful recovery. 

Beginning with a lesson from celebrity chef Kevin Giunta, our program has begun to bring smiles to the faces and determination to the hearts of those who are on the road to recovery here at Discovery. Through engaging lessons from the patient and knowledgable Chef Giunta, our clients learned how to prepare an inexpensive and wonderfully tasting meal, a skill that they can continue to hone throughout their recovery! 

Addiction takes away from the lives of those who suffer from it, causing individuals to feel that they’ve lost nearly everything. But, here at Discovery, our goal is to add to the lives of each individual who comes to us for help. We are committed to making sure that our clients gain the strength, dignity, and overall peace that they deserve as they overcome addiction. We also want to ensure that each person leaves treatment having learned and grown in every area of life. That’s why we introduce programs such as this; even after treatment is over, our clients will continue to love themselves and the new skills they’ve worked so hard to develop!

Reference:

https://patch.com/new-jersey/marlboro-coltsneck/new-celebrity-chef-program-stirs-hope-patients-recovery

Monmouth County Addiction

Ex-TSA Worker and Former Addict Gives Back During Shutdown

Living with a Monmouth County addiction is something you will always remember. Like the feeling of wondering if you will never overcome your cravings, or being unsure of what life will be like after you complete your addiction treatment.

What if instead you focused on remembering those who helped you most when you were at your lowest point? For former addict and ex-TSA worker, Mark Werner, that’s exactly what he decided to do.

Slices for Support

While working for the federal agency of the Transportation Security Administration, Mark Werner fell into addiction in Monmouth County. He needed help with his recovery, which is when the TSA stepped in and supported him through his detox and treatment sessions. Mark believes this is why he is still alive today.

Now an employee and representative for Discovery Institute, Mark is constantly helping others find their path to sobriety just like the TSA did for him.

Because he believes the TSA was a crucial factor in his recovery, he wanted to find some way to show his support during the government shutdown. Mark decided the best thing he could do was give back to the agency that once gave him so much. He donated 150 pizzas to TSA workers to encourage them to keep going and get through the tough times just like they did for them.

Ways to Support Recovering Addicts

There are many ways to give back to those going through addiction in Monmouth County. Some things you can do to support recovering addicts are as follows:

Volunteer. If you yourself have experienced addiction and have persevered through it, the best thing you can do is be an example for those currently struggling with their own addictions. Allowing them to see that a full recovery and normal life are possible after completing treatment is the best way to encourage them to keep going. You can volunteer to help out at an AA meeting or find other related opportunities to serve the community.

Donate. A lot of families cannot financially support their relative attending rehab. A great way to give back to someone battling with addiction is to fund his or her expenses while completing treatment. Sponsoring treatment for those who can’t afford it allows them to have a chance at a full recovery that they probably wouldn’t have had before.

Encourage. If you know someone working through their addiction, encourage him or her to continue their treatments and therapies despite the hardships. Enabling an addict only worsens their addiction. If they continue to have emotional support during this hard time in their life, they will ultimately succeed.

Monmouth County Addiction HelpMonmouth County Addiction

Supporting and encouraging those struggling with Monmouth County addiction to pursue treatment and get the help they need is an important factor in their recovery. Here at Discovery Institute, we have many treatment programs that fit any type or intensity of addiction. We are here to help determine which treatment plan is best for you.

If you believe you or a loved one are consumed by Monmouth County addiction, please contact us today at 844-478-6563. Our compassionate team of counselors are always ready to assist you.

 

A Celtic Story

When one thinks of professional athletics like the NBA, images of stadiums, highly skilled players sweating and playing their hearts out for a win, dedication to the sport and recognition for the display of talent on the court in every game. Rarely does a person think of a heroin addict in need of a top rated drug rehab center. For Chris Herren, it wasn’t just an image in his head, but a daily reality.

While in college before he even joined the team, Chris tried cocaine as a freshman and recalls, “I had no idea at 18 years old when I promised myself just one time, that one line would take 14 years to walk away from.” His cocaine use ended up causing him to be ejected from Boston College after failing multiple drug tests, resulting in his packing up and moving to Fresno, California.

Shortly thereafter, he was drafted into the Denver Nuggets as the 33rd pick in 1999. Unfortunately, Chris only made it through one season maintaining his sobriety, and calls his first season in the NBA “the best season I ever had in basketball.” However, that year was the same year he would be introduced to opioids, specifically oxycontin by a childhood friend of his.

“I had no idea that 40 milligram pill would turn into 1600 milligrams a day. I had no idea that 20$ would turn into a $2,500 a month oxy habit.”

Herren’s dream as a child growing up as both a basketball fan and native of Boston was to play for the Boston Celtics. “Since I was about four, I wanted to be a Celtic. I dreamed of that moment. I pretended to be a Celtic in my driveway,” he says. “What should have been a dream come true, I knew in my heart the nightmare was beginning.”

Instead of being excited that a lifelong goal had finally been achieved, his first reaction was to make sure his habit was properly being fed, making a phone call for more pills instead of sharing the moment with family and friends. His first day on the Celtics is barely remembered since he was so high during. He now has trouble recalling the milestone of having his name announced as a true Celtic in the Boston TD Garden arena.

By the time he was 24, he had graduated to heroin. “At 24-years-old I had never seen a needle except at a doctor’s office. At 24 years-old, I had never seen heroin.” But there he was in Italy, shooting up every morning while trying to maintain what little there was left of his professional ball career until finally he was stripped of his chilren by social workers for his lack of functionality as a proper father.

Discovery InstituteSince then, he’s gotten treatment for his substance use disorder and travels anywhere that will have him to talk about how his battle with addiction cost him the dream he briefly lived. “I’ve had the responsibility of walking into auditoriums and presenting to a million kids and I truly believe in my heart, it’s made a difference to some of them.”

Chris’ story isn’t especially unique. If you’re seeking sober living in New Jersey, Discovery Institute offers addiction treatment in NJ. Call 844-478-6563 to speak to a specialist to help you or someone you know find a stable life free from substance use disorders.

 

Addiction in Culture – Glamorization or a Warning?

One of the most obviously influential elements of modern society is media; books, film, television, internet blogs, images, comic books, radio, etc. In fact, it’s very rare that information we come across these days didn’t originate in one of these areas. Specifically, film and television have an immense impact. Whether it’s a member of US Government delivering policy intent on the local news station, or a dramatized event about that very same thing in a Hollywood dramatization, a lot of other mediums will mirror and echo these thoughts and messages.

One of the things that many people struggle with in this landscape of the constant buzz-cycle is the image of drugs, especially in media works which try to tell the story of a person using drugs. The idea of ‘death of the author’ is one in which when the author of a piece of media releases their work into the public, whether they intend a reading of that text to be a specific way or not, they cannot control specifically how it will be received in the public. More careful authors will do their best to make sure that no matter who consumes their media the intent will be clear, but there’s absolutely no guarantee that the message will be clear.

Take for instance the rather well known 1996 film “Trainspotting”, directed by Danny Boyle and based off a book by Irvine Welsh. In it, heroin use is a prevalent plot device, with multiple characters not only describing how it makes them feel, but also tries to show the many downsides of addiction to the drug. Many have seen it as a glamorization of the drug, even though one of the opening scenes involves a character who treats his stash of heroin so sacredly, that he braves an incredibly disgusting toilet in a bar to rescue a small bag that he accidentally dropped in it. Critics have pointed out that much of the ‘downsides’ to their addiction seemed to be more centered around their selling and distribution of it, rather than the long term physical effects the drug has on the human body and how after a certain point, the only reason many people continue to use it after addicted is to escape withdrawal symptoms.

A recent autobiographical book by Seattle addict and dealer Tom Hanson goes into detail about rock stars, strippers and other ‘interesting characters’ he met using and selling heroin. In it, he even mentions that he had developed such a severe heroin addiction, he’d use four needles to inject 2 grams of the drug at every use and that it had destroyed his buttocks to the point where when he was finally in treatment, a physician told him that the skin had basically rotted off and his pelvic bones were exposed to the air.

Discovery InstituteSo how do should we interpret these stories? Are they warnings? Or are they giving out a message that ‘for everything that happens that is cool with drugs, something equally bad or worse happens?’ For each person that message is different, but one thing has seemingly been consistent through all of these kinds of stories; there is definitely a deep and dark side to heroin addiction.

Substance use disorders are a serious chronic illness that requires addiction treatment in New Jersey. If you or someone you know is looking for sober living in New Jersey, call the best New Jersey rehab, Discovery Institute, at 844-478-6563.

‘Doctor Shopping’ May Include Vets

Often times, people suffering from addiction will go to great lengths to obtain the substance they’re addicted to, including crafting seemingly clever plans at times to achieve this goal. One of an addict’s primary parts of the brain that has been medically linked to addictive behavior, dopamine, can compel a person suffering from substance use disorder to put priority to obtaining more of the substance they’re hooked on to the detriment of their personal life and even their safety. For instance, some alcoholics with extreme codependency to that substance may try to consume forms of it that aren’t intended for consumption such as isopropyl alcohol (known colloquially as rubbing alcohol) or even alcohol based hand sanitizer mixes, which is neither safe nor sane under normal conditions.

New trends in ‘doctor shopping’ show similar signs of determination, ingenuity, risk averse behaviors and grip of opioid addiction on those addicted to it. A new study revealed that as states implement prescription monitoring services which can help both keep doctors from over-prescribing opioid class painkillers such as oxycodone while also assisting with early identification of addicts, prescriptions of opioids of veterinarians has been increasing. Animal physicians have no such oversight services in place in any state, which has created what is essentially a ‘blind spot’ for the medical and addiction focused communities tasked with tackling the public health crisis.

The study was prompted after the author, Dr. Jeanmarie Perrone, director of medical toxicology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, by several veterinarians  when asked how to deal with late night calls for prescription refills for their pets. It revealed a stark difference in amount of vet visits and amount of prescriptions. The annual number of visits to veterinarians rose only 13 percent between 2007 and 2017 while the issue of prescription opioids designed for animals increased 41 percent.

“I think it would come as a surprise to everyone, the quantities”, Perrone said of the findings. “Before I went to talk [with the veterinarians] I asked them to pull all of their opioid prescriptions so I’d have an idea how often they actually prescribed opioids. To their shock and our shock, there were about 3,000 prescriptions per month.”

Other veterinarians outside of Pennsylvania, however, have suggested that the state might be an isolated incident and includes other factors to consider. Dr. John de Jong, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, claims to have not seen any data to suggest the study’s findings are happening elsewhere.

“The period of this study overlaps a period of significant growth in understanding pain and it’s impact on veterinary patients,” de Jong pointed out. “It is reasonable to expect that as knowledge grows, so will efforts to address related concerns. So it’s very possible that this study doesn’t reflect over prescribing, but instead reflects appropriate prescribing representing better pain management in veterinary patients.”

He did admit, however, “There appear to have been [a] few confirmed cases of owners deliberately injuring their pets to obtain opioids.”

Discovery InstituteAddiction is a life-long illness that alters behaviors and can lead to death if left untreated. If you or someone you know desires to return to sober living in New Jersey, or is seeking New Jersey detox centers, call Discovery Institute at 844-478-6563, one of the best New Jersey rehab centers in operation today.

 

New Jersey’s Opioid Data Dashboard

On November 13th, the New Jersey Department of Health announced a new online research and informational tool called the Opioid Data Dashboard. It’s provided free of charge for public health clinics, researchers, policy makers and the general public to assist in the overall national fight against the opioid crisis. The resources is located at https://www.state.nj.us/health/populationhealth/opioid/ for anyone with an internet connection to access.

According to the Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal, the Opioid Data Dashboard features information on opioid drug related deaths, a Prescription Monitoring Program statistical analysis, information about and availability of opioid canceling agents like naloxone, hospital visits, treatment admissions and discharges surrounding opioid addiction and administration. In a statement by Elnahal when unveiling the tool, he revealed “More than 100 people die every day in the United States from opioid related drug overdoses and it is our sincere hope that information contained in the dashboard will guide prevention efforts and lead to data-driven decision making in combating this devastating epidemic.”

 

New Jersey Addiction Stats

Multiple sources are compiled and organized on the dashboard originating from the Department of Health itself as well as the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and other independent records. Part of the data comes from the already established New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Response and Enforcement (NJCARES) website, which documents count-specific accounts of overdose deaths, counter-agent administration (naloxone use) and active opioid prescriptions. The Opioid Data Dashboard contextualizes that information with more specific information such as discharge data, crime reports and substance abuse treatment data.

In addition to this information, it also provides basic information about types of opioids and effects, statistical trend analysis of specific prescriptions of benzodiazepine, stimulants, naloxone, drug-related hospital visits and drug related deaths such as complications from overdose. All of the information provided has the ability to be searched, filtered and organized to the visitor’s needs as well as custom formatting for printing or feeding into other analyzation tools. Most of the data will serve healthcare specialists, researchers and addiction treatment centers with up-to-date information which will allow a more effective way to handle the current problems associated with opioid use, it’s ties to unintended addiction from prescriptions and monitoring resources needed to handle and distribute treatment effectively across the state.

Discovery InstituteThe project is funded through the Data-Driven Prevention Initiative (DPPI) Grant received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This and it’s parent site NJCARES are the latest additions to the increased resources being created to help Americans and New Jersey residents actively prevent and treat opioid abuse and addiction.

 

For the Best in NJ Detox Centers…

Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) is a serious illness that can result in permanent injury or death if untreated. If you know someone who may be suffering from their addiction to prescription drugs like oxycodone or hydrocodone, please call Discovery Institute New Jersey to speak to a counselor about treatment options at 844-478-6563.