Marijuana Legalization In NJ

What Is Marijuana And When Did It Become Illegal?

Marijuana was first outlawed in NJ in 1911. Marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. This classification makes marijuana illegal under federal law. This perception has changed steadily over the years.

However, states have been legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational use, and there is evidence to suggest that marijuana legalization does not lead to an increase in crime. There is evidence to suggest that marijuana legalization may lead to a reduction in crime. 

As a result, New Jersey voters approved recreational marijuana in November 2020. Adults 21 and over can consume cannabis on their private property. Adults won’t be able to access dispensaries until 2022. Governor Murphy has been a vocal supporter of marijuana legalization and made it one of his campaign promises. 

A study published by the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization found that marijuana legalization in Colorado led to a reduction in violent crime. The study analyzed data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports and found that murder rates decreased by 10 percent after marijuana was legalized. 

Additionally, the study found that robbery rates decreased by 3.8 percent, aggravated assault rates decreased by 5.2 percent, and burglary rates decreased by 6.5 percent. This is not the only study that has found a correlation between marijuana legalization and a crime reduction

How Does Medical Marijuana in NJ Help? 

Medical marijuana has been shown to help patients suffering from a variety of illnesses and conditions. Some of the conditions that marijuana has been shown to help include: 

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Epilepsy
  • Chronic pain
  • Migraines

Marijuana has also been shown to be an effective treatment for anxiety and depression. It can help increase appetite in cancer patients, reduce the number of seizures suffered by epileptic patients, and provide relief from chronic pain. 

The benefits of marijuana are not just limited to humans. Marijuana has also been shown to be effective in treating animals. For example, marijuana is effective in animals suffering from seizures and dementia. 

More than half of the states in the country have legalized marijuana for medical use, and more than eighty percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. 

New Jersey is one of the 18 states where recreational marijuana is legal. By legalizing marijuana, New Jersey follows in states like Colorado who saw an increase in revenue after marijuana was legalized due to the taxes on marijuana sales. However, legalization will not happen overnight because it has many steps including passing legislation that makes weed legal. 

The Vote to Legalize Recreational Marijuana in NJ

On November 26, 2013, the people of Colorado voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use. This made Colorado the first state in the nation to allow marijuana use for adults 21 and older. The vote in Colorado was close, but it passed with 55% of the vote.1 Since then, other states have considered legalizing marijuana, including New Jersey.

In November 2014, New Jersey Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll introduced a bill that would legalize marijuana in the Garden State. The bill would make it legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants. It would also create a system of regulated marijuana dispensaries. The bill did not pass, but it sparked a debate about marijuana legalization in New Jersey.

On February 22, 2021, Governor Phil Murphy signed three bills changing the legal status of marijuana. These laws, which went into immediate effect, create a two-tier framework. When the substance is bought, sold, and used under certain conditions, it is treated as “regulated cannabis” and fully legal in New Jersey. 

From a practical approach, regulated cannabis will not be available in the State for several months until a new government body, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission, issues rules governing its use.

All forms of the substance that are not regulated cannabis or medical cannabis are treated as “marijuana” or “hashish.” Under the new laws, marijuana and hashish are still defined as “controlled dangerous substances” under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-2 but are largely decriminalized for non-distribution offenses. The laws eliminate existing prohibitions and create new, more lenient penalties for possession and distribution that remain tiered based on weight.

There is no clear evidence that marijuana legalization would reduce crime. However, marijuana prohibition does have negative consequences that could be reduced if marijuana were legalized.

For example, marijuana prohibition leads to the cultivation of marijuana by criminal gangs, which can lead to violence. It also leads to the arrest of people for nonviolent offenses, which can harm their lives.

How Does The Recent Legalization May Affect Addiction Rates? 

The recent legalization of marijuana in some states, such as Colorado and Washington, has raised concerns that there will be an increase in marijuana addiction rates. 

However, marijuana legalization is not expected to lead to a significant increase in marijuana abuse or addiction. As more states begin to legalize marijuana for recreational use, the research must be backed to ensure the safety of the consumers.

Addiction rates of marijuana could be related to other factors such as the potency of marijuana, mental health, and family history. One study that was conducted in Colorado found that marijuana legalization had no significant effect on crime rates. 

Some people argue that marijuana legalization would reduce crime rates by removing a key factor that drives criminal activity. However, other factors such as poverty and unemployment could play a bigger role in driving crime rates. 

Further research is needed to determine the effects of marijuana legalization on crime rates. Marijuana has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. In recent years, marijuana has been used for recreational purposes as well.

What Are The Two Opposing Thoughts? 

There are two opposing thoughts, wondering if legalizing weed reduces crime. One thought is that marijuana will be more accessible and people will smoke it more, leading to an increase in crime. The other thought is that marijuana will be sold in regulated shops and not on the black market, so crime rates will go down because there will be less of a need for marijuana dealers.

Opponents of marijuana legalization often argue that marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to addiction to harder drugs. However, there is no evidence that marijuana legalization increases the rate of addiction to harder drugs. Marijuana is less addictive than tobacco and alcohol.

Another concern raised by opponents of marijuana legalization is that marijuana use will increase among children. However, research shows that marijuana use by children has not increased in states that have legalized marijuana. Marijuana is less addictive than tobacco and alcohol and does not increase the risk of addiction to harder drugs.

One argument in favor of marijuana legalization is that it would reduce crime rates. This is because marijuana prohibition leads to the black market for sales, driving the risk factors.

Opponents of marijuana legalization argue that marijuana is dangerous and addictive. They also argue that marijuana legalization will lead to increased use by children and increased crime rates.

Supporters of marijuana legalization argue that marijuana is less addictive than tobacco and alcohol, and does not increase the risk of addiction to harder drugs. They also argue that marijuana legalization will lead to a decrease in the use of marijuana by children because marijuana dealers would no longer ask for an ID when selling marijuana and that marijuana legalization would reduce crime rates because marijuana is currently purchased from criminals.

What Does The Research Say?

The research seems to show that marijuana legalization does not impact crime. In fact, in states where marijuana is legal, crime rates have remained consistent overall. This could be because marijuana dealers are no longer necessary when marijuana can be bought legally, or it could be because marijuana addiction rates do not rise as significantly as some people feared.

How Has Legalized Marijuana Affected States Like California and Colorado in the Past? 

The legalization of marijuana in states like California and Colorado has not led to drastic spikes in marijuana addiction rates. Marijuana abuse rates remain the same or slightly decrease after marijuana is legalized for recreational use.

A recent study completed by Portland State University shows that marijuana legalization does help to reduce crime rates, specifically violent crime. The study found evidence that marijuana legalization leads to a 12% drop in violent crimes like murder, rape, and robbery.

In 2010, marijuana was legalized for medical use in California, which marked a significant change. Some people argue that marijuana legalization would reduce crime rates by removing a key factor that drives criminal activity. However, other factors such as poverty and unemployment could play a bigger role in driving crime rates.

California has seen an increase in marijuana tax revenue, as well as a decrease in marijuana arrests since marijuana was legalized. In 2016, the state made over $60 million from marijuana taxes, and the number of marijuana arrests decreased by 85% from 2006 to 2015.

New Jersey could see similar benefits if marijuana is legalized for recreational use. Based on data from states that have already legalized marijuana, it is clear that there are many positive outcomes associated with marijuana legalization. 

These benefits include reduced crime rates, increased tax revenue, and decreased marijuana arrests. It is important to note that these benefits vary depending on the state, so it is important to carefully weigh all the pros and cons of marijuana legalization before making a decision.

How Does Marijuana Legalization in NJ Bring in Revenue?

One of the main benefits associated with marijuana legalization is increased tax revenue. In Colorado, for example, marijuana legalization has resulted in an increase in tax revenue of over $500 million since 2014. 

This money is used to fund important programs such as education and drug abuse prevention. In addition, marijuana taxes have generated over $60 million in revenue for the state of Washington since it legalized marijuana in 2012.

It is important to note that marijuana taxes vary depending on the state. New Jersey could see a different increase in tax revenue than Colorado or Washington. However, it is reasonable to assume that legalizing marijuana would bring in millions of dollars in additional tax revenue each year. 

This money could be used to fund important programs in New Jersey such as education and drug abuse prevention. The rate of addiction broadly has been influenced by marijuana legalization one way or the other.

Marijuana is currently legal for medical use in New Jersey. However, marijuana is not yet legal for recreational use. A bill that would legalize marijuana for recreational use was introduced in the New Jersey Legislature in January 2018.

If the bill is passed, adults would be able to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana and grow up to 6 marijuana plants. The bill would also create a system for taxing and regulating marijuana sales.

How Will This Affect Incarceration Rates? 

The incarceration rates after legalization also decreased. The marijuana possession arrests in Portland dropped by more than 85 percent after marijuana was legalized (1,000 marijuana arrests pre-legalization and just 57 marijuana arrests post-legalization).

While marijuana legalization can help reduce violent crime rates throughout the state, it is important to ensure the safety of everyone beforehand– especially minors. Marijuana should be regulated like alcohol so teenagers do not get their hands on marijuana easily. Although this new bill will decrease incarceration rates across the state,

How Are Treatment Centers Responding to marijuana legalization in NJ? 

Treatment centers have been responding to legalization in a number of ways. Some centers are scaling back their marijuana addiction services, while others are expanding their offerings. The latter group believes that marijuana addiction will become more prevalent now that marijuana is legal.

It is still too early to tell how legalization will impact treatment centers and the people who rely on them for help. However, it is important to note that marijuana addiction is a real phenomenon, and it should not be taken lightly. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with marijuana addiction, please reach out for help. There are many resources available, and treatment can be life-saving.  Psychotherapy such as CBT(Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) has been effective at treating substance abuse. 

Telemedicine, support groups, and aftercare can be welcoming options for marijuana addiction. The legalization of marijuana in New Jersey has caused much debate among residents. Some believe that marijuana should be decriminalized because of its potential health benefits. 

Strengthen Your Chances for Recovery Discovery Institute

The debate about the effectiveness of marijuana has become a hotbed for discussions. With many practical benefits, marijuana still demands more research to determine the long-term effects on chronic users. Marijuana addiction can still present itself in those who are most sensitive. 

Discovery Institute is dedicated to providing you with the best insights and tools to manage your recovery. There is no single cure for addiction, although, with determination and support, you can strengthen your chances. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse, contact us today.


Discovery Institute to Be Included in Newsweek’s “Best Addiction Treatment Centers 2021”

Discovery Institute is proud to announce that it will be recognized in Newsweek’s list of “America’s Best Addiction Treatment Centers 2021.”

The list will be published on on Aug. 18, and it will also be featured in that week’s print edition of the magazine. It showcases the top 300 inpatient and long-term treatment centers in the U.S. based on reputation, accreditation, and quality of service relative to in-state competition.

To promote this achievement, Newsweek is providing Discovery Institute with a licensing package that includes a special award logo. Our facility will be able to use this in digital and print marketing initiatives to highlight our success.

To rank the best addiction treatment facilities in the country, Newsweek partners with Statista Inc., a global consumer data and market research firm. The list is based on a survey of doctors, administrators, and health care professionals in 25 states with the highest number of addiction treatment centers (according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).

The ranking process was created through deliberate attention. The scoring model is a combination of recommendations, quality score, or accreditation. The ranking system is determined by treatment facilities that qualify within these guidelines.

Thousands of medical specialists have carefully reviewed the guidelines through an online peer-to-peer survey. To eliminate biases, quality checks were used to avoid self-recommendations or recommendations for treatment centers where individuals worked.

The participants were asked to name their top 10 treatment centers in their state. Their recommendations were based on:

  • The quality of care
  • The quality of service
  • The quality of follow-up care
  • Accommodations and amenities

The reputation score or accreditation score are the main categorizations for the treatment facilities. The weight of the overall reputation score is 80% while the weight of the SAMHSA based accreditation score is 20% towards the total score of each facility

Recommendations would receive different weights, depending on the order they were scored. The participants were asked to distinguish the factors that influenced the quality of care one would expect. More than 20 million Americans struggle with substance use disorder, and Discovery has been committed to providing the best treatment in the tri-state area for 50 years.

Pain Medication Addiction

10 Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction

Americans are taking more prescription drugs today than in the past. In 2020, 4.55 billion prescriptions were written in the United States. At the same time, prescription drug abuse rates continue to rise. 

In 2017, the National Institute of Health (NIDA) estimated 18 million Americans over 12 misused prescription drugs. So, knowing the prescription drugs’ side effects and the prescription drug addiction symptoms can save you or someone you love. 

If you suspect someone in your life is misusing Oxycontin, Percocet, Xanax, or other medications, look out for signs of prescription drug addiction symptoms. If you spot any signs of prescription drug addiction, get your loved ones’ help today. 

What Are the Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse?

Here are 10 of the most common signs of prescription drug addiction symptoms: 

1. Mood Swings

Effects of Abusing Prescription Drugs

People who are hooked on prescription drugs tend to experience a series of drastic mood swings throughout the course of a day.

When they’re under the influence of their drug of choice, they’ll often appear to be very happy and satisfied with life. But as the drug wears off, they’ll sometimes slip into a state of depression and not be friendly to others.

It’s not out of the ordinary for a person to have mood swings every now and then. But if you notice someone is having them almost every single day, it’s time to investigate it further.

2. Constant Irritability

Those who abuse prescription drugs spend a ton of time trying to get their hands on them to fuel their addiction. And they can get very agitated when prescription drugs aren’t available.

People who are struggling to get the drugs they need will often:

  • Lash out at those around them
  • Blame others for their bad mood
  • Exhibit hostility towards anyone who tries to calm them down

If it feels like someone you know is on edge all the time, try to get to the bottom of why that is. Prescription drug abuse could be to blame.

3. Irregular Sleep Patterns

Using prescription drugs that haven’t been prescribed to you can wreak havoc on a person’s sleep patterns. People will sometimes struggle to fall asleep at night and then sleep all day to make up for it.

Some people will completely skip sleeping on certain days when they use high doses of prescription drugs. The drugs will make it impossible for their bodies and minds to get the rest they need.

This often causes them to turn to other prescription drugs designed to help them fall asleep. It can lead to them getting stuck in a vicious cycle with no way out.

4. Dramatic Weight Gain or Weight Loss

Do you know someone who has gained a lot of weight overnight or dropped 20 pounds in a matter of just a few weeks?

There could be a logical explanation for it. For all you know, stress (and stress eating) could be to blame for their weight gain. A new diet or a juice cleanse could be the culprit behind their weight loss.

But dramatic weight gain or weight loss could also be one of the signs of prescription drug abuse.

5. Money Troubles

A prescription drug habit can take a toll on more than just a person’s physical and mental well-being. It can also cost them a fortune, especially if they need to take higher doses of drugs to achieve the same high.

If someone is struggling with prescription drug addiction, there’s a good chance that they’re going to have money troubles. Even if they’re able to hold down a job, they’re going to spend a good chunk of change every week on drugs.

Be wary if a friend or family member is consistently hitting you up and asking to borrow money. It could show that they’re battling some kind of addiction.

6. Stealing or Lying

Someone who is dealing with prescription drug addiction will do just about anything to get their next fix. That might include stealing prescription drugs from someone else or stealing things they can sell to get drug money.

It also might include lying about why they need to borrow money or denying that they’re using drugs. Keep your eyes (and ears!) out for these signs of prescription drug abuse.

Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction

7. Poor Decision-Making

Does it feel like a friend or family member has made a series of bad decisions in recent months?

They might just be going through a rough patch. But, their bad decisions could also be a direct result of prescription drug use.

When someone is hooked on drugs, they use so much brainpower to find medicines that they don’t always think clearly. They’ll make poor decisions in every area of their life without even realizing that they’re doing it.

8. Memory Issues

There are lots of different prescription drugs that can cause a person’s memory to fade. From anti-anxiety medications like Xanax to narcotics like Vicodin, these prescriptions will make some people more forgetful.

If you know someone who suffers from unexplained memory issues, it might mean that they’re more than just absent-minded. They could be fighting a losing battle with prescription drug abuse.

9. Increased Alcohol Use

Studies have shown that those who abuse alcohol are more likely to abuse prescription drugs. But the reverse also seems to be true as many prescription drug abusers rely on alcohol.

Alcohol abuse is a problem in and of itself. But it can turn into an even worse situation when someone starts mixing prescription drugs and alcohol.

10. Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person is addicted to prescription drugs, they won’t be able to function without them. They’ll experience withdrawal symptoms when they don’t have the drugs in their systems.

These withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Muscle pain
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Severe insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Tremors

Most people will require professional assistance to work their way through these symptoms. Checking them into a drug rehab facility will help them detox safely.

What are the Effects of Abusing Prescription Drugs?

Prescription Pain Medication

Misusing or abusing prescription drugs means taking medication in a way or amount other than prescribed. It is also an unhealthy pattern of substance use that causes significant impairment or distress. 

Furthermore, prescription drugs’ side effects can be both short-term and long-term. How prescription drugs affect a person depends on the type of prescription drug, the amount being misused, the length of addiction, and other factors. 

Short-Term Prescription Drugs’ Side Effects

Even when using medications as prescribed, a person can have short-term side effects. For example, opioids that help moderate-to-severe pain can have short-term side effects such as shallow breathing, drowsiness, and constipation. 

Other short-term signs of prescription drug addiction symptoms and side effects include:

  • Appetite changes
  • Insomnia or sleeplessness
  • Increase in heart rate
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of coordination
  • Cognitive changes
  • Sense of euphoria

Long-Term Side Effects of Prescription Drugs

A person who misuses prescription drugs over an extended period can have a variety of long-term side effects. Chronic drug abuse changes the brain, which can lead to lasting psychological effects, such as:

  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Panic disorders
  • Increased aggression
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

The long-term physical effects of prescription drug abuse can be devastating. The following chronic health conditions are associated with chronic prescription drug abuse. 

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver disease
  • Overdose

In 2018, the CDC reported over 67,000 overdose deaths. Of these deaths, opioids were responsible for almost 70 percent. 

Why is Prescription Drug Addiction Such a Big Problem?

Most prescription drug addictions involve either opioids, stimulants, depressants, and tranquilizers. Opioids, for example, stimulate the brain’s reward system causing pleasant, care-free feelings. 

But, this feeling wears off and can leave people craving the feeling from opioids. With continued use, the body starts to need it to function correctly. At this point, tolerance and dependence have begun. 

Addiction creates problems in every aspect of a person’s life. From relationships to work and school and mental and physical health,  the side effects of prescription drugs can destroy it all. 

How Common Is Prescription Pain Medication Addiction?

Opioids are prescription pain medications such as oxycodone, morphine, and fentanyl. Opioids are also illicit drugs such as heroin. Besides fighting pain, opioids produce euphoria. As a result, they are commonly abused. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports, in 2018, over 10 million Americans 12 and over misused opioids. Specifically, prescription pain medication was misused by 9.7 million people. Furthermore, almost 800,000 people used heroin. 

What Are the Most Addictive Prescription Drugs?

Even today, many people believe if the doctor prescribes medication, it is safe. However, this is not always the case. For instance, a person who takes prescription pain drugs as prescribed can still become addicted. After two weeks of use, a person typically becomes addicted to opioids. 

Some prescription drugs are more addictive than others. But the following are the most addictive and need the most care when taking. 


Common prescription opioids include:

  • Hydrocodone – Norco and Vicodin
  • Oxycodone – OxyContin and Percocet
  • Fentanyl
  • Codeine

Signs of prescription drug addiction to opioids include:

Lethargy Drowsiness Confusion Dizziness Vision changes Headache Seizures Breathing problems Nausea and vomiting Changes in behavior


Benzodiazepines are part of the CNS depressant class of medications. Benzos are used in treating anxiety and sleep issues. Common benzos often misused include:

  • Clonazepam
  • Alprazolam
  • Diazepam

Prescription drug addiction symptoms to benzodiazepines include:

  • Weakness
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Poor judgment
  • Mood swings
  • Risk-taking behaviors
  • Slurred speech
  • Coma
  • Overdose

Central Nervous System Depressants

CNS depressants, often called tranquilizers, produce a calming effect. The most common CNS depressants include:

  • Alprazolam
  • Clonazepam
  • Diazepam

Prescription drug addiction symptoms to CNS depressants include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Memory issues
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Vision changes
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of coordination
  • Personality and behavior changes


Stimulants increase the brain’s activity. As a result, it boosts energy and alertness. Common stimulants that are misused include several types of amphetamines and Ritalin. The signs of prescription drug addiction to stimulants include:

  • Euphoria
  • Hostility
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Vision changes
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Behavioral changes

Which Drugs are Overly Prescribed?

According to a blog published by Harvard, opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone are overly prescribed in the U.S. The blog found emergency room visits by people ages 13 to 22 over 11 years were overprescribed opioids.

Almost one in every six or 15 percent received opioids for ankle sprains, hand fractures, and collarbone fractures. Dentists also have a hand in overprescribing opioids. In fact, 22 percent of prescriptions written by dentists in the U.S. are for opioids. 

While doctors know that opioids and other prescription drugs are addictive, they may not truly understand what addiction entails. And, until they do, people must understand and recognize the following:

  • Prescription drug addiction symptoms
  • Signs of prescription drug addiction
  • Prescription drugs side effects

Watch for Signs of Prescription Drug Addiction

Is a friend or family member exhibiting any of these signs of prescription drug abuse? Work up the courage to ask them if they might have a problem.

Or, if you find yourself demonstrating any of these signs, be honest with yourself about what you’re going through. You can get help with your problem and stop using prescription drugs.

Call us today to learn more about kicking a prescription drug habit once and for all.

Covid Anxiety

What Is It? Covid Anxiety, Quarantine Depression, or A Mental Health Issue?

After a year of dealing with Covid, there is still no sense of normalcy. Many of us are still staying home, Zooming our workdays and kids’ school, and missing our families. We may even find ourselves struggling with fatigue and anxiety more often. 

But is this covid anxiety? Quarantine depression? Or, is it a mental health issue that requires therapy? How do you know the difference?

Why Am I Struggling With Fatigue and Anxiety?

Why do I feel so tired and anxious and my neighbor doesn’t? The saying goes, we are all in the same storm, but we all have different boats. 

For example, your neighbor may have a spouse, so someones physically there. But, you may live alone, which can lead to quarantine depression. While we are lucky to have video chats and phone calls, they don’t fill the same needs. 

Many parents have been forced to play a more active role in their child’s education. Children are home all day, parents trying to work from home, and manage a household, no wonder they are exhausted and feeling “blue.” 

Many people lost their jobs because of covid. While nearly two-thirds or 63 percent of Americans now live paycheck to paycheck. But for those who have not returned to work, the financial debt building up can cause anxiety and depression

But how do you know if it is covid anxiety, covid depression, or a mental health issue? 

Catherine Powers-James, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, states, “While it is normal to have frequent thoughts of Covid-19, be mindful of these thoughts become more frequent, or start to impact your daily life.”

Symptoms of Covid Anxiety and Covid Depression

Although symptoms may vary, there are common symptoms to be aware of. Generally, if you aren’t feeling like yourself, it’s probably the “blues” or quarantine depression. 

How Does Covid Affect Depression?

Common symptoms of Covid fatigue and anxiety include:

  • Feeling sad, tearful, empty, or hopeless
  • Feeling restless
  • Guilt
  • More angry or irritable than normal
  • Avoiding friends and family
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Change in appetite
  • Not doing things you enjoy

Although we have been restricted on what we can do for fun, adding self-imposed restrictions may signal something more serious. 

My Symptoms Come and Go

The “blues” or situational depression is a temporary issue. It will dissipate once the cause of the problem is handled. The “blues” are not a clinical condition and are not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 

While the symptoms of Covid depression are similar to clinical depression, the length of time they last are different. Covid depression symptoms are generally mild and short-term. They also typically do not interfere with day-to-day life. 

But, with support from friends and family and changes in your lifestyle, your Covid depression is manageable. Furthermore, as more people are vaccinated and life finds a new normal, we will be gathering with friends and family, and Covid depression will fade away. 

What If My Symptoms Stick Around?

What if my symptoms are lasting for weeks and are getting worse? This may be a sign it’s more than Covid anxiety and depression. Symptoms that are persistent and increase in severity are hallmark signs of clinical depression

Symptoms of Depression

Also called a major depressive disorder, depression causes persistent feelings of sadness and a lack of interest. It can lead to various emotional, mental, and physical issues because it affects your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. 

Symptoms of depression occur almost every day and last most of the day. These symptoms include:

  • Feeling sad, tearful, empty, or hopeless
  • Angry outbursts
  • Frustration and irritability
  • Loss of pleasure and interest in activities and hobbies
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Lack of energy and fatigue
  • Change in eating habits
  • Anxiety or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking, and movements
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Trouble focusing and making decisions
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Unexplainable physical pain such as headaches and back pain

Those struggling with depression are generally unhappy and miserable but don’t know why. Furthermore, depression can severely affect your day-to-day activities, including work, school, relationships, and social activities. 

Covid is Increasing the Risk of Fatigue and Anxiety

Symptoms of Covid Anxiety and Covid Depression

When Covid hit, experts knew the risk of social distancing and isolation would affect people’s mental health. However, they only had past disasters and pandemics to base this on. Since then, various studies are proving this to be true. 

One CDC report surveyed American adults in late June 2020. It reports that 31 percent of those surveyed reported symptoms of anxiety and depression. While 26 percent reported stress-related symptoms, and 13 percent have started or increased their alcohol use. 

Covid Anxiety and Covid Depression Can Trick You

When you are struggling with fatigue and anxiety, daily life can be challenging. You wake up, and your mind and body are screaming; stay in bed. But don’t listen! 

Does your body say lay on the couch and watch tv? Yes? Then get up and go for a walk. Once you get out in the sun and the breeze, it’s actually kind of nice. 

What’s the old saying? Misery loves company. So if you don’t join your mind and body in the depression, it starts to fade away. So, do the opposite of what your body says!

How Does Covid Affect Depression?

Although places are opening up across the country, Covid is still a very significant health problem. The numbers of new infections change every day. Will life ever return to normal?

The loneliness of isolation fuels depression. We, as humans, are social beings. We need the love and close contact of friends and family. However, the ongoing isolation and social distancing are increasing the risk of depression. 

A troubled or abusive relationship is worse than loneliness. As humans, we need an average of 4 hugs a day to fulfill our soul. But, we are not all lucky enough to have that. Being in lockdown with an abusive partner is severely damaging to your wellbeing.

Covid anxiety can lead to covid depression. All the uncertainty over the last year has led to an increase in anxiety. Your worries can spin out of control, causing panic and fear. Furthermore, anxiety often leads to depression.

Unhealthy coping skills increase quarantine depression. The first week of lockdown was enjoyable for many of us. Stay in our pj’s, binge-watch tv, and nap when we wanted. However, the financial struggles and added stress of being home all the time often causes people to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.  

Combat Quarantine Depression, Fatigue and Anxiety

Symptoms of Depression

While depression can be challenging to overcome, combating covid anxiety and covid depression only takes a little motivation. Take the first step. You have more control than you think.

Change Your Focus

When you’re home with nothing to do, the negative thoughts can start spinning. You are out of work, away from friends and family, and the electric company still wants to be paid. But, when you recognize the negative thought pattern, there are ways to stop it, including:

  • Distract yourself by learning to cook, play the guitar, or take up hiking. Anything that keeps your mind and body busy will help fight off fatigue and anxiety.
  • Find the simple pleasures like the smell of a flower, taste a new Indian dish or the sound of a child’s laughter. 
  • Limit the amount of news you watch. While it’s important to be informed, not all information you hear or read is accurate. This can lead to Covid anxiety. 
  • Express your gratitude even on your worst days. When struggling with quarantine depression, life can seem hopeless. But, there is always one thing to be thankful for. Maybe it’s the voice of a friend calling to check on you. Or, perhaps it’s the sunset. Gratitude will boost your mood. 

Teletherapy for Covid Anxiety and Covid Depression

If you still can’t tell whether you have Covid depression or a mental health issue, you may want to seek help from a therapist or counselor. In the time of Covid, many traditional mood disorder therapies are done virtually. 

Teletherapy delivers healthcare through various technologies such as:

  • Video conferencing
  • Telephone calls
  • Text messages 
  • Mobile apps

Teletherapy is an affordable option as many Americans cannot afford healthcare. Simultaneously, teletherapy has given thousands without access to mental healthcare the ability to get the help they need. 

Treatment Options for Quarantine Depression at Discovery Institute

We offer various treatment programs to help you recover from Covid fatigue and anxiety. Maybe you tried teletherapy, but you need a more intense treatment program. At Discovery Institute, we have programs that fit your recovery and personal needs. 

  • Outpatient treatment allows individuals to attend therapy while still taking care of your family. 
  • Inpatient treatment provides around-the-clock care in a drug-free environment. Individuals can focus on their recovery without the stress of daily life while receiving support from therapists and others in recovery. 

Although each treatment program has a different intensity level, they all treat Covid anxiety and Covid Depression with individual, group, and family therapies. 

Contact Discovery Institute Today!

Whether you are struggling with fatigue and anxiety or quarantine depression, we are here to help. Don’t wait for your depression to get worse. Contact us today and find out how you can find joy and happiness again!

ways to party without drugs

10 Ways to Party Without Alcohol or Drugs

Many individuals throughout the US choose not to drink or use drugs. Many of these people still have a great time even without alcohol or other substances. It’s not uncommon to believe that this couldn’t be farther from the truth. How could anybody have fun without using substances? After all, substances are the centerpiece of any party right?

It is more than possible to have fun at a party without alcohol; plenty of people do so regularly. Parties aren’t about how much of a substance you can use; they’re about the people you’re spending time with. Below are some tips on how to party without alcohol or drugs. 

Know Your Story

While it is admirable to be combating substance use disorder and brave to be disciplined enough not to succumb to substance use disorder, it may not be the conversation starter to lead with when someone offers you a drink. Sometimes it could turn people away. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be honest, but it does mean you don’t need to disclose your entire life story. 

Some ways to tell someone you’re not interested in a drink are as simple as saying, “I’m not drinking tonight. I’m trying to stay clean.”. If anyone is worth their salt then they will respect it. If they don’t, stand your ground. 

no drugs party

Peer pressure isn’t worth the chance of suffering from substance use disorder or relapsing back into substance use disorder. When you’re convicted of the fact that you are staying clean, it’ll become a lot more difficult for someone else to commit to trying to get you to partake. 

Capitalize on Your Recovery

When partying, it’s typical to see people around you plastered out of their minds. This could make it seem as though you are being a stick in the mud or not having a good time, but this is only true if you’re not having a good time. 

You don’t have to wait until the music is playing super loud to have a good time. Taking advantage of your effort to recover is a good way to have a fun time at a party. After all, the best nights are the ones we remember.

Get Creative

It’s easy during the day to order a coke with grenadine or ginger ale, but at night, things are different. Whether it’s been a long day, or it’s just a force of habit, it’s hard not to order a drink. Firstly there’s the pressure of being an adult. You’re ordering your beverage and everybody’s watching. Do they know you’re not ordering alcohol? Is it okay not to order alcohol? These are common and completely normal thoughts to have.

Sober party

The good news about all of this is that nobody is watching you. People don’t care as much as we think they do. That being said, if you are still bothered by everyone else having a drink in their hands it may be beneficial to order a virgin drink in a fancy glass with an umbrella.

Be Transparent 

It always seems like people want to get you into trouble when you’re trying so hard to do well with your life. The fact is there will be many individuals who are displeased with your responsible decisions, but this is your life; it’s not theirs. 

The best thing to do in a situation like this is to be completely transparent. When you’re able to own the person you are, or the person you want to be, being honest comes a lot more naturally, regardless of what anybody else thinks of you. 

Stay Positive

There are many difference-makers in the lives of those seeking new disciplines; one of those difference makers is positivity. Positivity is easy when everything is going right, but when life throws you curveballs, like substance use disorder, it becomes a lot more difficult to remain chipper. This is because our actions tend to be reflective of our current circumstances. 

It’s cause and effect, so how does someone remain positive when they’re going through what seems like the worst most awkward time of their life?

Some ways to deal with difficult situations include accepting your circumstances, focusing on some positive light to hold onto, or even just putting one foot in front of the other (metaphorically). When facing hard situations that are out of our control, it is easy to lose sight of what we can control. The only thing someone can hold onto for certain is the way that they respond to the situation.


Another way you can party without drinking is simply observing others. When you’re at a party, there’s no shortage of people watching. Observing how they interact with others while they’re inebriated may be a good way to put substance use disorder behavior into perspective. There are also other benefits to observing other people instead of partaking in substance use disorder. One of these benefits could include having a fun story to tell at the next party or gathering (not to make fun of someone, but to have fun with them; maybe to balance it out, come up with a story with the punchline being at your own expense). 

Play All of the Games

Playing games such as beer pong, corn-hole, flip cup, or never-have-I-ever are fun ways to spice up a party, but people usually want to play them when they’re drunk. While this may seem as though it’s impossible to have fun playing these games without alcohol, one must remember that drunkenness or being high impairs a person’s ability to play well. This means, if you’re not drinking, it will make it much easier for you to win. This way, you can make the games interesting and be the life of the party. Everybody will remember how good you are at drinking games. The only rule to doing this is simple: don’t drink. 

avoid drugs at parties

Become Someone Else

Being at a party and not being able to partake in alcohol or drugs may seem as though they have their drawbacks, but they also have their benefits. If you’re at a party where those attending aren’t familiar with you, or if you’re at a party where everybody is too drunk to care, make up an alternate personality. 

This sounds crazy, but as long as this is being done while you are aware that it’s crazy, then it probably isn’t that wild and you’re perfectly healthy mentally. Coming up with an alter-ego could be a fun way to either meet new people or have fun/silly conversations with those you already know and love. 

Come Up With a New Game

Parties have their fair share of games and fun, but when things get stale, it can be easy to slip into a pattern of behavior that elicits drunkenness. While aiming for a life of going clean, it is imperative to stay away from behaviors that will lead to a substance use disorder. When games get boring, the more impaired individuals will exercise their lack of judgment in ways that are a danger to both themselves and everyone around them. 

However, if they are introduced to new, more fun games (thought of beforehand or on the spot) it will take their attention away from the more dangerous activities thought up by their drunken selves. 

Accept Yourself

The most difficult part of dealing with substance use disorder is perhaps having to accept yourself for who you are. Being vulnerable is a difficult part of life, and being vulnerable with yourself, allowing yourself to be a mistake-ridden individual is a very difficult task to accomplish.

Everybody wants to be validated by others in some way or another. It is one of the biggest ways that we fall into situations such as addiction. However, once you accept yourself for the person you want to be, the healthy individual who is strong and brave, the decisions you make and the person you become much easier to accept. 

There Will Always be Opportunities to Say Yes; Practice Saying No

No matter where you go or what you do in life, there will always be someone there to offer you something that seems better or more socially acceptable. Holding these offers up to an objective light, however, is imperative to successful outcomes. Holding people’s offers accountable for the truth that is in them, or the impact it will have on your own life will allow you to make better choices, should you choose to say no. 

Discovery New Jersey is Here for You

At Discovery New Jersey, we know that it’s not easy to overcome substance use disorder. There are so many pressures that exist in our society that it’s becoming more and more difficult to say no. However, this doesn’t mean you’re alone. Just as some party without drugs and alcohol, there are also individuals who have a hard time saying no to partying with drugs and alcohol. If you or a loved one can relate and would like to find out more, you can contact us here.

Gabapentin Addiction

Is Gabapentin Addictive?

Gabapentin is a prescription medication with a checkered history. It’s helped many people overcome unbearable symptoms associated with health disorders. On the other hand, it’s hurt people at times. It’s led medical professionals and individuals suffering from health disorders to ask questions. Is Gabapentin addictive? Is Gabapentin a controlled substance? If so, should I avoid taking it? 

The answer varies. Gabapentin and tramadol can be dangerous. Gabapentin and alcohol can be deadly. Yet, it can save lives in certain scenarios. We explore the pros and cons below. 

What Is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a prescription medication. It’s a painkiller that it’s in its own class of drugs called gabapentinoids. The unique chemical structure reduces pain and the symptoms of other health issues

This kind of medication helps:

  • Nerve pain associated with shingles
  • People suffering from epilepsy (it’s an anticonvulsant) 
  • Symptoms of hot flashes 
  • Symptoms of restless leg syndrome 
  • Alcohol and drug withdrawal symptoms 
  • Diabetes symptoms 
  • Fibromyalgia (reduces pain and tenderness) 
  • Soothe chronic nerve pain in general

Gabapentin can help those suffering from a substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder. During detox, medical professionals at an addiction recovery center may offer medication-assisted treatment. Doctors are careful when they prescribe medication. Prescription drugs are legal but can cause unpleasant side effects and complications. 

Yet, withdrawal symptoms can be more dangerous than the possible risk. In cases like this, they may prescribe Gabapentin to make detox bearable. Most painkillers are classified as opioids. Although Gabapentin is a different kind of drug, it helps people ween off opioid use. Doctors may prescribe it as medication to prevent the discomfort that comes with stopping “cold turkey.” Then, they will taper the dose over time.

Additionally, severe addictions can result in seizures and unbearable pain. Using Gabapentin under medical supervision can reduce the risk of both. Of course, it still raises the question: Is Gabapentin addictive? Do the benefits outweigh the costs?

Is Gabapentin Addictive? 

Yes, Gabapentin is addictive. Painkillers can be addictive, even if they’re not opioids. However, doctors may choose to prescribe it to people with a substance use disorder because it’s less addictive than opioids. That said, non-medical Gabapentin use happens and can cause just as much damage as other drugs. 

Is Gabapentin a Controlled Substance or Not?

So, is Gabapentin a controlled substance? The state of Kentucky decided it would be in 2017. A controlled substance is when a drug is tightly managed by the government because it could lead to non-medical use and substance use disorders.  Though, it’s classified as a Schedule V controlled substance, meaning it isn’t as addictive as other controlled substances. 

According to GoodRx, this state saw that Gabapentin products could be addictive. In 2015, they found that 57 million prescriptions were approved. Pharmacists understandably became worried as prescription levels rose. 

A journal within PubMed found that 9 in 10, or about 90%, of surveyed pharmacists felt that Gabapentin was a problem in their community. They specifically said that non-medical use was a problem. This included the fear behind how people were able to get a hold of it without a prescription. Over 1,600 community pharmacists responded.

What Is the Science Behind Gabapentin?  

Gabapentin mimics the neurotransmitter, GABA, also known as gamma-aminobutyric acid. Medications that mimic the structure of GABA are known as GABA analogs. GABA acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter. In short, it inhibits chemical messages. In turn, it slows down the nervous systems. When GABA binds to its receptor, it makes a person feel calm. 

Though, Gabapentin doesn’t bind to receptors as GABA would. The science behind how Gabapentin works is unclear. Research shows that it increases the amount of GABA for the brain to use. Although it doesn’t bind to receptors, the chemicals in Gabapentin produce the same effect overall. It reduces pain and can increase relaxation overall. 

Why Is Gabapentin Addictive?

Gabapentin is addictive because people can develop a chemical dependency on it. In most people, the body naturally produces the amino acid, GABA. It plays a role in stress and relaxation. Also, it helps make a person feel happy. Gabapentin makes individuals feel relaxed and euphoric because it acts similarly to GABA. 

When a person uses Gabapentin consistently their brain becomes used to the chemicals it increases or inhibits. After a while, the brain becomes used to that level. This can also result in tolerance, meaning someone would need to do more of it to feel the same effect. Tolerance or not, the brain becomes used to the levels of chemicals brought about by regular use. Stopping upsets brain chemistry, which turns into both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. 

How Is Gabapentin Addictive For Some People?

This medication can be more addictive for certain groups of people more than others. For instance, individuals suffering from a substance use disorder are more likely to become addicted to Gabapentin. A 2013 study found that 15% of participants consumed Gabapentin without a prescription alongside other drugs. 

Other factors may increase the likelihood of a chemical dependency on this prescription medication: 

  • Taking more than prescribed over time
  • Using it to self-medicate health issues 
  • Self-medicating because of a lack of health insurance 
  • Stopping prescription use without medical instruction 

People who are prescribed Gabapentin can still end up with a substance use disorder. They may ignore a doctor’s instructions or misinterpret them. It’s less likely a person will end up battling an addiction if they are prescribed it. Regardless, being aware of the possibility is still important. 

What Are Other Names For Gabapentin? 

Gabapentin is the generic version of its brand-name counterparts. Gralise and Neurontin are the most popular brand-name forms of it. Gralise typically comes in tablet form. On the other hand, Neurotin comes in capsules, tablets, and a solution. Both are used to treat nerve pain from shingles and reduce seizures in people that suffer from epilepsy. 

Other brand-name forms of Gabapentin include: 

  • SmartRx Gaba-V Kit 
  • Neuraptine 
  • Horizant 
  • Gabarone 
  • FusePaq Fanatrex 

On the streets, Gabapentin has different names. Street names for this prescription drug include “johnnies” and “gabbies.” Sometimes prescription drugs, like this one, are diverted for illegal use. Using Gabapentin without a prescription can be dangerous for multiple reasons. A person doesn’t understand what dose to take nor do they realize how it may affect them in the long term. 

What Are the Side Effects of Gabapentin? 

Like any medication, Gabapentin has side effects. They can happen through legal, medical use and non-medical use. Although, it’s less likely to happen when it’s prescribed. Medicine that affects brain chemistry may have serious side effects, especially if they’re stopped abruptly. 

The risk of side effects is increased if a person takes other forms of medication. It might come as a surprise that certain herbal supplements and minerals may increase the risk as well. GoodRx notes that Calcifediol and Orlistat, in particular, should be consumed with caution if a person takes them with Gabapentin. Using both at the same time could lead to worse short-term and long-term side effects overall. 

Short-Term Effects 

  • Feeling drowsy 
  • Fainting spells 
  • Loss of motor coordination 
  • Memory loss 
  • Trouble talking 
  • Double vision 
  • Increased chance of illness 
  • Tremors 
  • Strange eye movements 
  • Headaches 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive Sweating

Long-Term Effects

  • Jaundice 
  • Metabolic disorders 
  • Increased risk of a muscle tissue breakdown (rhabdomyolysis) 
  • Increased hostility and agitation 
  • Depression 
  • Breast enlargement 
  • Skin tissue disorders 
  • Decreased libido 
  • Issues with ejaculation 
  • Anxiety 

The Dangers of Abusing Gabapentin and Alcohol 

Alcohol is a depressant. Drugs like these slow down brain and body functionality. Gabapentin functions in a similar way. Because both have the same effect on the body and brain, they have the same side effects. So, it’s more likely for someone to experience intense side effects if they consume both. 

This is dangerous for multiple reasons. Both drugs slow down breathing. Consuming too much of either can result in severe breathing problems, which could land a person in the hospital. Also, nausea is a common side effect of both. Too much vomiting can lead to deadly cases of dehydration. Finally, it’s possible to overdose on Gabapentin. Combining drugs and alcohol only increases the risk of overdoing. 

Why Would Someone Use Gabapentin and Alcohol?

Using Gabapentin and alcohol is a terrible idea. Some people disregard this fact to have a good time, at times. Alcohol is a depressant, but large amounts can cause a stimulant effect. The idea behind consuming both substances is to feel energized, relaxed, and euphoric at the same time. Sometimes individuals with a Gabapentin prescription are unaware that alcohol poses a serious health risk. Either situation can result in an untimely death. 

Gabapentin and Tramadol 

Tramadol is a powerful opioid typically used for short-term pain relief. Taking Gabapentin and tramadol at the same time depresses central nervous system function. Combining Gabapentin with any kind of depressant can make it hard to breathe. Plus, it makes the side effects of either both. 

Most doctors wouldn’t prescribe both at the same time. Non-medical use of both makes overdose much more likely. Almost 70% of overdose deaths are due to opioid use. It’s important to consult a medical professional when consuming both for health reasons.

Discovery Insitute Can Provide the Tools to Fight Against Gabapentin and Alcohol Addictions

Ultimately, is Gabapentin addictive? Discovery Institute feels any risky drug use can result in addiction. Although it’s less common than most, Gabapentin use disorders can make a person feel alone and like life isn’t worth living. We provide personalized plans to help our members overcome the temptation of Gabapentin and alcohol. Contact us now to learn more.  

Addiction Help

What are the Signs of a Functional Addict?

When you think of a drug addict, you may see a very negative picture in your mind. Perhaps someone that is physically and mentally, a mess. You may think of a criminal or a homeless person using drugs. However, this is not always the case when it comes to addicts. Those who abuse drugs daily can be classified as functional addicts. Addiction is a disease that looks very different from case to case. 

Over the years, this cookie-cutter idea of an addict has created a negative stigma. While drug addiction may be a dangerous and sensitive topic for some, this stigma has made it harder to get help. A functional drug addict may be suffering in silence or be afraid to get help due to this idea. Over time, drug addiction may cause severe problems like financial problems or injury but this is not always the case. 

It is important to be able to spot the signs of possible addiction in loved ones or friends. Someone you know may be employed and living successfully but also struggling from drug addiction. If this is the case, Discovery Institute may be able to help. Once you’ve helped a loved one take the first step towards recovery, we’ll be their guide to a sober life. Don’t wait, get help today.

What Does a Functional Drug Addict Look Like?

A functional addict does not fit the image that comes to mind when you think of a ‘drug addict’. A functioning drug addict may seem completely normal; they’ll pay their bills, go to the gym, make it to their kid’s practices, and generally be in control of their life. By looking at a functional addict, you may not suspect that anything is wrong. Only close family members and themselves can truly determine the early signs of an addiction. 

While there are many different physical effects of abusing drugs, there are a lot of social and behavioral effects as well. While they may be functional addicts right now, over time things can start to worsen. If a person does not take a hold of their addiction they can end up becoming homeless or riddled with health problems and financial problems. This is why it’s extra important to look out for the signs. 

The Signs and Symptoms of A Functional Addict

There are a lot of red flags that can indicate a bigger issue at hand. Looking out for these takes patience and assurance. No matter how much a person may try to hide their addiction, some certain effects and behaviors indicate a problem. Even with a functional drug addict, there are still telling signs of an addiction. Some of the possible signs of drug addiction include the following:

functional addict
  • Secrecy Being secretive about addiction can be a big indicator. They may be guarded or uncomfortable when someone inquires how they’re spending their time. 
  • Excuses or Justifications for drug use – A functional drug addict may use their job or school as a mask to use drugs. Particularly as a way to manage/relieve their stress.
  • Isolation/Confinement – A functional addict may be accustomed to a set pattern or routine (which is a red flag). This is to stay close to their go-to drug source. As time goes on, they may begin to separate from their family and friends more and more to get their drug dosage.
  • Decreased Physical health – While the person may insist that everything is okay and they have it under control, their addiction will eventually begin to show. It doesn’t take long for a drug to affect a person’s system; this will result in an absence of work, hobbies, and other responsibilities. Not to mention worsened health and even memory loss.
  • A double Life – A functional drug addict may be living or preoccupied with a double life. They may be absent from family gatherings or events to use drugs. They may disappear for long periods of time before returning fatigued or overly energetic. 
  • Bigger Problems at Home – The relationship with those around a drug addict can deteriorate over time. It can cause stress and pain as you see a loved one begin to fall into addiction. What starts as neglecting responsibilities can evolve into aggressive/dangerous behavior. 

Some of these telling signs can appear over time and can be hard to spot at times. It is not an easy feat but it is crucial to get proper help for a loved one. In many cases, a functional drug addict will be convinced that everything is under control and nothing is wrong. 

This may be connected to the idea that people who abuse drugs are apparent and obvious. Addiction can affect anyone, doesn’t matter if they are a doctor, businessman, teacher, parent, or politician. Make sure to look out for these signs so you can help a loved one get proper help today. 

Commonly Abused Drugs by Functional Addicts

Not all cases of drug addiction are the same, this is especially true for cases of functioning drug addicts. There are a few factors that determine the severity and problematic nature of a person’s addiction. This can be how much they are taking of a drug, how frequent, and its effects. It can be hard to list a definite list that fits all cases. Here are a few of the most commonly abused drugs today:

Each of these drugs can be very addictive and can be problematic down the road. While a person may be able to function on the surface, their body will eventually take a toll. It is essentially impossible to truly be a ‘functioning’ addict. The negative effects of these drugs are inevitable and cannot be stopped if a person continues using them. 

You Cannot be ‘Functional’ as a Drug Addict

While a functional addict might think they have everything under control and that there isn’t a problem, eventually things change. As someone becomes addicted to a drug they will continuously use it until they eventually become dependent on the drug. They may also become tolerant to its effects, which requires more dosage to get its effects. As time goes on, the person will eventually feel the negative effects. This comes in the form of physical, mental, and social effects. 

Help for addiction

Drugs have an impact on us no matter how much we think we might be in control. What can start as casual use can become a full-blown addiction. It doesn’t take long for a person’s life to feel the effects of drugs. Relationships can be ruined, lives can be destroyed and lost if the person does not get the help they need. Doing nothing is not an option, if you or a loved one may be a ‘functional’ addict, it’s time to get help. 

How to Approach a Loved One About Help

The problem with functional addicts is that they may be abused for so long they don’t see a problem. At that particular moment, they may not see the issues at hand until it’s too late. Eventually, their life will take a turn for the worse (it becomes a matter of ‘when’, not ‘if’). With this in mind, it’s important, to be honest, and open with a loved one. Informing them about the possible dangers and effects of their addiction is a good starting point. 


Opening up honestly and looking at treatment options can be beneficial for you and them. While it may be hard, it is crucial to be open and transparent about their addiction and how it is affecting you. After, both of you can look for treatment options that will work best for them. If you notice the behavioral signs of possible addiction, don’t wait until it’s too late. 

Getting Addiction Treatment

While it can be overwhelming at times, it’s best to look for a treatment center that will meet all your needs. At Discovery Institute we make sure to cater to all your needs. In a general sense, there are several widely used treatment options for drug addiction. This is on a case by cases basis and is personalized specifically for the person. Some of the common treatment options include:

Even if the person thinks they have their addiction under control, this is not the full picture. Being a functional drug addict is a slippery slope, one you’ll eventually fall from. It’s also crucial to remember that no matter how bad things get, it is never too late to get help. 

Discovery Institute is Here to Help

Discovery is ready to welcome those who are willing to make a change in their life. We understand how devastating addiction can be, especially for a functional drug addict. With a variety of personalized and effective treatment options, we’re ready to help you towards a better life. Contact us today to learn about our facility and our treatment options.  

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. 


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. 


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. 


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. 


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 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 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 ( 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. 


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.