When Is a Treatment Program Unhealthy or Unsafe?

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There has been discussion lately in the media about support groups and alternatives to 12-step programs. While some may be legitimate or work as a supplement to 12-step programs, others are not only ineffective but possibly unsafe to their participants. So how can you know which groups to steer clear of? Are there any warning signs to look out for when choosing a treatment center or other program?

Enthusiastic Recovery: A Cautionary Tale in Unhealthy Practices

One group that has been in the media is a group called Enthusiastic Recovery, run by an ex-con named Bob Meehan. Meehan targets desperate parents in his scheme, promising to get their teenagers “off drugs” and charging them top-dollar as he uses unusual, unsafe, and unhelpful tactics. Meehan has been getting away with his scheme for years. When one program is closed, another one opens – usually under a new name in a …

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Biden Proposes Billions in Federal Aid to Fight Addiction
The money Biden proposed could go to treatment and recovery.

Biden Proposes Billions in Federal Aid to Fight Addiction

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The Biden administration is getting ready to commit billions of dollars to help fight the addiction epidemic. The President recently requested $10.7 billion from Congress to support medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and other mental health services.

Biden Hopes to Help Neglected Communities

Biden also wants his new drug policy to be one of recovery rather than incarceration. During his campaign, he expressed regret for how he and others dealt with the crack epidemic. Now, as a man whose son struggles with addiction, he understands that substance use disorder is a disease.

Sadly, in the 1990s, during the height of the crack epidemic in urban areas, addiction was treated as a moral failing. Thousands of Black Americans lost friends, families, and freedom to the crack epidemic. But after addicted people were incarcerated, Black families were fractured and criminalized, often leading to a cycle of trauma and poverty for the next generation.

Biden …

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One in Five Pharmacies in Blocks Access to Suboxone

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A new study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, found that only one in five pharmacies will fill a prescription for the life-changing Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) drug Suboxone. Suboxone is considered a gold standard treatment for opioid use disorder by the FDA. Just this morning, the Biden administration announced that they are decreasing barriers to prescribing the drug.

Sadly, research shows that although a doctor may prescribe Suboxone, also known as buprenorphine, to a person in need, a pharmacy may block access during a critical time in their lives. Without access to MAT, many people will succumb to their opioid use disorder.

The Research on Suboxone and Pharmacies

The researchers did the study after learning, anecdotally, about patients having trouble filling prescriptions for Suboxone. “Buprenorphine is a vital, life-saving medication for people with opioid use disorder, but improving access has been a problem for a variety of …

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New AUD Treatment, AD04, Drug Targets Genotypes

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Adial Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has filed a Fast Track application with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its lead drug candidate, AD04. The drug is meant to target people with specific genes for whom other alcohol addiction therapies have failed. To take the drugs, a person must be diagnosed with alcohol use disorder.

Why Fast-Track AD04?

Several medication-assisted treatment options exist for alcoholics, but they are not considered to fail-proof or even useful for most people. They also carry a level of stigma that prevents doctors from prescribing them.

In America, treatment for alcohol use disorder often focuses on total abstinence, which many people with alcohol use disorder reject or, for whatever reason, are unable to achieve. While several drugs, including Topomax, have shown to be effective at preventing compulsive drinking, few treatment centers feel comfortable recommending a drug that allows people to continue drinking. (Other drugs make people …

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Medication-Assisted Treatment for Meth Addiction Being Tested

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For the past few years, an addiction epidemic has raced across the U.S. While opioids have been taking lives through overdoses, another dangerous addiction has silently raged; methamphetamine. Until recently, there were no medications to help people cope with the withdrawal and intense desire to use that causes meth addiction to be so nefarious. New Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) research shows that a powerful combination of medications — injectable naltrexone and oral bupropion — can help people stay sober. This study would be the first time MAT has been successfully helped people with meth addiction.

What Was The Study About?

The clinical trial tested two drugs that have already been approved for opioid addiction but are already used off-label to treat alcoholism in some places. The study combined injectable naltrexone and oral bupropion and measured their safety and efficacy when treating meth addiction.  The test used subjects who were considered to

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Controversial California Dr. Accused of Opioid Negligence

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A doctor in California is at the center of two significant allegations. For the anti-vaccination community, Dr. Tara Zandvliet is said to have provided about 250 exemption letters a year, usually without any medical examinations or even a preexisting condition. The exemption letter would then allow students to go unvaccinated. For people with opioid addiction, all it took was cash to get the medication they needed, alleges the State Medical Board.

Dr. Zandvliet’s Previous Scandal

Dr. Zandvliet is no stranger to scandal or charges of improper conduct in California.

In September of 2020, she was put on probation by the medical board. The probation was supposed to last for three years. She was also no longer allowed to write exemptions for vaccinations of children. The Medical Board said she had written vaccine exemptions in a grossly negligent way.

An investigation into her vaccination exemptions began when health authorities realized …

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In England, Soaring Alcohol Abuse During Pandemic

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In England, the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) is warning that addiction treatment services might become overwhelmed due to the number of new referrals. Like many places, the coronavirus has caused massive shutdowns and isolation among the population. There have also been layoffs. And there has been a huge uptick in alcohol abuse among a weary and isolated population.

When people feel desperate, or despair, they may turn to using alcohol or other substances. The RSP says that “soaring” alcohol use is a threat to public health.

Why the escalating alcohol use? For one thing, alcohol is one of the few addictions where you can abuse without stigma. It’s usually easy to get ahold of, too. In England, numbers have shown that in June, at least 8.4 million people self-reported abusing alcohol to some degree.

Addiction Services Meeting Multiple Needs

During the pandemic, the addiction services available to …

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Fentanyl is a Big Public Health Threat

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While many people in the medical profession are concentrating on flattening the curve and finding a vaccine for COVID-19, the opioid epidemic is quietly taking lives. What’s even worse is that as there is a lesser supply of street drugs due to shut down borders, fentanyl is pervasive.

Fentanyl Overdosing Startlingly High During COVID-19

COVID-19 has presented many challenges for the recovery community. Some treatment centers have been forced to stall or upend their admissions processes, leaving people with nowhere to go. Some sober homes essentially evicted residents overnight. Some people, unable to get to 12-step meetings, may end up relapsing. And all the while, US borders shut down, stifling the flow of drugs like cocaine and counterfeit Oxycontin from overseas.

It’s also true that people with opioid use disorder are vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. If they are actively using drugs, they’re taking physical risks by going out around …

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Experts Predict Addiction Will Be Pandemic, Too

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In the past three months, the whole world has been on high alert. Social isolation, job loss, and less access to mental health assistance have set the world up for a lot of pain. Experts agree that mental health problems and addiction disorders are going to kill many people this year. Some estimates are up to 150,000 deaths “of despair” in 2020 alone.

Addiction Is Invisible Right Now

For many people in isolation, few people see how they are actually doing. People who are prone to abuse drugs and have access to them may end up relapsing due to loneliness, fear, and other emotions.

Others may develop an addiction to help them cope with the realities of our “new normal.” It can be especially challenging to deal with life for people who have mental health disorders. Many people have lost access to their family, friends, and therapists. With funding cuts …

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Marijuana and the Coronavirus

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Marijuana is a hot topic of conversation when it comes to the novel coronavirus. For one thing, states with legalized marijuana sales have reported that people are stocking up on it. But news about this fad is bleak; some of the sickest coronavirus patients in American hospitals have been regular marijuana smokers.

Coronavirus and the Lungs

The World Health Organization says that about 80% of people with COVID-19 recover without needing hospitalization or specialist treatment, leaving one in six seriously ill. Most of these patients experience difficulty breathing.

Nearly all of the seriously ill patients end up with pneumonia. Some may need breathing treatments, antibiotics, and other assistance. Some end up on a ventilator.

Tobacco and Marijuana Smokers and Vapers in Danger

While most people who end up seriously ill from the coronavirus have some pre-existing condition many are smokers, marijuana users, and tobacco vapers. Existing research from China and …

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