Category Archives: Intensive Rehab Retreat

Fentanyl, a Deadly Bait and Switch Game

The United States Fentanyl Crisis

The opioid crisis in the United States has resulted in approximately 192 deaths per day. Oxycodone and heroin were not responsible for these deaths. The drug currently killing people is called fentanyl. Fatal drug overdoses significantly increased from 1999 through 2017 due to fentanyl. This drug is classified as a synthetic opioid between eighty and 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl has been used for many years in anesthesia cocktails and cancer patches to relieve pain. During the fairly recent past, fentanyl has become an extremely popular recreational drug. 

 

The Centers for Disease Control has recently issued a report stating fentanyl is involved in more fatal overdoses than any other drug throughout the United States. In 2016, nearly one-third of all fatalities involved fentanyl. There was an increase of approximately 113 percent of fatal overdoses between 2013 and 2016. A minimum of two-thirds of the deaths related to fentanyl involved a minimum of one additional drug. This is partially due to drug dealers lacing cocaine and heroin with fentanyl to increase potency while cutting costs. 

 

This means when an individual purchases opioids, they are receiving a deadly combination. Fentanyl was involved in two of every five overdose deaths related to cocaine. Almost one-third of all deaths resulting from fentanyl involved heroin as well. Fentanyl overdose has become an extreme legitimate danger. 

 

The Truth About Fentanyl

 

Fentanyl works just like other opioids. The drug binds to the brain’s opioid receptors. These receptors control both emotions and pain. As the individual continues to use fentanyl, the brain adapts. The effects of the drug are weakened which results in the individual using larger quantities. This often results in dependency. Due to the potency of the drug, fentanyl is used for the treatment of chronic pain or severe pain resulting from surgery. 

 

Although a prescription can be written for fentanyl, the most common drug overdose is linked to the fentanyl produced in underground laboratories, manufactured into pills created to look like another prescription, added to nasal sprays and eye droppers, and even just sold as a powder. Drug suppliers and dealers are literally killing people to increase their profits. Fentanyl has a lot of harmful effects and symptoms. This includes:

 

  • Anxiety
  • Heartbeat changes
  • Shallow and slow breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Chest, back and stomach pain
  • Dizziness
  • Itching

 

Continually using or overusing fentanyl can result in fainting, respiratory complications, depression and ultimately overdose, resulting in complications. 

 

The Fentanyl Epidemic

 

The opioid crisis in America is now a fentanyl epidemic spiraling out of control. There is a fentanyl overdose occurring every day. There were painkillers containing fentanyl created using counterfeit prescriptions by a man in Utah. He became a drug kingpin by mailing this deadly drug to people all over the United States. He will be going to trial, along with a small group of individuals, regarding allegations of using the basement of his home to send hundreds of thousands of packages with pills containing fentanyl. 

 

Issues the federal government’s prosecutors will bring to light: the drug is being imported from China, it is being poorly manufactured in to fake pills that are then sold and dispersed throughout every state via the online black market, sequentially killing tens of thousands of people by drug overdose The allegations of the prosecutors state dozens of customers died from a fentanyl overdose. Despite this, the charges for the ringleader include just one death: an individual 21 years of age who died after snorting what was believed to be prescription oxycodone but was laced with fentanyl. 

 

The ringleader began as a workout buff and aspiring entrepreneur. He said he did not realize the danger of his actions and was simply trying to make money. He never saw the people he was harming, just the numbers on his screen. At the time he was arrested, the bust was one of the biggest in the country’s history. According to documents from the court, the raid on his home revealed thousands of pills, a pill press in the basement and garbage bags containing in excess of $1 million in cash. 

 

The group began two years previously, eventually including over a dozen individuals. According to the allegations of the court documents, they met the ringleader while working at an eBay call center. The partnership began with two men. They started out by importing steroids, then reselling them to their friends from the gym. Another man pled guilty for assisting in the development of the recipe and pressing the pills laced with fentanyl. The fentanyl was shipped to several homes of the group’s members directly from China. The authorities stated the residents were then paid to turn over the drug. 

 

The powder was allegedly cut, fillers added and then pressed into pill form. According to the prosecutors, stamps and dyes were used to replicate the appearance of legitimate pills. Public health experts have issued warnings regarding the danger of small drug trafficking networks. Fentanyl is being cut and mixed despite the fact just a few flakes can be deadly. Due to the amateur equipment being used, one pill may only contain a small amount of fentanyl while another may have enough to cause immediate death.

 

According to the prosecutor, the pills being shipped were poison in disguise. Average people purchased these pills such as someone who became addicted due to an injury or surgery. The pills were sold at a dark-web marketplace on the internet called Pharma-Master. Reaching the dark web requires a special browser and is frequently used for dark activity. The dark-web also has user-friendly sites a lot like eBay and Amazon. The court documents stated Pharma-Master is one of the more prominent dealers often processing as many as fifty orders per day.

 

The pills were counted, vacuum-sealed and shipped to homes throughout the United States in envelopes. According to the prosecutors, the packages had phony return addresses and fake invoices. Mailboxes throughout Salt Lake City were used to drop the packages so the group could hide from the police. Some of the orders were smaller while others contained thousands of pills. The prosecutors stated these were sent to drug dealers and gang members who sold them on the streets. The cost of making each pill was less than one cent yet the prosecutors said they sold on the street for $20.

 

Preventing Deaths from Fentanyl

Preventable injuries and deaths such as fatal overdoses are often referred to as accidental. This implies these deaths are unable to be prevented. Overdoses can be prevented when the individual can easily access the help they require. The third highest cause of death in the United States are preventable injuries. As the government attempts to establish control of the opioid epidemic, new chemicals are being produced to subvert the law. Enforcement and strict regulations are not enough to eliminate the market for illicit drugs or prevent access. 

 

Regulations are being pursued to decrease the fentanyl being received in the United States through China. The increasing demand for these types of drugs must also be addressed to ensure a real impact. This means the people must be educated regarding the true dangers including possible overdose and death resulting from fentanyl. The reasons individuals started using these drugs are just as important. If these reasons are not addressed, the war on illegal drugs will never end. 

 

How to Find Work After Rehab

Ways to Find Work After Rehab

 

If you’ve recently progressed through alcohol or drug rehab and have learned how to cope with and manage your addiction, you should feel like a new person. Getting through drug or alcohol treatment can be difficult and will invariably come with numerous obstacles that need to be overcome. Many people who are able to successfully progress through drug rehab find that a weight has been lifted from their shoulders once they leave. However, most of these same individuals quickly discover that there are numerous struggles that they will need to overcome in the real world as well, the primary of which is finding a job. While it might seem overwhelming to enter into a job search following drug or alcohol treatment, there are numerous guidelines that will make it easier to find work after rehab. 

 

Determine What Kind of Job You Want to Pursue

 

The first thing to focus on after completing a drug or alcohol rehab program is identifying what kind of job you want to pursue. While you should definitely broaden your scope when trying to find work after rehab, it’s still important that you have a general idea of what you’d like to do with your work, which should make the job search more straightforward. It’s also recommended that you focus on doing something that’s enjoyable to you. 

 

While some additional training and education might be necessary, working at a job that you actually enjoy will keep stress down and will make it easier to get the results that you want following rehab. It’s also important to understand that working at a job that frustrates you makes it more likely that you will relapse in the future. If you enjoy cooking, consider working at a restaurant. If you’re more interested in fashion, there are many different settings that allow you to explore and delve into this type of job. By knowing what kind of job you want to pursue, your job search will be more focused and regimented. 

 

Make Sure That You Update Your Resume

 

Once you’ve made a decision on the type of job you would like to pursue, it’s time to make the necessary updates to your resume. The resume that you write should correlate with the type of work you want to do and the job that you’re pursuing. If you happen to be applying for a job as a cook at a local restaurant, it’s important that your resume reflects the kinds of characteristics and job experience that a restaurant is looking for. In most cases, this means that any experience you might have as a cook should be emphasized within the resume. 

 

If you don’t have much experience for this job role, you should focus on mentioning some of your characteristics that you believe a restaurant would appreciate in a cook, which include everything from being a leader to being able to take criticism. If you’re applying for the position of a line cook, you’ll need to display that you have great time management skills and that you can stand up for lengthy periods of time without needing a break. 

 

If your resume is tailored to the type of job that you’re applying for, you’ll have a much better chance of getting an interview. Once at the interview, you can use your communication skills in a way that’s not possible on a resume, which is why it’s important that the resume is well-written and thorough. Keep in mind that you will invariably have a gap within your resume since you’ve been attending rehab in the recent months or even years. When updating a resume, you don’t need to fill in these gaps with an explanation. In the event that a prospective employer asks you about this gap, don’t hesitate to provide them with a simple explanation. However, you shouldn’t provide them with too many details since doing so is unnecessary. 

 

Set Realistic Expectations

 

Before you set out to find work after rehab, you need to set realistic expectations for yourself and this process. Finding a job is difficult for anyone, which shouldn’t be viewed as a bad thing. You shouldn’t expect to be given numerous interview opportunities immediately after you’ve sent out your first batch of resumes. If you set realistic expectations, you’ll be able to avoid frustration and should be able to more effectively cope with the inherent difficulties that come with finding a job. 

 

Patience is absolutely essential if you want to get through the job search without experiencing too many hurdles. During your search, it’s recommended that you focus on maintaining your sobriety, which is even more important than finding a job. When you’re looking to set realistic expectations, make sure that you do so for the type of job that you want. For instance, don’t hesitate to take a part-time job or entry-level position at the beginning. In time, you’ll likely be able to get an even better job. However, saying no to the first opportunities that you’re given will make it all the more difficult for you to land any job in the future. 

 

You should also try to detach yourself from the outcomes that will occur during your job search. It’s perfectly fine if you land an interview but aren’t called back afterwards. This happens with everyone and shouldn’t be seen as abnormal. In most situations, finding a job is a lengthy process with many ups and downs, which is why it’s important to keep emotions steady throughout the entirety of this process. 

 

Update Your Skills

 

Upon completing a drug or alcohol treatment program, you should consider updating your job skills to open up new job possibilities. There are a myriad of certificates and education programs that can help you bolster your skills and increase the chances of landing a job that you want. Sharpening your skills now will make it more difficult for a prospective employer to overlook you in the future. Any individuals who haven’t obtained a diploma or GED should consider going back to school to receive these diplomas. Even a non-credited certificate course may be able to provide you with the education necessary to help you get the job that you want. 

 

Consider Obtaining Extra Assistance

 

There are many fantastic resources that offer extra assistance to people who have recently completed a rehab program. For instance, an organization known as America in Recovery will help people find employment after rehab. This help comes in the form of online job boards that are able to pair an individual with a company that’s open to providing employees with second chances. There are also many additional resources that are just like America in Recovery and can help you find work if you’ve been having difficulties doing so. These programs include temp agencies, unemployment offices, the “One Stop Career Center” at The Department of Labor, and The National Skills Coalition. 

 

Additional Tips on Finding Work After Drug or Alcohol Rehab

 

There are also some additional tips that should assist you in finding work after rehab. First of all, it’s important that you always maintain a professional image, which means that you should be neatly groomed appropriately dressed at every job interview that you’re given. You might also want to consider turning to friends and family for work opportunities. They may have the perfect job for you. With these tips and guidelines in mind, your search for a job after rehab should be much less complicated. 

 

Alcoholism in America

An estimated 17 million Americans suffer from alcohol abuse. Americans that have problems with alcohol qualify them for diagnosis of an alcohol use disorder, and the cost of alcohol abuse and use in the country is estimated to be significantly over $200 million per year. This places the burden on society as a result of alcohol abuse, this does not include the impact on productivity. A large portion of the costs associated with alcohol addiction are due to medical complications associated with moderate to heavy alcohol abuse. For alcoholics in recovery from an alcohol use disorder, a significant portion of their initial success involves being able to deal with the complications associated with physical addiction to alcohol. The physical dependence that occurs as a result of having an alcohol use disorder can result in severe withdrawal symptoms that can even be deadly. Medically assisted detox is often required to help the person maintain their abstinence from alcohol in the early stages of recovery.

Alcohol Dependency

Alcohol dependence, aka “alcoholism”, is the most serious form of drinking problem and describes a strong, uncontrollable, desire to drink. An alcoholic is powerless over the drug. Alcohol is one of the most powerful, underestimated, socially accepted and readily available drug in the world.Drinking dictates the day to day life of an alcoholic, over time, excessive drinking leads to increased physical tolerance or experiencing withdrawal symptoms if they stop.There are varying degrees of alcohol dependence and they don’t always involve excessive levels of drinking. If you find that you need to have a bottle of wine most nights of the week, or always go for a few drinks after work, just to unwind, you’re likely to be drinking at a level that could impact your long-term health.You could also be dependent on alcohol. If you find it very difficult to enjoy yourself or relax without having a drink, you could have become psychologically dependent on alcohol. Physical dependence can follow, that’s when your body shows withdrawal symptoms, such as sweating, shaking and nausea, when your blood alcohol level falls.

 

Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT)

Rapid Resolution Therapy is a gentle and effective therapeutic modality, created by Dr. John Connelly, LCSW that resolves trauma and other distress in as little as one session. Because the root causes of problems are pinpointed and cleared, positive changes endure. Negative emotions and destructive behavioral patterns are eliminated. 

Unlike other forms of treatment, with Rapid Resolution it is not necessary to relive past events or experience any pain. Rapid Resolution therapy integrates hypnosis, cognitive and playful techniques, to name a few, allowing for optimal healing through multiple levels of the mind. This type of therapy leads to dramatic improvements in thoughts, feelings and behavior. Rapid Resolution Therapy has effectively treated PTSD, other trauma/stress related disorders, anxiety, panic attacks, sleep disturbance, frozen grief, guilt, resentment and even aided in successful recovery from addiction.

Along with creating Rapid Resolution Therapy, Dr. Connelly has also founded The Institute for Survivors of Sexual Violence, a non-profit (501C3) organization providing mental health professionals with state-of-the-art training in advanced clinical methods of eliminating the negative influence of trauma. You can learn more about Rapid Resolution Therapy and how to find providers in Austin, TX and all over the country by contacting me directly for a referral or by visiting the main Rapid Resolution Therapy website: www.rapidresolutiontherapy.org

Schedule a Free Consultation with: Julia Thompson:

 MSW NBCCH

TEXAS LMSW #66100

FLORIDA LCSW #SW14616

NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFIED CLINICAL HYPNOTHERAPIST

https://juliacthompson.com/rapid-resolution-therapy

RESOURCES

Article on Army website discussing RRT:  http://bit.ly/2ZTmQxh

Ted Talks video: “Life Changing power of words.” http://bit.ly/2GZDQuw

Julia Thompson: https://juliacthompson.com/

Texas Opiate Crisis

 

The increasingly prevalent use of opioids has triggered one of the most serious drug crises in the country’s history. In almost every state, fatal overdoses are being reported on an almost daily basis. Here’s what you need to know about the crisis in Texas.

 

The Use of Opioids appears to be Most Prevalent in East and North Texas

 

Reports show that opioid-related admissions and fatalities are concentrated in East and North Texas, which includes a lot of rural counties. Overdose fatalities due to opioid use in some counties in Texas surpassed 24 deaths per 100,000 in 2016.

 

Various counties by the Red River have also recorded increased rates of drug overdose mortalities. For example, Baylor County has recorded over 30 fatalities per 100,000, which is the highest in the state.

 

Half of all Opioid-Related Deaths Are as a Result of Legally Prescribed Opioid Medications

 

Interestingly, the majority of people who have an opioid use disorder trace their addiction back to legally prescribed opioid painkillers. The leading sources of these opioid prescriptions include doctors, dentists, and surgeons. Consequently, reports indicate that drug overdoses are most prevalent in areas where most opioid prescriptions are made.

 

And because prescribed opioid painkillers are becoming increasingly harder to get, individuals who developed a dependency on those medications transition to the use of illegal opiates such as heroin. Heroin produces a similar sensation to the medication while being easier and cheaper to obtain. What is even more concerning is that this drug is being laced with lethal synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Drug traffickers are lacing heroin with fentanyl to make their product even more potent as fentanyl is about 50 times stronger than morphine. As a result, the likelihood of an overdose is dramatically increased. In fact, deaths that were fentanyl-related almost doubled between 2015 and 2016.

Of the 1,174 opioid-related deaths reported in 2015, prescribed opioids accounted for 517, heroin had 516, while synthetic opioids resulted in 153 deaths.

 

Texas’ Opioid Crisis Could Get Worse

 

While fentanyl-laced illegal opiates are the leading cause of recent overdose fatalities nationally, in Texas, fentanyl has only caused about 4 percent of heroin-related deaths. This is because the most common type of heroin available in Texas, known as blacks tar, is a lot harder to mix with the synthetic opioid as compared to white powder heroin.

 

However, that safety bubble is about to bust as reports indicate that white powder heroin is becoming increasingly available in Texas. Moreover, drug dealers are already mixing fentanyl with black tar. Additionally, more and more illicit drugs are getting laced with fentanyl, thus increasing the risk of fentanyl-related overdoses.

 

As we have covered, opioid use is very likely to result in dependency and addiction. This addiction is eventually what leads to an overdose as the addict needs to take more and more to achieve the same level of high.

 

What Happens When You Take an Opioid?

 

Upon ingesting, inhaling, or injecting an opioid into their body, the opioid enters the bloodstream and travels to the brain. There, it attaches to an opioid receptor which reduces the perception of pain thus having a sedating effect.

 

For most people, the stimulation of opioid receptors causes a mild pleasurable sensation. Others report feeling a sense of well-being while others say they feel motivated or energized. Others might experience unpleasant side effects such as irritability, nausea, and vomiting.

 

There are also those who experience an intense euphoria upon taking an opioid. Unfortunately, these are the individuals who are likely to develop a dependency on the drug thus leading to addiction.

 

Nonetheless, the body gradually builds a tolerance towards the drug. As such, the individual has to take larger quantities of the opioid to achieve their desired euphoric sensation. This results in long-term changes in the brain’s structure and function. Consequently, this results in changes in their behavior as well.

What is Opioid Dependence?

 

This is an addiction to opioids. Thus, it is a brain condition characterized by both a physical as well as a psychological need for the drug and therefore requires opioid addiction treatment. A dependent or addicted individual is one who exhibits compulsive opioid use despite the obvious harm the drug poses. They cannot seem to stop their use even though they know that they should stop.

 

An opioid addiction is typically characterized by intense cravings and the subsequent loss of control over their usage. Behaviors that signal a need for opioid dependency treatment include:

 

 Loss of control over usage

 Denying that there is a problem

 Spending a lot of time looking for and using opioids

 Missing out on important obligations because of opioid use

 A persistent desire to quit but failing frequently

 Continued use despite the harm it poses.

 

Getting over an opioid addiction can be a challenging endeavor. This is because, as mentioned earlier, an opioid addiction typically results in long-term changes to the brain’s configuration. Consequently, the individual is unable to stay long periods without using.

 

Moreover, the withdrawal effects that follow the stoppage of use are dangerous and can even be fatal. As such, professional help is necessary to help the addicted individual to get over their dependency safely while reducing the chance of a relapse. The following are some of the most effective opioid addiction treatments available in Texas:

 

  • Inpatient Opioid Rehab

 

Here, the patient checks into a rehab facility where their treatment is overseen by a team of medical specialists. First, the addict is helped to cease their drug use through structured pain management programs that help them deal with the withdrawal effects that follow stoppage. Additionally, the patient receives psychological treatment that aims to address the root of their addiction while helping them find better ways to cope so as to prevent future relapses.

 

  • Intensive Outpatient Programs

 

Also known as partial hospitalization programs, people who opt for intensive outpatient programs will still receive the necessary medication to help them manage their withdrawal symptoms and to aid in recovery and sober living. Thus, the patient will still be living at home, going to work, and spending time with their loved ones.

 

Nevertheless, they will have to make regular clinic visits up to 6 times a week so their progress can be monitored. The individual will also receive mental health assessments as well as therapy.

 

Partial hospitalization programs are a good substitute for inpatient rehab in certain cases. Your doctor should help you determine whether they are a good fit for the addicted individual.

 

  • Partial Hospitalization

 

An ambulatory detoxification program is a type of outpatient treatment as it provides the benefits of inpatient detoxification but at a less restrictive and more cost-effective setting. Ambulatory detox programs typically offer all the services expected in an outpatient program.

  • Ambulatory Detoxification Program

Nevertheless, this treatment is only suitable for patients who have or are expected to have, mild to moderate symptoms of withdrawal. Therefore, a person who experiences severe withdrawal symptoms needs inpatient treatment as this will allow for medical oversight to ensure that the withdrawal symptoms do not result in a fatality.

With opioid use becoming more prevalent in Texas, it is necessary that we do what all we can to prevent unnecessary deaths. If you have a loved one suffering from opioid use or abuse, getting them to an addiction treatment center sooner will help you turn their lives around, so they do not end up as another opioid-related statistic. Guide them to the path to sober living.