Treatment Advanced

A continually common belief in a good portion of the public, regardless of they’ve gone through substance abuse treatment in Florida or not, is that addiction is not only a moral failing but requires a moral dispositional shift in order to kick the habit. The War On Drugs policy, instituted in 1971 by Richard Nixon, is still ongoing and was built on this viewpoint. It has damaged not only research into addiction, but also dispersing the most up to date information about it and in the process, treating addicts as morally bankrupt criminals instead of what has actually happened which is a change of brain chemistry and introduced a synthetic mental illness it’s resulted in destroying not only the lives of addicts themselves but the families they belonged to.

Not many people who have been in a 12-step program realize that the entire premise is of moral correction. The primary focus of programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is to attempt to not only remove the autonomy of a person’s ability to make good decisions by having them accept that they don’t make good decisions, but that the only way to make good decisions is by submitting to a ‘higher power’. These days, it groups are more or less non-religious and don’t specifically harp on God or Christianity, but many will still use the term G.O.D., a shorthand for ‘Good Order and Discipline’. The overt spirituality, however, remains in nearly all 12-step programs which has been repeatedly found in medical and scientific communities to have very little positive results, especially in the long term.

While it is unfortunate that the opioid epidemic has occurred, one heavily racial element of it is that it has overtaken white communities and kickstarted a resurgence of trying to publicly take a new understanding on how substance abuse disorder actually works beyond the moral angle. While in the 80’s, the prison population, particularly with non-whites, exploded, making America the number one industrialized nation with the highest amounts of incarceration due to the scare of crack, today the opioid and by extension the heroin crisis has shaken an ever increasing portion of America out of it’s stone-aged view on what addiction actually is.

Medical research advancements have progressed to the point where brain imaging can even identify without even asking the patient what kind of drugs they are addicted to. Drugs have been developed for certain kinds of substance addictions that not nullify the effects of use while reducing cravings themselves. Some of these, such as naloxone, can even reverse a certain-death overdose situation. While these methods of imaging and treatment are new and very limited in use, as the public’s perception and research evolves, addictions of all types may be understood to the point where the disease is seen as just a serious ‘nuisance’, like the flu.

South Florida rehab centers like First Step Behavioral Health try to use the most accepted forms of medical and psychological substance abuse treatment available. Call (866) 319-6126 for more info about options like oxycodone treatment.

Technology for Recovery Has a Blind Spot

While more and more people are finding they are needing oxycodone treatment, with many people in south Florida seeking relief and heroin drug treatment in Broward, some individuals with good intentions are offering technological solutions to assist in the battle of addiction that killed more people from overdose in 2018 than car accidents. Removing any kind of ulterior profit motive out of the picture, which has also started creeping into the growing epidemic that is largely due to inefficient government policy ill equipped to deal with the problem, some have started introducing technological solutions with earnest hopes in helping people. The problem is, however, that the help is largely tone-def in many ways, with a distinct limitation on reach.

Poverty and addiction are two conditions which affect many, with poverty going into what one might call ‘extreme poverty’, more commonly called ‘homelessness.’ People who live on the streets, sleeping under bridges or finding a place in encampments where they can dodge police easier for vagrancy aren’t exactly ‘hip’ to technology. They often won’t have a cell phone, and if they do, it’s a burner with highly limited access and usually underpowered to handle much of the online software that is offered.

Take for instance, Brian Mcalister’s app that was recently introduced, which offers a substantial support network, data tracking of many aspects of a person’s relapse triggers, encourages expressing anxiety and depression in journals as a coping mechanism, and more. It’s very well thought out. But it misses the broad target of that addiction doesn’t; addiction doesn’t care about income or technology and will hurt anyone, anywhere and for any reason. One quick Google search of Kensington’s addiction population will reveal that a large number of people afflicted in the community don’t even have a place to get out of the cold or the rain, which makes having a phone look as out of reach as being a number one box office draw in Hollywood.

There’s nothing wrong with these things, however, but even taking Brian’s app and removing the access, the service fee itself is over $250 a year. Anyone who has ever lived paycheck to paycheck, nevermind homelessness, will tell you every purchase they make is measured in bags of ramen. It only serves a portion of the well-to-do community that hasn’t lost everything yet or weren’t born into a house that was broken before they were even conceived. Technology is still a luxury to many people, with over half of the world still having no internet access whatsoever, which the app heavily relies on.

It’s not that there’s an ill intent for any of these solutions, it’s that the approach is ignorant to the larger issues that surround substance use disorders and more importantly who it actually affects. It’s not a disease of the middle class, it’s a disease of everyone because addiction doesn’t care who you are and especially doesn’t care if you own a cell phone or not.

While technology is great for some people, south Florida drug rehab is best handled by professionals at First Step Behavioral Health. Call (866) 319-6126 for treatment options.

Public Opinion & Opioid Addiction

This is a small sampling of responses to an article by award winning journalist Jennifer Percy’s article on Kensington’s open-air drug market, “Trapped by the Wal-Mart of Heroin” which appeared this month in the New York Times, which covers the problems facing people trying to find Oxycodone treatment, but ended up in a downward spiral of heroin abuse.

“I wish cities could sue Halliburton for sending our kids to war, for having to dull the emotional and physical pain with opioids, while they made billions.” – NYCGal

“…So much of this started with the advertised-as-safe drugs like Oxycontin that were approved by the FDA and misleadingly marketed by Purdue and Mallinckrodt, and which led users down the path to heroin. The article shows what a death sentence heroin is, oth for the users and for the community the users (and pushers) inhabit. Why do we as civilized and supposedly advanced society allow this?” -J.M.

“Soldiers go to Afghanistan to secure the poppies they will later be addicted to.” – T.P.

“Heroin dealers are murderers and should be treated as such. Zero Tolerance for the sale or possession of heroin. If there were no heroin, there would be no heroin addicts. I’m not being totally uncompassionate. My son was addicted to heroin after oxycodone for a broken shoulder. He went through cold-turkey withdrawal by choice. He knows full well what any future use of heroin would involve. Eventually, if the addicts do not accept the offer of help, then they have made their choice. It’s their life.” – E.W.

“I went to rehab in 1988. I remember vaguely the leader of our program saying that of the 50 people I was there with, only 5% would be sober in one year. The statistic dropped in half for five years. After two years, I believe there was one other person and myself still sober. I have since lost track of him, but hold out hope that I am not the only one still sober almost 30 years later. Addiction is hard. It’s a daily battle, and if you don’t do a lot of intense personal work, all the rehab in the world won’t work.” – R.O.

“If you could see inside people’s minds you would, in many cases, never stop crying. Whether by way of trauma, or some genetic cruelty, some people are shackled with a life-wrecking primary drive: GET ME OUT OF HERE. The drugs are being used because the drugs work.” – M.F.

“For many of the addicts described, their community is a big part of why they can’t recover. ‘It’s where I belong’, one woman is quoted as saying. People yearn for community, and as long as they are doing drugs, they have a place to belong. How do you fight that?” – C.

“So many commenters here have the answer to the problem of heroin addiction! Please, run for office, win and put your plan into action despite opposition, since the current crop of mayors and governors are doing so poorly. Or become an advocate to bring about change following your recommended solution. Armchair quarterbacking is much easier, ay?”

Substance use disorder is not an easy obstacle to overcome and can’t be overcome alone. If you or someone you know is need of a south Florida Detox center or residential detox, , call 1st Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126.

Battles With Businesses

Employers often times put unreal expectations on potential employees. The questionnaires often have what would be under most normal circumstances questions that sometimes even your parents don’t know the answer to because it’s that personal. One of the largest roadblocks for someone recovering from addiction can face is employment and being honest when answering questions related to drug use and drug related criminal records. But even people who are able to find time off to seek treatment can face a battle with the company they work for simply for going into rehab.

Recently, cases have been taken to court against businesses that enact retaliatory actions toward their employees that have attended or trying to attend addiction rehab treatment centers. A case in Michigan’s federal courts is now being sent to a jury trial after a business lost a summary judgment motion aimed at dismissing a former employee’s Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) retaliation and interference, claiming disability and discrimination under federal and state laws. The case may determine for all subsequent interactions that being diagnosed with substance use disorder would constitute a disability covered by the FMLA for the state. Other businesses would also be influenced by the outcome, as well

The case involved an account manager at an HVAC installation repair company who had a history of drug addiction and was terminated days after returning to work while on FMLA leave. She had already faced friction during a company restructure when her new supervisor was given an old email between her and her old supervisor regarding obtaining Suboxone, a medication assisted treatment drug for opioid addicts. In the email, the supervisor questioned  the employee about the worth and cost of the prescription being filled to which the plaintiff disclosed their opioid addiction and the need for the oxycodone treatment. The leave she took which in which she was terminated for was to take care of her sick mother, nothing to do with withdrawal from oxycodone, and was given the reason that her ‘job was being eliminated’.

She’s in the process of suing the employer for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state law that falls under the FMLA interference and retaliation.

People with substance abuse disorder face a multitude of challenges keeping their condition in check, like all chronic illnesses. Battling employers to even be considered worthy enough to keep a job even after successful treatment can become a stress trigger, creating extremely tough times to deal as not only might someone be dealing with effects of the stress itself on their ability to keep on top of their behaviors, but having to deal with an employer’s treatment of your situation can seem like too much.

Not all addictions are built the same and not all people will be retaliatory supervisors nor will all people find the stress of dealing with one a risk to relapsing. This case, when it is has run its course, may dictate to more businesses how, at least, to handle someone on their staff learning to live with their condition and become supportive of those who have recovered rather than arbitrarily treating them like a sure liability as this HVAC company has apparently done.

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, finding a south Florida drug rehab is as easy as calling First Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126.

Early Phase of Treatment And Self Reporting

Treating addiction and addictive behaviors often requires a lot of patience on both the part of the treatment staff and the patient. It also requires a lot of trust and communication in order to ensure that therapy methods are having an effect and a part of that comes from knowing whether the patient has used a drug during time in treatment or not.

A recent study performed by Boston Medical Center (BMC) and faculty at the Boston University of School and Medicine analyzed the value of using urine tests during early phases of addiction treatment. The study, published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, found that implementing drug tests greatly increases the ability for treatment staff to properly assess a patient’s progress. Patients will not always be up front and honest with their counselors and medical professionals when asked for a variety of reasons which include fear of being kicked out of treatment for use. Other reasons may include shame and an unwillingness to disappoint their support team and maybe even those in their support group meetings, according to Sarah M. Bagley, MD, the study’s co-author who works as an assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine.

According to the findings of the study, 76 percent of urine tests for cocaine and 57 percent for opioids were found to be positive in patients who did not disclose having used any substances when queried by health professionals. As patient time in treatment increased within the program, that number steadily dropped. Researchers believe that the numbers tapering off as therapy goes in may be related to growing a trust between those tasked with treating the illness and the person being treated.

“It is important for providers to understand more about how the lab results compare to what patients tell us in a visit,” Bagley said. For patients who are entering treatment, self reporting may seem like a self defeating purpose. They may also have formed some habitual protection measures for maintaining secrecy with use from family or friends as well. A significant portion of treatment is behavioral therapy which not only includes shifting harmful and self destructive actions toward healthy and sober ones, but learning to accept responsibility and being honest about when a drug is used. Treatment specialists have a critical interest in tracking the use of drugs and alcohol of those under their care and knowing when a patient has used a substance allows them to analyze and adjust their approach more efficiently than if they’re unaware of the use.

The research reinforced, overall, the use and implementation of drug tests during early phases of treatment in order to ensure a more effective administration of treatment procedures, understanding the specific nature of the addiction being treated and accurately monitoring effectiveness of prescribed therapy.

Oxycodone treatment and other south Florida detox options including residential detox can be found simply by calling 1st Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126.

Middle-Aged Women Fatal Overdoses On The Rise

Across the United States, drug addiction, overdose and fatal overdose rates are increasing seemingly by the day. Alcoholism, opioid addiction, heroin use, cocaine abuse, you name it, the statistics leading into 2018 don’t appear to show any signs subsiding. Of the increased usage, the CDC identified one group in particular that has seen a higher increase among the overall upswing in usage: women between the ages of 30-64.

Particularly noteworthy, and not for any good reason, is the increase of fatal overdose rates of the demographic of over six hundred percent. Women in the age rage of 55 to 64 were among where the highest increase was observed by the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control lead by Karin Mack. This was enough to push the average age of death up by three years over the course of the period studied that ranged from 1999 to 2017, going from 43.5 years to 46.3 years.

One of the reasons for the high spike cited was the increase of prescription opioids during this time period coupled with the recent fentanyl-laced heroin and counterfeit imported opioids coming from China and parts of Southeast Asia. The data in the study showed that in the rage of of ages of women from 30-64, synthetic opioids like these rose seventeen-hundred percent during the period analyzed. Valium, Xanax and other benzodiazepine drugs also saw a thousand percent increase. It was also noted that the deaths, often times, included multiple drugs.

The data studied revealed a correlation with speed of which addictive drugs take hold of women compared to men, showing a significantly increased speed for which women will become addicted, in which researched made some inferences as to why. According to Dr. Harshal Kirane, an addiction specialist, “middle-aged women are often prevented from accessing care due to family responsibilities, child care considerations and financial disparities. Moreover, certain mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, tend to occur at higher rates in women, which create profound obstacles to engagement in care.”

Kirane isn’t the only person with this point of view. Other reasons which feed into the mental state of women include domestic violence, which is it’s own separate issue but crosses over into addiction due to the stress, depression and anxiety that comes with it. Many women go untreated for these issues, which puts them at a higher risk of drug use and addiction.

The report was published January 11 in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report.

Addiction is a serious illness that affects more than just women, but men and children as well. If you know someone or are someone who needs substance abuse treatment in Florida, call 1st Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126. South Florida rehab centers like 1st Step provide comprehensive care for all types of addictive substances and includes oxycodone treatment options.

Addiction Leashes In Development

As our computer and communication technology continue to become more portable and more powerful in offering solutions to various human conditions, they’ll be applied to all manners of issues people face. One of the newest uses of new mobile technology is in preventing severe permanent health problems or death as a result of a drug overdose. Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh has developed what they call the ‘HopeBand’, a wristwatch-like device which monitors a patient’s physiology and alerts medics when it’s wearer’s condition changes past a set threshold due to a substance.

One of the reasons a person uses a drug is for the effect it has on their body. This effect can be monitored directly and is the first role of the wrist monitor. It achieves this by observing oxygen levels present in the person which, according to Soham Donwalkar, is the most reliable indicator of an overdose. When the levels detected indicate a possible overdose, an alarm and flashing light are triggered as blood oxygen levels drop. The watch also sends a text message to medics in the area alerting them of the condition and location for paramedics and first response units to handle dispatch. Drugs like fentanyl are so potent, they can send someone unconscious so fast they die with a needle still poking out of their arm. Cases such as these are one of the more serious situations that the HopeBand developers hope can they can prevent, getting overdose victims help even when they are unable to seek it themselves and have no one near them that can call 911.

The team also hopes to set a price point of the band as cheap as $18 per unit when it is finally completed. The device still requires further trials before it can apply for an FDA approval, however.

It is only one approach of using technology to monitor addiction. Several states have begun using artificial intelligence to monitor doctors prescribing drugs with the hopes of catching addiction of drugs like oxycodone before the dependence graduates into harder substances like heroin. The programs monitor patterns of patients as well as those of doctors and their frequency of prescribing pills. The goal of the software is to keep aware doctors of their own prescription habits in order to make decisions which could curb the fostering of addiction to oxycodone and other addictive drugs. Many times, addicts will ‘shop for doctors’, with many unaware that they are being taken advantage of for the sake of the addict’s cravings, another monitoring point that some AI’s track.

If you or someone you know might be suffering from addiction calling 1st Step Behavioral Health at (866) 319-6126 can help find a path back to sobriety. We offer several treatment options such as residential detox and oxycodone treatment.

Right Before Your Eyes

Society tends to only ‘see’ addiction rather than thinking about it. Our culture has internalized a specific view of what addiction and addicts look like that prevents us, many times, from seeing it where it actually is. Chances are if you were to just think about addicts you may have seen within the past couple of days, you’ll think of a homeless guy at the corner of a street begging for change presumably to get another bottle of liquor or another rock. You’ll think of that guy you saw stumbling out of a bar with a torn shirt, spouting expletives at the bouncer who asked him to leave and smells like he might not have showered in days. You’ll think of the obvious and ignore those who aren’t fitting of those images we are fed by media about what it is supposed to look like. You won’t think of a doctor with a stethoscope and a degree. You won’t think about a multi-millionaire real-estate mogul. You won’t think about your neighbor whom you greet in the morning on their way to work.

The truth is, addicts don’t have a specific look. They don’t have a specific culture. They don’t have a specific income. They don’t have a specific anything. Just like any other illness, it can afflict anyone you know. A large reason for which it goes untreated is because of the stigma surrounding it. People who are addicted who aren’t homeless, who aren’t already shunned for one reason or another by society, will do everything in their power to hide it. Sometimes, they will be addicts without even realizing they are, or anyone else they know picking up on it.

Addiction itself is still being studied. It’s not a completely understood illness and new discoveries about how it takes hold of regular people and slowly destroys their body, mind, friends and families are being made all the time. From psychological research to genetics, the depth of knowledge about how it can transform someone from a rational human being to an irrational one continues to increase making it one of the most complicated ailments any person will ever deal with. If we, as part of society, continue to frame the problems as a cartoony stereotypical look of a guy sleeping on a bench with a bottle and stained trench coat, we will continue to see it spread and take the lives of more people we know and love. No one asks to break their leg in a car wreck, yet everyday that happens. If we continue to treat people who we would otherwise see as ‘us’ with ridicule and harsh judgement as a society, then we might as well say that as a society we are okay with it being a continued epidemic as it is today.

Addiction can be devastating if untreated. If you or someone you know is need of residential detox, oxycodone treatment or general south Florida drug rehab, 1st Step Behavioral Health offers treatment administered by professional counselors. Call (866) 319-6126 to take the first step towards recovery today.

Fake Opioid Treatment Distributors Targeted by FDA

One of the unfortunate side effects of a market driven economy is the incentive of money that can motivate some people and their companies to put profits and exploitation above the customer satisfaction and even safety. With the opioid epidemic catching a large portion of the news cycle, morally ambiguous businesses are popping up claiming to have solutions to opioid addiction while completely avoiding the approval process of the FDA, which was established by congress passing the Food and Drug Act in 1906 to protect consumers from negligent business practices. The FDA approval process for drugs involves rigorous testing and proving the effectiveness of the drug, reviewing and documenting possible side effects and general safety when used by the consumer.

Recently, numerous reports to the FDA drew attention to the marketing of tianeptine by at least two specific companies who are being investigated for violating the regulatory laws resulting from marketing the drug under the supplement category. In some countries, the drug is approved for sale as an antidepressant, but has been rejected by the FDA for any use due to the risks of use which include neurological, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems in addition to mimicking opioid withdrawal and toxicity. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in August the number of tianeptine exposure calls to U.S. poison control centers rose during 2014 to 2017, suggesting a possible emerging public health risk.


Tianeptine as a “Dietary Supplement”

Tianeptine itself, being distributed as a ‘dietary supplement’ in order to avoid FDA approval as a safe consumer-grade drug, was found to be in Tianaa Red, Tianaa Green and Tianaa White distributed by Jack B Goods Outlet Store and Vicaine, distributed by MA Labs. The FDA issued warnings to cease distribution of these products in an effort to ensure consumer safety. With the opioid crisis showing very little signs of slowing down overall, the FDA has it’s work cut out for them in maintaining a safe consumer environment that prevents exploitation of businesses in this way to cash in on the addiction epidemic.

While these two specific companies were the only ones named in the warning letters sent out, which does not demand any monetary compensation related to the customers whose health was adversely affected already, there’s no authoritative information available at this time about how many different ‘supplements’ are currently sold under different names and outlets.

Opioid addiction is serious and requires professional treatment and rehab to be successful within an addict. The biggest risk to an addict is overdose which can lead to death. The longer the addiction goes on, the risk to overdose increases as well. If you or someone you know is addicted to opioids such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, 1st Step Behavioral Health can help. Please call (866) 319-6126 to speak to a qualified counselor about treatment options and residential in the southern Florida area.

Why Some People are Saying Naltrexone Can Stop The Opioid Crisis

Naltrexone is a medicine designed to assist people who are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction in their detox and rehab recovery. Specifically, this medicine is designed to be especially useful for those who are suffering from an addiction to an opioid or to alcohol. Indeed, alcohol and opioid addicts are substantially more likely to successfully enter active recovery and remain there for the long haul with the help of Naltrexone. One of the best things about this drug is that it is not an addictive medication. Some other replacement drugs that are used for addiction recovery are indeed addictive. Naltrexone though is a non-narcotic drug that attaches to the brain’s pain and reward receptors and completely blocks them.

This functionally means that when a person takes codeine, heroin, or any different type of opioid, or drinks too much alcohol that the pain, pleasure, and reward controlling receptors of the brain will already be occupied and therefore the person taking the drug will not feel the effects of the intoxicant. This is a priceless boon in the detoxification and rehabilitation steps of recovery. As a person gets sober from their substance of choice, say oxycodone, heroin, or booze, they will experience serious alcohol, heroin, or oxycodone withdrawal symptoms, and those symptoms can and do frequently lead people to relapse.

If the user is taking naltrexone during their withdrawal from oxycodone or other intoxicants, there will be little incentive to take a pill or pick up a beer when they will have no hope of feeling the effects of the substance. South Florida rehab clinics and detox facilities often offer naltrexone to their patients who suffer from addiction in hopes of helping them through the difficulties of detox and rehab and giving them a good foundation for future active recovery. Naltrexone helps not only biologically, but also psychologically. Since the drug helps with cravings and triggers having naltrexone to lean on allows the patient to focus on their mental health and the life skills they need to sharpen to be ready for the outside world.

Naltrexone is the generic version of the following brand names:

  • Vivitrol
  • Depade
  • Revia


Medication Assisted Oxycodone Treatment Program

Medication assisted addiction recovery programs are designed to function using medications like naltrexone, in conjunction with behavioral therapies to treat alcohol or drug addicted individuals. While medications like buprenorphine and methadone do indeed leave space for a person who has been dealing with an addiction to opioids to become dependent on them, Naltrexone is a drug that does not. Opioids are intense intoxicating substances and very quickly engender a high tolerance and intense cravings within the user.  Because of this, it is highly advisable for the patient dealing with opioid addiction to be treated by a medication assisted treatment program.


Treatment For Opioid Addiction in South Florida

There is help available for opioid addiction. Oxycodone and other opioid addictions are difficult struggles for anyone to deal with and they are not just something you can walk away from on your own. Everyone needs help. 1st Step Behavioral Health can offer support in the form of an excellent staff of qualified and licensed medical clinicians and therapists. Call today to learn more about our rehab programs.