A Statement on the Coronavirus

ByNick Jones


Myths About Alcoholism Recovery Debunked

Deciding to become sober is a huge decision and choosing a recovery center is an important life-impacting decision. With so many misconceptions, stereotypes, stigma, and myths that surround alcohol addiction and recovery, research is necessary.

Despite the many myths about addiction that exist, lots of people choose recovery and lots of people are successful in their journey. Lets debunk the most common recovery myths.

Myth #1: Addiction is a Choice

This is probably the most popular misconception. The American Psychiatry Association refers to addiction as a brain disease. The wiring in your brain literally changes. This causes intense demand from the body to use the substance again. In short, addiction is not a choice. People cannot just get stronger or gain the willpower to stop drinking. It becomes just as important to the individual as food and water are.

Brain imaging studies show changes in the areas of the brain that relate to decision making, learning, memory, judgment, and behavior control.

Alcoholics struggle to get and remain sober not because their wills are weak but because they have a disease that takes over their life. The correct response to someone who is struggling with alcohol abuse is not judgment. It’s actually the opposite; it’s treatment and encouragement.

Myth #2: I Will Lose My Job

If you are a struggling addict, chances are your boss and coworkers already know. If the addiction continues or gets worse, you may lose your job if you don’t seek help.

Many companies would prefer helping an employee than losing one. It is essentially cheaper and better for morale. It is very likely that your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).  EAPs address a wide-range and complex body of issues that affect emotional and mental well-being, such as alcohol and substance abuse along with other disorders.

If you choose to use your company’s EAP, your boss doesn’t necessarily have to know that you are seeking help. If there are problems at work due to alcohol abuse, your boss may refer you to an EAP and become more involved in monitoring your recovery.

Another option you have is to check your coverage under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Under this act, employees have 12 workweeks of job-protected, unpaid leave in a 12-month period for “a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the essential functions of his or her job.”

Myth #3: You Must Hit “Rock Bottom” Before Getting Help

The first problem with the mindset of needing to hit rock bottom before seeking treatment is that “rock bottom” is such a vague term. There are not definitive bounds to distinguish what rock bottom is for each individual struggling with alcohol addiction.

The rock bottom myth is a dangerous one. Alcohol addiction is a progressive disease and waiting to hit rock bottom can result in permanent bodily injury and possibly death.

Anyone can benefit from being in a recovery program; it’s all about finding the right fit for your individual needs. You do not have to hit rock bottom in order to change your life, better yourself, and quit alcohol.

Myth #4: People in Recovery Can’t Hang Out in Places Where Alcohol is Served

Everyone’s recovery journey is different. Yes, some people may not feel comfortable around alcohol, but that is a personal choice, not a necessity to remain sober.

Each person in recovery decides what events they want to attend, how long they want to stay, and what boundaries they create for their own sobriety. If people in recovery avoided alcohol indefinitely, they would end up missing most social events for the rest of their lives. Restaurants and nightclubs do serve a variety of nonalcoholic drinks.

Most people who are seeking sobriety state that they have a renewed gratefulness for life and enjoy making the most of their time.

Myth #5: Rehab Will Make You So Sick, You’ll Be Miserable

The truth is, recovery isn’t easy. If it was, people wouldn’t suffer from addiction. Going through treatment in a sober living environment and participating in group and individual therapy, all have positive impacts on your recovery.

Detox is generally the first step in addiction recovery. The detoxification process clears alcohol from your system. Medically supervised detox can ease the side effects of withdrawal symptoms. However, detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself, does almost nothing to change the behaviors of alcoholism.

Keep in mind that the withdrawal phase won’t last forever or even for a long period of time. The average duration of detox is approximately 7 to 10 days. This is a reasonably short period of discomfort compared to healing and recovery that can save your life.

Detoxing is much safer in the care of trained medical professionals. The medical staff has the ability to monitor your vital signs and provide any necessary treatment should any serious complications arise.

The staff at treatment centers work to make you feel as comfortable as possible.

Myth #6: Successful Sobriety Includes AA

You may have heard that Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the main treatment path of alcohol use disorder; although that is true, the recovery community is huge and is not limited to one single way of doing things. There are numerous options when it comes to choosing support.

Alcohol Anonymous can be very beneficial for some people but it’s not the cure-all for addiction.

You are sober when you refrain from alcohol, however, you choose to do that is up to you.

Addiction Recovery is More than Myth

Myths about alcoholism and recovery often inhibit people from getting help, either because they feel they do not fit the profile of an alcoholic or because they feel so discouraged and truly believe they can never get sober.

Greater knowledge of the truth about alcoholism and recovery can help people with drinking problems seek help. When loved ones and friends are able to accurately identify a drinking problem, they are able to encourage the individuals they care about to get help.

ByNick Jones


Hollywood’s Impact on Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is an epidemic the nation has been struggling with for years. In 2013 alone, statistics showed that more than 9% of the population over the age of 12 was using drugs. Hollywood is often viewed as having a huge impact on these statistics.  Many teens use celebrities as role models. When it comes to drug abuse, this can sometimes be detrimental and sometimes be a positive thing. The following guide walks you through a few of the many ways that Hollywood is having a huge impact on drug addiction in this country.

Hollywood Minimizes the Dangers of Drug Addiction

When people read stories about the celebrities they idolize drinking or doing drugs, it often gives them the impression that drug or alcohol abuse isn’t a big deal. Watching movies or television shows that depict people getting drunk or high and everything working out for them creates a false depiction of what can really happen.

It’s important for people to realize that movies and television are designed to entertain you, not necessarily be an example of what you should be doing in your everyday life. Drug addiction occurs for each person differently. There are some people who can do drugs multiple times and not become addicted to them while others only have to do a drug one time and their body instantly starts to crave it uncontrollably.

Hollywood Can Make Drug Use Look Appealing

Seeing celebrities talk about drug or alcohol abuse in a joking manner or seeing it being depicted on film or television can make someone want to try things for themselves. Many teens claim that they wanted to try a drug or drinking alcohol because of what they saw in a movie or on a television show. This can be very dangerous because the people on television or in movies are just acting. Many teens don’t realize that they aren’t in their right state of mind when they drink or do drugs. They don’t realize that they may have a negative reaction to the substances that they take and that they could develop a drug addiction.

Many people aren’t properly educated about the dangers that come with drug or alcohol abuse. They assume that if they see someone safely mixing drugs and alcohol in Hollywood that it’s safe for them to do too. This can lead to an overdose or dual dependency very quickly.

Celebrities Can Make Drug Addiction Less Shameful

Developing a drug addiction is often very shameful for people. They assume that there will be a stigma and choose not to get the help they need. This decision can easily lead to someone overdosing or trying to live in active addiction for much longer than they should.

Having famous celebrities come forward and admit that they are battling a drug or alcohol addiction and have chosen to seek professional drug addiction treatment can make it easier for the average person to have the courage to seek help too. It’s important to realize that while celebrities can have a negative influence on people, they can also have a positive influence.

Hollywood Can Make Drug Addiction Treatment Less Scary

People are afraid to seek drug addiction treatment because they are fearful. They assume that they will have to deal with horrible withdrawal symptoms and feel miserable. Hearing celebrities talk about their experiences can make it easier for someone to choose to get treatment. They feel less intimidated and can go to a treatment facility to talk about their options.

Hollywood Allows People to Realize No One is Immune to an Overdose

Many people assume that they are able to abuse drugs or alcohol without having to worry about any long-term effects. They think that they have the situation under control and know what their limits are. When celebrities overdose from drugs or alcohol, it can serve as an eye-opener for those that idolize them. It can help them to realize no one is immune to an overdose and push them to get help.

Protecting Your Loved Ones from Negative Hollywood Influences

It’s important to realize that parents can protect their children from the negative influence Hollywood has to offer. Being proactive can improve the chances of your children being able to make rational decisions when they are older. There are many things you can do to protect your kids from potential drug or alcohol abuse such as:

  • Educate About the Dangers: Educate your children about the dangers of drug abuse. This includes the physical, mental, and emotional dangers, as well as the legal dangers they could incur. Many teens think that because their celebrity idol didn’t get into trouble for using drugs, they won’t either.
  • Limit Exposure to Questionable Material: Limit what and how much content involving drug or alcohol use your child watches. Marginalizing drug or alcohol use can make it seem less dangerous to children.
  • Create an Open Dialogue: Ensure that your child feels safe and comfortable to talk to you. When children feel like they can talk to their parents, they’re more likely to consult with them about potential decisions.

If you think that you or someone you love is suffering from addiction, take action right away. You want to be sure treatment is started quickly. It’s a rough journey but it’s worth it to find recovery and live a more productive life.

ByNick Jones


The Future of Arizona’s Tent City Jail – Addiction Treatment

The tent city jail is a state-operated jail facility in Arizona. In recent months, it has made its way on to headlines as a result of potential plans to transform the facility into a center for addiction treatment. The tent city jail is a facility that consists of several outdoor tents that prisoners reside in. These outdoor tents are associated with cruel and inhumane conditions due to the cold months of winter and the unbearable heat. The jail was built during the rise of Sheriff Joe Arpaio as part of a no-nonsense campaign which was meant to send a message to criminals.

Here prisoners work hard-labor jobs while eating food that the Sheriff himself boasts is terrible, and admittedly demeaned in the name of restitution. Fortunately, this is all coming to an end as the election of new Sheriff Paul Penzone promises not only a change but dignity for those who may need it the most— substance abusers.

Seeking a Solution

Penzone recognizes that the majority of Tent City’s inmates are drug offenders, or have gotten a DUI, and may not need punishment, but rather addiction treatment. With that knowledge and the unarguable fact that the nation is experiencing an Opiate abuse epidemic, Penzone sought to turn Tent City’s forbidding past into a brighter future for those serving time for substance abuse issues, or probation violations related to drug relapse. His idea was to re-purpose the facility into a state-funded drug treatment center.

The plan was officially announced in February of this year, including the closing of tent city, a full remodel and adding additional facilities which will serve as employment and housing buildings. The facility will be an extension to an existing program known as Mosaic- which evolved from the previously longstanding Alpha program— which will be 7 weeks long and will focus on helping criminals deal with trauma and behaviors that lead to criminal and substance abuse behaviors. Additionally, the employment center will help inmates learn job and interviewing skills, and provide a housing building that will help reduce homelessness issues in Maricopa County. All in all, the project aims to reduce the occurrence of repeat offenders in the Arizona jail system and reduce the rate of substance abuse relapse among former inmates.

Addiction Treatment

The new and improved facility is set to open in the summer of 2018, with an additional 700 beds between the corrections center and the employment center. Because the program is only 7 weeks in length, the facility should help rehabilitate 1,747 inmates per year, greatly combating the Opiate crisis in Arizona, while also reducing tax dollars used to house inmates for repeat offenses related to drugs and Alcohol.

While the initial investment cost is estimated at approximately $20 million, the plan also included an additional facility which would house prisoners, therefore taking money away from private prison owners, while also cutting costs on the amount of money spent annually in the Arizona jail systems by reducing the amount of returning offenders.
This new initiative is being called an opportunity by Sheriff Penzone, who recognizes that addiction needs to be treated— not punished— and is approaching the situation with both compassion and radically insightful strategy.

ByNick Jones


How the Repeal of the ACA could Affect Addiction Treatment

The healthcare debate that is currently going on its putting Americans on the edge of their seats. With a population of more than 326 million, healthcare reform decisions will impact the nation greatly. However, when it comes to those who need addiction treatment, the repeal of Obama care otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act will be devastating.

The Affordable Care Act

To understand the effects of the repeal, we must first understand the ACA. The ACA granted additional funds to Medicaid, while also increasing the number of qualifying Americans. What this means is that an increase in Americans—those above the poverty line or without dependents—who previously would not have qualified for federal aid programs have become eligible for Medicaid benefits.

Additional advantages of the ACA include the ability to keep dependents on your health insurance plan until they turn 26, insurance companies losing the ability to cancel insurance plans if the insured becomes ill, no additional premiums or refusal of coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and mandates requiring insurance to pay for both mental and behavioral health treatment. These inclusions were monumental to addiction recovery, because of the increased ability to receive Addiction Treatment for those in need of help.



The Republican proposed GOP

Our current governing majority is Republican, and as such can be expected to vote accordingly. While it is important to note that none of the proposed healthcare bills have passed, Americans should stay informed about any reforms the Republican party is pushing to predict the direction the healthcare reforms will likely go in.

The most recently proposed health care bill by Republicans plans to remove many of the additio


ns introduced under the ACA. The bill, proposed in May of this year, would cut expanded funds to Medicaid. The new bill allows for states to decide for themselves whether their Medicaid plans will cover addiction treatment and mental health care.

Another facet of this plan is the removal of protections for those who have pre-existing conditions. This affects addicted individuals in two ways: the first is that both addiction and mental health are considered pre-existing health conditions, and could significantly raise the cost of treatment for them; the second is that these conditions will remain in the individuals’ medical records, causing problems for those looking for health insurance in the future, or by throwing a wrench into their continuing care plans after receiving treatment.

However, the Republican party noted that this increase in freedoms for insurance providers will allow them the choice to cover a larger portion of substance abuse or mental health treatment than they currently do. These lofty ideals by Republicans have been met with skepticism that insurance carriers, as businesses, would choose to increase coverage rather than decrease them.

The Debate Rages On

The current standing of America’s Healthcare Market hangs in the balance, but developments are happening near daily as President Trump makes hardly any effort to disguise his frustration with the lack of repeal to date. The most recent event consist of the resignation of Tom Price as the head of the U.S. Department of Health Services due to a scandal involving misuse of government resources. What this means is that President Trump will now be charged with finding his replacement, thereby swaying the political debate. The top candidates for the position include Seema Verma, a Republican and current Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Scott Gottlieb, a Republican and current Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

The Candidates

Each of these two candidates bring different ideals to the state of the Healthcare Market. Verma, ally to Vice President Mike Pence, worked with Republicans over the last year to cut funding to Medicaid programs.  However, Verma is also a key player in working with Democrats to create Indiana’s Medicaid program. Based on her involvement in these contrasting programs, it is thought that she would be a strong candidate to form bipartisan alliances, which many feel will be necessary for healthcare reforms. This falls in line with a recent and shocking move by the President to work with Democrats on a healthcare proposal.

Proposals offered by Scott Gottlieb include promises to take steps toward combating the Opioid crisis by requiring companies who market drug intended to aid in abstinence, such as opiate blocking medications, to conduct studies testing their efficacy when put to real world use. Additionally, he intends to work with the FDA to speed access to lower cost generic drugs.



What does it mean?

While it’s impossible to know for certain what this means for the healthcare market, there is speculation that either of these candidates could improve the odds for the future of addiction treatment. With the options boiling down to the possibility of a bipartisan alliance on healthcare—and therefore a happy middle between the current ACA and proposed Republican bill— or a candidate set on improving the state of the Opiate epidemic that has America in a vice grip, we can be cautiously optimistic that our fellow Americans suffering with substance abuse or mental health will get the care they need.

Alternative Options for Low-Level Drug Offenders

The first of its kind in Massachusetts, a new program in Worcester shows promise to not only reduce the crime rate, but also help more people who need treatment for drug addiction.

The Plan

The Buyer Diversion Treatment Alternative has a big goal: to take those who have committed low level drug offenses, such as possession, and put them into treatment programs, rather than the criminal justice system. Those arrested for more serious drug offenses, such as dealing, or who have a history of violent crimes, are not eligible for the treatment program.

Republican Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, in regard to the new program, stated, “There is a big difference between someone dealing drugs and selling drugs in the community versus someone who is purchasing drugs to feed their own addiction.”

This program’s aim is to help those who the state believes would better benefit from receiving treatment for their addiction rather than being punished for it, while at the same time still putting dealers and those who commit violent crimes into the criminal justice system and off the streets.

The Program That Started It All

Worcester’s program is not the first of its kind in the United States as a whole. Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or L.E.A.D., is a similar program that has been in effect in Seattle since October of 2011. It started when Seattle law enforcement were coming down hard on those arrested with drug charges, but were seeing very little to no change in public safety and order.

In 2005, during a discussion that included law enforcement, the Racial Disparity Project members, the mayor’s office and the Prosecuting Attorney’s office, then Narcotics Captain Steve Brown asked

“What if we all agreed to do something different regarding drug enforcement-what would that be?”

This question sparked the light that eventually led to the L.E.A.D. program, and the difference it has made in their community is clear.

Since putting this program into action, the criminal recidivism rates have been reduced by up to 60 percent among the targeted demographic. What was originally a four-year plan to see how it would work has now turned into a more permanent fixture for the people of Seattle. Those in charge of L.E.A.D. have even drawn up a plan, showing how they put together and worked with different organizations in the community to put this program into motion so that other cities across the U.S. can follow their example and implement their own version.

Cities such as Baltimore, New York and Albany have started their own L.E.A.D. programs, showing promise that programs such as this could become the norm throughout the United States.

The Start of Something New

Worcester county saw 268 deaths from fatal overdoses between 2012 and 2016, leading officials to talk about what could be done to help lower the number of deaths. The Worcester District Attorney, Joseph Early Jr. said

“This initiative will aid our ongoing efforts to help those suffering from the disease of addiction get into treatment, while at the same time allowing police to continue to work to arrest the dealers who are bringing the poison into our communities.”

Those who qualify for this new program must not only enter treatment, but complete it in order to stay out of the criminal justice system. A state grant of 99,000 dollars has been given to law enforcement to go toward hiring a case manager, who will act as a liaison between law enforcement and the treatment centers.

The United States’ Prison System

Statistics show that cities who have treatment courts, where people are diverted to treatment rather than prison, can reduce the crime rate by up to 40 percent when implemented correctly, and that crime rate stays consistent for at least 14 years.

Local programs like this are necessary, especially in the United States, where we have 5 percent of the world’s population but one quarter of the world’s prisoners, and 7 times the rate of prisoners in China, which has 20 percent of the world’s population.

Many of the laws surrounding the issue of drug offenses are local laws, meaning that even if federally they would not be going through the criminal justice system, locally, they would. Programs that divert people arrested for lesser drug crimes in their communities appear to be a good start to a lasting solution for the country as a whole.

Currently, tax payers in the US are paying upward of 80 billion dollars every year to keep the prison system going. If every city in the US adopted treatment courts and diversion programs, not only would more people get the treatment they need, but more of the tax payers’ money could be saved and used for different programs.

One Solution

Diversion programs and treatment courts are simply one solution to stop the tide of deaths the United States is experiencing from the Opioid epidemic, but they seem to be a solution that is working wonders. If cities throughout the United States keep implementing these programs and continue to get the community involved, it’s possible that not only will the crime rate drop, but more lives may be saved from the clutches of addiction. Hopefully the example that Seattle and now Worcester are setting will continue to spread, and the message of hope that recovery brings will be heard by those who need it.