Memorial Day With Heart And Poppies

What we learn by heart...

There was a time when our parents and teachers would expect us to learn things "by heart." Remember? We might be asked to learn a poem or a song, our multiplication tables (because we didn't have hand held calculators or smartphones to quickly check the answer to 6 X 12), the Pledge of Allegiance, our National Anthem, traveling directions, peoples' addresses and phone numbers. Another way to define "by heart" is "by rote." Rote is an interesting word, but perhaps the most fitting when it comes to discussing days like Memorial Day: by rote, from memory, without thought of the meaning; in a mechanical way. There is so much more to Memorial Day, beyond what we have learned by heart. So today we thought we would share just a bit more of the history of this day, including why poppies come to mind for those celebrating the lives fallen for our freedom.

In Flanders Field the poppies blow

100 years ago this month, May 3, 1915, serving in World War I a Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae wrote the following poem after presiding at the funeral of a fellow soldier.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields.

You see McCrae noticed that for some reason poppies will grow even in a field serving as a graveyard; in fact historically we learned that dating back to the Napoleonic Wars [1803-1815] a poet reflected on poppies growing among the graves (according to Wikipedia: "...a writer of that time first noted how the poppies grew over the graves of soldiers. The damage done to the landscape in Flanders during the battle greatly increased the lime content in the surface soil, leaving the poppy as one of the few plants able to grow in the region." Memorial Day 2015 It was just a few years later at the end of World War I when Moina Michael, an American professor, read "In Flanders Field" and determined she would wear a red poppy each day to remember the soldiers who had died in WWI. She worked tirelessly with others and convinced the American Legion to adopt the poppy as a symbol of remembrance. According the American Legion's website:
The Auxiliary Poppy Program has been a staple of the organization since the Legion’s 1925 National Convention when Resolution 534 was adopted, giving the Auxiliary complete charge of the program. But it is imperative to remember that the Poppy Program is an American Legion Family event where both Legion posts and Sons of The American Legion squadrons are encouraged to partner with their local Auxiliary unit to organize and promote the program, as well as distribute poppies for donations. Auxiliary Unit 291 in Newport Beach, Calif., recently raised $14,000 for its poppy program by mailing donation envelopes with poppies in them to all 6,000 unit, post and squadron members. The yearly mailing “is an opportunity to make a donation via the mail since not all members are able to attend meetings or events,” said Margaret Myles, Unit 291 president. “The purpose (of the poppy) is to remind our members the reason why we are The American Legion, and to honor those who have served, those who are currently serving and most importantly, those who have lost their lives in the line of service to our nation.”

Honoring our own...

Here at PACE Recovery Center we are honored to have two staff members who served in our armed forces.
Sean Kelly, Chief Operations Officer
Sean Kelly, Chief Operations Officer
  Sean Kelly is a former Marine who proudly served our country. It is this background that helps him teach the Men of PACE  Recovery Center how to accomplish goals, create discipline, and develop accountability. Sean’s own personal struggle with addiction allows him to meet the Clients where they are at in their own recovery, and help guide them on their recovery journey. Sean is an active member in the recovery community. His philosophy is to treat people with love, dignity and respect. It’s this mentality that allows him to create an alliance, which allows for the therapeutic process to take place between him and his Client. This relationship empowers the Client to gain the skills necessary to recover from drugs and alcohol. Sean studied at Centaur University to become a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor.
Victor Calzada, Resident Manager
Victor Calzada, Resident Manager
    Victor Calzada joined the United States Marine Corps right out of high school in 1995. He proudly served as a heavy weapons operator. While in the service, Victor was recognized for his, honor, courage and commitment. While serving in the United States military, he learned the important characteristics of working as a team. After his tour in the military, Victor worked for the Correctional Systems for 6 years as a Correctional Officer. Victory was known for his keen ability to listen and help them problem solve any issues they might have been experiencing. An area that Victor is passionate about is working with people who have substance abuse issues. Victor has had his own personal struggles with chemical dependency issues. He believe that the combination of opening our hearts and minds, with the right guidance, we can overcome our issues. If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Related articles

The Cost of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)

opioidsThe prescription opioid crisis in America has led to a number of babies being born with what's known as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Expectant mothers who expose their fetus to opioids of any kind face the risk of giving birth to a child with NAS. The syndrome is the result of withdrawal from the opioid pain medication. Treating infants with NAS is complicated and requires trained medical personnel which can be costly. A new report has found that the costs of NAS treatment for babies have increased dramatically, Science Daily Reports. "At our institution, costs associated with treating infants with NAS are exponentially higher than the costs associated with infants not affected," write Dr. Kay Roussos-Ross, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and colleagues of University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville. The researchers analyzed cost trends for infants with NAS at one university-affiliated hospital between 2008 and 2011. Over the course of the three year study, Dr. Roussos-Ross and coauthors found 160 opioid-exposed newborns:
  • 40 in the first year.
  • 57 in the second year.
  • 63 in the third year.
About 50 to 60 percent of opioid-exposed infants developed symptoms of NAS each year of the study, according to the article. Most of the babies (95) were exposed to "opioid agonist" medications, drugs like methadone and buprenorphine, which are given to pregnant women who have an opioid use disorder. The other 65 babies were exposed to prescription opioids used illicitly by their mothers during the pregnancy. When compared to healthy infants, the researchers found that the cost of treating babies born with NAS is 15 to 16 times higher. Each year, the total costs for treating NAS increased dramatically, the article reports.
  • About $1.1 million in the first year.
  • $1.5 million in the second year.
  • $1.8 million in the third year.
Healthy babies typically spend one or two days in the hospital post-birth. Whereas, babies born with NAS are kept in the hospital for an average of 23 days. Babies that are exposed to opioids in utero that did not develop NAS stay in the hospital for about five days. The findings were published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

California Emergency Rooms Treating Heroin Poisonings

heroin-overdoseAs the federal government and the implementation of state prescription drug monitoring programs make it more difficult for opioid abusers to get their hands on OxyContin ® (oxycodone), many have turned to heroin as an easier, cheaper and stronger alternative. When compared to a decade ago, today it is much easier for opioid addicts to get their hands on heroin - resulting in a surge of heroin overdoses across the country. “Most people who use heroin in the U.S. today used prescription opioids first. Reducing inappropriate prescribing will prevent overdose from prescription opioids and heroin,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, in a news release. Heroin overdose deaths nearly tripled from 2010 to 2013 in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In California, emergency departments have seen a six-fold increase in heroin poisonings in the last decade, Reuters reports. In 2014 alone, California emergency rooms treated 1,300 young adults between the ages of 20 and 29 for heroin poisoning. "It's consistent with what we're seeing in our narcotic treatment programs - just a lot more young people," said Tom Renfree, who heads substance abuse disorder services for the County Behavioral Health Directors Association in Sacramento. "There's been a real spike." Heroin poisoning is not exclusive to overdoses; it also represents those who used a product ‘cut’ with something potentially lethal, according to the article. Across the country, there has been a rise in heroin cut with the opioid analgesic Fentanyl ®, users are often unaware just how powerful Fentanyl ® (100 times the strength of morphine) is, making dosing extremely difficult. Young adults were not the only age group affected in recent years. During the same period, adults ages 30 to 39 who were seen in emergency rooms for heroin poisoning doubled - from about 300 to about 600. Among teenagers, in 2014 there were 367 teens treated for heroin poisoning - compared with about 250 in 2005.

Synthetic Drug Flakka is Potent and Addictive

AlphaPVPWe recently shared with you a brief history of synthetic drugs, highlighting the dangers of these drugs in the future. As the synthetic drug landscape widens, new variations of drugs like “bath salts” (MDPV) and synthetic cannabis are sending hundreds of people to emergency rooms across the country. These types of products are sprayed with chemicals that mimic the effects of traditional mind altering drugs, but lack the chemical consistency which makes the side effects both unpredictable and dangerous. One of the latest synthetic drugs to hit the streets is known as Flakka (alpha-PVP). Flakka is a drug which is as potent as a stimulant, and therefore as addictive as its chemical cousin MDPV, Science Daily reports. The findings come from researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI). Recently, a number of southern states, especially Florida have seen increased incidents of Flakka use among citizens. The side-effects associated with Flakka use include, but are not limited to:
  • Extreme Violence
  • Paranoid Psychoses
  • Compulsive Nudity
  • Zombie-like Behavior
  • Superhuman Strength
"There have been assertions that flakka is somehow worse than MDPV, but this study shows that the two are very similar," said Michael A. Taffe, an associate professor at TSRI. While Flakka may not be worse than bath salts, drugs which have been tied to a number of horrific news stories, co-senior author of the study, TSRI Associate Professor Tobin J. Dickerson added, "That doesn't mean that flakka use is 'safe' -- our data show that flakka is as potent as MDPV, making it a very good stimulant, arguably with worse addiction liability than methamphetamine." Potential users of synthetic drugs need to understand that they are taking huge risks when they use these types of chemicals. View little, if any in some cases, human testing is conducted with chemicals like MDPV and alpha-PVP - there is no way of knowing what kind of side-effects the user will experience. The findings were published in the journal Psychopharmacology.

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