Tag Archives: California

What You Learned In Addiction Treatment

addiction treatment

On January 1, 2018, the State of California begins a new chapter regarding marijuana. The drug is legal to use for adults over the age of 21 after the holiday season comes to an end. The change in legality may not seem like a big deal, after all, a medical marijuana program has been in place for two decades. California became the first state to allow doctors to recommend cannabis for specific health conditions in 1996. However, broad legalization for recreational purposes could create problems for some people, especially those in recovery.

Cannabis use laws in California are of particular interest to us at PACE Recovery Center—with our specialty being addiction treatment. We are aware that young adult males are a demographic long associated with high marijuana use. Legalization could have the unintended effect of encouraging people in recovery to think that a little “pot” use is harmless. People without a history of cannabis misuse may convince themselves that the drug will not be a sobriety breach.

It’s entirely vital that those in recovery from any form of addiction understand the inherent dangers of using marijuana. Just because your drug of choice (DOC) is alcohol, doesn’t mean that cannabis is fair game. Many an alcoholic has experienced a full-blown relapse because they thought of a little weed smoke as harmless. It’s not just people with alcohol use disorders, either; hard drug users often scoff at the addictive nature of weed. True, fewer people reach the depths of despair from cannabis use, compared to other “harder” drugs. Nevertheless, such realities don’t imply the drug is safe.

Recovery Work Going Up In Smoke

Smoking pot is a sure way for people in recovery to find themselves returning to their DOC. If you’re regularly attending 12 Steps meetings, then there is good chance you have heard where cannabis use leads. It doesn’t matter which substance precipitated requiring addiction treatment; no mind-altering drug is safe. Addiction is a severe mental health disorder, and substance use is merely a symptom of the overall condition. Introducing any euphoria-producing drug to your body can cause severe problems in your life, and jeopardize your recovery program.

Whether you have 30 days or 30 years sober, you’ve have invested much into turning your life around. Using marijuana will cause all your hard work in recovery to go up in smoke. Legality shouldn’t impact your decision to partake in cannabis use; mental health pays no mind to the laws of man. Case in point: despite alcohol’s legality, the substance is highly addictive and takes more lives than any other vice. In spite of marijuana’s benign nature, use can lead to dependence, addiction, and other health problems.

People in recovery who decide to use THC (Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol) products are at even higher risk of experiencing problems. More times than not, recovering addicts and alcoholics return to their drug of choice after using cannabis. It may not happen right away, but smoking weed will cause the minds of people with use disorders to crave their DOC. Usually, it’s a question of when, not if, regarding a return to more dangerous mind-altering chemicals.

Ask Around

If you’re still relatively new to recovery or fresh out of addiction treatment, we hope you grasp what’s at stake. Getting to where you are today required tremendous courage and even more effort, breaking the cycle of addiction wasn’t an accident. If you are living in California, some of your peers may be excited about the “green tide” coming into port. If they are not in recovery, using marijuana is their prerogative; if they’re in the program, keep your distance.

People in recovery contemplating using the drug come January should consult others with more recovery time, first. Chances are, such people will share relapse horror stories that began with something innocuous like cannabis, like cases when a little bit of pot resulted in a drug of choice relapse. Your older peers may tell you of former members who never made it back to the program after using marijuana.

Please remind yourself of what you learned while in addiction treatment. For starters, yours is an incurable disease! Without continued spiritual maintenance and steadfast dedication to total abstinence, everything you’ve tirelessly worked for could disappear. While relapse is a part of many people’s story, there are no guarantees of making it back to the rooms. Anything you can do to protect your recovery’s survival, the better; avoiding marijuana falls on the list of such things.

Cannabis Addiction Treatment

Again, young adult males use marijuana more than any other demographic. As a result, such people often find themselves in the grip of cannabis use disorder and require assistance. If your life is unmanageable due to marijuana use, please contact PACE Recovery Center. We specialize in the treating young adult males with substance use disorders. Our experienced team can help you break the cycle of addiction and self-defeating behavior. Life in recovery is possible; we can give you the tools to make it a reality.

Legalization: Placing Age Limits On Marijuana


More than half of the 50 United States have voted in favor of medical marijuana legalization, and nearly a fifth of all states have legalized the drug for recreational use. Since marijuana policy reform in America seems to be heading one way, it is vital that lawmakers heed the wisdom of researchers when it comes to drafting such policies. It is ever important that quality standards and age restrictions pay mind to experts in the field.

For the most part, those charged with rolling out recreational use in states like Colorado and Washington have deferred to scientists and experts. The fact that one must be 21+ years of age to buy and use the drug was not decided at random, and it was not meant to be an affront to ebullient 18-year-olds itching to exercise their new-found sense of freedom. The age restriction in states with legal “weed” was set in deference to brain science, and the fact that the human brain continues to develop into the mid-20s.

Given there is ample research showing that the marijuana can have a serious impact on cognitive function, affecting memory and intelligence quotient, the further along one goes in life before having tried marijuana — the better. On top of that, studies have also shown that marijuana use, beginning at a young age, can increase one’s risk of abuse and dependence of not only cannabis, but other substances, down the road. While marijuana may register low on the Richter scale of dangerous drugs for adults, there is really no way of predicting what kind of damage it may do to a developing brain.

Cannabis in America, Legalization and Beyond

Last November, you may have been one of the majority of Californians who voted in favor of legalization. Adults over the age of 21 in California can use, possess and even cultivate the plant in their own home. The retail aspect of Proposition 64 isn’t expected to take effect until sometime next year, which will give officials time to work out the minutiae.

What’s more, efforts are likely to be underway to ensure that the right messages are being sent to young people about the drug. Specifically, that while cannabis is now legal for people over the age of 21, that doesn’t mean that it is safe for everyone to use.

With more states expected to adopt a more lenient position about marijuana, continued research is of the utmost importance. At the end of the day, experts know far less than they don’t know, the byproduct of over 80 years of prohibition hindering effective research on the substance. As our neighbors to the North prepare to announce next month Canada’s plan to legalize marijuana from British Columbia to Newfoundland effective July 1, 2018, age restrictions are a hot button topic, according to a press release from Concordia University. The Canadian Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation recommends that cannabis use be restricted to those who are at least 18 years in age. While the restriction is 3-years below what U.S. states have set, CBC reports that provinces would be allowed to set a higher age limit.

Research Supports 21

A new study published in the journal Health, examined the results of three national surveys on tobacco, alcohol and drug use (two in Canada and one in America), showed that those who refrain from using marijuana until the age of 21 are unlikely to develop a lifelong habit, the press release reports. Study coauthor James McIntosh, professor of economics in the Faculty of Arts and Science, said that earlier in life one starts using marijuana, the more negative the physical and mental effects will be. McIntosh and his co-author Rawan Hassunah’s study was novel in how closely is examined the age of first marijuana use. They found that early cannabis initiation and use can lead to cognitive impairment, including:

  • Memory Loss
  • Diminished IQ
  • Reduced Educational Success
  • Greater Risk of Mental Illness

Despite the findings of the study, McIntosh believes that the pros of legalizing outweigh the cons. He points out that Canada’s move towards legalization puts the country in a distinct position to start seriously researching the effects of the drug on every age group:

We need to start collecting data on it to see what the effects are on people of all ages. You can get all kinds of information on drinking behaviours — they should do that with marijuana.”

Cannabis Addiction

The use of cannabis, while considered to be a benign practice by those with a history of addiction or not, can actually wreak havoc on one’s life. As was listed above, the impacts of heavy cannabis use, starting at an early age can make your life unmanageable. Attempts to cease use often results in withdrawal symptoms which are typically mitigated by continued use of the drug. It is not uncommon for marijuana addicts to seek help by way of an addiction treatment center. If you are a young adult, male whose life has been significantly impacted by cannabis use, please contact Pace Recovery Center.

California Emergency Rooms Treating Heroin Poisonings

As 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.

Drug Abuse And/Or Dependence: Signs And Symptoms

PACE Recovery Center’s rehab in California staff is often asked by parents, children, spouses, siblings or friends: “How can I tell if my loved one is abusing drugs?”  We thought it would be helpful to provide the National Counsel on Drug Addiction and Dependence (NCADD)‘s article as a informational resource:

Signs and Symptoms Drug Abuse and/or Dependence**


Warning Signs:

The use and abuse of drugs are serious issues that should not be ignored or minimized and we should not sit back and hope they just go away. If left untreated, use and abuse can develop into drug dependence. As a result, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of drug abuse early. If you’re worried that a friend or family member might be abusing drugs, here are some of the warning signs to look for:

1. Physical and health warning signs of drug abuse

  • Eyes that are bloodshot or pupils that are smaller or larger than normal.
  • Frequent nosebleeds–could be related to snorted drugs (meth or cocaine).
  • Changes in appetite or sleep patterns. Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
  • Seizures without a history of epilepsy.
  • Deterioration in personal grooming or physical appearance.
  • Injuries/accidents and person won’t or can’t tell you how they got hurt.
  • Unusual smells on breath, body, or clothing.
  • Shakes, tremors, incoherent or slurred speech, impaired or unstable coordination.

2. Behavioral signs of drug abuse

  • Drop in attendance and performance at work or school; loss of interest in extracurricular activities, hobbies, sports or exercise; decreased motivation.
  • Complaints from co-workers, supervisors, teachers or classmates.
  • Unusual or unexplained need for money or financial problems; borrowing or stealing; missing money or valuables.
  • Silent, withdrawn, engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors.
  • Sudden change in relationships, friends, favorite hangouts, and hobbies.
  • Frequently getting into trouble (arguments, fights, accidents, illegal activities).


3. Psychological warning signs of drug abuse

  • Unexplained change in personality or attitude.
  • Sudden mood changes, irritability, angry outbursts or laughing at nothing.
  • Periods of unusual hyperactivity or agitation.
  • Lack of motivation; inability to focus, appearing lethargic or “spaced out.”
  • Appearing fearful, withdrawn, anxious, or paranoid, with no apparent reason.


Signs and symptoms of Drug Dependence:

Drug dependence involves all the symptoms of drug abuse, but also involves another element: physical dependence.

    1. Tolerance: Tolerance means that, over time, you need more drugs to feel the same effects. Do they use more drugs now than they used before? Do they use more drugs than other people without showing obvious signs of intoxication?


    1. Withdrawal: As the effect of the drugs wear off, the person may experience withdrawal symptoms: anxiety or jumpiness; shakiness or trembling; sweating, nausea and vomiting; insomnia; depression; irritability; fatigue or loss of appetite and headaches. Do they use drugs to steady the nerves, stop the shakes in the morning? Drug use to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms is a sign of addiction.In severe cases, withdrawal from drugs can be life-threatening and involve hallucinations, confusion, seizures, fever, and agitation. These symptoms can be dangerous and should be managed by a physician specifically trained and experienced in dealing with addiction.


    1. Loss of Control: Using more drugs than they wanted to, for longer than they intended, or despite telling themselves that they wouldn’t do it this time.


    1. Desire to Stop, But Can’t: They have a persistent desire to cut down or stop their drug use, but all efforts to stop and stay stopped, have been unsuccessful.


    1. Neglecting Other Activities: They are spending less time on activities that used to be important to them (hanging out with family and friends, exercising or going to the gym, pursuing hobbies or other interests) because of the use of drugs.


    1. Drugs Take Up Greater Time, Energy and Focus: They spend a lot of time using drugs, thinking about it, or recovering from its effects. They have few, if any, interests, social or community involvements that don’t revolve around the use of drugs.


    1. Continued Use Despite Negative Consequences: They continue to use drugs even though they know it’s causing problems. As an example, person may realize that their drug use is interfering with ability to do their job, is damaging their marriage, making problems worse, or causing health problems, but they continue to use.

**Reference: “Signs and Symptoms” NCADD. N.p.,n.d. Web 20 May 2013

Orange County’s Recovery Community Continues to Grow at an Exponential Rate…

Orange County, California, has one of the most prominent recovery communities in the world, and with over 1500 AA meetings per week, it’s no wonder so many people choose Orange County as their new found safe haven. There are thousands of people with long-term sobriety that are readily available to be mentors and examples to those that are currently struggling with addiction.

Whether it’s because awareness of addiction is ever increasing, or the new age of prescription drugs is bringing kids into treatment at a younger age, the young population of Orange County is also growing. With organizations like AOCYPAA (All Orange County Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous) overcoming the struggles of addiction is becoming more fun and less of a sentence to boredom. For example, AOCYPAA is hosting a Halloween dance party on October 27th of this year. Clients at PACE Recovery Center have access to this vibrant recovery community.

Not only does Orange County have an unparalleled recovery community, this unique location also has every activity imaginable; from surfing and water sports, to skiing and snowboarding less than an hour away. After a stent of economic turmoil, the economy of Orange County is getting better and the job opportunities are immense. Overall, this is one of the most ideal areas in the world to get sober and with the support and camaraderie of a sober community unlike any other, we are confident that anyone will be pleased with their decision to get sober here.

NAMIWalk Orange County 2012 Great Success


PACE participated in the 2012 NAMIWalk Orange County on Oct 6, 2012, 7:30am in Huntington Beach, CA. The walk was a great success! So far this year the NAMIWalk Orange County has raised $121,682, and donations will be accepted until December 1, 2012.

The NAMI walk is one of the largest and most successful fundraisers for mental health awareness in America. NAMI’s main goal is to ensure that people suffering from mental disorders get the help that they need.

The Men of PACE understand that participating in service work is part of a solid recovery program.

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PACE Recovery Center Is On The Fast Track To Becoming A Nationally Recognized Treatment Center

With the Executive Director and founder, Lenny Segal, leading the charge, PACE’s recovery team is determined to make a name for themselves as one of the top drug and alcohol treatment centers in the County…

Only two weeks after the opening of PACE Recovery Center and the house is already full with a waiting list. We are proud to announce that PACE is now expanding! We are preparing to open another facility so we may help more men who are struggling with addiction and behavioral health issues. Orange County has one of the most prominent recovery communities in the United States – so why is Pace doing so well? Segal simply states: “We continue to offer a sound clinical program based on the principles of a 12 Step Program of recovery and brotherhood of men who are facing similar struggles.” It seems that this gender specific dual diagnosis treatment center utilizes the kind of expertise and hands on approach that will continue to make PACE Recovery Center a leader in the treatment community.

Joanna T. Savarese, Ph.D.

As if the grand opening of this new Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center wasn’t exciting enough, PACE’s staff have been anticipating the arrival of the prestigious Dr. Joanna Savarese to the treatment team. “We are honored to have Dr. Savarese join myself [Executive Director, Lenny Segal] and the treatment team. She will be a great asset to our clients and their families.” Dr. Savarese is a well versed and licensed Clinical Psychologist with an extensive training and expertise in the treatment of parenting, addictive disorders, child development, cognitive disorders, and evidence based cognitive rehabilitation techniques. Dr. Savarese is known for her relaxed demeanor and a highly individualized approach to treating her clients.

The wait list continues to grow, the morale and enthusiasm is high, and the future of PACE seems bright. Surely enough, PACE Recovery Center is on the fast track to becoming a nationally recognized treatment center. “I feel fortunate to have the ability to help men to recover from drug and alcohol problems” says Segal. “I’m confident that with the help of my treatment team the success of PACE will continue to flourish.”

PACE Recovery Center ~ Addiction Treatment For Men

Dreams that you dare to dream…

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.”  Anatole France

From the Catalina Mountains in the Sonoran Desert…

I would like to tell you about my dream. It is a dream born out of my personal recovery from substance abuse some 14 years ago. Not long after finding the gift of recovery I had the epiphany that I wanted to give others this gift and spend my life working with those struggling with substance abuse and co-occurring issues. I am often reminded of one of my favorite quotes, “Help others achieve their dreams and you will achieve yours.” Sobriety allowed me to not only mend fences with my family and loved ones, but inspired me to continue my education in social work and business, achieving a Masters Degree in both Clinical Social Work and Business Administration. For ten years I was privileged to be part of an amazing clinical team at the nationally respected Cottonwood Tucson Treatment Program. It was serendipitous that I got sober at Cottonwood and would go on to work there as a primary therapist helping those who once walked in my shoes.


Tucson was my home for many years, and it was there that I dared ask the question: “Why shouldn’t my dream of developing a new extended care program for men struggling with chemical dependency and behavioral issues become a reality?” As I’ve told my clients many times, “you’ll never find peace of mind until you follow your heart.” Then, as I thought more about my dream…I knew this dream could only come true by taking one step at a time. 

The dream of PACE Recovery Center was built with collaborative effort…

Most things in life that are substantive and meaningful, like one’s own personal recovery, are a collaborative effort. In collaboration you can find growth and inspiration. And so, I realized that I would have to reach out to many others to set my dream in motion. Here’s a brief history of how the dream of PACE Recovery Center became reality:

  • Sharing my dream with a few close friends was the first step. I received encouragement to set out on my journey.
  • Deciding on an appropriate geographical location would allow me to provide an environment that would enhance recovery and the healthy lifestyle that I had envisioned. I focused on Orange County, California. More specifically the idyllic seaside community of Huntington Beach. Huntington Beach is a picturesque community with a strong recovery fellowship to draw upon. Interestingly, Huntington Beach has a clear view of Santa Catalina Island, so I felt at home. Of equal importance, I was able to find a comfortable, safe home where men would be able to continue their journey of lifelong recovery.
  • Selecting a respected consultant who possesses a proven record in program development for behavioral healthcare and addiction treatment program was vital. Over the years I have had the privileged of knowing and working closely with many addiction professionals, so again I shared my dream and sought counsel of one such addiction professional. Together, he helped me create what I had conceptualized, eventually turning my vision into the reality that would become PACE.
  • Choosing a name for my recovery center was truly born from how I try to live my life every day, which is with a positive attitude. I knew from my own recovery that a Positive Attitude Changes Everything. So the name PACE Recovery Center seemed apropos.
  • Conceptualizing a logo that would be easily recognized and would also make a strong, simple statement. Remember, “Keep it Simple.” I will admit that this process took a bit of time. That said, I am very happy with the logo I chose to symbolize the strength and serenity PACE Recovery Center offers.
  • Inviting our associates and friends to share in our dream of PACE Recovery Center via FACEBOOK, we launched our Facebook page on June 21, 2012.
  • Engaging and developing a treatment team is one of the most important steps. Our staff brings decades of clinical expertise and personal recovery experience. More importantly, they shared in my dream and in the philosophy that would define our program.
  • Licensing PACE Recovery Center was accomplished by working with the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP). The licensing procedure allowed us to better understand what is expected from the State and to modify and finely tune my vision. I am happy to say, that we passed our licensing inspection with absolutely no deficiencies (which is rare in the licensing process) and on August 23, 2012, we received our license from the State of California which I proudly display at PACE and on our website. 
  • Designing an intuitive website for PACE Recovery is an evolving adventure. Website design is a vitally important process. Unlike hard-copy marketing pieces, you can have an idea, modify the website, and then see it live in minutes. We are proud to launch our ever evolving PACE website today and we hope you will visit and take the tour.

So follow my dream, our dream

As we prepare to open PACE Recovery Center on September 17th, we feel it is only fitting that PACE will open during National Recovery Month. We will join with the countless others who celebrate their recovery, along with their families and friends, who honor their daily commitment.  People can and do recover. Dreams can and do come true.

Here’s to dreams…we hope you will stay in touch

As part of our effort to stay in touch and to continue to share our dream, today we are launching our PACE blog. We will use our blog to keep you abreast of news at PACE, news about the disease of addiction, and news about strength, hope and recovery. We hope you will subscribe to our blog; it is easy to do. Just enter your email address in the subscription box on top right margin and remember to verify your subscription when you receive your verification email.

It’s going to be an exciting journey…


Your dreams can come true at PACE

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