Tag Archives: overdose

Addiction and Mental Illness: Diseases of Despair

addiction

Unemployment, social isolation, and uncertainty are words all too familiar to millions of Americans in 2020—owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Countless men and women have struggled to stay afloat during these trying times, especially for those who suffer from the disease of addiction and mental health disorders, which have come to be known as “diseases of despair.”

Recent polling data shows that:

More than half of the people who lost income or employment reported negative mental health impacts from worry or stress over coronavirus; and lower income people report higher rates of major negative mental health impacts compared to higher income people.”

Even those working a program of recovery have found it challenging to keep themselves on track. Relapse rates and overdose rates are up across the country. According to the American Medical Association (AMA), “The AMA is greatly concerned by an increasing number of reports…suggesting increases in opioid- and other drug-related mortality—particularly from illicitly manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogs.”

More than 40 states have reported increases in opioid-related mortality as well as ongoing concerns for those with a mental illness or substance use disorder.”

Addiction and Mental Illness: Diseases of Despair

When life becomes more difficult, people are more apt to turn to mind-altering substances to cope with symptoms of anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. This summer, 40 percent of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health and substance abuse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Alcohol use and substance use disorders are on the rise this year as many people try to grapple with this new way of life. However, alcohol and drug misuse and suicidal thoughts and behaviors have been steadily rising for the last decade following the great recession.

Between 2009 and 2018, diseases of despair rose 170 percent, HealthDay reports. Alcohol use disorders increased in practically every age group. Substance use disorder diagnoses increased by 94 percent. New research suggests that diseases of despair can be linked to:

  • Economic Decline
  • Stagnant Wages
  • Fewer Community Ties
  • Unemployment

Among those ages 18 to 34, the rate of suicidal ideations and behaviors rose by 210 percent, according to the research appearing in the BMJ Open. What’s more, the researchers report that men had almost 50 percent higher odds of being diagnosed with a disease of despair than women. The new study included 12 million Americans.

Study author Emily Brignone – a senior research assistant – reports that it will take many years before we fully understand the pandemic’s impact on diseases of despair. She adds, however:

There is some evidence of COVID-19-related changes in diseases of despair, including increases in opioid overdoses and high numbers of people reporting suicidal thoughts. Diseases and deaths of despair represent an urgent public health issue, and the COVID-19 pandemic in some respects may exacerbate the conditions that give rise to these problems.”

Talking About Mental Health and Addiction

Evidence-based treatments exist, which can help individuals find recovery and get their life back on track. Addiction and mental health treatment work and people need to feel comfortable reaching out for help. Unfortunately, stigma still stands in the way of getting help for many Americans.

Benjamin Miller, chief strategy officer for the Well Being Trust, calls the new study a “call to action,” according to the article. He says helping people get back to work is one preventive measure against diseases of despair. He adds that employment could lessen the pandemic’s impact on addiction and mental illness rates.

More importantly, Miller says people need to be able to have conversations about addiction and mental health. He adds:

We have to look at how to embrace the hard conversations around mental health and addiction. We need to know how to talk to each other, and be empathetic and supportive.”

Talking about behavioral and mental health disorders isn’t easy. Reaching out for help takes much courage, but it saves lives. If you know someone who is struggling, please take the time to lend them an empathetic ear.

Behavioral and Mental Health Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we treat men struggling with addiction and mental health disorders. Our team relies upon evidence-based treatment to help men find the gift of recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services.

Opioid Addiction Epidemic in America

opioid addiction

The American opioid addiction epidemic has been relegated to the back burner of late because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s not to say opioid addiction and overdose are no longer on the radar; it’s that we’ve been caught up in COVID-19 statistics and our government’s plan to address the situation.

As far as public health crises are concerned, it makes sense that our focus has shifted to the coronavirus—it has stolen more than 220,000 lives in 2020 thus far. Still, the opioid use disorder epidemic should not be forgotten about, even if it’s challenging to focus on more than one public health crisis at a time.

For years, it seemed like opioid addiction and overdoses dominated the headlines; that nearly 100,000 Americans die of an overdose each year seemed like a primary topic of discussion. With each passing week, a new headline involving opioids would be seen having to do with misuse or a new lawsuit against those who profited from overprescribing. However, public attention has pivoted to COVID-19, which has led to more than one million deaths worldwide.

With the nation’s attention on coronavirus, many important stories are being overlooked. You may have missed specific headlines, like the one involving Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family.

The Sackler family, which owns Purdue Pharma, has been in the limelight in recent years. The primary shareholders of the makers of OxyContin are infamous in America. You may be aware that Purdue touted OxyContin as not carrying a significant risk for addiction. The drug was promoted to prescribers as being safe, despite the steady rise in overdoses since the release of the drug in the mid-’90s.

Purdue’s Role in the Nation’s Opioid Crisis

Last week, Purdue Pharma agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges related to its marketing practices, The New York Times reports. The company is looking at $8.3 billion in penalties, and the Sacklers have agreed to pay $225 million in civil penalties.

In recent years, thousands of thousands of lawsuits have been brought against Purdue Pharma. States, cities, counties, and tribes are all trying to hold the company and the Sackler family responsible for their role in the nation’s opioid addiction epidemic. The vast majority of people using heroin today used prescription opioids like OxyContin first.

Research shows that 21% of high school seniors who misused prescription opioids and later received an opioid prescription, used heroin by age 35.

While this update is promising news, it’s unlikely that Purdue will pay anything close to the $8 billion; the company has already sought bankruptcy court protection, according to the article. However, the settlement could lead to the resolution of many of the thousands of pending lawsuits. The agreement did not end all the litigation against Purdue, nor does it preclude the filing of criminal charges against Purdue Pharma executives or individual Sacklers.

In a letter to the Department of Justice, relatives of opioid use disorder victims said the agreement falls short. What’s more, Massachusetts has scheduled depositions against some Sacklers for next month.

The D.O.J. failed,” said Maura Healey, the Massachusetts attorney general. “Justice in this case requires exposing the truth and holding the perpetrators accountable, not rushing a settlement to beat an election. I am not done with Purdue and the Sacklers, and I will never sell out the families who have been calling for justice for so long.”

Opioid Addiction During the Pandemic

Purdue Pharma and the Sacklers are the tip of the iceberg. Lawsuits have been filed against other drug companies, including prescription drug distributors that filled pharmacy orders despite evidence of impropriety. The opioid addiction epidemic is nuanced; many players were involved in the problem becoming this bad.

The pandemic has made matters worse, according to a new Quest Diagnostics Health Trends study. The research shows that misuse of fentanyl, heroin, and non-prescribed opioids are on the rise.

The findings indicate that the drug positivity rate increased 35% for non-prescribed fentanyl and 44% for heroin during the pandemic compared to the period before the pandemic (January 1, 2019-March 14, 2020 and March 15-May 16, 2020).

The COVID-19 pandemic has created the perfect storm for a rise in substance use disorders and other forms of prescription and illicit drug misuse. Stress, job losses and depression compounded with isolation and a lack of access to health services can trigger prescription medication overuse, illicit drug use, or relapses,” said co-author Harvey W. Kaufman, M.D., Senior Medical Director, Head of Health Trends Research Program, Quest Diagnostics.

It was concerning to learn that the positivity for a combination of drugs was especially pronounced. Positivity for non-prescribed fentanyl and amphetamines increased by 89%, benzodiazepines (48%), cocaine (34%), and opiates (39%). The researchers point out that most overdoses involve concurrent use of benzodiazepines, cocaine, or methamphetamine.

Our Health Trends data demonstrate the consequences of the pandemic, with dramatic increases of misuse of non-prescribed drugs at a time when fentanyl is also on the rise. Our nation is grappling with a drug epidemic inside a pandemic. Patients and providers need increased access to support services, clinical care and drug testing to stop drug misuse from claiming more lives,” Dr. Kaufman said.

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment for Men

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid use disorder. Our team utilizes evidence-based therapies to help our clients break the cycle of addiction and learn how to lead a positive life in recovery. We are standing by at 800-526-1851 to answer any questions you have about our gender-specific treatment for men.

Addiction Relapse and Risk of Overdose After Reopening

addiction

The COVID-19 pandemic continues, but many states are taking steps to reopen businesses and loosen restrictions. It is still unclear what impact the changes will have on the addiction recovery community. Naturally, going back to in-person meetings in the near future is welcome; however, we should be concerned about heightened relapse and overdose rates among people in early recovery.

We must be clear; the pandemic is not over. Some 1,570,154 Americans have tested positive, and 93,436 have died from complications related to the coronavirus, a 9 percent increase since May 15th. Each of us must continue practicing social distancing, and the wearing of face masks in public is still strongly advised.

It is still unclear how much longer millions of Americans will have to live in relative isolation, which we pointed out before is not healthy for men and women in recovery. At PACE Recovery Center, we are hopeful that you continue to take precautions to protect your physical and mental health.

As an aside, one of the unforeseen byproducts of the COVID-19 crisis was the effect it would have on the international drug trade, drug sales, overdoses, and the addiction treatment industry. Many of you are probably aware that drug trafficking into the country is much more challenging than it was just a few months ago.

Naturally, stay at home orders made it harder for drug dealers to meet clients on the streets. Heroin shortages resulted in the stretching of product with deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl, a drug that is 100 times more potent than morphine. We don’t have data yet, but it’s fair to wager there has been an uptick in overdoses in some parts of the country as a result.

Opioid Addiction During a Pandemic

Unable to access opioids from one’s usual dealer, many turned to new avenues of acquiring heroin and pills, NPR reports. Utilizing a foreign supply source may not seem like a big deal, but according to an addiction expert in Orange County, California, such changes are fraught with peril.

When they had to use another dealer, they would be getting a different strength. So they weren’t really sure of how they should measure it and how much they should use. So we started seeing a lot of overdoses and a lot of overdose deaths in the first couple of weeks of the pandemic.”

Travel restrictions at the southern border, and on flights from Asia or South America, have decreased the availability of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine significantly. Shortages led dealers to increase their prices exponentially, according to the article. With more than 35 million out of work and store closures preventing shoplifting, many addicts could no longer afford to purchase their drugs.

Many people sought addiction treatment services as one might expect, rather than face painful opioid withdrawal symptoms. Jack MacEachern, who runs a Salvation Army residential drug recovery program in Cambridge, Massachusetts, says the pandemic has led to a decrease in relapse and overdose rates.

Reopening Could Lead to Relapse and Overdose

When a person detoxes and begins a program of recovery, their tolerance to opioids changes. When life returns to normal, and drug supply routes open back up, a number of those who got clean during the lockdown may decide to start using again. Such individuals may not understand that their tolerance is not the same, which could result in a spike of fatal overdoses.

The above concern has resulted in discussions about ramping up access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone, a tactic that the head of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Elinore McCance-Katz, supports, the article reports. However, she says that such measures are complicated.

In some areas, first responders such as law enforcement do not want to administer naloxone because they’re afraid of being exposed to the coronavirus,” said McCance-Katz. “I found that very concerning because the option is that the person dies.”

Opioid Addiction Treatment for Men

Please reach out to PACE Recovery Center if you are an adult male struggling with opioid use disorder. Opioid addiction is a treatable condition, and long-term recovery is possible with the guidance of professionals. Our gender-specific treatment center for men can give you the tools to break the cycle of self-destructive and self-defeating behavior and help you begin a new life.

Recovery Specialists are Needed in America

recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, we like to do our best to focus on uplifting aspects of addiction recovery. We want to share stories about individuals who have risen from the depths of despair and gone on to lead productive lives in sobriety. Unfortunately, there are times when we would be remiss if we didn’t share startling statistics about young people in America. Hopefully, by doing so, we can encourage lawmakers and the public to effect change.

A new study shows that death rates from suicide, drug overdoses, liver disease, and other causes rose over the past decade for young and middle-aged adults, The Washington Post reports. The research – published in the Journal of the American Medical Association – indicates that overall life expectancy in the United States has fallen for three consecutive years.

In the field of addiction medicine, we are acutely aware that the U.S. is in the midst of an unprecedented addiction epidemic. What’s more, mental health conditions such as depression affect a significant number of young people. To make matters worse, only a small percentage of the millions of affected people receive evidence-based treatment like that which we offer at PACE.

It’s [death rates] supposed to be going down, as it is in other countries,” said the lead author of the report, Steven H. Woolf, director emeritus of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University. “The fact that that number is climbing, there’s something terribly wrong.”

Woolf points out that the American opioid epidemic, not surprisingly, is a driving force in the decrease in American life expectancy, according to the article. Tens of thousands of adults die of overdoses each year, but overdoses are not the only culprit in the decline. Mental-illness related suicide is playing a significant role as well.

Opioid Workforce Act

opioid workforce act

Efforts to increase access to evidence-based therapies for mental and behavioral health conditions saves lives. There is a problem though; there is a dire shortage of physicians trained in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain medicine.

When Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) learned that approximately 21 million people needed treatment for a substance use disorder in 2018, they decided it was time to take action, Forbes reports. The lawmakers were even more troubled when the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) informed them that only 11 percent of the 21 million were able to access treatment that year.

In response to the staggering treatment disparity, the lawmakers conducted a review that found part of the problem was the lack of trained physicians equipped to help people with mental and behavioral health disorders. In an effort to effect change, Senators Hassan and Collins authored a bill that aims to “provide Medicare support for an additional 1,000 graduate medical education (GME) positions over five years in hospitals that have, or are in the process of establishing, accredited residency programs in addiction medicine, addiction psychiatry, or pain medicine.”

Introduced this summer, the Opioid Workforce Act of 2019 has already garnered the support of 80 organizations.

As we grapple with the devastating consequences of the opioid epidemic, we know that hospitals need more doctors trained in addiction and pain management in order to treat substance misuse and prevent patients from becoming addicted to opioids in the first place,” said Senator Hassan. “Dartmouth-Hitchcock and hospitals across the country are engaged in cutting-edge research and life-saving efforts to combat substance misuse, and my bipartisan bill with Senator Collins will help ensure that these hospitals have the resources that they need to create and expand their addiction prevention and treatment programs.”

California Opioid Use Disorder Recovery Treatment

The fact that the American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, and the American College of Academic Addiction Medicine are behind the Opioid Workforce Act is beneficial. The secured support should help both lawmakers get the bipartisan piece of legislation through congress. When combined with the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the 21st Century Cures Act, we may finally be able to reign in this most deadly public health crisis.

If you are a young man who is struggling with addiction, co-occurring disorders, or any mental illness, then please contact PACE Recovery Center. Our gender-specific treatment center offers many evidence-based programs that can help you turn your life around. Our clients benefit from working closely with master’s- and doctorate-level clinicians, psychiatrists, and clinical psychologists. We invite you to reach out at any time to speak to our admissions team about how PACE can help you or a loved one. 800-526-1851

Recovery and the American Opioid Epidemic

recovery

At PACE Recovery Center, we are hopeful that you were able to make it through Thanksgiving without incident. As we have pointed out previously, the relapse rate tends to elevate during significant holidays. If your addiction recovery was compromised, we understand how you are feeling.

Hopefully, you have already discussed your relapse with your sponsor or a trusted peer. It’s difficult to admit that you slipped up, but it’s essential to get back on the road to recovery immediately.

The shame and guilt that accompanies relapses can be paralyzing; such feelings tend to prompt people to continue using even though they know where it leads. Please do not let relapse morph into an active cycle of addiction.

You are not alone; many people experience a relapse in early recovery. What’s salient is that you quickly identify as a newcomer, talk with your sponsor, or a trusted peer, in private about what happened.

A relapse is not the end of the world, and it can be used as a valuable learning experience. Choosing to go with the opposite route, keeping the matter to yourself, will restart the cycle of addiction. This path may result in you needing to return to an addiction treatment center for more intensive assistance.

We hope that you navigated Thanksgiving without incident, but if you didn’t, then you are at a critical juncture. You have to decide whether you are going to be honest, or let the disease re-exert control over your life. Naturally, we hope that you choose the former. If you do not, then please contact PACE Recovery Center to discuss your options. We have helped many men get back on the road toward lasting recovery following a relapse.

An Exposé On The American Opioid Crisis and Recovery

For the remainder of this week’s post, we would like to take the opportunity to share a timely exposé about the opioid epidemic. While progress has been made in recent years in reining in the scourge of prescription opioid abuse, millions of Americans continue to struggle.

One publication that has dedicated significant resources to shine a light on this deadly public health crisis is The New York Times (NYT). Over the last two decades, the newspaper has published scores of articles covering practically every angle. Everything from how opioids became ubiquitous in America to legislation aimed at tackling the problem has been covered in recent years.

A couple of days ago, NYT released an article titled: “The Class of 2000 ‘Could Have Been Anything.’” At first glance, the title may be nebulous in meaning and appear to have little to do with the opioid epidemic.

Dan Levin covers American youth for The Times’ National Desk. He recently took a close look at one high school class that graduated right as the prescription opioid epidemic began to take hold of communities across America. Now twenty years later, Levin found that many of Minford High School’s Class of 2000, in rural Minford, Scioto County, Ohio, continues to wrestle with opioid use disorder.

There is much to unpack in the article; the author focuses on a select number of students who came of age in town that leads Ohio with fatal drug overdoses, drug-related incarceration, and neonatal abstinence syndrome rates. The students share how they were introduced to opioids in high school, and about how addiction changed the course of their life.

In 2010, Scioto County led the state in the number of opioid prescriptions— enough opioids were prescribed to give 123 pills to each resident.

A Devastating Toll, but Signs of Hope

While several students would succumb to their opioid use disorder, there are others who are now on the road to recovery. Jonathan Whitt became addicted to prescription opioids when he was 16; by 28, he was using heroin intravenously, according to the article. Whitt said that he was incarcerated many times and went to rehab on numerous occasions before choosing a new path. Today, Whitt has four years clean and sober.

The consequences started happening in college. By this point I was physically dependent on OxyContin, but it was very easy to tell myself, ‘I don’t do crack, I don’t shoot up.’ That messed me up for a really long time.” — Jake Bradshaw, Milford Class of 2000

Jake Bradshaw has been in recovery since 2013, the article reports. He is the founder of the “Humans of Addiction” blog. Today, Mr. Bradshaw works in the addiction treatment industry.

There are many more individuals who are highlighted in the story, and we encourage you to read the article at length. The two Milford alum are examples that recovery is possible, even after years of misuse and addiction. It’s critical to remember that the opioid epidemic is still in full force. Efforts to curb this most severe public health crisis are essential.

Since the Milford students graduated in 2000, some 275 people have died of an overdose in rural Scioto County, Ohio. Moreover, in excess of 400,000 Americans have died from opioid overdoses across the country since the turn of the century.

Addiction Treatment for Men

Addiction recovery is possible for any man who desires it, but the first step is reaching out for support. Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you are one of the millions whose life has become unmanageable due to opioid use disorder. Our team utilizes evidence-based therapies to give men the tools for leading a productive, positive life in recovery.

Addiction Took Matthew Brewer’s Legs, Not His Life

addiction

Opioid addiction is a public health crisis in the United States. Prescription painkillers, heroin, and synthetic opioids continue to cut people’s lives short at a startling rate. While progress has been made, we still have a long way to go in providing men and women the help they need.

Substance use disorders of any type put the lives of individuals in jeopardy. However, the effect that opioids have on vital systems of the human body makes this family of drugs particularly dangerous. Opioid narcotics have an impact on breathing, restricting a person’s ability to supply oxygen to the bloodstream.

Opioids kill people by slowing the rate of breathing and the depth of breathing,” said medical toxicologist and emergency physician Andrew Stolbach of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

If an overdose is treated with naloxone promptly, then a fatal outcome can be prevented. Initiatives to arm drug users, family members, and first-responders with naloxone have led to thousands of overdose reversals. A user-friendly version of the drug, Narcan, allows medical laypeople to provide life-saving assistance to victims.

The outcomes of an opioid overdose are not always black and white. A reversal can mean a continuation of life, but severe complications can occur. Scientists are still researching the long-term effects of this type of near-death experience. Moreover, there are instances when doctors have to take drastic measures to save a life; such was the case of Matthew Brewer, 44, of Huntington Beach.

Learning to Walk Again, Following an Opioid Overdose

On September 25th, 2014, a few months after leaving treatment, Matthew Brewer relapsed and overdosed on heroin. Alone at the time, Brewer was fixed in a position that cut off blood flow to his legs for 10-12 hours (tissue begins to die after 4-6 hours).

Matthew’s roommate found him, and he was rushed to a hospital. He was then transferred to the University of California, Irvine, where doctors decided that a bilateral amputation of his legs was the only way to save his life. Fortunately, Brewer did not have brain damage from the overdose, but life would be an uphill battle moving forward.

Following the amputation, doctors resorted to prescription opioids: the powerful narcotics that led to addiction in the first place, The Orange County Register reports. Some years earlier, in 2008, Brewer was diagnosed with testicular cancer; he was prescribed opioids and addiction developed. For two-and-a-half years post-amputation, the young man a former competitive athlete suffered.

Matthew’s sister, Tera, owns a hair salon in Newport Beach; she had a client who was a producer on the medical show, “The Doctors,” according to the article. The show’s experts offered to take Brewer’s case, and he appeared on the television show in 2016 for the first time.

“The Doctors” helped Matthew detox from opioids and begin the healing process. In 2017, he attended a bilateral above-knee boot camp hosted by the Hanger Clinic. He learned how to walk with prosthetics, and so much more.

A New Lease on Life

Last month, Matthew Brewer competed in the Angel City Games, a four-day adaptive sports festival. At the event, he took part in a swimming race and the 200-meter sprint, the article reports. Despite his prosthetics, his athleticism goes beyond swimming and running; today, he enjoys surfing and snowboarding as well.

Matthew has a new lease on life; he travels around the country, speaking in front of audiences and visiting hospitals. The Huntington Beach man’s experience is an inspiration to so many people who have had their lives upended by opioid use disorder and overdose. Matthew is proof that there is hope after tragedy.

It’s given him a purpose,” said his mother, Cathy. “We’ve always been proud of him, but seeing the pride he has in himself has been the frosting on the cake. He just looks forward to the next event and the next event.”

Opioid Addiction Treatment for Men

PACE Recovery Center can help you or an adult male loved one recover from an opioid use disorder. Utilizing evidence-based treatments and a multidimensional approach, we show clients how to achieve their goals in recovery. Please contact us today to learn more about the programs we offer and the benefits of gender-specific addiction treatment.

Mental Health Emergencies Among Young People

mental health

Mental health conditions affect millions of Americans. Moreover, a significant number of people struggling with mental illness are under the age of 24. How mental health disorders impact a young person varies from case to case. However, when young people ignore or fail to seek treatment for psychiatric disorders, grave complications can arise.

In recent years, public health experts and various campaigns have sought to raise awareness about mental illness. The goal is to erode the stigma that prevents individuals from finding the courage to discuss their symptoms with friends, family, and professionals. The effort to dissolve the shame around mental health has been considerable. Still, society has a long way to go in encouraging those who are suffering to seek help.

Diagnosis, intervention, treatment, and a program of recovery are essential for any person living with mental illness. While finding support in urban areas is relatively simple, those who live in rural America have a challenge finding resources. Primary care physicians can help people in less populated areas to a degree. However, new research highlights a lack of mental health training and screening expertise among primary care physicians, as a whole.

Perhaps most concerning, a recent study shows a dramatic rise in visits to the emergency department (ED) for mental health problems. The increase is unusually high among younger demographics – ages 6 to 24 – according to HealthDay. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health report a 28 percent rise in psychiatric visits among the age span between 2011 and 2015. The findings appear in the journal Pediatrics.

Why are More Young People Seeking Help for Mental Health?

Determining the etiology of mental health trends is not a simple task. Many factors require consideration. The study reveals that more suicides and the addiction epidemic in the U.S. play a significant role. Study author Luther Kalb, Ph.D. points out that “the ER plays a critical role in treating overdoses.” Kalb, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, also states that it’s likely that social media contributes considerably.

Dr. Susan Duffy, in an editorial accompanying the study, lists a number of other factors influencing the increase in ED mental health visits. More young people landing in the ED for mental illness, according to Dr. Duffy, is linked to:

  • Poverty
  • Violence
  • Child and parental substance abuse
  • Social media’s influence on depression, isolation and anxiety risk
  • Information overload

On the upside, expanded insurance coverage across the country means that more people can seek help. Conversely, a lack of psychiatric training among primary care providers means that more people turn to the ED for mental illness. Duffy, a professor of emergency medicine and pediatrics at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, says the trends are clear and that the findings “should not come as a great surprise.”

Data suggests that over 20 percent of adolescents aged 13 to 18 have experienced a debilitating mental health disorder,” Duffy said. “For the past 10 years, there has been an increasing trend in children’s, youth and young adult mental health visits, and increasing recognition that the resources do not meet the need for care.”

Mental Health Training is Lacking

More 6 through 24-year-olds seeking mental illness assistance from EDs is alarming and must be addressed. But, it is also worth noting the 28 percent increase rose even higher when analyzing specific demographics. The researchers found a 54 percent increase among adolescents, black youths, and young adults. Between 2011 and 2015, there was a 90 percent increase in mental health-related ED visits among Latinos.

What’s more, Professor Kalb said he is “surprised at how few saw a mental health provider” after presenting to the ED, the article reports. The researcher did find that practically all young people consulted with a physician, at least. Still, without mental health training and screening expertise patients face the risk of being underserved.

Kalb notes that many hospitals across the country lack the resources to staff mental health providers. He adds that, “This could be changed by increasing mental health staff in the ER, creating special intake settings that deal just with mental health, using new technologies such as tele-psychiatry, and cross-training providers.”

Mental Health Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we have the expertise to assist young men struggling with mental illness. Our facility offers clients residential treatment, intensive outpatient programs for mental health, and dual diagnosis outpatient. With the assistance of doctorate and masters-level clinicians, male clients set realistic treatment goals and see them come to fruition. PACE’s highly credentialed specialists are a phone call away.

Prospective clients are also invited to submit a confidential online inquiry.

Recovery Month: Behavioral Health is Essential

recovery month

Last Friday, August 31, 2018, millions of people around the globe observed International Overdose Awareness Day. The goal of the annual event aims to raise awareness of overdose, reduce the stigma of a drug-related death, and remind everyone that overdose death is preventable. In 2017, more than 70,000 Americans died of an overdose; more than 60,000 in 2016; and, over 50,000 people died of drug toxicity in 2015. The rising death rate continues even though the overdose antidote naloxone is available, and efforts are underway to expand access to addiction treatment. While several initiatives and legislative measures are helping this most severe public health crisis, there is much more work that needs to happen.

One of the most effective ways to prevent overdose and save lives is through advocating for addiction recovery. Naloxone can reverse the effects of a toxic dose of heroin or oxycodone, but, long-term recovery is the surest way of avoiding the risk of overdose. A significant facet of last week’s day of awareness is acknowledging society’s need for putting an end to stigmatizing people who use drugs. If you saw anyone wearing a silver badge or purple wristband on Friday, such people were symbolizing their commitment to this most important subject matter.

It isn’t a secret that a significant percentage of Americans still look upon people who are in the grips of a use disorder unfavorably. Earlier this year, a survey by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shined a light on stigma in America. A majority of Americans view drug addiction as a disease that requires treatment, but fewer than 1 in 5 are willing to closely associate with someone struggling with the condition, i.e., a friend, co-worker or neighbor.

National Recovery Month

The above poll is a clear indication of stigma’s dogged persistence. Most people understand that use disorder is a treatable medical condition, and yet only one-fifth want anything to do with such people. We don’t want to imply that stigma is as pervasive as it once was, we have come a long way; however, the only way to encourage more people to seek treatment and recovery is through destigmatization of the disease.

There are useful methods of bringing a higher number of individuals around to accepting addicts and alcoholics more humanely. For one, by highlighting the achievements of the millions of Americans who have reclaimed their lives in recovery. Each day, men and women across the nation wake up and recommit themselves to doing whatever it takes to stay clean and sober. Such persons are living examples of the possibility of recovery; acquiring decades of sobriety by following the direction of those who came before is a reality for many.

September is National Recovery Month! The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association (SAMHSA) organizes events held across the United States to educate Americans about the benefits of addiction treatment. The organization works tirelessly to get the word out that mental health services can help men and women with a mental and substance use disorder live a productive and fulfilling life. And, they are asking for your help. Those in recovery and their families are invited to share the gains made by seeking treatment and working a program. If you are interested in getting involved, please follow the link; once there, you will find “Recovery Month tools, graphics, and resources to spread the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.”

Join the Voices for Recovery

Each year, SAMHSA chooses a theme for guiding local and national Recovery Month events. This year’s theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community.” SAMHSA states:

The 2018 theme explores how integrated care, a strong community, sense of purpose, and leadership contributes to effective treatments that sustain the recovery of persons with mental and substance use disorders. The observance will work to highlight inspiring stories to help people from all walks of life find the path to hope, health, and wellness.”

Addiction Treatment

Recovery Month doesn’t just revolve around propping up people who have turned their lives around with the help of addiction recovery services. The observance is also about honoring the treatment and service providers who have, and continue to help, people from all walks of life find the miracle of recovery. The Gentlemen of PACE Recovery Center would like to commend the thousands of individuals who’ve dedicated their lives to helping others find the guiding light of addiction recovery. It is worth noting that a large percentage of people working in the field of mental health care are, in fact, in recovery themselves—paying it forward.

At PACE, we specialize in gender-specific addiction and mental health treatment services. If you are an adult male suffering from alcohol, substance use, or a co-occurring mental health disorder, please contact us today. We can help you begin making the changes necessary for a life of sustained recovery.

Addiction to Opioids and Finding Recovery

addiction

At times, the American addiction opioid epidemic appears to be an unwinnable battle. Lawmakers and public health experts continue to do everything in their power – ostensibly – to impede the trend of ever-increasing overdose death rates. Police officers and other first responders have the overdose reversal drug naloxone (Narcan) on hand. Many opioid use disorders (OUDs) and their families can acquire Narcan kits without a prescription in many parts of the country. More doctors are now exercising additional significant caution when prescribing drugs like OxyContin and Percocet. And, perhaps most vital, the states hardest hit by the epidemic are expanding access to addiction treatment. However, to everyone’s dismay, the overdose death rate continues to climb with each passing year.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued preliminary estimates for the overdose death toll in 2017, and the findings are disconcerting. In 2016, the national overdose deaths were right around 64,000 Americans, but in 2017 the number jumped 10.2 percent with overdoses killing about 72,000. The startling number is not a final count which means there is an excellent chance that the toll is even more concerning.

In spite of all the hard work of thousands of Americans, more people than ever are caught in the vicious cycle of opioid addiction. The primary driving force behind the record-setting overdose death rates is – without any doubt – synthetic opioids like fentanyl. It is worth pointing out that there are good signs that almost get lost in the noise of data, some areas are doing better. In parts of the country hardest hit by the epidemic, there are promising indicators thanks to public health campaigns and expanding access to addiction treatment, The New York Times reports. So far in 2018, it looks like the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will see a decrease in overdose fatalities.

Tackling Widespread Opioid Use

The two driving forces behind the increase over 2016 are synthetic opioid analogs, and more people are using opioids, according to the article. Brandon Marshall, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Brown University School of Public Health, would agree with the latter, he says the number of opioid users is increasing but not exponentially.

The C.D.C reports that synthetic opioid-related overdoses rose dramatically last year, whereas heroin, prescription opioid-related deaths fell. The agency says there is some evidence that fatal overdoses may have plateaued toward the end of last year, especially in the East. But, there is a reason to suspect things could get worse on the West Coast.

Chris Jones, the director of the national mental health and substance use policy laboratory, tells the NYT that drug distributors are discovering how to mix fentanyl with black tar heroin. Unlike the East Coast, the majority of heroin used in states like California is a black tarry-ish resin iteration of the drug. Black tar – experts say – doesn’t admix as well with fentanyl like the white powder heroin does found in states east of the Mississippi.

Persisting Stigma of Addiction

In 2016, a phone survey revealed that more than 2 million Americans were struggling with opioid use disorder. However, Dan Ciccarone, a professor of family and community medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, says the actual number might be closer to 4 million Americans. Why the 2-million-person discrepancy? Stigma! Many people are reluctant to share that they have a problem, even during an anonymous phone survey. Dr. Ciccarone, who researches heroin markets, adds:

Because of the forces of stigma, the population is reluctant to seek care. I wouldn’t expect a rapid downturn; I would expect a slow, smooth downturn.”

Naturally, anyone struggling with any form of addiction can do him or herself an excellent service by seeking addiction treatment immediately. While opioids are more likely to cause an overdose death than most other drugs, harmful synthetic opiates are showing up in substances other than heroin. Mixing fentanyl with cocaine, methamphetamine, and benzodiazepines is becoming more common. Unsuspecting addicts are at high risk, and the only sure way of avoiding contact with fentanyl is abstinence and working a program of recovery.

Addiction Treatment

We understand that the decision to seek treatment isn’t made lightly, and the stigma of addiction is daunting. However, those who can find the courage to seek assistance can and do recover from the impact of drug and alcohol abuse. At PACE Recovery Center, we offer clients struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders a safe and supportive environment. Our team of highly-skilled addiction professionals helps adult males overcome the challenges they have experienced due to alcohol and substance use disorders. Please contact us today to learn more about our specialized clinical treatment for men.

Recovery: Exercising Gratitude and Giving Back

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With all the opioid overdose deaths occurring across the country each day, it is easy to forget that for each tragedy there is a second chance (i.e., recovery). Now that first responders and the families of addicts can access naloxone, or Narcan, with greater ease, it is possible to reverse the deadly side effects of some opioid overdoses. In the blink of an eye, a person can become a hero thanks to their quick response in administering the life-saving antidote.

Today, the majority of EMTs, firefighters, and police officers carry naloxone kits in their vehicles. In the wake of the American opioid addiction epidemic, the need for overdose reversal has skyrocketed. In recent years, the easy to use drug has become one of the essential tools among those whose job it is to come to the aid of others. What’s more, many addicts and their families can acquire Narcan with relative ease, and in some states without a prescription. Expanding access to naloxone has saved countless lives, considering that many reversals go unreported.

Those who survive a drug overdose are usually pretty shaken up and for a good reason. Walking the precipice between life and the hereafter is a traumatic experience, by anyone’s standards. One could even argue that being within a hair’s breadth of perishing, is as about as close to a “bottom” as any one person can get when battling substance use disorder. As a result, many advocates for recovery seize on such an opportunity to reach people who could benefit from addiction treatment services.

An Opportunity for Recovery

While not every person’s overdose is a catalyst to seeking recovery, there are some who do find help. Many addicts are starting to understand that fentanyl exposure is becoming more and more common. Those same people are learning that naloxone isn’t always capable of bringing them back from an overdose involving dangerous synthetic opioids. And, given that many addicts experience several overdoses during their using tenure, it’s likely the odds of returning to consciousness diminish each time.

Fentanyl isn’t forgiving! It was never intended to be administered without medical supervision. What’s more, even when a person is aware that their heroin contains fentanyl, it’s difficult to gauge a safe dose. As a result, seasoned addicts are succumbing to opioid toxicity. If ever there were a time for opiate addicts to consider treatment and recovery strongly, the time is now.

Synthetic opioids are more common than ever, and experts do not expect that trend to wane in the coming years. At PACE Recovery Center, we implore each person struggling with opioid use disorder to seek addiction recovery services. Recovery is possible; recovery is life-saving!

Giving Back In Recovery

In the rooms of recovery people often talk about paying it forward. Once individuals have a foundation for building a new life they can begin making efforts to help others. Another critical facet of working a program is selflessness; being of service to other people (not just those who are in recovery) whenever possible. Little acts of kindness can have a remarkable impact on one’s life, and they can help individuals stay clean and sober. It feels good to provide unsolicited assistance to anyone, even perfect strangers.

An instance of kindness and gratitude made the news recently, involving six (6) EMTs, a recovering addict, and an IHOP. Last Friday, six emergency services volunteers were eating breakfast in Toms River, New Jersey. When it was time to pay the bill, members of the Toms River First Aid Squad learned that their check was taken care of by an anonymous woman, WSMV reports. The EMT’s receipt for $77 said: “Paid, thank you for all you do! Have a great day!” — signed: “Recovering Addict.”

Alyssa Golembeski, captain of the Toms River First Aid Squad, asked the IHOP manager if they could thank their benefactor only to learn that she wanted to remain unknown, according to the article. Captain Golembeski said she doesn’t know if the anonymous woman is in recovery from opioid use disorder. But, she added that the opioid crisis is terrible in New Jersey, which made the act of kindness all the more special.

This gift was amazingly thoughtful, and brought our table of tired EMTs to tears,” the squad posted on Facebook. “We are so blessed to be able to serve you and everyone else who lives and works in the greater Toms River area. Good luck on your journey of recovery!”

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment for Men

PACE Recovery Center is a gender-specific, specialized treatment for men struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. If you are in the grips of an opioid use disorder, please contact PACE as soon as possible. We can help you make lasting recovery your reality!

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