Tag Archives: treatment

Nonviolent Drug Offenders Get Pardoned

nonviolent drug offendersMass incarceration has been just one of the results of the “war on drugs” in the United States. It is probably fair to say that in 1971, when President Richard Nixon declared drug abuse “public enemy number one,” that he had no idea of the long term implications that declaration would have on the country. First, let’s take a look at some numbers so you can get an idea of the cost of making addiction a crime.

The International Centre for Prison Studies reports that half of the world’s prison population of about nine million, reside in penal institutions in the US, China or Russia. However, while the overall general population in America is but a fraction of China, we have the highest number of prisoners by almost a million people. The US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported that there were 2,220,300 adults behind bars in 2013, and according to the Bureau of Prisons, close to half (48.6 percent) are incarcerated for drug crimes—some of whom are serving life sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.

It is almost impossible, and for good reason, to wrap your head around those statistics, yet they are a reality. Fortunately, the view of addiction and how it should be handled has gradually been changing in America, in part due to the opioid epidemic. Lawmakers have taken a look around and can see that addiction can affect anyone, as is evident by the over 2.5 million Americans living with an opioid use disorder. There are more opioid addicts than there are prisoners in the United States.

There has been a big push to do away with mandatory minimum sentencing laws which affect minorities the most. What’s more, lawmakers having been calling for more addiction treatment, and less imprisonment for nonviolent drug offenders. Unfortunately, repealing and altering the draconian drug sentencing laws in America is no easy task. And even if public sentiment and sentencing laws change, there are still thousands of people serving unjust time for the crime of addiction. Because of those circumstances, the current White House administration has been working tirelessly to give people a second opportunity.

Pardon for Drug Addiction

There is a good chance that you have heard the reports in recent years regarding Presidential commutations, specifically for those who are serving lengthy sentences for nonviolent offenses. In fact, the President has commuted the sentences of nearly 800 prisoners during the course of his tenure, most of them drug offenders. The president has commuted more prison sentences than his 11 predecessors combined. The president has commuted or reduced the sentences of a number of people who were serving life sentences.

The effort to commute the sentences of drug offenders has widely been applauded. No one should have to rot away in jail because they became hooked on drugs. It is likely that more sentences will be considered and commuted between now and January 20th when the next president is sworn in. However, there are still some 13,275 petitions for clemency still pending, as of October, Business Insider reports. With little time left, many inmates fear that their window of opportunity is closing fast.

There is no way of knowing the stance that the next President will take, so organizations like the Clemency Project 2014, are working hard to forward inmates’ petitions to the Pardon Attorney, according to the article. The project has sworn that they will continue filing inmates’ petitions until time runs out. The Clemency Project consists of a team of lawyers who vet petitions in order to deem which ones stand a chance, before sending them off to the Pardon Attorney.

We certainly have expressed to [the lawyers] that time is of the essence and we want to work quickly and efficiently,” project manager Cynthia Roseberry told Business Insider.

The Future is Uncertain

One can only hope that those who deserve a second chance, will be granted such a gift – the gift of recovery. As the next few months play out, hopefully the push for treatment over jail will continue. It is the only way to reduce the prison population and prevent staggering mass incarceration rates. As featured and promoted in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) treatment is the answer, and should be the weapon of choice in the war on drugs moving forward.

Mental Health Awareness Week

mental healthThe Fall season is an important time with regard to mental health and addiction. If you have been following our blog posts, then you are likely aware that September was both National Recovery Month and Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Millions of Americans are affected by addiction and various other mental health problems every year. Sadly, those whose illnesses are left untreated will often make a choice that cannot be taken back, i.e. suicide.

Efforts were made by various agencies and organizations, in both the public and private sector, to raise awareness about addiction and suicide. The aim was to open up a dialogue about the treatment options available for people suffering from mental health disorders, such as addiction. We feel that it is worth reiterating that suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, and suicide is often linked to untreated mental illness—more times than not.

Awareness months are particularly important because they help break the stigma of mental illness, in turn encouraging people to seek help. There is no shame in having a mental health disorder, just as there is no shame in having any health problem that requires continued maintenance. We can all have a part in helping others, help themselves by seeking treatment—please remember to take the pledge to be #StigmaFree.

Mental Health Awareness Week

In May, now five months ago, we at PACE Recovery Center, recognized Mental Health Awareness Month (MHM), and took the pledge to be #StigmaFree. However, the effort to chip away at the stigma that has long accompanied mental illness is not something that will be accomplished over the course of a single month. It is a continued effort, and we all must stay the course until the goal of equal care (parity) is accomplished.

As a proud member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), we would like to ask all of our readers to join us in observing Mental Health Awareness Week (#MIAW) between Oct. 2 – 8. This week, in October and around the year we all must work together to:

  • Fight Stigma
  • Provide Support
  • Educate the Public
  • Advocate for Equal Care

Young Adults With Mental Illness

Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders that impacts the lives of young adults. We mentioned earlier that suicide among young people is often the result of untreated mental illness. It is vital that those who are or may be living with depression (or any mental illness) are screened, so that they can begin the process of recovery. Depression can be debilitating, but help is out there and recovery is possible.

Today is National Depression Screening Day (Oct. 6), if you believe that you are suffering from depression, we have some good news. You can get a free mental health screening at HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org.

The only way out is through.” —Robert Frost

Recovery

If you are a young adult male who has been diagnosed with any form of mental illness, it possible that you have been self-medicating with drugs and alcohol to cope. If that behavior has been going on for some time, there is a chance that it has resulted in addiction. Please contact PACE Recovery Center, our team specializes in working with young adult males struggling with chemical dependency and behavioral health issues. We can help your son break the cycle of addiction and adopt healthy behaviors to ensure long-term recovery.

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

suicideLast week we discussed National Recovery Month, which takes place every September. It is a topic that we at PACE Recovery Center feel is vital, given that the need to raise awareness about addiction treatment services is crucial to the health of our society. Addiction is a disease which meets the criteria for being a mental health disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). The importance for providing adequate and effective, science-based recovery solutions cannot be overemphasized. Millions of Americans struggle with this debilitating illness every year, and without treatment the outcomes are never favorable.

Addiction is one of the leading causes of premature and preventable deaths. While many of the people who lose their life to the disorder die from an overdose or alcohol and drug related health complications, there are many Americans who decide to take their own life because they can no longer endure living in the depths of despair that typifies addiction. What’s more, people living with untreated mental illness will often self-medicate in order to cope with the symptoms of depression or bipolar disorder. The drugs and alcohol may appear to mitigate their symptoms for a time, but in the long run, mind altering substances that are used for coping will typically result in addiction and only serve to exacerbate one’s mental illness symptoms they experienced in the first place.

Co-Occurring Disorder

In the field of addiction recovery, it is common for people to be living with both addiction and another form of mental health disorder. When this is the case, it is referred to in clinical settings as having a co-occurring disorder (also referred to as a dual diagnosis). As time goes by, addiction professionals are finding that it is more common for a client to have a co-occurring disorders than not. More importantly, it is paramount that addiction treatment centers address both the addiction and secondary condition, if recovery is to be possible.

A failure to treat the whole patient will, more times than not, result in a relapse. At PACE, we make sure that all of our patient’s mental health needs are addressed. We work closely with physicians and mental health care providers, so that we can create a treatment plan that will ensure the best chance of success for our patients and their families. The stakes are extremely high; we know first-hand that mental illness that is not tended to appropriately will often lead to patients opting for a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Preventing Suicide

While September is in fact National Recovery Month, it is also National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. It is worth pointing out that suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Young adults living with mental illness are much more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, which in turn leads to a co-occurring disorder. During the month of September, we hope that everyone will do their part to raise awareness about suicide prevention and help break the stigma that has long accompanied talking openly about mental illness. By doing so, we all can play an active role in encouraging young people to seek help, potentially averting suicidal ideations from coming to fruition.

On September 10, 2016, NAMI would like everyone to observe World Suicide Prevention Day. The organization aims to:

  • Reach out to those affected by suicide.
  • Raise Awareness
  • And connect individuals in need to treatment services.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness would also like as many people as possible to share the banner located below on social media. You can help promote awareness of suicide prevention resources and promote discussion of suicide prevention awareness using #suicideprevention or #IAmStigmaFree.National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Addiction Recovery Requires Assistance

addictionThose of you who have ever spent time in 12-Step meeting, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and/or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), are probably aware that a number of people found their way to addiction recovery via the legal system. Over the last several decades people convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or possessing an illegal narcotic are commonly required to attend 12-Step meetings.

From Incarceration to Recovery

While many of the people who are mandated to go to recovery meetings are only doing so to fulfill an obligation, a significant number of people hear something said that resonates and they decide to give recovery a shot. Another group of people with substance abuse disorder find their way on the road of recovery while they are behind bars—serving time for a felony drug conviction.

Despite the fact that the recidivism rates for felony drug offenders is nothing short of staggering, there are some who are tired of living in the insidious cycle of addiction and manage to work a program of recovery while incarcerated. It becomes a new way of life which they plan to embrace and continue to work at after their release. Unfortunately, the odds of success outside prison walls are low, partially due to the fact that the options for felony drug offenders are limited. If you are working a program of recovery, it is likely that you are no stranger to the feeling of hopelessness—and you are probably aware that such feelings can lead to relapse.

In fact, in many states across the country, those who are released from a penal institution after serving time for a felony drug offense, find that there they are not eligible to state assistance programs. Such benefits do not apply to people with the aforementioned past, yet those same people often require such services more than anyone when you consider the fact that it can be hard for a felon to find work. Without work, being able to afford sustenance is difficult to say the least.

A Second Chance

In recent years, lawmakers have begun to sing a different tune regarding addiction in light of the American opioid epidemic. It seems like that with each day that passes, Americans become more accepting of the idea that addiction is mental health disorder rather than a moral failing. The paradigm shift in thinking has led to changes in mandatory minimum sentencing laws for nonviolent drug offenders; therefore, giving addicts the option of treatment over jail time. Moving away from draconian drug sentencing laws has lead the current White House administration to commute 562 sentences since 2008. The vast majority of those incarcerated were serving time for nonviolent drug offenses, some of which were serving life. But what about those who have already served their time and the felony on their record makes it next to impossible to survive in an above the board manner.

Recognizing that drug felons need help upon release if the chance of recidivism is to be mitigated, a number of states have begun let up on restrictions that prohibit such people from receiving state assistance, such as food stamps, PBS NewsHour reports. Thus another move in the fight to change archaic laws that only serve to disenfranchise those whose only crime was that of addiction.

One of the best ways that someone can move on after they’ve been released from prison is their ability to eat and take care of themselves,” said Marissa McCall Dodson of the Southern Center for Human Rights.

In 1996, a federal ban went into effect that prohibited those convicted of felony drug crimes from receiving food stamps and cash assistance, according to the article. You may find it interesting to learn that the ban did not apply to all felons, just drug felons. Fortunately, states have the option of loosening up on such restrictions. And now, there are only seven states that still enforce the full ban on drug felons receiving food stamps. Those states include

  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • South Carolina
  • West Virginia

Intensive Outpatient Treatment Is An Option

PACE Recovery’s men only rehab and intensive outpatient (IOP) treatment is ideal for men that require additional support with their addiction and/or behavioral health issues. The curriculum is flexible to allow clients to continue their everyday activities, such as work, school, volunteer or family commitments. We understand the importance of helping our clients learn to manage both recovery and life’s obligations.

Opioid Epidemic and Money Laundering

opioid epidemicIt has been several years now since the federal government, and state governments alike, began making it harder to acquire prescription painkillers—opioid narcotics such as OxyContin (oxycodone) and Percocet (oxycodone / paracetamol). Drugs of that type are not only addictive, they can be downright deadly, i.e. 78 overdose deaths in America every day related to either prescription opioids or heroin.

While it remains a fact that it is still quite easy for some opioid addicts to acquire painkillers (in some cases even after they experience an overdose), the latest opioid scourge sweeping across the nation is heroin. Years of over prescribing opioid painkillers caused Americans to become over reliant on this class of drugs when it comes to pain. This led to an unprecedented rate of opioid addiction, and the opening of a Pandora’s box. When it became more difficult to get such drugs from one’s doctor, faced with certain withdrawal symptoms, many opioid addicts turned to the streets for their drugs.

Prescription Opioids to Heroin

Heroin is cheaper than a tablet of oxycodone on the street, and it is typically stronger or easier to come by. Most of today’s heroin users began by using prescription opioids and then pivoted to heroin. Seeing dollar signs, Mexican drug cartels decided to take advantage of the billion dollar illicit opioid market in America.

It is fair to say that cartels trafficking and selling illegal drugs north of the border is nothing new—an exchange that has been happening for nearly half a century. However, never in our history has there been such a high demand for a mind altering substance that can snatch one’s life in the blink of an eye. And if heroin wasn’t bad enough, Mexican cartels are also buying ingredients to synthesize even more powerful opioids, such as fentanyl. In recent years there has been a number of overdose deaths involving an addict who thought they were using heroin, but were actually using fentanyl.

Verily, the American opioid epidemic has become a “gold rush” for Mexican drug cartels. That being said, where does all the money go and how does it get to its final destination? It turns out that the answer to that could be a way to combat the crisis we face.

American “Laundry”

A new report conducted by the nonprofit group the Fair Share Education Fund, calls upon legislators to stop allowing the use of anonymous shell companies, The Hill reports. In fact, the United States is among the countries where it is easy for criminals to set up anonymous shell companies to launder their money. Changing the laws that allow for this would make it much harder for drug traffickers to see a return. The effect could have real impact on the opioid epidemic in America.

We should use every tool at our disposal to tackle the opioid crisis, and going after the money is just such a critical tool,” says the Fair Share Education Fund.

The ease in which criminals are able to set up anonymous shell companies is one of the reasons that the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) estimates that federal authorities only confiscate 1.5 percent of the money Americans spend on illicit drugs every year, according to the article. Because money can be laundered so easily, it is difficult for law enforcement officials to make cases against drug traffickers.

Authorities may have good reason to suspect someone of being involved in criminal activity,” said the group. “However, without the basic information necessary to show that a suspect is directly linked to a shell company used to facilitate illegal activity, they are unable to make their case, or run out of the time and resources needed to do so.”

Treating the Opioid Addict

Reducing access to opioid drugs, including heroin, is one important step. But treating the addict is also paramount. At PACE Recovery Center opiate and heroin addiction treatment options include psychosocial approaches, pharmacological treatment, therapeutic groups, 12-Step recovery, as well as individual and experiential therapy. Our addiction treatment staff also lead psychoeducational groups that cover the disease model of addiction, emotional management tools, relapse prevention techniques, boundaries and healthy relationships, and general life skills that help smooth the transition of clients from active addiction into life.

Traumatic Childhood and Substance Use Disorder

substance use disorderAs the month of June has come to a close and the July 4th holiday is almost here, we felt it would be a good idea to focus on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition that affects many Americans. The National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD) reports that about 8 million adults have PTSD during any given year.

Left untreated, those afflicted by PTSD will often turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their feelings. As you might expect, mind altering substances while they may provide some temporary relief—only serve to exacerbate the problem. Posttraumatic stress victims, sadly, will often make the choice to find permanent relief by way of suicide.

PTSD Awareness Month

In the United States, the Senate designated June 27th as National PTSD Awareness Day. The NCPTSD chose the month of June as PTSD Awareness Month; however, we should always be aware of PTSD and how it might impact us and our loved ones. While posttraumatic stress is often considered to be a problem that affects those who have served in combat, it is in fact a condition that can develop from a serious trauma, such as domestic violence or sexual assault.

PTSD symptoms include:

  • Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing symptoms).
  • Avoiding situations that remind you of the event.
  • Negative changes in beliefs and feelings.
  • Feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousal).

Treatment Works

Please take a moment to watch the short video below:

If you are having trouble watching the video, please click here.

Traumatic Childhood

Researchers from the University of Toronto have published a study which showed that children who experience traumatic events, are at a much greater risk of developing a substance use disorder. The research team found that one in five drug-dependent adults and one in six alcohol-dependent adults had experienced sexual abuse as child, PsychCentral reports. One in seven adults with a substance use disorder had been exposed to chronic parental domestic violence. The findings were published in Substance Use & Misuse.

“Our findings underline the importance of preventing childhood abuse and domestic violence,” said study co-author Jessica Roane in a news release. “In addition, social workers and other health professionals must continue to support survivors of these childhood adversities across the lifespan, with particular attention to substance abuse and dependence issues.”

Recovery

It was mentioned earlier that using drugs and alcohol to cope with PTSD is a slippery slope that more often than not leads to addiction. It is paramount that both the PTSD and substance use disorder be treated simultaneously for recovery to be achieved. At PACE Recovery Center we specialize in the treatment of co-occurring disorders (dual diagnosis). Please contact us to begin the journey of recovery.

Wishing you all a peaceful, safe and sober July 4th Holiday.

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs)

PDMPsRecently, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta wrote and published an op-ed to coincide with a special report about prescription opioids. Dr. Gupta covered a number of different aspects about the state of the American opioid epidemic and expounded on how the situation became so dire. Perhaps the most interesting aspect about the article was Gupta essentially holding doctors responsible for the market share of the crisis and calling on physicians to do their part to reverse the damage.

It is important to keep in mind that there are several different factors that led to the emergence of an epidemic, and while doctors did and continue to overprescribe opioid narcotics, a multifaceted approach from lawmakers, addiction experts and doctors is essential for ending the scourge that claims over 70 lives in this country every day.

It is widely accepted that Americans, enabled by doctors, have become far too reliant on prescription opioids—even for pain that could be treated by opioid alternatives. What’s more, while the the vast majority of prescription opioids are written by primary care physicians, few doctors have any opioid prescribing practices training or knowledge about addiction. On top of that, there has not been a huge push from medical organizations urging doctors to acquire the requisite training. Even the American Medical Association (AMA) is resistant to having doctors trained to prescribe responsibly.

Hopefully, in the near future doctors will heed the call from Gupta to be a part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. When discussing the American opioid epidemic, the conversation typically is about how bad it is; however, it is important that we take a moment to recognize the strides that have been made in the right direction.

PDMPs

Several years ago, amidst widespread overprescribing by pain management clinics—otherwise known as “pill mills”—and rampant “doctor shopping,” the act of going to multiple doctors in a month to double and triple up on one’s prescription opioids, states began to implement what are known as prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). The programs were designed to give doctors a resource for identifying doctor shoppers and to give authorities a window into which doctors are prescribing suspiciously.

PDMPs were met with resistance by some doctors, and to this day there is a significant number of them who do not utilize the resource; but, drug monitoring programs have proved to be an invaluable resource. Today, 49 states have adopted a PDMP of some kind, and there is now evidence that suggests the programs are having the desired effect. In fact, new research from Weill Cornell Medical College has found that, in the states that have implemented a PDMP, a 30 percent decrease in prescriptions for opioids and other narcotics could be seen, NBC News reports. The findings were published in the journal Health Affairs.

This reduction was seen immediately following the launch of the program and was maintained in the second and third years afterward,” writes researcher Yuhua Bao and colleagues. “Our analysis indicated that the implementation of a prescription drug monitoring program was associated with a reduction in the prescribing of Schedule II opioids, opioids of any kind, and pain medication overall.”

Uncertain Conclusions

The news is without a doubt a breath of fresh air, yet in the wake of the death of pop superstar Prince—clearly we as a nation have a long way to go. The research team believes that there could be a number of reasons for the PDMP success. The 30 percent drop in written prescriptions, according to researchers could be that PDMPs:

  • Raised awareness about opioid abuse with doctors.
  • Made doctors more cautious about writing prescriptions that can lead to dependence and addiction.
  • Caused doctors to cut back on prescriptions knowing that they were being watched.

Regardless of the reason for PDMPs causing a reduction, they have had a notable impact which indicates that efforts to curb the problem have had some success. Before PDMPs 5.5 percent of doctor’s visits involving pain management resulted in a prescription for an opioid being written, after drug monitoring programs that number fell to 3.7 percent.

Addiction Treatment

Cutting back on the number of prescriptions written is paramount, unfortunately opioid addicts who struggle to get their pills will more times than not turn to heroin as an alternative. Simply making it harder to get drugs doesn’t mean that people will be free of addiction. It cannot be stressed enough just how vital addiction treatment services are to ending the epidemic in the U.S.

At PACE Recovery Center, our qualified staff can assist you or a loved one in ending the cycle of addiction. We can show you how it is possible to live a healthy, productive life free from drugs and alcohol. Please contact PACE to begin the life changing journey of addiction recovery.

Prescription Opioid Tax to Fund Addiction Treatment

prescription opioidsIn the 1990’s the average price of a pack of cigarettes in the United States was just over $1.50. If you happened to be a smoker today, you know all too well that the price has risen exponentially, with an average cost ranging between six and eight dollars. In the state of New York, individuals can pay more than $12.00, the direct result of both state and federal taxes. Heightened cigarette prices have a two-fold effect, they are meant to deter smoking and fund youth smoking prevention campaigns.

Every American adult, at least, is aware that cigarettes are unhealthy and can lead to several different forms of cancer. With that in mind, efforts meant to prevent youth smoking are of the utmost importance, as they are the most vulnerable demographic. Over the last couple decades youth cigarette smoking rates have declined dramatically and the trend continues; it would stand to reason that this decline is the direct result of the efforts of both health organizations by way of tobacco prevention campaigns which are partly funded by the high taxes imposed on “cancer sticks.”

While both tobacco and alcohol still rank high on the list of leading causes of preventable death in the U.S., holding the number 1 and 3 positions respectively, prescription opioid and heroin abuse have been stealing lives at a staggering rate. In fact, accidental drug overdose is now the leading cause of injury-related death for Americans between the ages of 35-54—and the second leading cause for young people, according to the Drug Policy Alliance. With nearly 44,000 people dying from a drug overdose each year, it is crystal clear that the situation is dire; this has prompted lawmakers from every corner of the government to call for action, via opioid prevention and access to addiction treatment services.

Over the last few months legislation was passed in order to make the aforementioned goals a reality, but many argue that despite everyone’s good intentions it will prove difficult to fund the varied programs that rest under the umbrella of the new bills, such as the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA).

Practically everyone is in agreement, curbing the over prescribing of opioid painkillers is vital in the effort to prevent future cases of opioid addiction from ensuing, but such campaigns do little to help those who are already addicted to opioids. In 2014, an estimated 1.9 million Americans of the 21.5 million that had a substance use disorder in the United States were addicted to prescription opioids, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports. In the same year there were an estimated 586,000 who had a substance use disorder involving heroin.

Research tells that the majority of today’s heroin users began with prescription opioids, such as OxyContin (oxycodone). Making it more difficult to acquire opioid analgesics doesn’t mean that one’s addiction will just disappear; without treatment and recovery services the cycle of addiction will continue—forcing addicts to seek other avenues to “get well”—i.e. Heroin.

A number of states, mainly those who have been hit the hardest by the opioid epidemic, have found it difficult to provide and expand access to addiction treatment services. The issue stems mostly from a lack of funding. If opioid addicts cannot find help, or have to wait incredibly long periods of time between making the decision to go to treatment and actually getting a bed, they are still susceptible to overdose—potentially a fatal one at that. A new bill has been put forward that may be able to generate the desperately needed funds.

A group of U.S. Senators have introduced the Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment Act (LifeBOAT). The LifeBOAT Act would establish a permanent funding stream to support efforts to expand access to addiction treatment services, according to a news release from Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV). The new bill, if passed, would generate funds by imposing a 1 cent fee on each milligram of active opioid ingredient in a prescription opioid painkiller.

I’ve heard it time and time again from people waging the battle against addiction: we need more treatment options. But today, those options are only dwindling in the face of ever-shrinking budgets, and the sad result is that those who need the help the most simply aren’t getting it,” said Angus King (I-ME). “It’s my hope that this common-sense legislation can help put a stop to that. By establishing a reliable stream of funding, this bill will bolster treatment facilities across the country, increase the amount of services available, and support people as they fight back against addiction – all while doing so in a cost-effective way. We must step up to lend a hand to those who need our help, and this bill does that.”

The opioid milligram tax would fund:

  • New addiction treatment centers, both residential and outpatient.
  • Expanded access to long-term, residential treatment programs.
  • Recruiting and increasing reimbursement for certified mental health providers providing substance abuse treatment.
  • The establishment of and/or operating support programs that offer employment services, housing, and other support services to help recovering addicts reintegrate into society.
  • The establishment of and/or operating substance abuse treatment programs in conjunction with Adult and Family Treatment Drug Courts.
  • The establishment of and/or operating facilities to provide care for babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome.

To read the text of the bill, click here.

At PACE Recovery Center, our mission is to provide our clients with a safe and supportive environment to help them overcome the challenges they have experienced due to alcohol and drug abuse. We believe that incorporating sound clinical interventions and a lifestyle that encourages health and wellness, in a shame free setting that encourages accountability and responsibility, will help foster long term recovery.

Some Sober Living Homes Lack Oversight

sober living homesRecovering from addiction is a process, the success of which often rests on the length of treatment – the longer the treatment stay the better chance of success. Most reputable treatment facilities recommend a 90 day stay; centers with 30 day lengths of stay will strongly encourage that clients check into an extended care facility afterwards. A number of treatment centers will recommend to clients with a long history of substance abuse, especially chronic relapsers, move into a “sober living” home after the completion of their treatment stay.

Sober living homes can be an opportunity for people who are new to recovery to transition back into the swing of everyday life in the company of others working towards the same goal. Sober homes vary in size and cost, some simply require weekly drug testing with 12-Step meeting attendance, while others will add to that by holding weekly house processing groups. The houses are usually managed by someone in recovery, charged with overseeing the day-to-day routines of the clients. Early recovery can be a difficult time, chock full of triggers and cravings; staying at a sober living home after treatment can serve as an extra level of protection.

With staggering opioid addiction rates across the United States, more people than ever are in need of addiction treatment services. Providing access to treatment has proved challenging in a number of areas of the country, which has resulted in a push from government officials to increase funding for addiction treatment. The opioid epidemic has also led to an increased demand for sober living homes, which has led to some questionable practices among people trying to exploit those in recovery.

Unlike treatment centers, sober living homes are hardly ever managed by credentialed professionals and are subject to little regulation, the Associated Press reports. The lack of oversight has led to cases of insurance fraud. Some transitional living homes will even allow clients to use drugs or alcohol, as long as rent is still being paid. Allowing clients to “use” could have a fatal outcome; many sober living homes are housing opioid addicts, whose choice of drugs can lead to overdose.

“In most states, there is not a regulatory body because recovery residences aren’t considered treatment,” said Amy Mericle, a scientist at Alcohol Research Group, a California nonprofit that studies alcohol and drug addiction.

Growing concerns about lack of oversight has prompted some states to pass or consider passing legislation, according to the article. Such laws would require the inspection and certification of sober living homes, and subjecting them to consumer protections and ethical codes.

It is important to point out that the sober homes guilty of exploiting addiction for profit are not the rule, there are a number of transitional living spaces that provide a healthy, structured environment – giving tenants a real shot at long-term recovery. “The ones that are good are fantastic,” said Pam Rodriguez, CEO of Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities.

At PACE Recovery Center’s Transitional Living Program we offer an exclusive gender-specific (all male), transitional living, alcohol addiction and drug rehab for men struggling with chemical dependency and behavioral health issues. Our transitional program focuses on assisting our clients in learning how to manage both vocational/school goals and addiction recovery commitments.

Spring: A Time to Recover from Addiction

addictionLast Sunday marked the beginning of Spring and with it comes the long thaw up to Summer. The transition from Winter into Spring is not just about the changing of seasons, it is also about changes with one’s self – or can be. People often associate Spring with a time to set new goals which they endeavor to achieve. Spring cleaning doesn’t apply only to dusting around the house; it’s about cleaning out the bad from your internal dwelling. Perhaps there are some things in your life that you would like to do away with, such as drinking and drugging?

It is quite common for people to add sobriety to their list of New Year’s resolutions. Every year, a number of people who have made an addiction recovery resolution, manage to learn how to live a life free from drugs and alcohol – maintaining a program of recovery. This is usually accomplished by entering a substance use disorder treatment center and/or attending 12-step recovery meetings. Unfortunately, some people do not succeed at bringing recovery resolutions to fruition, falling back into the cycle of addiction.

With the Spring Equinox still in the rear-view mirror, this may be a perfect time to give recovery an honest go – doing away with what doesn’t work in your life and adopt healthy practices for a successful future. If you have never been to a 12-step meeting, you may find it to be intimidating. Do not be discouraged, everyone sitting in a meeting house probably had similar feelings when they attended their first meeting.

It is often said in recovery circles that reaching out to newcomers is of the utmost importance. Those who found recovery before you were guided by those who came before them, and in turn they will not only make you feel welcome – they will help you learn how to live a life in recovery, the way they learned how. If you choose to move forward with the 12-step route of recovery, we implore you to keep an open mind – look and listen for the similarities you share with others, not the differences.

It’s possible that you may need more, initially, than just meetings. Depending on the type of substance you struggle with, and the severity of your addiction, checking into a treatment facility may be the best avenue. A number of treatment centers have detoxification units, which help clients to ease into recovery in safe way, mitigating withdrawal symptoms in closed environments – free from the distractions and triggers of the outside world. Treatment stays vary in length, but 90-day stays are generally considered to be the duration associated with the greatest chance of success. The longer the stay, the stronger you will be when you transition back into everyday life.

If you feel that treatment at an all male inpatient treatment facility would benefit you, please contact PACE Recovery Center. Our extended residential care program incorporates the principles of 12-Step recovery programs including Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). We can offer you a safe and comfortable environment to begin your journey of addiction recovery.

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