Vote on Legalized Marijuana may be Coming to California in 2016

Legalized-Marijuana-California-VoteWhile four states have already legalized marijuana, all eyes are now on California and a possible ballot initiative for 2016. If California were to legalize pot, 39 million residents in the state could more than double the market of the four current states combined. Legalization of marijuana in California could also change the playing field on a national level, forcing the federal government to take another look at legalizing pot across the board.

A Brief History

California was the first state in the country to make marijuana legal for medicinal purposes in 1996. Since that time, it has inspired many other states to do the same. However, approval for recreational purposes has been a whole different ballgame. California voters took the issue to the ballot in 2010, where it was voted down. Since that time, Colorado and Washington approved legalization for recreational use in 2012, while Oregon and Alaska followed suit two years later.

Now, it looks like legalization will be back on the California ballot in 2016. Other states to consider a similar initiative include Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine and Arizona. However, the spotlight continues to be on California, as the largest state to consider such a move. A spokesperson for a marijuana and investment firm in Oakland, Troy Dayton, told Bloomberg that California comprises nearly half of the legal cannabis market in the country.

The Fight is On

While there is plenty of support for legalized marijuana in California, those on both sides of the issue state the decision is still very much up in the air. Those in favor of legalization have said passage is more likely to occur if proponents include a measure to tax and regulate the industry. Both sides agree success on either front will likely come down to donations, a factor that gives supporters of the bill an advantage. However, opponents will also have a fertile field for garnering votes, particularly if they can recruit help from professionals in education and law enforcement.

At Pasadena Recovery Center, we have seen the devastating effects of marijuana use on our clients and their families. As the most widely used illegal drug in the U.S., marijuana has a number of serious effects on users, including impaired mental ability, altered judgment and an increased risk of heart attack. The drug has also been found to be addictive for some users, necessitating detox efforts as well as treatment and recovery programs.

If you are struggling with marijuana abuse or addiction, help is available. Contact Pasadena Recovery Center at 866-663-3030 to get the help and support you need to deal with your addiction and move forward with your life.

Posted in PRC Blog

What is the Deadliest Drug? Alcohol

alcohol-worst-drugWhile concerns over the dangers of cocaine, heroin and meth continue to make headlines, researchers have discovered there is one substance even more dangerous than these – alcohol. According to research published in Scientific Reports in January 2015, alcohol is the deadliest drug in the United States today. 

Comparative Risks Assessed

Scientists examined the comparative risk of death accompanying the use of a broad range of drugs, including alcohol. They used a novel method for calculating risk that they called the “Margin of Exposure” or MOE. They defined the MOE as the ratio between adverse effects of the drug and the drug’s human intake. The smaller the MOE, the more dangerous the drug was assessed to be, since this indicated a greater likelihood the user could consume a harmful dose of the substance.

They found alcohol to be 114 times more dangerous than marijuana, which is the only federally-controlled substance that has not been linked to an overdose death at this point. Four substances fell into the “high risk” category in this study; alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and heroin. THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, had the largest MOE on the list.

Other Studies Show Similar Findings

This is not the first study to demonstrate the risks associated with alcohol use. Surveys performed on incarcerated persons found that about 40 percent of individuals in prison had been under the influence of alcohol when they committed their crimes. In 2010, a U.K. study published in The Lancet ranked alcohol as the most dangerous drug in Britain, in terms of the harm it causes to users as well as the harm it causes to others.

Scientists involved in these studies will be the first to admit their methodology is far from perfect. In the recent study published in Scientific Reports, authors of the study were quick to point out that their research did not take into all of the risk factors, particularly environmental conditions of the drug use. Still, the findings were compelling in showing alcohol-related deaths significantly outnumbered deaths associated with other substances.

Dangers of Alcohol Underestimated

Although alcohol has been shown through numerous surveys and studies to pose its own risks and dangers to users, this substance is readily available and not regulated by the government. Unfortunately, that gives the impression to many drinkers that alcohol is a “safer” substance and they do not have to monitor their intake as closely.

At Pasadena Recovery Center, we see the devastating effects alcohol abuse can make on the user and the entire family. We offer treatment programs to help abusers reclaim a life of sobriety. To learn more about our treatment and recovery programs, contact Pasadena Recovery Center at 866-663-3030.

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3 Alarming Facts for Alcohol Awareness Month

shutterstock_197716910April has been designated Alcohol Awareness Month by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. The organization has been working to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol abuse since 1987 with this annual event. This year, we would like to recognize Alcohol Awareness Month with a few concerning facts about alcohol use in the U.S.

Deaths Related to Alcohol Use

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 88,000 deaths in the U.S. between 2006 and 2010 could be attributed to excessive alcohol abuse. Alcohol was linked to one in 10 deaths in adults between the ages of 20 and 64 years during that same time frame. This makes alcohol the fourth-highest cause of preventable deaths, behind smoking, poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle. While most people think of cirrhosis of the liver when they think of alcohol-related sickness and deaths, other conditions related to excessive alcohol use include heart disease and some types of cancer.

Risky Behaviors Associated with Alcohol

People who drink too much alcohol may engage in or become victims of the following risky behaviors:

  • Injury – includes falls, drownings and injuries related to car crashes
  • Sexual behavior – sex with multiple partners or unprotected sex
  • Sexual abuse – alcohol use increases the risk of a sexual assault
  • Violence – those who abuse alcohol are also more likely to be victims of other types of assault or are more likely to abuse another person 

Risky behaviors tend to be more prevalent in younger drinkers. However, anyone who drinks to much raises the risk for some type of accident or assault.

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

When alcohol is consumed, it is absorbed into your bloodstream, which means it can impact your body in a number of negative ways. Some of the more common results of long-term alcohol abuse include:

  • Liver disease (includes cirrhosis, hepatitis and cancer)
  • Cancer (breast, stomach and liver are some of the most common)
  • Heart disease (hypertension and heart attack risk also increase)
  • Digestive problems (such as pancreatitis or gastritis)
  • Neurological disorders (memory problems, dementia, stroke) 

Another health risk of alcohol abuse is alcohol dependence or addiction. When a person develop an alcohol addiction, professional treatment is usually required to turn the individual from their drinking and to a healthier life of sobriety.

Alcohol abuse is a serious problem in the U.S. and around the world. If you are struggling with an inability to control your alcohol consumption, help is available. At Pasadena Recovery Center, we help individuals overcome their addiction and maintain sobriety. To learn more about our treatment programs, contact Pasadena Recovery Center at 866-663-3030.

Posted in PRC Blog

The Problem with Prescription Drug Abuse

shutterstock_160239572Prescription drug use is a major problem that has actually been called an “epidemic” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), approximately 52 million people have used a prescription drug for non-medical reasons at some point during their lifetime. The problem is widespread and covers a broad demographic, from teens to the elderly.

Prescription Drugs that are Abused
Many different types of prescription drugs are used for non-medical purposes:

• Opioids
• Anti-Anxiety Medications
• Stimulants
• Medical Marijuana

NIDA reports that around 14 percent of individuals that have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons in the past 12 months also met the criteria for abuse or dependence. Another alarming statistic is growing use of prescription medications among adolescents. NIDA found that 1 in 20 adolescents admitted to non-medical use of Vicodin in 2012 and 20 percent of the 52 million that admitted to taking prescription drugs for non-medical uses were ages 12 and up.

Hope on the Horizon?
With concerns about prescription drug abuse on the rise, there is a glimmer of hope coming out of Washington. According to a recent report at The Hill, legislative initiatives are beginning to curb prescription drug use in some traditionally problem areas like Florida. Thanks to prescription drug monitoring programs and crackdowns on “pill mills,” statistics on prescription drug abuse are starting to improve.

In 2013, the CDC reported five-percent declines in deaths from prescription pain relievers. Those numbers marked the first decline in prescription drug-related deaths since1999. Prescription drug abuse among teens also declined in most areas of the country in 2014. Considering that deaths associated to oxycodone overdoses totaled more than four a day in Florida in 2010, these numbers are good news indeed.

New Problems?
Unfortunately, when one threat is thwarted, it is not uncommon for others to emerge. While prescription drug use is down, heroin use is going up due to more people looking for cheaper options on the street. HIV transmission from needles is also on the rise in unlikely areas like southern Indiana. The national effort to curb drug abuse is far from over.

In the meantime, those struggling with a prescription drug addiction can get help in treatment facilities like Pasadena Recovery Center. Our caring, expert staff is ready to help you through the detox and recovery process, for as long as it takes until you become comfortable in your sobriety once again. Drug abuse may still be a common problem in the U.S., but help is available. Contact Pasadena Recovery Center now at 866-663-3030 to get the help you need.

Posted in PRC Blog

When a Loved One has a Substance Abuse Problem

shutterstock_141834604Do you suspect that a friend or family member has a substance abuse problem? It can be difficult to know how to handle this situation. Do you confront the person, stage an intervention, or just hope the person will recognize the problem on his own? The first step in dealing with this issue is to understand what substance abuse looks like. The next step is to guide that person to the necessary help, while giving him the support he needs to survive the treatment and recovery process.

Symptoms of Substance Abuse
There are a number of potential signs that your loved one is abusing a substance:

• Tendency to drink or use more of the substance than originally intended
• Inability to cut down or stop using the substance completely
• Cravings to drink or use the drug
• Legal or financial problems as a result of their substance abuse
• Inability to manage work or home responsibilities as a result of their substance use
• Continued use even if it causes problems in relationships or puts them in dangerous situations
• Need to take more of the substance to get the same effect

How to Respond
When your loved one shows signs of substance abuse, it can be difficult to know how to respond. It is important to understand that substance abuse is a disease that usually requires professional treatment. You will not be able to get this individual to stop using on your own. In fact, if you cover up the substance abuse by lying for the person or in other ways, you may actually make the problem worse.

Getting a loved one to seek treatment for substance abuse is no easy task. The right approach will depend on the individual, your relationship and the level of abuse you are dealing with. Professional counselors that specialize in substance abuse are available in most areas to provide you with advice and insight on the best way to confront your loved one and encourage him to get professional help.

Dealing with Your Own Feelings
Many people feel hurt or angry when a loved one has a substance abuse problem. Substance abuse takes its toll on more than the person using; it can impact those closest to the individual as well. If you find yourself struggling with your loved one’s abuse, professional counseling may also help you to understand your feelings and find constructive ways to deal with them.

Substance abuse is never easy – for the individual or those around him. The good news is help is available. If you need to learn more about substance abuse and treatment options to help someone you love get on the right track to sobriety, contact Pasadena Recovery Center at 866-663-3030.

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What is the Intake Process and How does it Affect My Recovery?

shutterstock_149934155shutterstock_149934155When it comes to seeking treatment for your alcohol or drug addiction, the first step is usually the hardest. That first phone call or first meeting with an employee of the treatment center can be scary and stressful, but it is absolutely necessary to take that first step if you are serious about recovery. One way to ease the stress of the initial process is to learn what is involved so you know what to expect when you pick up the phone or walk in the door.

About the Intake Process

The intake process basically refers to the admission portion of your treatment program. There may be a number of components included in the intake process, which allow the staff at the facility to determine the most effective course of treatment for you. These components might include:

  • Initial interview with a counselor, psychologist or medical practitioner
  • Substance testing to determine placement in detox or rehab
  • Collection of medical information and a possible medical examination
  • Sharing of an introductory packet that explains the facility’s policies and amenities
  • Review of financial obligations and payment options

During the intake process, it is important to be open and honest with your interviewer about your substance use, medical conditions and medications you might be currently taking. The purpose of the intake process is to place you in the appropriate treatment program that will provide you with the greatest benefit. Lying in any of these areas could result in improper placement and less chance of a successful recovery process.

Detox or Rehab?

Most facilities determine whether a patient will be placed in detox or rehab by substance testing performed when the person first enters a facility. If the individual tests positive for a drug or alcohol, detox is the likely first step. If the tests are negative, most patients can go directly to the rehabilitation portion of the program.

Many individuals that initiate contact with a treatment facility do so for detox purposes. Unfortunately, the detox process will get you clean from the substance initially, but will not provide you with the tools you need to remain clean over the long term. While it is true rehabilitation typically requires a longer stay at the facility, it is usually a necessary step to kicking and addiction and moving to sober living.

The intake process can be intimidating and anxiety-provoking, but it is an absolutely necessary step on the road to recovery. At Pasadena Recovery Center, we understand the fear associated with the intake process and will do everything possible to ensure you are safe and comfortable throughout. Rest assured that once you get past the first step, the rest of your treatment will become progressively easier. To learn more about our treatment services, contact Pasadena Recovery Center at 866-663-3030.

Posted in PRC Blog

Substance Abuse and Mental Illness

shutterstock_160114049Mental illness and substance abuse often go hand-in-hand, which can create challenges in treating both successfully. It is important for patients dealing with both issues to get an accurate dual diagnosis, in order to ensure the best possible treatment on both fronts. At Pasadena Recovery Center, we understand the intricacies and complexities of a dual diagnosis, which is why we offer a specialized inpatient treatment program for patients that fall into this category.

Prevalence of a Dual Diagnosis

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, studies have found a significant percentage (around 50 percent) of individuals with a severe mental illness also have a substance abuse problem. The Journal of the American Medical Association also reported that 37 percent of alcohol abusers and 53 percent of drug abusers also have a serious mental illness. The problem is prevalent, which is why treatment programs that target a dual diagnosis are so important.

Cause and Effect

While it is relatively easy to see a connection between substance abuse and mental illness, it is much more difficult to assign a cause and effect to the trend. For many that receive a dual diagnosis, the mental illness preceded the substance abuse. These individuals have done what is called “self-medicate,” which is to try to manage symptoms of mental illness with use of drugs or alcohol.

On the other hand, substance abuse can increase the risk for a mental illness or make a current condition worse. Substance abuse may trigger the onset of symptoms of mental illness, such as paranoia or depression. In some cases, poor decisions or traumatic events that occur while a person is under the influence of a substance can lead to a mental disorder like anxiety or post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).

Complications and Challenges

No matter how or why the dual diagnosis occurred, it can be challenging to treat both conditions successfully. For many patients, substance abuse must be addressed first, before treatment for mental illness can begin. Without this sequence, patients may have difficulty sticking with a medication regimen or treatment program to effectively deal with their mental disorder.

While treatment of a dual diagnosis is complex, it is not impossible. At Pasadena Recovery Center, we offer an inpatient program that combines medication maintenance, education about mental illness and the 12-steps of sobriety. With individual and group therapy and counseling, we can help you overcome your substance abuse while learning to cope successfully with your mental illness. To learn more about our dual diagnosis program, contact Pasadena Recovery Center at 866-663-3030.

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The Reasons Behind the Addiction

reasons-behind-addiction

People that become addicted to drugs or alcohol are often mistakenly seen as lacking willpower or a moral compass. The truth is that substance addiction is a complex disease with many facets that need to be understood if treatment is to be successful. There are many reasons why addiction might occur, including environmental, physical and emotional factors. While the overall picture can be complicated, a basic overview of some of the reasons behind addiction can be helpful in better understanding the addict.

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors encompass others in the individual’s life that may influence their decision to use. Perhaps the individual grew up in a home where alcohol abuse was the norm or began using due to peer pressure from their friends. Some may have suffered physical or sexual abuse in the past that leads them to begin using.

Physical Factors

For some, drug use begins with an injury and develops into an addiction. Individuals will often rationalize this type of drug use, thinking if the medication was prescribed by a physician, it must be okay. Chronic pain may also lead some people to take medications like narcotics over a longer period of time, which can increase the likelihood of addiction.

Mental Factors

Substance addiction and mental illness often go hand-in-hand. For some, drug use becomes a way of self-medicating to help them manage the symptoms of their mental disorder. Others may find drug or alcohol use actually exacerbate the symptoms of their mental illness, increasing their risk of becoming addicted.

Emotional Factors

Substance use may begin as a way to deal with stress, whether the stress of a specific event like a death or divorce, or ongoing stress from juggling multiple obligations. The use of a drug or alcohol may begin as a method of relaxation, which slowly develops into a habit and then an addiction. Although drugs can seem like an effective way of reducing stress, they can become the problem over time.

Behavioral Factors

Boredom is a serious risk factor that leads some people to begin using. This can be particularly true for teens and young adults that still have limited responsibility in their lives. However, even older adults can use boredom as a reason to begin using, particularly those that have retired from their jobs and are having trouble filling their days with productive activities.
No matter what the reason behind addiction, treatment can be successful. At Pasadena Recovery Center, we work with those that want to escape from the chains of substance abuse and addiction. To learn more about our programs, contact Pasadena Recovery Center at 866-663-3030.

Posted in PRC Blog

The Link between Heavy Drinking and Low IQ

shutterstock_57314824A recent study from Sweden suggests a distinct link between risky drinking behaviors and low IQ in young men. However, researchers caution about making surmises from this information, indicating the lower IQ scores may lead to heavy drinking, rather than alcohol consumption leading to reduced cognitive ability. Still, the data is the first of its kind to show a consistent association between “cognitive ability and alcohol-related problems,” according to one of the study authors.

About the Study

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden looked at records from nearly 50,000 men to collect their data. All of the men were born between 1949 and 1951 and served in the Swedish military between 1969 and 1971. IQ tests were given when they were conscripted for military duty, and alcohol intake and drinking patterns were also carefully evaluated at this time. Researchers analyzed the conscription records of these young men to determine a possible link, adjusting data for childhood socioeconomic status, psychiatric symptoms and alcohol habits of their fathers.

Researchers found that lower cognitive ability consistently correlated with heavy drinking and risky alcohol habits, including total alcohol intake and incidences of binge drinking. Researchers also noted that other factors appeared to weigh in on the likelihood to drink heavily, including socioeconomic status.

“In this study of a general population, intelligence probably comes before the behavior, in this case, alcohol consumption and a pattern of drinking in late adolescence,” Daniel Falkstedt, assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences, was reported as saying about the study. He added that it is unlikely alcohol consumption would cause cognitive impairment in younger men as a general rule.

Background and Behavior

The researchers acknowledge that difference in intelligence levels during childhood and early adulthood can put individuals at a direct social and economic disadvantage, which might lead to riskier drinking patterns. Researchers also noted studies indicating suicide rates were higher in individuals with lower IQs. Those with lower IQs may experience frustrations and challenges in life that lead them to those drinking habits.

Researchers were quick to point out that results of the Swedish study could change, based on different cultures or locations. They also warned that the results for young men should not be applied to women, since women’s drinking habits tend to be different from men’s. In fact, a 2010 study suggested that higher-educated women tended to be heavier drinkers than their less educated counterparts.

No matter what reasons might be behind substance abuse, the problem can shatter the lives of those dealing with the problem and family and friends around them. At Pasadena Recovery Center, we help adults dealing with abuse and addiction of all types of substances, helping them achieve sobriety and a higher quality of life. To learn more about our treatment programs, contact Pasadena Recovery Center at 866-663-3030.

Posted in PRC Blog

When Substance Abuse Becomes Addiction

substance abuse

It is not unusual for the terms “abuse” and “addiction” to be used interchangeably when talking about drug or alcohol use. However, the two are actually very different conditions, with addiction being the more serious of the two. It is also important to understand that substance abuse can turn into addiction over time. Because it is difficult to predict how long it will take for abuse to become addiction, it is always best to address the issue in the earlier stage, when it is still at its most treatable.

Signs of Substance Abuse

There are a number of signs to watch for over a 12-month period if you are trying to determine if an individual is abusing drugs or alcohol:

  • Substance use is interfering with work, school or other daily activities
  • Person uses drugs or alcohol in reckless ways, such as driving while intoxicated
  • Continued substance use even if the habit is causing strain in personal relationships
  • Problems arise related to substance use, such as legal or financial issues

Substance abuse is a serious problem that can lead to addiction if it is left unchecked. However, treatment at this stage, which might include time in a treatment center, can be very successful.

Signs of Substance Addiction

Addiction, also referred to as substance dependency, is generally characterized by these observable signs over a 12-month period:

Tolerance is developed, which requires the addict to use more of the substance to get the same “high”
If the substance is stopped, physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms can occur
Efforts to cut back or stop using the substance are continuously unsuccessful
Investment of a great deal of time and money in using the substance
Ingestion of potentially dangerous amounts of the drug or alcohol

Substance addiction is significantly more complex to treat. A residential treatment program is usually required to help the individual get off the substance completely and learn to live without the drug or alcohol. Medical treatment is generally necessary in the early phase of treatment, to ensure withdrawal symptoms are properly and safely cared for. In addition, ample support after the treatment program will ensure the addict successfully integrates back into daily life without relapses.

At Pasadena Recovery Center, we help those abusing or addicted to drugs or alcohol find hope and a successful path to sobriety. Our programs are tailored to the unique needs of each patient, to ensure the best possible outcome from their treatment program. To learn more about our treatment programs, contact our staff at 866-663-3030.

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