What is DXM?

Dextromethorphan (DXM) and Cold Medicine

fod_dextromethorphanDextromethorphan (DXM) is the active ingredient found in many over-the-counter cough and cold medications. Taken in the recommended amount, these medications are safe and effective. But taking high doses can be dangerous, and other active ingredients found in these medications can add to the risks.

Read more about DXM, how it is abused, consequences of abusing DXM and more..


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Drug Overdoses Kill More Than Cars, Guns, and Falling


Sara Bellum


June 11, 2014

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 105 people in the United States die every day from drug overdoses.

“It will never happen to me. I’m not addicted, I’m just partying.”

CDC OD Deaths_Infographic

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but this picture is all about the numbers. With 38,329 people dying from drug overdoses in 2010, it’s hard to really grasp the lives lost, the families and friends in mourning, or the generations that will never be, for those who took too much of a drug or who fatally mixed two drugs together (including alcohol). Deaths from drug overdoses have been increasing since the early 1990s—fueled most recently by a surge in heroin use.

Recent deaths—Philip Seymour Hoffman this year, Cory Monteith the year before, Whitney Houston the year before that, and so on—remind us almost annually of the dangers of drug use. But for every famous person that dies, tens of thousands of people who were only known by their schoolmates, friends, and families die as well.

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Are Pills in Your Medicine Cabinet a Gateway Drug to Heroin?

Are Pills in Your Medicine Cabinet a Gateway Drug to Heroin?

By: Jeremy Martinez, MD

Opiate use has been escalating among young people.[i]Pills in your own medicine cabinet may be the Gateway to Heroin, and I will explain how.

High school students are among those who have begun to experiment with Vicodin, Percocet, Norco, and other strong pain-killers.

Prescription pills can appear innocuous to many.  These pills have been given by a doctor, which makes a person feel that they are safe.  These pills are also made by a professional manufacturer, and may appear safer than street drugs.

The problems with opiate addiction begin with regular use of these drugs. Tolerance to opiates begins after daily use over an extended period of time.  A person’s body changes with regular opiate use, and this causes withdrawal when the drug is stopped.[ii]

Stopping the pain-killers leads to runny nose, nausea and vomiting, severe muscle pain, and diarrhea. Opiate addicts commonly refer to this as getting “sick,” and may feel like a bad flu.  Withdrawal can also cause muscle twitching, or “kicking,” that can occur in the arms or legs.

Opiate addicts are afraid of becoming “sick,” which can be extremely painful, and leads to the regular,daily use of stronger and stronger opiates to stay “well.”  Many who are addicted to these drugs will tell you that they are just trying to stay “well.”  At some point they are no longer trying to get “high.”

Using pain-killers regularly can lead to a rapid tolerance.  Using Vicodin or Percocet will turn into Roxicet or OxyContin, which can be more than 100times stronger[iii]than Vicodin.  OxyContin is often sold illicitly, or “on the street” for up to $80 per pill.[iv]  You can imagine how expensive this becomes!

The pricey OxyContin (also called“OC’s” or “OP’s”) will often become difficult to get, and heroin provides a cheaper option to “stay well.”  People are often introduced to heroin by smoking it. Smoking heroin does not have the stigma or “scariness” of injecting the drug IV.  For a high school student who has smoked marijuana, it might not be as scary to try smoking heroin.

Smoked heroin has only 1/4 to 1/2 the potency of IV heroin.[v]Once again, the addict begins to spend so much money smoking the heroin, that injecting heroin begins to look like an attractive option.  The addict desperately needs some form of opiate to avoid “the kick.”

This is how the pain pills in your medicine cabinet may ultimately lead to a young person’s addiction to heroin.  Not every young person that takes a Vicodin becomes an opiate addict. The danger of addiction arises from regular, daily use of these drugs.

What can be done to prevent this from happening?

There are simple steps that you can take today to prevent your pain medications from leading to another person’s life-long addiction…

First, if you take painkillers such as Vicodin, or the other pills mentioned here, it is important to keep these in a locked container.  Locking pill containers are available at most drug stores.

Second, it is also critical that you never give your pain medications to another person.  If they are prescribed to you, you are the only one who should take them.

And lastly, if you have pain medications that you are no longer taking, these should be destroyed.  The FDA actually recommends that opiates be flushed down the toilet because of the high risk of abuse by others (http://1.usa.gov/1dQ1EIx)

If you have concerns about opiate addiction for yourself or a loved one, talk to your doctor about the treatment options available.

Jeremy Martinez, MD is an Addiction Psychiatrist who works at Pasadena Recovery Center and The Solstice Clinic in Los Angeles, CA.



[i]HallAJ, Logan JE, Toblin RL, Kaplan JA, Kraner JC, Bixler D, Crosby AE, PaulozziLJ. Patterns of abuse among unintentional pharmaceutical overdose fatalities.JAMA. 2008 Dec 10;300(22):2613-20.

[ii]OuyangH, Liu S, Zeng W, Levitt RC, Candiotti KA, Hao S., An emerging new paradigm inopioid withdrawal: a critical role for glia-neuron signaling in theperiaqueductal gray., ScientificWorldJournal. 2012;2012:940613

[iii]OrdóñezGallego A, González Barón M, Espinosa Arranz E., Oxycodone: a pharmacologicaland clinical review., Clin Transl Oncol. 2007 May;9(5):298-307.

[iv]Kavilanz,Parija. Prescription drugs worth millions to dealers, CNNMoney, 2011 June

[v]U.S.Department of Health and Human Services. Substance Abuse and Mental HealthServices Administration. Division of Pharmacologic Therapies.Medication-Assisted Treatment for Substance Use Disorders. 42 CFR Part 8 OpioidDrugs in Maintenance and Detoxification. Treatment of Opiate Addiction; FinalRule. Published January 17, 2001.

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The Two Questions That Could Determine If You Have an Alcohol Problem

Study offers a simple approach to establish whether a person currently suffers from or is at risk of a drink problem.


 ‘How often do you have six or more drinks on one occasion?’ and ‘as a result of your drinking or drug use, did anything happen in the last year that you wish didn’t happen?’ are the two enquiries a GP could make to detect hidden alcohol abuse, it claims.

Scientists from the University of Leicester, led by consultant in psycho-oncology Alex Mitchell, looked at 17 previous alcohol studies spanning 5,646 people to see whether simple preliminary screening using one or two questions could provide an accurate foundation for intervention.

The team found that the “optimal approach appears to be two questions” followed by a possible four more.

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Obama Administration Releases National Drug Policy Strategy Emphasizing Public Health Approaches to Nation’s Drug Problem

Obama Administration Releases National Drug Policy Strategy Emphasizing Public Health Approaches to Nation’s Drug Problem

National Plan Outlines Support for Expanding Prevention, Treatment, Recovery and Smart on Crime Reforms; Highlights Actions Underway to Reduce Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse
(Roanoke, VA) -  Today, Michael Botticelli, Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy, released the 2014 National Drug Control Strategy, the Obama Administration’s primary blueprint for drug policy in the United States. The Strategy builds on the Administration’s record of drug policy reform by outlining a series of actions that will continue to expand health interventions and “smart on crime” alternatives proven to reduce drug use and its consequences in America. The Strategy also notes significant increases in heroin and prescription drug abuse as key challenges and highlights a series of actions currently underway to reduce the impact of the opioid epidemic in the United States.
The science-based Strategy is founded on the latest research regarding the nature of substance use in America. Specifically, the Strategy is based on the scientific consensus that addiction is a disease of the brain that can be prevented, treated and from which people can recover, not a moral failure on the part of the individual. As a result, the 2014 Strategy directs Federal agencies to expand community-based efforts to prevent drug use before it begins, empower healthcare workers to intervene early at the first signs of a substance use disorder, expand access to drug treatment for those who need it, and implement criminal justice reforms designed to break the cycle of drug use, crime, and incarceration while protecting public safety.  The release of the Administration’s Strategy comes at a time of growing public support for more balanced approaches to drug policy. According to a Pew Research Poll released in April, 67 percent of Americans support providing treatment for individual drug users compared to 26 percent who favored prosecution. 
“Public opinion on drug policy is finally catching up to what the science has demonstrated for quite some time,” said Acting Director Botticelli. “We cannot incarcerate addiction out of people. While law enforcement should always play a vital role in protecting communities from violent drug-related crime, at the end of the day we must acknowledge that public health and criminal justice initiatives must to work together to address this complex challenge in a smarter way. This issue touches every family and every community in one way or another. There are millions of Americans – including myself – who are in successful long-term recovery from a substance use disorder. This policy supports each and every one of us and demonstrates a real commitment to a smarter, more humane approach to drug policy in the 21st century.”
In addition to outlining actions to expand public health and safety programs, the Strategy also specifically addresses the threat of opioids, which include heroin and prescription painkillers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths, driven by prescription painkillers, now surpass homicides and traffic crashes in the number of injury deaths in America. In 2010, approximately 100 Americans died from overdose every day. To address this challenge, the Strategy calls for an enhanced focus on overdose prevention and intervention to include increasing access to the emergency overdose reversal drug naloxone; expanded efforts to educate communities on how to intervene, prevent loss of life, and direct those in need to treatment; and strengthened efforts with interagency and international partners to dismantle criminal organizations involved in heroin trafficking. The Strategy also calls for improved data collection to improve the ability of Federal, state, and local officials to identify and respond to emerging threats.
In support of this Strategy, the President has requested $25.5 billion in Fiscal Year 2015.  Federal funding for public health programs that address substance use has increased every year, and the portion of the Nation’s drug budget spent on drug treatment and prevention efforts (43%) has grown to its highest level in over 12 years. Moreover, the $10.9 billion request for treatment and prevention is now nearly 20% higher than the $9.2 billion requested for Federally-funded domestic drug law enforcement and incarceration. The FY 2015 Budget request also includes $3.9 billion for interdiction, and $1.4 billion for international programs.
To read the Strategy and learn more about the Administration plan, visit:www.wh.gov/drugpolicyreform
For a fact sheet on U.S. Drug Policy, click here.
To learn about the Administration’s record in achieving drug policy reform, click here.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy seeks to foster healthy individuals and safe communities by effectively leading the Nation’s effort to reduce drug use and its consequences.
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The myths of smoking pot

Ruth MarcusRuth Marcus, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post
June 24 at 8:37 PM

From her perch as head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Bethesda, Nora Volkow watches anxiously as the country embarks on what she sees as a risky social experiment in legalizing marijuana.

For those who argue that marijuana is no more dangerous than tobacco and alcohol, Volkow has two main answers: We don’t entirely know , and, simultaneously, that is precisely the point .

“Look at the evidence,” Volkow said in an interview on the National Institutes of Health campus, pointing to the harms already inflicted by tobacco and alcohol. “It’s not subtle — it’s huge. Legal drugs are the main problem that we have in our country as it relates to morbidity and mortality. By far. Many more people die of tobacco than all of the drugs together. Many more people die of alcohol than all of the illicit drugs together.

“And it’s not because they are more dangerous or addictive. Not at all — they are less dangerous. It’s because they are legal. . . . The legalization process generates a much greater exposure of people and hence of negative consequences that will emerge. And that’s why I always say, ‘Can we as a country afford to have a third legal drug? Can we?’ We know the costs already on health care, we know the costs on accidents, on lost productivity. I let the numbers speak for themselves.”

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Pasadena Recovery Center Review



If Pasadena Recovery Center seems to have drummed up a lot of mixed press, it may be because people show up expecting Celebrity Rehab. Though Dr. Drew’s show was filmed in a special wing of the PRC, it’s actually one of the more affordable rehabs in town.

Real the rest…

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A Look at the Myth of Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll


Are rock stars really the drugged-out partiers we think they are, or are they just trying to boost sales with an image?

rock star

Mike Bloom, owner of the Pasadena Recovery Center, agrees. For young musicians, whom he believes are more prone to delving into heavy drug use, it is important to find a model for their careers so that they don’t throw their careers to the wind. KISS, says he, is a perfect archetype for new rock acts on the scene.

“I would look to a guy like Paul Stanley from KISS – real successful, and somebody who never got into heavy drugs. I think that if you’re talking about longevity, that’s what he possesses. Had he gotten into drugs, he wouldn’t be the person that he is. He’s a living legend.”

Bloom has seen rock’s track marks first-hand. He has a contract with the MusiCares Foundation, which aids artists dealing with health crises, and works with the Musicians Assistance Program, set up to help musicians in need of drug rehabilitation treatment. For 15 years, he and his family, founders of the facility that hosts Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, have watched rock stars barrel through the doors, get clean (or not) and leave rejuvenated men and women with new leases on life.

“Addicts, the ones who develop the illness for drugs and alcohol, have a hard time maintaining professionalism,” Bloom says. “What unites them is the suffering that they’ve caused themselves and the suffering they’ve caused other people. We’ve had many rockers come through over the years, and it [addiction] has affected their careers. Drugs do not enhance your music“

The recovered is an extensive and exciting list of some of the many acts that have tried to defy that sentiment. Most had to hit rock bottom en route to the top of the charts.

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California counties sue drug makers for sparking painkiller epidemic

 “Because of the deceptive conduct of these drug companies, millions of Americans have become prescription drug addicts and abusers.”


California officials maintain that the prescription painkiller epidemic has taken a heavy toll on their state – and they say that five pharmaceutical companies are to blame.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010, there were enough prescription painkillers – also known as opioids – prescribed to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for one month.  On top of that, overdoses of these prescription painkillers have more than tripled in the past 20 years, killing more than 15,500 people in the United States in 2009.  And, for every one overdose death from prescription painkillers, there are 130 people who abuse them and 825 people who take these drugs for non-medical use, according to data from the CDC.

In response to the epidemic, two of California’s largest counties have filed a civil suit against five of the world’s largest painkiller manufactures, on behalf of the entire state.  On May 23rd, attorneys for Santa Clara and Orange counties filed a complaint, naming Actavis, Endo Health Solutions Inc., Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Purdue Pharma and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ Cephalon Inc. as defendants.

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This article was written by The Adventures of a Sober Senorita.

Wow, I can’t even believe I’m typing this! If you’re reading this, it’s because I made it. I made it to one full year without alcohol. On May 6, 2013, I took my last drink. I will never forget how it felt. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was tired of being the party girl, I was tired of feeling like sh*t, I was tired of disappointing and embarrassing my friends and loved ones. I decided I needed a big change. Trying to drink in moderation hadn’t proved to be the best option for me. It never worked. Enough was enough. I tried something that I never did before — stopped drinking alcohol completely.

When I started this sober journey, I wasn’t sure how long it would last, and now I can’t imagine going back to how my life was before. The positives have been plentiful and the negatives have been slim to none.


Sobriety: Before and after. On the left, a peak drinking time. On the right, a few weeks ago, almost one year sober.
Click here to read what I’ve learned in my one year sans alcohol:
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