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18 Facts About Drugs and Addiction

Drugs and addiction tend to go hand in hand.  Although not everyone who tries it will become addicted, many do and most of these will find it very difficult to stop using.  Everywhere we look, there is information about it, some saying why is it bad for you, while others give people a reason to use.

Here are some facts about drugs and addiction:

  1. Substance abuse in the USA accounts for around $180 billion dollars each year.  That is not counting the cost of alcohol or tobacco, just drugs usage.
  2. Children of addicts are 4 times more likely to become addicts than those whose parents are not users.
  3. Whilst one in ten people who drink will become hooked to alcohol, one or two uses of a drug such as Heroin can leave the user wanting more.
  4. Drug addicts who need cash for their next fix carry out 90% of muggings and thefts from property.
  5. Back in the 1890’s, when instances of Pneumonia and Tuberculosis were rife Heroin was marketed as a non-addictive cough suppressant.
  6. The term “Cold Turkey” is derived from the fact that detoxification can lead to the addict feeling cold and clammy.
  7. The term “kicking the habit” may come from the muscles spasms and jerky leg movements suffered by the person in detox.
  8. It is a disease, despite what many people think, and requires the correct treatment.
  9. Most people cannot just cut back or give up when they feel like it.  The very nature of the substance dictates that in the way that repeated use changes the function and the structure of the brain. Only around 2% of individuals actually seek help.
  1. It is as easy to become addicted to prescription drugs as it is to illegal substances – and these are pills that are prescribed daily by doctors and members of the medical profession. Learn more about prescription drugs and addiction
  2. Around 50% of US College students have used drugs or been binge drinking – 25% are medically classified as addicts.
  3. Around 25% of all Americans will suffer with this problem sometime in their lives.
  4. 16% of the total population of America meet the medical requirements for being classed as an addict.
  5. Out of more than 2 million US prison inmates, more than 1.5 million meet the medical requirements for addiction.
  6. Of the above only 11% receive treatment for their addiction whilst being in prison.
  7. Women and girls take less time to become addicted to drugs, illegal or prescription, and with less usage than males.
  8.  Teenagers that start drinking before the age of 15 are more likely to move on to drugs at some point.
  9. Around 85% of websites that advertise and sell controlled prescription drugs do not ask for a prescription, which just goes to show how easy it is to get hold of them.
  10. Addictions cannot be cured. The person can only be given help and support to cope with and manage this illness.

Credit to Hawaii Island Recovery.

Federal rules eased for opioid addiction treatment drug

Federal regulators have relaxed restrictions on physicians prescribing the opioid addiction treatment drug buprenorphine to patients. –American Medical News

This is really good for the drug companies but not so good for addicts and their families. The doctors that are “trained” many times do not understand addiction. Many times they do not require abstinence from other drugs and rarely push the issue of treatment. Opioid replacement is a good option for many people, but my experience has shown that the people that were addicted to other drugs prior to opioid addiction, or started heavily abusing drugs at an early age don’t do as well. They tend to have a poor quality of life,  and continuously relapse.  More doctors that are untrained regarding addiction and prescribing this drug is not the answer. Methadone clinics require urine drug screening and participation in some sort of treatment participation, shouldn’t we have the same expectation for this form of opioid replacement.

Read the full article here.

Teen narrowly escapes death after smoking synthetic marijuana

My heart goes out to this family and other individuals and families whose lives have been impacted by drugs and alcohol. A common mistake parents make is minimizing adolescent marijuana use, as if it is “just marijuana.” Statistics show that early use of drugs and/or alcohol increases the odds of becoming an addict/alcoholic. Parental attitudes about drug use has a huge impact on whether or not kids use and continue to use drugs and/or alcohol.  If you know your child is a regular user, get them assessed by an addictions professional. Get them and the family into counseling. Educate yourself about adolescent addiction signs and symptoms. Start with the information at this link to a National Institute on Drug Abuse informational brochure.

Photo Credit: Fox 8 WGHP

For more about this Fox 8 WGHP news story, visit here.

Research Shows Free Addiction Treatment is Available.

Drug treatment at a professional rehab facility is the only chance that some people have of getting their life back on the right track. With hundreds of reputable rehab centers located throughout the United States, finding and comparing several options is never an issue. However, there is one detail that always comes into play: money.

Whether or not you can afford drug treatment and how you plan on paying for professional help is a concern that needs addressed. It is essential to consider all payment options, including free drug treatment. With a rehab scholarship you are in position to have some or all of your treatment paid for by a third party.

Don’t let a lack of money stop you from getting the professional help you need. Instead, consider all your options including free drug treatment through a rehab scholarship.

Drug Treatment for Patients with No Money

Are you in need of professional drug treatment but unable to receive help because of a lack of money? This is a common position that is shared by millions of people all over the United States as well as the rest of the world.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there are roughly 20 million Americans currently suffering from behavioral or addictive disorders. Of these people, less than 10 percent are actively going through a treatment program. Approximately 40 percent are unable to access treatment because of the high cost.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there are roughly 20 million Americans currently suffering from behavioral or addictive disorders…

If insufficient funds are holding you back from seeking treatment, there are several steps you can take to better your chance of receiving help in the near future:

  • Contact several rehab facilities that offer the type of program you are interested in.
  • Speak with the facility about the cost of treatment, including how much money you will pay upfront as well as the ongoing expense.
  • Ask if there is any financial assistance available for somebody in your position.
  • If you have insurance, determine if your treatment will be covered.

By taking these steps, as well as any others that are specific to your situation, it is simple to get a grip on your situation and whether or not you are in position to pay for treatment out of your own pocket and/or through the help of your insurance company.

What if I don’t have Insurance?

In a perfect world, all drug treatment stints would be covered 100 percent by health insurance providers. Unfortunately, this is not how things work.

Some patients don’t have medical insurance. Others have coverage but find out soon enough that rehab is not a covered service.

If you don’t have health insurance you are not out of options. There are a number of methods that can help you pay for treatment ranging from nonprofit organizations to public rehab to scholarships and payment plans.

What does my Insurance Cover?

If you have medical insurance the first thing you should do is examine your policy. If you don’t understand the details or need help, contact your insurance company or human resources representative.

There are drug and alcohol treatment provisions in most policies, so make sure you know what type of coverage you have and how much will be paid. Some insurance policies only cover the cost of treatment at an inpatient facility. Others offer outpatient coverage but only if there is a physical addiction. With so many details varying from one insurance company and policy to the next, it is important to check on this before doing anything else.

Deductibles and co-pays still apply in the case of drug rehab.

Tip: contact the drug treatment facility you are interested in attending and ask if there is anybody who can help with insurance related matters.

Most rehab scholarships are for people with no medical insurance and/or insufficient funds. However, you may still want to apply for such programs if you have insurance that does not cover rehab.

Hiding Rehab from your Insurance Company

Just because you have medical insurance does not mean you want to make a claim when it comes time to enter rehab. There are many reasons why you may want to leave your insurance company out of the equation – even if your policy does offer coverage.

1. Increased premium in the future. Many people fear that attending rehab will lead to an increase in their premium payment. Whether or not this is true is up for discussion, but it is definitely a concern. This is particularly worrisome if you pay for insurance out of your own pocket, as opposed to receiving coverage through your employer.

2. Coverage could be dropped. The only thing worse than having your premium increased is if your insurance company drops you altogether. Again, this is not something that should happen but it is another detail that needs to be considered.

There are many reasons why you may want to leave your insurance company out of the equation – even if your policy does offer coverage.

3. To keep your employer in the dark. Do you have health insurance through your employer? In this case, somebody at your company may eventually find out that you entered a rehab facility. This information will become public (to the person you speak with) if you contact the human resources department regarding concerns of whether rehab is covered by your policy.

Can your employer discriminate against you and terminate your employment due to your stint in rehab? As long as your job performance stays the same the answer is no. That being said, you may not want anybody who works with you to know about your personal problem.

The Solution

Rather than take the risk of reporting this to your insurance company, you can do one of two things:

  • Pay for the cost of treatment out of your own pocket. Although this works for some people, most find that it is entirely too expensive.
  • Apply for a rehab scholarship. This is the most cost efficient way to receive treatment when you are unable to pay.

Rehab Scholarships: Where does the Money come from?

There are many organizations, such as Second Chance, that help patients in need receive rehab scholarships.

Just like an education scholarship, money comes from a number of different sources. You don’t have to worry so much about where the funding comes from. Instead, you just want to make sure you are getting the right treatment at the right price.

These organizations focus on three main groups: those who do not have medical insurance; those who do not have the money to pay privately; and those who are unable to qualify for a bank loan due to bad credit.

Just because a rehab facility has some patients does not mean they are at full capacity. With each empty bed, money is lost. For this reason, facilities are often times open to “selling” treatment episodes to a third party. In turn, those in need of rehab can receive treatment at a discounted price (or free of cost).

Just like an education scholarship, money comes from a number of different sources. You don’t have to worry so much about where the funding comes from. Instead, you just want to make sure you are getting the right treatment at the right price.

Some of the sources of funding include: client contributions, guaranteed sponsorship financing, and discounted treatment fees.

With these types of funding it is possible to offer treatment to a larger group of people while guaranteeing facilities a particular percentage of the total fee – this is much better than an empty bed which would be written off as a total loss.

In addition to rehab scholarships from third parties, independent facilities also offer scholarships and hardship opportunities. Despite the fact that a drug center may be “for-profit” they are often times able to offer financial assistance. This allows them to help more patients, keep their facility full, and in some cases receive a tax write off.

It is a little known fact that many drug rehab facility owners were once addicts themselves. Many of them are looking for a way to give back to the community while helping others get on the path to a better life.


Steps to Obtaining a Rehab Scholarship

Are you interested in a rehab scholarship as a way of paying for treatment? This is a good way to have some or all of your treatment paid for by a third party. For those without medical insurance or in a difficult financial situation, this is one of the better options.

Rather than go down the path of many before you, that of ignoring treatment altogether, follow these steps to obtain a rehab scholarship.

1. Contact organizations that offer scholarships. They can give you more information on which facilities they work with, as well as the application process.

2. Contact one or more of the facilities that you are interested in attending. At this point, you can discuss your financial situation in depth. Additionally, each facility can point you towards outside organizations that may be able to offer financial assistance in the form of a scholarship.

As noted above, some facilities offer scholarships and other types of funding. The intake office can discuss your financial options, including eligibility requirements and application information.

3. Complete the application process. Just like any scholarship, regardless of the benefit and purpose, an application must be completed. This is used to determine your eligibility. Make sure you are 100 percent honest as you complete your application. The people, organizations, and facilities you are in contact with are trying to help you get the necessary treatment. They deserve accurate and honest information as they attempt to assist you with your finances.

Most rehab centers, at any point in time, have a number of people attending on scholarship. This means that they are receiving treatment at a discounted price or perhaps free of charge. In addition to assisting others in getting the necessary help, offering a scholarship often times results in a tax write off.

Contrary to popular belief, you will not find rehab scholarships advertised online or through other means. After all, these facilities would much rather have paying patients. If you want to receive free treatment you must be willing to put in the work. From contacting organizations that offer scholarships to speaking with several facilities, it may take a little bit of work before you find one that offers the type of financial assistance you are interested in. Every facility has an intake office that specializes in dealing with new patients. Ask them if they offer rehab scholarships. If so, request detailed information on eligibility qualifications as well as the application process.

If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction but are unable to pay for professional treatment, consider applying for a rehab scholarship.

Learning to Sit Still

“On the plane from Albany, New York to Portland, Oregon, I deleted my heroin dealer’s phone number. It wasn’t the first time I’d done that—more like the 15th—and each time I’d felt a strange resistance. I knew that I would miss my heroin dealer that had been oh so accommodating in terms of helping me to ruin myself. I loved people that enabled my irresponsibility. In hindsight, he was my doctor. And I was a happy patient.” Read the full article from

DBT is a core part of  Behavioral Health Hawaii’s  Intensive Outpatient Program.

Heroin problem in Puget Sound area getting younger

I practiced in the Seattle area before coming back to Maui. I can tell you that the drug problems on Maui are a couple of years behind the Mainland. Maui already has a heroin problem, if it follows the trend it will get worse.

Read more from here.

10 over-the-counter medicines abused by teens

It is very important for parents to know what is going on in the world of their teenage children. The more you know the better prepared you will be to help if needed.

Here is a list of 10 over-the-counter medicines teens have been commonly found to abuse:

  1. Dextromethorphan: This is the active ingredient in more than 100 OTC cough and cold medicines such as Robitussin and NyQuil. One teen in every 10 has reported abuse of cough medicine to get high. Large doses can cause euphoria, distortions of color and sound, and “out of body” hallucinations that last up to 6 hours. Other dangerous side effects including impaired judgment, vomiting, loss of muscle movement, seizures, blurred vision, drowsiness, shallow breathing, and a fast heart rate. When combined with alcohol or other drugs, a large dose can lead to death. For example, Coricidin HBP Cough and Cold includes both dextromethorphan to treat a cough and chlorpheniramine to treat a runny nose. But chlorpheniramine alone abuse by itself has led to numerous deaths and hospitalizations.Dextromethorphan is also addictive and can cause withdrawal symptoms, including depression and difficulty processing thoughts, when the abuse stops. Not much is known about long-term abuse, but cases of bone marrow and nerve cell damage, high blood pressure, heart damage, and permanent brain damage have been reported. 
  2. Pain relievers: Adults and teens have taken pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen in doses higher then recommended because they want the medicine to work faster.  They don’t think of the side effects. They don’t know that liver failure can happen with large doses of acetaminophen, and that stomach bleeding, kidney failure, and cardiac risks are heightened when taking large doses of ibuprofen.
  3. Caffeine medicines and energy drinks: OTC caffeine pills like NoDoz or energy drinks like “5 Hour Energy,” or pain relievers with caffeine have all been abused for the buzz or “jolt of energy” they seem to impart. Large doses of caffeine can cause serious dehydration, gastric reflux, panic attacks, and heart irregularities that have occasionally been linked to accidental deaths, particularly in those with an underlying heart condition. Taking too much of a pain reliever can also cause serious side effects as noted above.
  4. Diet pills: In large doses, diet pills can create a mild buzz. But misuse of diet pills can also signal a serious eating disorder. Abuse of diet pills often starts with trying just a few in order to lose weight. But these OTC medicines can be highly addictive.  Although the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned several of the most dangerous stimulants commonly found in OTC diet pills—phenylpropanolamine, ephedrine, and ephedra—other ingredients in these OTC products can be dangerous. To cite an example, bitter orange is a common ingredient that acts much like ephedrine in the body.  It can cause nervousness and tremor, rapid and irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, and death. Many other diet pill ingredients cause digestive problems, hair loss, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, extreme paranoia, blurred vision, kidney problems, and dehydration. Furthermore, even the most “natural” diet preparations can have serious side effects when misused, particularly those containing ma huang (ephedra). An earlier FDA ban on ephedra pertained only to diet pills considered dietary supplements, not herbal remedies such as teas and Chinese preparations.
  5. Laxatives and herbal diuretics: Like diet pills, some teens and young adults also abuse OTC laxatives and herbal diuretics (water pills), including uva-ursa, golden seal, dandelion root, rose hips, and others, to lose weight.Laxatives and herbal diuretics can cause serious dehydration and life-threatening loss of important minerals and salts that regulate the amount of water in the body, acidity of the blood, and muscle function.
  6. Motion sickness pills: Motion sickness pills that contain dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) or diphenhydramine (Benadryl) taken in large doses can cause one to feel high and have hallucinations similar to street drugs. The dose needed to cause these symptoms varies widely according to body weight and tolerance. Some teens and adults may take as many as 40 pills of Dramamine, for example, to experience the desired high. Extremely high doses of Dramamine have caused dangerous irregular heartbeats, coma, heart attacks, and death. Long-term abuse can cause depression, liver and kidney damage, memory loss, eye pain, itchy skin, urine retention, and abdominal pain.
  7. Sexual performance medicines: OTC sexual performance medicines, often purchased via the Internet, are sometimes abused by teens and adults who are drinking to counteract the negative effects of alcohol on sexual performance.  These medicines can cause heart problems, especially when combined with alcohol or when taken in large doses.
  8. Pseudoephedrine: This nasal decongestant and stimulant is found in many cold medicines. Its similarity to amphetamines has made it sought out to make the illegal drug methamphetamine. The medicine has also been taken as a stimulant to cause an excitable, hyperactive feeling. Abuse may be less common with pseudoephedrine than with other OTC medicines due to a federal law requiring it to be kept behind the pharmacy counter, limiting the purchase quantity, and requiring photo identification prior to purchase. However, people have taken pseudoephedrine to lose weight, and athletes have misused the medicine to increase their state of awareness and to get them “pumped up” before a competition. Dangerous side effects include heart palpitations, irregular heartbeats, and heart attacks. When combined with other drugs, such as narcotics, pseudoephedrine may trigger episodes of paranoid psychosis.
  9. Herbal ecstasy: This is a combination of inexpensive herbs that are legally sold in pill form and swallowed, snorted, or smoked to produce euphoria, increased awareness, and enhanced sexual sensations.Marketed as a “natural” high, the main ingredient is ma huang (ephedra), an herb banned in the US but only in dietary supplements. The product can be purchased in gas stations, health food stores, drug stores, music stores, nightclubs, and online. It is easy to overdose on the product because the dose needed for desirable effects varies widely. The adverse effects can be severe, including muscle spasms, increased blood pressure, seizures, heart attacks, strokes, and death.
  10. Other herbals: Other herbal products are increasingly being abused for their stimulant, hallucinogenic, and euphoric effects. Besides being legal, another draw is that many herbals are not detected during routine urine drug screens. One example is salvia, which is ingested or smoked to experience a short-lived distortion of reality and profound hallucinations. Users can experience severe anxiety, loss of body control, extreme psychosis, and violent behavior. They are also at risk for accidents and injuries that may result from an altered mental state. Some states have regulated the sale of salvia. Another example is nutmeg, which is eaten as a paste to experience giddiness, euphoria, and hallucinations.  Nausea and vomiting set in within an hour and hallucinations begin within 3 hours and can last for 24 hours or more. Effects such as blurred vision, dizziness, numbness, palpitations, low blood pressure, and rapid heartbeat may occur.

Call BHH for a free 15-minute consultation for help today: (808) 234-9838


Is Alcoholism A Disease

Great words from Sobriety for Women…

“Addiction is a bloody gruesome little fellow huh? He comes in and takes over lives and ruins dreams. Alcoholism is a disease. When I first was getting sober and they told me that alcoholism and drug addiction was a disease I did not agree. They wanted to compare it to cancer and how people should feel sorry for us addicts. I thought to myself, “I wish I would have known this growing up I could have gotten my parents off my back!” I could only image using that excuse when they were pointing flash lights at my eyes to check the size of my pupils.”

Read the full article here.

Effective Addiction Treatment

At BHH, we have a Masters Level Therapist overseeing and treating the clients. Treatment is truly individualized to meet the needs of the client.

“Countless people addicted to drugs, alcohol or both have managed to get clean and stay clean with the help of organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous or the thousands of residential and outpatient clinics devoted to treating addiction.

But if you have failed one or more times to achieve lasting sobriety after rehab, perhaps after spending tens of thousands of dollars, you’re not alone. And chances are, it’s not your fault.

Of the 23.5 million teenagers and adults addicted to alcohol or drugs, only about 1 in 10 gets treatment, which too often fails to keep them drug-free. Many of these programs fail to use proven methods to deal with the factors that underlie addiction and set off relapse.”

Read more of this article from The New York Times here.

Drowning in a Stream of Prescriptions

This has been happening for quite awhile now. I’m happy to see that it is getting some attention. We are losing too many of our children to prescription drugs!

“Before his addiction, Richard Fee was a popular college class president and aspiring medical student. “You keep giving Adderall to my son, you’re going to kill him,” said Rick Fee, Richard’s father, to one of his son’s doctors.” Read the entire New York Times piece here.